Thailand’s potential as international events hub questioned amidst Taylor Swift tour snub

Image courtesy of Taylor Swift, via Facebook

The exclusion of Thailand from the itinerary of Taylor Swift‘s world tour has prompted the denizens to reconsider the nation’s global standing as a viable hub for international exhibitions and events.

Bringing the country’s potential into question, it was revealed that the total revenue from meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry for the final quarter of last year was 28.5 billion baht, of which exhibitions contributed over twice as much as corporate meetings at 6.88 billion baht, compared to 3.24 billion, as cited by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

As business normalises and traffic increases, accommodating larger events or concerts in the capital’s convention centres becomes a daunting task. Two simultaneous international shows can attract over 10,000 visitors, leading to traffic congestion. INRIX Research’s 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard identified Bangkok as the second most congested city in Asia with 67 lost hours.

Contrastingly, Singapore National Stadium, with a 55,000 seat capacity and hosting Taylor Swift’s forthcoming concerts, benefits from direct MRT station connectivity. On the other hand, the Rajamangala Stadium, Thailand’s biggest with 51,000 seats, is a 3 kilometre walk away from the closest Yellow Line railway station.

Loy Joon How, general manager at Impact Exhibition Management, said success also hinges on delivering high-quality international events consistently and a proactive marketing and branding strategy.

“Critical to positioning Thailand as an international event and entertainment hub is efficient urban planning and infrastructure.”

Contrarily, an advisor to the Thai Exhibition Association, Pravit Sribanditmongkol, challenges the country’s record in city planning, especially around integrating exhibition centres with public transport. According to him, Thailand’s privately owned exhibition centres put it at a disadvantage. Consequently, other cities have an edge in urban planning, aiding large-scale event accommodation.

Citing Germany’s model of partnering city governments with private organisers for events, Pravit articulates the draw and success of this model globally.

Unfortunately, many of Thailand’s public-owned MICE venues in provinces are underwhelming, as they missed out on business-to-business events and incurred losses due to insufficient infrastructure.

Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, despite being promoted as the “gateway to the North,” has only managed to attract a few local consumer events, making it a prime example of missed opportunities and subpar performance.

Even though current MICE travellers avoid traffic issues in Bangkok by booking nearby accommodations, he insists that future investments need better logistics plans.

From 2023 to 2027, TCEB plans to attract 160 million MICE travellers, generating over 945 billion baht. This could be achieved by forging strategic partnerships with international artists, event organisers, and others in the global music industry.

Conducive factors to such partnerships include world-class venues, easy air connections and quality hospitality establishments. In addition, the safety and security of international artists, effective crowd control and anti-terrorism protocols are key, said How.

Pravit argued that while Bangkok has sufficient exhibition space for international events, promoting each regional hub in the country and developing infrastructure plans could significantly bolster the industry, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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