By The Nation
As revenue for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) segment skyrocketed from Bt5.9 billion to a record Bt10.9 billion in 2018, the key metric reflecting the economic impact is the average spending of Bt13,000 per person.
Looking at the size of the market, a report from consulting group C9 Hotelworks Phuket MICE Market Update, reported that the island hosted 660 events with close to 60,000 participants in 2018.
With overseas demand becoming increasingly prolific across Thailand, the top three international markets are Singapore, China and India, the report said.
Another key feeder of the business is Indian weddings, which is attracting high-spending events from the subcontinent. Over the last month, the island attracted two luxury weddings, with spending for each eclipsing Bt320 million. One key catalyst that is expected to see this market grow is the uptick in introduction of direct flights by GoAir between the resort destination and the Indian cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, the report added.
One niche that Phuket has commanded a best-in-class reputation and sustainable upward trajectory is in large sports events. This year, the Laguna Phuket Marathon attracted over 8,000 participants while garnering considerable international visitors. Other marquee events include the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and Thailand Yacht Show and Rendezvous.
Commenting on the importance of the MICE segment to island tourism, C9’s managing director, Bill Barnett, said: “Phuket has been successful in attracting high-yielding MICE business on substantially less volume than Thailand’s leading event destinations of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. The expansion of the airport has added to the attractiveness.
“Despite the absence of a convention centre, recent notable additions include the new 1,000-seat Grand West Sands Resort venue, which is being managed by Hong Kong’s Langham Hospitality Group. In the longer term, a 10,000-square-metre MICE facility in the heart of Phuket, planned by Central, is expected to start development within two years, and will result in a coming of age for an already dynamic storyline of growth.”