By Vientiane Times
Asia News Ne
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has introduced an exhibition industry and incentive programme for trade shows to Laotian entrepreneurs in the hope it will help attract more visitors to future exhibitions and boost vendor sales.
A seminar on the introduction of Thailand’s exhibition industry and incentive programme for trade shows was held at the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) this month.
The event was co-chaired by the chamber’s vice president Dr Sanan Chounlamany and the minister counsellor of the Thai Embassy in Laos, Putrija Ampaipan.
The TCEB is a government agency responsible for promoting Thailand as a preferred destination for meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), said Kanokporn Damrongkul, a senior official of the bureau.
She said the TCEB signed a memorandum of understanding with the LNCCI in 2011 mainly to promote exhibitions between the two countries.
In addition, they encouraged Thai entrepreneurs to exhibit their products in Laos and introduced incentives for Laotians to attend exhibitions in Thailand.
“We’ve not only worked with LNCCI but also other government sectors in Laos,” she said.
Kanokporn noted that the exhibition industry for the global market in general had mainly operated in European countries, but in the past few years those countries had faced an economic crisis, so they have moved events into Asian countries, including Asean members.
Operators from UK
About 70 per cent of British MICE operators have exhibited in Asia, in countries such as China, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
She said that in the past most people thought that an exhibition should have large numbers of exhibitors and large areas for booths and that it would sell a lot of products.
The trend is changing now, with smaller exhibition areas being used and higher-quality products being offered.
The fairs are used as opportunities for large buyers and sellers to meet, Kanokporn said.
She noted that more European companies were interested in taking part in exhibitions in Thailand, hoping to gain buyers not only in Thailand but also the other Asean countries, whose population totals more than 600 million.
About 280,000 people from all over the world visit TCEB exhibitions each year.
“We want Thailand to become a marketplace, so we are going out to persuade Lao and other Asean people to use us,” Kanokporn said.
Laos has the potential to sell food and agricultural products, furniture, jewellery and handicrafts, and lifestyle artefacts.