BANGKOK Thailand’s corporate events sector has been badly hit by the closure of Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport, the country’s main entry point, following the occupation of air-traffic control towers and public spaces by anti-government protesters.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), which promotes the country’s business events sector, has announced that some events have been cancelled or postponed due to travel problems, including the high-profile CNBA Asia Business Leaders Awards.
Natwut Amornvivat, president of TCEB, said: “The temporary shutdown of the Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport has caused a crisis for the MICE [business events] industry and TCEB, resulting in inconvenience for around 2,000 MICE travelers, coming to Thailand today on 18 international flights.
“There are two MICE events that have already been cancelled. The first event is the seventh CNBA Asia Business Leaders Awards, which TCEB and CNBC Asia-Pacific were to host jointly at The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, from November 27 to 28.
“The other cancelled event is a Hotai Executive Meeting, which was to bring in 600 executives from leading Taiwanese automobile assembly groups, which was set to be held at Royal Cliff Beach Pattaya Hotel this November 26-30.”
“For scheduled international meetings and conventions, there are still some green lights, such as for CAFEO 2008 (Conference of Asean Federation of Engineering Organizations) expecting 300 delegates, IQC 2008-Bangkok (International Quality Convention 2008) expecting 400 delegates and APACRS 2008 (The Asia-Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons). While the ninth Asia Groups 2 Meetings 2008, which was expecting 75 delegates, has been postponed from the targeted date of 27-30 November.
“The Fespa World Asia Pacific 2008 exhibition is still going ahead at BITEC from November 28-30, the event expects 2,500-3,000 exhibitors and visitors.”
Natwut also said that TCEB was co-ordinating with all the relevant agencies to assist corporate travellers arriving in Thailand for events: “We have our officers ready to assist and facilitate transportation. We are coordinating closely with all concerned government and public sectors, immigration, and Airports of Thailand, international airlines to facilitate arriving and departing international delegates.
TCEB has established emergency help centres at its head office and Bangkok’s old international airport at Don Muang, which has been handling some diverted flights from Suvarnabhumi.
TCEB has set up an emergency hotline for business travellers attending conferences or trade shows +662 694 6000.