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Hosting world-class events ‘will boost brand Thailand’

Thailand is ready to host world-class fairs, thanks to its highly developed event-marketing business, while guests are extremely enthusiastic about attending global fairs being held here. In the last couple of years, Thais have been exposed to events that are more advanced and diversified, especially local trade fairs and sports events upcountry. This will help Thailand host big events in the future, Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, co-CEO of Index Creative Village and president of the Event Management Association (EMA), said last week. This development is opening up opportunities for both local and international event organisers. Many foreign event organisers are seeking local partners this year.

For example, recently Korea’s leading “SM Entertainment” company entered into a joint venture with True Visions to bring more concerts from Korea. And IMG Worldwide partnered with BEC-Tero Entertainment to develop local sports events to meet international standards and bring world-class shows to the country. “The total event business is estimated at about Bt30 billion a year, including event marketing, sports events, concerts, trade and consumer fairs and show business,” Kreingkrai said. Though event organising revenues are quite difficult to calculate precisely, EMA expects the event-marketing business to enjoy a10-15-per-cent surge to Bt13 billion this year.

Besides ordinary fairs, consumers now have a wider choice, such as home, furniture, insurance and financial product fairs. The entertainment industry, consisting of both music and show business, also sees greater frequency and further improvement at all levels of standards ranging from local to international. This was the result of changes in consumer behaviour over the last four to five years. For example, consumers have shifted their interest to shop at consumer fairs for value-for-the-money goods rather than in department stores.

As president of EMA, Kreingkrai urged the government to focus on this industry and use this chance to promote the country as a world-class destination by hosting big events like China has been doing. For example, China built up its brand image as well as lured foreign tourists by organising events that were at the world-class level, such as World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, or even on the regional scale by hosting the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou. “Events became a key message that China communicated to the world,” he said. China does not want to tell those outside the country that it enjoys huge revenue from foreign visitors and investors, but this message also shows its readiness and competitiveness to the world.

South Korea is also following the same strategy by hosting World Expo 2012 in Yeosu while Singapore uses the Formula 1 Singtel Singpore Grand Prix, a premier sports event, mixed with international shows and concerts to place itself on the world’s calendar. “Ironically, the current [Thai] government still stays away from this track and does not take it seriously even though the event business has strong potential to create a brand image for Thailand and promote its capability to host international-scale events like the World Expo or even Olympic Games,” he said. Local consumers are also ready for these trends since they spend more time on outside activities rather than staying at home. With these factors, Kreingkrai believes that the industry would continue to grow year to year, especially in the provinces.

Source: The Nation

ThaiVest Editorial Team

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