Thailand positions Chiang Mai as a MICE Destination

Proudly contributed by Luc Citrinot

Company contributor ASEAN.travel

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Chiang MaiChiang Mai is a well-known destination for culture and nature lovers. The old capital of the Lanna Kingdom retains its gentle pace of life, offering an amazing number of temples, old teak houses surrounded by mountains – an ideal destination for trekkers and nature-lovers.

In 2015, total tourist arrivals to Chiang Mai reached 7.42 million arrivals, up by 7.2%. Foreign tourist arrivals grew even stronger reaching last year 2.58 million, up by 9.15%. Chiang Mai represents 69% of all foreign tourist arrivals to Northern Thailand.

The city has a large range of hotels -reaching from five-star luxury properties to boutique-style budget accommodation. Among international chains are le Méridien, Novotel, Dusit, Shangri-La, Furama, Eastin, Anantara or Centara. According to data from the Ministry of tourism, total rooms in Chiang Mai province reached 34,510 units last year with an average occupancy of 66.3%.

Chiang Mai is one of the few cities in Thailand to have its own Convention Centre, which has been operational since 2013. With  60,000 m2, the CMECC can accommodate any types of events at both national and international levels with a capacity to host up to 10,000 people.Its largest facility is a 1,700 m2 convention hall. The presence of the CMECC rose the profile of Chiang Mai as an attractive MICE destination. The city hosted last week the Asia Golf Tourism Convention and will in December receive the Congress of the International Society of Sugarcane Technologists (ISSCT) which will bring to town over 1,500 delegates.

Chiang Mai experienced also in recent years a sharp increase in international flights, particularly from and to China PRC and other ASEAN countries. Chiang Mai airport is today linked to 35 destinations including 12 cities in China PRC, six cities in ASEAN as well as to Taipei and Seoul. Over the next months, new flights are due to come to Japan as well as to new destinations within the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Chiang Mai is likely to gain more exposure as the Tourism Authority of Thailand will host its Thailand Travel Mart (TTM) from June 8 to 10. This is the first time that the travel show for B2B will be held in Thailand’s northern capital.

Registration for the event is now closed. TTM is due to welcome 570 buyers from 62 countries, of whom roughly half will be first-time participants. India has the largest contingent of buyers (120) followed by the United Kingdom (40), China (33), Australia (25), Italy (25) and the USA (21). A group of smaller but high-quality buyers have also been invited from emerging markets; such as, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Amongst the sellers, the line-up of 343 exhibiting companies includes some of the most unique boutique hotels in the Greater Mekong Subregion, in addition to a range of creative small and medium sized products and services seeking to expand their profile in the international market.

Amongst the exhibitors, 30% or 103 organisations are first timers, and 70% or 240 organisations are repeat sellers. The sellers comprise of hotels and resorts (260), tour operators and travel agents (22), entertainment (8), transportation (3), associations (6), NTOs (3), the Greater Mekong Subregion (16), other travel services (23) and 12 Hidden Gems destinations (2).

TOURIST ARRIVALS NORTHERN THAILAND

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said “This year’s event promises to be unique, different and distinctive from anything we have done in the past. We have carefully analysed all the feedback we have got over the past few years and done our best to act upon many of the valuable recommendations.

“The enormous interest we have received from the buyers is certainly very encouraging. We believe this year’s TTM+ will go a long way towards facilitating business opportunities and meeting our national development priorities,” the Governor said.

 

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