At the 45th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourist Organisations held on January 18, 2017 as part of this year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), all 10 tourism ministers from ASEAN voted for Thailand, through Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), to lead the development of a regional standard for MICE venues called ASEAN MICE Venue Standard (AMVS).
The idea for a regional standard was first proposed by Thailand in 2015 as a strategic initiative to support MICE development in the region. Thailand was chosen as the Lead Coordinator and had hosted four special meetings prior to the official adoption at ATF 2017.
Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President, TCEB said that the AMVS allowed Thailand to share its experience and best practices in developing MICE venues. “Venues are a key deciding factor for event organisers hosting major international MICE events. Today, there are 341 certified meeting venues in Thailand. These venues include convention centres, hotels, resorts, city halls, museums, associations and institutes operated by 142 private and public organisations. The TMVS has so far been implemented in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Had Yai."
He further added that for other high potential cities, we have a working plan in place to guide venue owners and operators. We hope the framework that Thailand has developed over the years can now be an effective reference for all our ASEAN neighbours. It is a shared resource that will help raise the professionalism of the entire MICE industry in ASEAN, creating new interest in new destinations and distinguish the region in the eyes of the world’s MICE planners.
AMVS activities will kick off in earnest when TCEB welcomes country representatives to the 1st AMVS Auditor Training from March 15-18, 2017. A certification ceremony has also been scheduled to take place during ATF 2018 in Chiang Mai to unveil the region’s first certified MICE venues, which will include Thailand’s BITEC, IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center and Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
Bangkok’s two certified venues made news recently for their expanded facilities. Last November, BITEC added 32,000 sqm of event space to reach a total of 70,000 sqm, making it one of the largest exhibition facilities in the region. IMPACT is spending 1.7 billion Baht (US$48.5 million) to refurbish the lobbies of Halls 1 to 8 and develop new facilities for tourism and MICE. These will include a Sky Bridge connecting key buildings, a cinema, factory outlet shopping and a new 587-room ibis hotel, all of which will open in the first quarter of 2017.