Keeping the MICE flowing back
Even while MICE delegates flood back to Asia driven by
the simple need to make up for lost time and business, the region still has
a perception issue to deal with. At a panel discussion entitled “Facing
the MICE Challenge”, the panelists said the corporate meetings are back in
full force but incentive groups would take a few more years to recover.
Gruppo Italpromo general manager, Antonio Acunzo, said,
“After 9-11 the perceived safe places were South-east Asia, South America
and continental Europe. Then came the Bali bombing and SARS and in three
months the map changed.”
“After SARS came the special packages and deals
targeting the leisure market so we saw the strange situation that the
leisure travelers were perfectly happy to go to places as individuals, but
when it came to organizing an incentive, they were afraid to go. So the MICE
market halted,” Acunzo said.
Pan Pacific hotels and resorts regional director of sales
- western region, Maria Dempsey, said, “In 2004-2005 the corporate
meetings will still go ahead but the incentives have been put on hold in
Asia especially after we saw the soft target terrorist attacks. It’ll be
one to two years before we see them come back.”
Pacific World managing director, Bob Guy, said, “US
sales people were back in Asia the week after the outbreak was over and
because they lost three months of sales which they have to make up for with
meetings and events right up to December. Forget SARS, forget the terrorist
attacks - people will come here because the business is here and they are
driven by sales opportunities. The corporate meetings will come back first
followed by the incentives. However, budgets are still tight.”
So what can companies do to bring back the incentives
other than wait and hope? US-based World Incentive Nexus director, Jim Skiba,
said, “The groups we bring here are looking for something outside the
major cities. So there is an opportunity to twin the city with the
countryside or to take them out to secondary destinations.”
Maria Dempsey said, “The promotion and marketing being
done by the tourism boards is having an impact in the US. Find ambassadors
who know the destinations and find a creative way to market them to people
who are not as familiar with your country.” (TTG Asia)
Ministry of Tourism and
Sports has reason to celebrate
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports just had its
first birthday. It was created one year ago on October 3rd and the minister,
Sontaya Khunpluem, recently told TTG Asia it had been a challenging year,
but significant progress had been made, thanks to great co-operation between
the public and private sectors. He said the biggest single achievement had
been the country’s ability to manage the crises, which had beset the
region during the past 12 months.
“I’m impressed by the ability of the industry, under
the leadership of the ministry, to not only manage the problems which
followed the Bali tragedy, Iraq and SARS, but also to rebound from them so
quickly,” he said.
Another achievement has been the successful integration
of sports and tourism, two areas which were distinctly separate until the
ministry started work in October last year. “The Real Madrid game and the
recent Thailand Open Tennis championships are concrete examples of how two
previously separate ministries are now working as one,” the minister said.
Sontaya also pointed to closer cooperation with
neighboring countries as another of the ministry’s achievements. “I’m
particularly pleased with the tactical launch of the Emerald Triangle,”
the minister added. (TTG Asia)
New pricing for Finnair
Pricing of Finnish, Scandinavian and European flights
will change from the present prices based on rules and restrictions to
flight-based pricing determined.
New pricing rules are introduced for all Finnair European
flights. You can now combine the flights according to your needs in
different price categories. You can depart and return to your destination
from different cities. If you adjust your departure times, we’ll offer you
a lower price. Off peak flights are less expensive.
The pricing rules are clear and there are only 3 base
price categories. Advance purchase is history, excluding the lowest price
category on weekday departures. Minimum stay on weekdays is always 3 days
but during weekends, same day return is possible. Passengers under 25 and
over 65 years have their own special price for one way journeys.
Tourist Class is traditional tourist price category.
Charges for this ticket are restricted, but no advance purchase is required.
Tourist Special availability is restricted, but price is lower. Happy Hour
is the best price for your tourist travel needs. You’ll need to book this
ticket a week in advance. No refunds granted.
TAT to concentrate
on PATA Travel Mart 2004
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed
that it will skip the Thailand Travel Mart (TTM) next year to concentrate on
playing host to PATA Travel Mart (PTM) 2004 in Bangkok.
The annual TTM will continue the following year. The last
time the PTM was in Thailand was eight years ago in Phuket, where there were
1,600 delegates. To attract more delegates, the TAT is preparing an
extensive and attractively priced pre- and post-tour program.
TAT deputy governor for international marketing,
Phornsiri Manoharn, said, “We have waited a long time to host PTM and we
will honor the show by skipping TTM for one year. This does not mean that we
are never having TTM again, but we want to give our full concentration to
“The only problem I foresee is that because TTM is
heavily subsidized, many of the small and medium sized sellers that
participate in it may not be able to afford PTM.
“The TAT will try to do something with PATA to work out
a special discount for the local sellers so that they will have a chance to
participate in the mart. In any case, even if they can’t afford to, there
are many other marts for smaller companies to showcase their products. We
will make sure that they don’t miss anything but next year will belong to
Thai sellers said they were looking forward to having PTM
at their destination and welcoming a more global clientele than what the TTM
Royal Cliff Beach Resort, director of sales, leisure,
Victor Kriventsov, said, “TTM is an advantage because it concentrates on
my destination. On the other hand it only attracts buyers who are interested
in Thailand. PATA attracts a wider variety of buyers who are interested in
all of Asia. It is good to merge the two events as it may be possible to
attract both sets of buyers and a good benefit for Thailand.” (TTG Asia)