07 Aug 2012
BANGKOK, 6 August 2012: The only way forward is to cooperate with neighbours to build the events business industry, tourism professionals and commercial counsellors from Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines concluded at the ASEAN Economic Community event last week.
Speaking at AEC 2015: Cutting Edge Strategies for MICE Industry seminar, last week, Department of Trade Negotiations deputy general director, Somkiat Trirattanapan, told the forum that Thailand was on track to meet AEC commitments.
“But this is a time for cooperation in all related sectors. A unified market in 2015 will not be a big bang for us because we have been adapting gradually for quite some time.”
Mr Somkiat also said that the ability of Thailand’s human capital, business and industrial to complete is still problematic.
“The solution is to improve human capital and build networks through Memorandum of Understanding that will lead to efficient management and marketing,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, Philippines Trade and Investment Centre Commercial Attaché, Eric Elnar, said B2B MoUs and MoAs (Memorandum of Agreement) are being signed to foster cooperation between Thailand and Philippines, which should increase visits to Philippines by 10% to 20% next year.
“The Philippines ranked fifth in Asia in visitors to Thailand-based exhibitions last year. Filipinos accounted for 7.5% to 54,000 visits of a total 720,000 international MICE visitors to Thailand.”
Mr Elnar added: “Aside from B2B agreements, AEC will also drive government-to-government cooperation for tourism promotions.”
Trade exhibitions in the Philippines are related to automobile, food and agriculture, tourism and medical care.
In addition, Manila is offering incentives for travel and tourism investment from other ASEAN countries.
For example, ASEAN tourism investors will have the right to own 100% of a business in the Philippines, while they will need to pay a corporate tax of just 5% in the first five years, against the 30% standard tax levied on other sectors.
To attract more foreign investment and ASEAN tourists, airlines in the Philippines also plan to open more direct flights to Southeast Asian neighbours.
Mr Elnar said the Philippines’ largest carrier, Cebu Pacific, for instance, would launch a twice-weekly direct service from Iloilo to Singapore in November, having already commenced direct flights from Manila to Siem Reap in Cambodia in April.
The airline also plans to introduce a new direct service to the former Myanmar capital, Yangon.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corp trade counsellor, Niqman Rafaee b. Mohd Sahar, said AEC is a target to develop cooperation including the MICE industry.
“The government in each member countries should work together with the private sector to promote MICE.”
Besides offering incentives to overseas MICE operators to host events in the country, the trade counsellor said Malaysia was ready to join forces with neighbouring countries such as Thailand to build MICE revenue on both sides, particularly in the southern provinces of Thailand and the northern part of Malaysia.
“Thailand Convention and Exhibition bureau and Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) will work together to promote MICE packages,” he said.