Thailand: MICE cancel but leisure is steady

Trade worried that clients may misread a Thailand in mourning
Corporates have cancelled meetings and events in Thailand but leisure bookings are mostly going ahead, according to industry players interviewed by TTG Asia after the passing of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
While the MICE cancellations are seen by some as “inevitable”, industry members are now watchful for “possible lost business” – new bookings that may be postponed or diverted if clients misread a Thailand-in-mourning as ‘Thailand is closed’ or ‘less amazing’.
As it is, companies are debating whether or not to hold meetings, not because of the 30-day mourning period but because of “the overall mood”.
“They feel it might not be conducive having a meeting in Thailand at this time as the overall mood isn’t the same as always and the famous ‘Thai Smile’ might be in short supply, which in turn affects delegates and meeting outcome,” said Peter Caprez, cluster general manager of three Marriott hotels in Bangkok and Samui.
For leisure, however, there has been an outpouring of sympathy among tourists for Thais, especially on social media, while immediate factual updates by the public and private sectors on the situation on the ground have helped to assure visitors. This should continue.
“It is important we all get the message across that Thailand is not closed for a year,” said David Kevan, director of Chic Locations UK, referring to the longer year-long period of mourning.
Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks in Phuket: “There’s still perception among a number of people that beach-going is not being allowed, which is entirely incorrect.”
TTG Asia