From Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand’s MICE industries which you can read here, we now turn our attention to Indochina. A fast emerging market, Vietnam and Cambodia are expanding their MICE capabilities quickly and may soon catch up with the other MICE powerhouses in the region. However, there is still a long way to go to establish itself as more than just its new shiny MICE venues and infrastructure. With its rich history, culture and arts, Vietnam and Cambodia have so much to tap on.
The MICE industry has also made much progress in establishing itself as a world-class MICE venue by hosting major conferences like the Asocio ICT Summit, ASEM5 summit, and ATF in addition to events for global brands like DHL, Motorola Asia Pacific, VISA, Volvo. In 2017, Da Nang will host APEC in a state-of-the-art new convention center.
Chiang Mai in particular is being groomed for MICE stardom.
- 2013- Focused on attracting domestic MICE and establishing Chiang Mai as a MICE industry.
- 2014-2015 – Leverage the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation (GMS) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to enhance Chiang Mai’s MICE credentials throughout the ASEAN region.
- 2016-2017- Chiang Mai infrastructure uplifted to make it the premier destination for international conferences.
Meanwhile, experts at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) express optimism about Ho Chi Minh City becoming a leading destination of MICE in ASEAN.
Vietnam had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 with Thailand, who has been rallying MICE cooperation and unity in ASEAN.
MICE in Cambodia faces a few obstacles
- Lack of foreign investment
- Lack of budget for marketing campaigns
- Lack of capacity building
- Lack of a cohesive national strategy for MICE industry
- Cambodia yet to win a bid to hold a large international event which will give it a chance to showcase its ability as a serious MICE country
However, Cambodia has also made significant progress especially with capacity building.
The Angkor COEX convention is the biggest conference facility in Cambodia and it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Two other centers in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are also slowly coming up with large conferences and exhibition centers being built.
The tourism ministry is also strongly encouraging the development of conference centers which will give the country the ability to hold a large number of MICE tourists at a go.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau is also committed to penetrating Cambodia’s MICE industry to promote MICE activities along its borders through its “Meeting in Thailand” campaign.
Vietnam and Cambodia have significant untapped potential. Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs and institutions to maximise them and help Indochina develop as a significant player.
Furthermore, close ties with China, though recently strained, will help add to the numbers of MICE visitors. We also see Thailand’s hand in boosting Indochina’s MICE activities to create spillover effects for Thailand and the entire ASEAN.
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