Key to the event is the proposal for Patong to have a major conference centre that can accommodate 5,000 to 10,000 people, Mayor Chalermluck told The Phuket News.
The event today (May 28), held at the Duangjitt Resort & Spa, will see representatives from 31 government departments and agencies attend, including key figures from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Ministry of Tourism & Sports (MoTS), the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), airlines and the Thai Hotel Association.
The event today has been tabled as a key national interest, with Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha initially scheduled to attend, according to the unofficial itinerary by the Public Relations Department. However, the sad passing of Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanonda on Sunday has now taken precedence. (See story here.)
Mayor Chalermluck told The Phuket News that she had already raised the prospect of developing Patong as a MICE destination with TCEB representatives at an event last month.
“We all know that Patong has been a world-renowned tourist destination for many years. Many tourists come to visit Patong, which generates a huge income for the country,” Mayor Chalermluck said.
“However, Patong is still having economic problems. Patong is especially affected during during the (southwest) monsoon season, when there are much fewer tourists,” she added.
The whole town of Patong is dependent on tourism, meaning that the effects are felt widespread throughout the beachside resort, she added.
“This affects everyone in Patong, with the fall in income making it difficult for people to make a living – and this fall in income affects all sectors, including large hotel operators, shops, restaurants, small entrepreneurs and public transport drivers,” Mayor Chalermluck pointed out.
“Making Patong an attractive destination for MICE travellers is one solution that can help to alleviate this problem, by becoming a centre for conferences, seminars and national trade shows,” she added.
Patong is already well prepared to serve as a key MICE destination, Mayor Chalermluck noted.
“Patong is ready to be a ‘MICE City’ in many ways. Our hotel rooms are ready. There are many hotels that are able to accept small to big groups,” said.
However, she added, “We need a large conference center that can accommodate audiences of 5,000 to 10,000.”
“I believe that Patong becoming a MICE City will solve the problems brought on by the tourism low season. All sectors of businesses – hotel spas, public taxis and even street food vendors – all agree with me on this MICE idea,” Mayor Chalermluck said.
“We will move forward with this MICE City project together, with many of the key aspects to be discussed at the conference at the Duangjitt Resort,” she added.