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#Confex2012

Thailand50 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / ISSUE 66Together we fightTHAILAND CONVENTION AND EXHIBITION BUREAU'S (TCEB) PRESIDENT AKAPOL SORASUCHART ASSESSES THE TRUE COST OF THE COUNTRY'S RECENT FLOODING TO ITS MICE SECTORt never rains but it pours in Thailand. The worst floods in 50 years hit the country's capital Bangkok at the end of 2011 killing 594 people and having a huge impact on the country's tourism industry. According to estimates, the flooding cut the number of overseas tourists to 18.5m in 2011 from a targeted 19.5m, costing the tourism industry 50bn baht (US$1.62bn).Insurer Allianz said it expected the flood disaster could lead to a re-assessment of weather risks to industries in Asia, and counting the true cost of the floods could take years. It said it expected investors may now chose to invest in other countries. Speaking to news agency Reuters Allianz's Regional CEO Lutz Fullgraf said: "This, for Thailand, was definitely the costliest event in terms of the insured values, even if you take into consideration the tsunami of 2004 and 2010's riots. The loss is much bigger. "I think it will top the list of insured flood losses over the past 10 years," he said. "And I believe the disaster will lead the insurance industry to re-evaluate weather and other natural disaster risks to Asia's rapidly expanding industrial zones, many of which are areas vulnerable to earthquakes, storms and flooding."The Thai Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said 24 MICE events, which were planned in and around Bangkok, were affected during the flooding with revenue losses estimated at 3.32bn baht and a MICE visitor shortfall of around 250,000. The impact of the floods on domestic transportation in the Bangkok area also led organisers to reschedule events due to concerns over participant numbers, TCEB said.WORDS VIKKI CARLEY PICTURES IMAGE SOURCE / NIST SCHOOLIAbove: A fl ood hit Bangkok