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ASEAN GATEWAYWITH A WEALTH OF VENUE SPACE AND CONSTANTLY IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE, BANGKOK IS THE EXHIBITION HUB OF ASEAN REGION. MIKE TRUDEAU TAKES A CLOSER LOOKof service is comparatively high, making it a tempting destination for business as well as pleasure."From the perspective of a trade exhibition organiser, Thailand's strength in the various industrial sectors makes the local market attractive to gather local trade buyers as anchor visitors," said Muthiah Gandhi, managing director of UBM Asia (ASEAN Business). "Thailand is also a uniquely attractive place to invite trade buyers from the region. Its hospitality and service standards are second to none, and there are a range of excellent purpose-built venues available. Providing smooth and uninterrupted service to visitors is in the DNA of the city. This is easily translated into the suppliers industry. The excellent hotels, transportation, freight, stand, electrical, and design make it very convenient for show organisers to stage events in Bangkok."In terms of organiser presence, the Government's Department of Export Promotion (DEP) holds a full 44 per cent of exhibition business in Thailand. Reed Exhibitions is the second-most prevalent organiser with 12 per cent of the market, and UBM is in third place with six per cent. Local organiser Bangkok Exhibition Services holds fi ve per cent of the market. According to UBM Asia president and CEO Jimé Essink, the total Thai exhibition market is worth US$149m. The DEP, while helping the local market, poses a challenge to incoming organisers by offering subsidised rates for its own expos.or the most part, when you talk about exhibitions in Thailand you talk about Bangkok, to the extent that the two can be essentially synonymous. Holding all of the country's major venues, a busy international airport and increasingly up-to-date infrastructure, the city is undeniably a buzzing hub of business for not only Thailand but the surrounding international region.Add to this a bid for the World Expo 2020 and Bangkok boldly stands above other destinations in the region.If nothing else - and there is much else - the city is an attractive destination. More than just a tourist hub, it is a city of food and culture, a monument of living history and an embodiment of the burgeoning ASEAN market.As dominant as Bangkok is on the national expo stage, two new venues under construction in Phuket and Chiang Mai will add to the competitive landscape and attempt to draw business out of the capital. For an organiser of international exhibitions, the two up-and-comers will complement the resources available to those bringing business to Bangkok.Thailand has a large and growing domestic market, with strong export-related manufacturing. The capital city has an excellent and improving infrastructure of venues, roads, airports, hotels and contractors, and while prices are still low, the quality

CITY PROFILEIssue 8 | 2011 www.66exhibition-world.netThe Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) plays an active part in promoting the events industry internationally. The bureau recently enhanced Bangkok's offer with the introduction of a new marketing campaign implemented under TCEB's fi ve-year strategy. The Next Best Shows campaign aims to increase overseas visitors by 50 or 60 per cent and generate revenues of US$456m by subsidising international expos.The Bureau can even go so far as arranging special immigration lanes for visiting trade show participants.The city is striving to live up to its motto "Bangkok, the exhibition city of ASEAN", and is admittedly a formidable offering. The Suvarnabhumi Airport serves more than 100 airlines and has direct fl ights between Bangkok and 191 cities around the world. Citizens of more than 50 countries can enter the country without a visa and those of 20 additional countries can apply for a visa on arrival. On top of this, fl ights from Bangkok to other major ASEAN cities range from one-and-a-half to three hours, making the city a prime location for the convergence of ASEAN business. Bangkok is an 18-hour fl ight from North America or 10 hours from Europe.Although traffi c in the city can be notoriously knotty, an extensive public transit system including an elevated rail network makes navigation easy.In its Doing Business 2011 report, the World Bank found Thailand the second-easiest ASEAN country in which to do business, behind only Singapore which came fi rst out of the 183 surveyed countries worldwide. The country is one of the easiest in the world to access credits, obtain construction permits and register property.Number crunchAccording to UFI's report The Trade Fair Industry in Asia, seventh edition, 15.5 million square metres were sold by trade fair organisers to their clients in Asia in 2010. By far the biggest player was China, with 8.5m square metres. Thailand came eighth with a total of 432,500sqm sold in the country in 2010, down just over seven per cent in the wake of last year's political unrest, which has since been resolved. Although it pales in comparison to China's might and some of its Asian neighbours, Thailand is the best-performing exhibition country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), consisting of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the WORLD EXPO 2020 BIDTCEB is backing the Thai bid for World Expo 2020 in Ayutthaya under the theme Redefi ne Globalisation: Balanced Life, Sustainable Living.Thailand was one of the fi rst Asian countries to participate in a World Expo, along with Japan and China, and has since taken part in 44 of the mega-events. In fact, the Thailand Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 was voted one of the top 10 most popular pavilions.Acting as the hub of the ASEAN region and its neighbours, TCEB claims Thailand has access to a market serving half the world population.Sitting 45 minutes away from Bangkok by car, the proposed site Ayutthaya was the capital city of Thailand from 1351 to 1767.Promising 37 million visitors to the Ayutthaya Expo 2020, TCEB hopes to cement the country's reputation as event host and international player.KEY FACTS CURRENCY Thai Baht: THB100 = US$3.29, US$100 = THB3,054 (22 Sept) POLITICS Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, formerly called Siam, with a traditional founding date of 1238. Current head of state is King Bhumibol Adulyadej FOUR-STAR HOTEL RATESRates range from approximately THB1,000 to THB4,000 with an average of THB2,500 PRICE OF A TAXI FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CITYTHB200 to THB400, but limo taxis cost around THB900 AVERAGE PRICE OF A BURGERBig Mac meal: THB125 TWO RANDOM BANGKOK FACTS1. Bangkok has been labelled the hottest city in the world by the World Meteorological Organisation2. It holds the Guinness world record for longest place name at 140 Thai letters44% Percentage of total expo business held by the Thai Government's Department of Export Promotion (DEP)Left:The Thailand Pavilion at the World Expo in Paris in 1900