Trade Meetings and Exhibitions in Thailand

For some time, Thailand has been recognised as a hub for international exhibitions and trade events, located centrally in Southeast Asia and as a natural gathering point for east and west. In recent years there has been significant growth in exhibitions in Thailand, bolstered by government support, strategic infrastructure development and a conducive business environment. Axel Blom, Asian Insiders partner in Thailand explores this growing sector and the value offered to western business seeking a stronger footprint in Southeast Asia.

Thailand is a vibrant economy and one of the busiest tourism destinations in the world. With a population around 70 million and a gross GDP of USD 512 billion, Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia. While tourism into Thailand continues to recover to near pre-pandemic levels, the strongest contributor to Thailand’s GDP continues to be manufacturing at around 40%, followed by communications and logistics at 13%, then agriculture at around 9%. The strength of manufacturing is underlined about how strong is Thailand’s export economy.

Accordingly there is a vibrant sector serving trade meetings and exhibitions in Thailand. The establishment of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in 2002 further solidifies the country’s position as a premier destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) activities, providing support, incentives and infrastructure to sector organisations and convention organisers. Bangkok is naturally the centre of this activity with several large-scale, world class facilities available along with modern communications and transport networks as well as a wide range of accommodation options. Bangkok offers a high level of personal attention to quality of personal care and experience with around 36 Michelin stars and an internationally renowned range of cultural experiences.

Thailand’s pro-business policies and investor-friendly environment have encouraged multinational corporations to choose the country as a preferred destination for launching new products and conducting market research. Additionally, the proactive role played by government agencies such as TCEB in promoting Thailand as a MICE hub has been helpful in attracting both domestic and international event organisers.

The Thai economy competes with its Southeast Asian neighbours for pre-eminence in particular sectors, and one way they compete is through continuous development of its MICE infrastructure and capabilities. Some industry events, such as the annual ThaiFex food industry event has become the largest of its kind across Southeast Asia, bringing together 3,200 food sector exhibitors, 80,000 visitors from more than 130 countries and hosted across 130,000 square metres of floor space. The drive for this builds on the promotion of Thailand as the ‘Kitchen of the World’ focusing on Thailand’s abundance in agriculture with an ideal climate and topography for food production, along with a world famous culinary culture. ThaiFex thus becomes the regions’ signature industry gathering showcasing F&B trends, innovative food retailing as well as local, regional and international food sector products and services. Similarly scaled events are held annually in Thailand across a number of sectors including medicinal industries, healthcare and nutrition, automation and robotics, packaging, petrochemical, plastics and rubber, gems and jewellery, logistics, construction and related fields, IT and digital technologies, agriculture, waste management and sustainable practice as well as a host of exhibitions and events across various manufacturing sectors, notably in automotive and related industries.

MICE travellers are recognised as the highest spending of all type of tourists, at around three times the average spend, with around 23 million MICE arrivals into Thailand projected in 2024. Where there has been a reduction in numbers from European countries and the Americas, this has been supplemented by an increase in numbers from China and India, where Thailand’s visa diplomacy has been more active.

While the pandemic is largely behind us, the lingering effects of travel restrictions and health safety concerns has led to organisers developing alternative formats for meetings using digital tools such as hybrid, virtual and augmented reality to allow cost savings, broader reach and other semi-remote forms of attendance. A further key innovation arising is the TCEB’s REDEFINE campaign, a 360-degree initiative offering global organisers a variety of options to create ongoing impact during and following the events, by connecting international participants with regional industries, including prepared workshops and bidding support, allowing greater intra and cross-sector as well as geographic coordination.

In 2009, TCEB launched the ‘Green Meetings’ initiative, recognising that large scale events often have a significant environmental impact. By adopting sustainable practices such as waste reduction, energy efficiency and carbon offsetting, Thailand can demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship, positioning itself as a responsible host for international exhibitions.

International exhibitions and trade events play a vital role in driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and promoting global connectivity in Thailand. The country’s strategic location, conducive business environment, and proactive government support have positioned it as a preferred destination for MICE activities in the region.

Thailand is an ideal hub for operating in Southeast Asia. Trade meetings and exhibitions in Thailand offer an apparelled opportunity to engage with international business across a range of sectors and in a truly world class environment. Whether an exhibitor or a participant, feel free to contact us to discuss your participation. For a no-obligation call, please contact Jari Hietala, Managing Partner: jari.hietala(at) or Axel Blom, Managing Partner, Thailand, axel.blom(at)

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