CHIANG MAI hotels are hoping to get more MICE business with the opening of the city's long-delayed convention and exhibition centre in end-2012.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS), construction of the government-built MICE venue, which will comprise a 10,000m2 exhibition space and a 3,000-seat convention hall, has had some delays. Developed with a 1.86 billion baht (US$62 million) budget, it will require another two billion baht for final touches if it is to open by the end of next year, MoTS said.
Given MICE city status by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau in 2009, Chiang Mai is attracting mainly domestic and regional meetings and conventions, said Praphan Kodpet, general manger of The Imperial Mae Ping Chiang Mai.
Olivier Petit, general manager of Khum Phaya Resort and Spa, a Centara Boutique Collection, said that despite the anticipation of good business in 2011, demand from leisure and corporate travellers would still not level the oversupply in Chiang Mai.
Last year, (MoTS) data showed that Chiang Mai had 447 hotels and 23,292 rooms running at 30.99 per cent occupancy, from a total of 2.77 million guest arrivals at accommodation establishments.