Chonburi must improve workforce, Internet use to become MICE center, deputy governor says

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Chonburi must improve its labor force and make better use of the Internet if it hopes to become a legitimate center for international conventions and business meetings, the province’s deputy governor told a tourism and business representatives meeting in Pattaya.

At a Sept. 6 Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions Tourism meeting at the Hotel J, Deputy Governor Pongsak Preechawith said government and the private sector must collaborate to raise the service levels and business skills of workers and provide more and better information online in order to become a MICE center.

Pongsak cited a 2009 World Economic Forum study which rated Thailand only 39th in the world as a tourism destination due in large part to its government and the country’s basic level of hotel and tourism service.

Deputy Governor Pongsak Preechawith addresses a tourism and business representatives meeting in Pattaya. Deputy Governor Pongsak Preechawith addresses a tourism and business representatives meeting in Pattaya.

While the study did say that the Eastern Seaboard’s strong transportation infrastructure – with easy links to two airports and the country’s major seaport – makes it an attractive venue, the relatively poor foreign-language skills of its workers and their unfamiliarity with the MICE market put the area at a disadvantage.

“The labor force is still considered subpar by MICE standards and does not have a proper understanding of MICE tourists, who are different from conventional tourists,” Pongsak said.

Another factor that needs improvement is the government and private sector’s use of the Internet as a media for disseminating information and promotions.

But with Thailand again finally seeing a growth in tourists – 15.9 million in 2010, up from less than 14.5 million in 2008 and 2009, the country still has potential to attract more people, the deputy governor said.