Thailand’s convention and exhibition sector grew 12% in the first three quarters of the 2013 fiscal year on the back of a strong Asean market and the return of business from Europe.

Asean continues to provide the largest number of tourists for the MICE (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) sector, while business from Europe rose along with economic recovery, according to Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

For nine months of 2013 fiscal year, October 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, there were 747,072 MICE travellers, generating 64.33 billion baht in revenue.

The TCEB is confident the number will reach 940,000 in 2013, with total revenue projected at 88 billion baht.

Marketing campaigns and a strengthening of Thai MICE facilities to tackle the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) would help contribute to that growth, said Mr Nopparat.

“Foreign MICE markets continue to grow and European MICE travellers are returning,” he said.

Mr Nopparat, said over the nine months the international convention segment contributed the largest number of MICE travellers, atf 223,463 or 30% of the total. The convention segment earned the country some 22 billion baht.

Incentives came second with 196,088 travellers or 26.25% worth 12.5 billion baht in revenue, corporate meetings provided 174,701 visitors or 23.38%, bringing in 18.18 billion baht and international exhibitions drew 152,820 travellers, or 20.46%, contributing 11.53 billion baht.