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TCEB generates 1 trillion baht MiCE revenue to Thailand

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Thailand Conventions & Exhibitions Bureau (TCEB) has reported more than one trillion baht of the MiCE revenue generated to Thailand’s economy. The bureau showcased 13 years of its MiCE development path  at the Thailand MICE Forum 2018: Redefining Our Industry.  Since TCEB’s establishment, Thailand has been hosting 20 international MICE events per a year through the bureau’s successful bids while supports have been granted to more than 5,000 MICE events in Thailand and overseas. During the forum, TCEB also announced the reform of its strategies in three parts to promote the sustainable MICE industry in the fiscal year 2019. Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, Chairman of the Board of Directors, TCEB, said the bureau has provided support to more than 5,000 domestic and international events held in Thailand and overseas countries. TCEB has been engaging in important missions to support the development of MiCE sector including the establishment of MICE Standards, the facilitation for MiCE Visa and MiCE logistics, as well as the development of MiCE Prototype Manual, MICE Cities and Area-based Development. “The statistics from 2017 showed that TCEB and operators in the MiCE industry had created a positive impact on the Thailand’s economy in different aspects. MiCE expenditure stood as high as 231,200 million baht, contributing 173,000 million baht, or 1.1%, to the country’s GDP. The contribution rate of MiCE to the country’s GDP is comparable to Singapore. Meanwhile, in the same year, the industry has contributed 21,600 million baht of tax and created as many as 167,300 jobs,” said Dr. Atchaka. In term of the global ranking, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) in 2017 have rated Thailand the …

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Marriott to unveil unified loyalty programmes for members

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Marriott International will introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) for its members in August 2018. This will create an incredibly rich hospitality loyalty programme in which members will earn more points faster than under the prior programmes — on average 20 per cent more points for every dollar spent. For the first time, members will have access to book stays and earn or redeem points among 29 participating global brands comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. Additionally, the Moments experiential platform is expanding, with more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations from must-see attraction tickets and tours for purchase with cash by all guests, to once-in-a-lifetime events only available to members using points, including the new bespoke Moments Live event series. David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, Marriott International, said,  “We are excited to announce that this August, our members can enjoy one set of benefits across our extraordinary portfolio of hotels from iconic full and select service, to extended stay, to unique boutiques and luxury brands.” Beginning in August, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.

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‘Shop Bahrain’ gets Gulf Air as its official airline

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Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is onboard once again, supporting ‘Shop Bahrain’ for the fourth consecutive year as official airline of the nationwide shopping festival. As a strategic partner of ‘Shop Bahrain’, Gulf Air is providing more than 6,000 airline tickets at discounted prices as raffle prizes. In addition, Gulf Air customers will receive 4 points for every 1BHD spent when purchasing flights throughout the festival period which runs until February 10, 2018. Captain Waleed Abdulhameed Al Alawi, Deputy CEO, Gulf Air, said, “We are delighted to partner with ‘Shop Bahrain’ once again. This strategic partnership is in line with Gulf Air’s ongoing commitment to support initiatives that help drive the growth of the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is fitting that we collaborate in this regard, further strengthening Bahrain’s positioning as an attractive destination regionally, while helping to showcase the Kingdom’s tourist attractions and encourage visitors to experience the trademark Arabian hospitality.” Yousef Al Khan, Director, ‘Shop Bahrain’, stated, “This year, we have been coordinating with Gulf Air and various hotels in the Kingdom to develop attractive tourist packages. We aim to offer visitors an unforgettable shopping experience packed with fun-filled events and promotions.

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TCEB unveils two mobile apps for events

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Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has launched two new mobile applications, Smart BIZ Event and Smart BIZ Organizer for Thailand’s MICE industry. Through its unique innovation, the strategy is aimed to stimulate the growth of MICE events in the country, attract MICE travellers, and establish a knowledge and statistics platform to support the industry in terms of the strategic planning. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President, TCEB, said, “TCEB’s strategy focuses on the development of innovations. We aim to catch up with the digital trend and respond to the demand of MICE organisers and travellers in the digital era. In the fiscal year 2017, the target markets show a great response to our activities which include the development of our website, online sales and marketing channels, as well as online marketing communications.” TCEB also developed a mobile application called ‘Biz Thailand’, to respond to the rising trend of smartphones. The app provides information in Thai and English languages. It helps in giving out details about tourist attractions, restaurants, accommodations, domestic and international flights, as well as data on MICE venues in Bangkok and MICE cities. Users are able to get real-time updates on news and promotion activities with the location-based service. Besides, users are able to link the app to their social media accounts which makes sharing information found in the app worth their network easier. This useful application is designed for the users who are interested in conventions and business events in Thailand. Until now, the app has a record of more than 6,000 downloads.

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Vistara introduces Vistara Corporate Flyer for coporate customers

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Vistara has launched ‘Vistara Corporate Flyer’ programme under which the airline will provide its corporate customers several benefits designed to make business travel hassle-free. The unique programme will be available to all eligible customers travelling on Vistara’s corporate fares, regardless of class of travel.   With ‘Vistara Corporate Flyer’, all eligible customers will enjoy complimentary ‘Carry On Plus’ benefits which provide increased cabin baggage allowance of 12 kg for the larger cabin bag that goes in the overhead bin (which equates to 70 per cent more allowance than the usual 7 kg limit), in addition to a smaller item such as a laptop bag that can fit under a seat in the cabin. This is by far the most generous free cabin baggage allowance for any airline in India. Corporate customers travelling in economy class will be eligible for free selection of exit-row seats that provide more legroom, ensuring greater comfort onboard. Additionally, Vistara’s top 100 corporate clients travelling in economy class will receive complimentary priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding across all destinations on Vistara’s network, and can also choose a complimentary option of taking a same-day earlier flight by arriving at the airport 45 minutes prior its departure (subject to availability) under the ‘Vistara Fly Early’ programme. All of these benefits come over and above other benefits of being a Corporate customer, which include special fares and free changes and cancellation of bookings. Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “We understand what a more generous cabin baggage allowance and more comfortable and hassle-free experience means for the “road warriors”, today’s frequent business travellers who travel often as much as our crew, and are routinely pressed for …

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Diageo India joins hand with Concur

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Concur have announced its partnership with Diageo India, where it aims to provide an expense management software platform to enable Diageo India’ employees to automate their business expenses incurred at source, thereby reducing the burden of manually logging in the business spends. Diageo is an existing Concur customer globally, and will add India as one of its service areas. The new tool will benefit over 2,000 employees of Diageo, based in India. Neeraj Dotel, Managing Director, Concur, said, “Concur helps in automating the travel and expense (T&E) management process in a company’s life cycle and we are well on our way to making it the de-facto expense management software in India and globally.” The Concur platform will be available to Diageo India from October 2017. All employees will have access via desktop and mobile version of the software. Concur has earlier partnered with two of the most popular ground transportation apps – Ola and Uber, which are available in the Concur App Center, which makes it even more effortless for employees to track their cab expenses. Concur also provides users with notifications about risks or natural disasters, which helps employers track the status of their employees when travelling to remote and unsafe locations.

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VFS launches nationwide network of Japan VACs

Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS ¬Global

VFS Global, in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India, is expanding the network of Japan Visa Application Centres across the country, bringing visa application facilities to applicants in 13 additional cities in India. As part of the country-wide rollout, VFS Global launched Visa Application Centres in the South Indian cities of Chennai, Bengaluru, Puducherry, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum. Earlier this month, on March 10 2017, a centrally-accessible and well-connected centre was launched in Mumbai, and on March 3, 2017, a full-fledged Visa Application Centre started operations in Kolkata. So far, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Jalandhar were the only cities where applicants could submit Japan visa applications through VFS Global centres. Applicants from other cities in India had to submit their visa applications, either in person or through a travel agent, at the Japanese Consulates in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru or through the submission facilities arranged in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Dehradun, Agra and Guwahati. The network expansion comes close on the heels of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in November 2016. During this visit, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his intention to enhance the bilateral relationship with India by expanding the number of Japan Visa Application Centres for Indian nationals. H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, said, “India is an important market for the tourism sector in Japan. In 2016, approximately 1, 23, 000 Indians visited Japan. I see enormous potential in the Indian market.  The opening of multiple centres across India is a major step towards enhancing people-to-people exchanges and the cultural relationship between the two countries.” Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, COO – Middle East and South Asia, VFS ¬Global, …

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