ICCA sings high praise of Bangkok, promises a special congress this November

A strong bid presentation by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), marked by public-private unity, the city’s positioning on a sustainable economy and knowledge-based society, legacy initiative, and quality event hardware, was what earned ICCA’s nod when the global association for meetings professionals deliberated on its 2023 congress host venue.

Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO, told TTGmice: “In many ways, it was impossible not to (pick Bangkok, Thailand).”

Bangkok was announced as the 2023 congress host destination at the 2022 edition

He elaborated: “(TCEB’s bid) theme of Re-imagining the Future connected with us all, both on an emotive and practical level. The genuine and well-thought-out strategy of positioning Bangkok as a metropolis of a sustainable economy and knowledge-based society complements ICCA’s value proposition and commitments around Sustainability, DEI, and Innovation.

“And, of course, the Bangkok 2032 Vision – which provides the over-arching narrative as the city prepares for its 250th anniversary – is very much a legacy initiative, and legacy is fundamental to what ICCA members and associations believe in.”

Along with the newly expanded and refreshed Queen Sirikit National Convention Center as the congress venue, plus Bangkok’s array of nearby hotels, strong transport links and the promise of a “Bangkok experience”, Gopinath said both the city and the country were able to tick “many boxes” in “a most excellent bid”.

The combination of these winning factors will allow ICCA to deliver “a unique and very special congress experience” to its community, he added.

TCEB president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya said Creativity, Sustainability, and Infinite Possibilities are the three pillars that would uphold a successful ICCA Congress 2023.

“We need creativity to meet new demands and challenges; we need sustainability to meet global calls; we need possibilities to move the industry forward. These three pillars will make the (business events) industry a future-proof driver of economy and social development,” said Chiruit.

Besides aligning the congress with Bangkok 2032 Vision, TCEB is committed to making the event a “true carbon neutral event by incorporating sustainability at the very beginning and as part of the planning process”, as well as investing in the next generation through support for the annual ICCA Young Professionals Forum on November 11.

Chiruit told TTGmice that TCEB is giving ICCA a range of resource support, including financial contribution, logistical aid, and a strong local organising committee (LOC) comprising ICCA Thailand members as well as public and private sector supporters.

TCEB, in collaboration with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as co-host, will build a programme that highlights the capital city’s “multidimensional charms”, particularly new developments that emerged post-pandemic. Delegates can expect a Gala Dinner that features Thai culture and mouth-watering favourites; a morning run/walk by the lake; creative sessions and city tours; a fun-filled ICCA Challenge Night; and a memorable closing ceremony.

“We are confident that the Congress in Bangkok will inspire delegates from around the world,” remarked Chiruit.

This would be Thailand’s third ICCA Congress. The country hosted the first in 1985 in Bangkok, with 250 delegates; and again in 2007 in Pattaya, drawing 814 delegates.

When asked about the expected turn-out for the November gathering, Gopinath said registration has been “strong and interest is considerable”.

He said: “We are positive we are going to present a unique and very memorable congress, and our participant numbers will reflect this. Of course, with over 60 plus associations already confirmed, we know this will provide a real impetus for members to come and join us, and use this opportunity to create exciting new business opportunities.”

Gopinath also emphasised the importance of rotating the congress to Asia-Pacific.

“(Our) Asia-Pacific members are so supportive of ICCA in all that we do. The pull to return once more to this region is strong, and it is important we connect on a physical level with such a vital – and influential – part of the world.

“We are also delighted that our Chinese members are once again travelling after finally overcoming the restrictions of the pandemic, so it will be great to see them at the congress, (where they will) explore new business opportunities.”

Eager to welcome the global meetings community, Gopinath added that “the whole ICCA team is working remarkably hard to create and deliver a congress with a difference, where education, innovation, and collaboration will shape the international meetings industry for years to come”.