Reopening Thailand for MICE: CCSA approves TCEB proposal for MICE events
In accordance with the proposal of the TCEB, the restrictions on operating times and the number of participants at an event location will be relaxed. Exhibition grounds, convention centers, exhibition halls and event areas in hotels and department stores may be operated until 10 p.m. in all cities and provinces.
Bangkok Thailand – The Center of Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the Thai government agency that oversees disease control measures and COVID-19 guidelines, has the TCEBs Proposal to hold MICE events with effect from October 16 as part of the “COVID Free Setting” protocols.
The approval follows the government’s October 11 announcement that fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be allowed to enter Thailand without quarantine from November 1. The reopening begins with a list of countries that the CCSA considers low risk, such as the US, UK, China, Germany and Singapore. Also announced were shortened curfews, fewer provinces categorized as a maximum controlled and strict zone where strict controls are mandatory for gatherings, and domestic flights can operate at full capacity.
The approval of the TCEB’s MICE proposal was the result of collaboration between the TCEB, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Disease Control of the Ministry of Health and 23 partner organizations such as the Thai Tourism Authority, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Exhibition Association, Business Creative and Event Management Association and Thai Hotels Association. With the green light, meeting, trade show and festival organizers can now plan events with more attendees that will boost the entire economy.
In accordance with the proposal of the TCEB, the restrictions on operating times and the number of participants at an event location will be relaxed. Exhibition grounds, convention centers, exhibition halls and event areas in hotels and department stores may be operated until 10 p.m. in all cities and provinces. The number of admitted participants depends on the risk level of the venue. There are five levels – maximum controlled and strict zone (highest risk), maximum controlled zone, controlled zone, high surveillance zone, and surveillance zone (lowest risk). For the maximum controlled and strict zone, the number of permitted participants was increased from 25 to 50; for maximum controlled zone from 50 to 100; for controlled zone from 100 to 200; and 200 to 300 for the high surveillance zone. However, the number has been kept at 500 for the surveillance zone.
This relaxation of restrictions requires venues and organizers to strictly adhere to a number of three “COVID-free settings” protocols that cover the event environment, staff and customers:
The COVID-free environment requires hygiene at every point of contact, availability of hand washing stations and hand disinfectants, individual portions of all food and drinks, checking of organizers and employees, communication in front of and on site about safety measures, risk and emergency management plan, a distance of at least one meter and at least 4 m² for each participant, a limit of two hours per session and good ventilation.
COVID Free Personnel requires organizers and venues to only use fully vaccinated personnel with evidence of screening and risk. The staff must undergo a self-test with the antigen test kit (ATK) and test negative at least 72 hours before reporting to work. Meetings on duty and during breaks are prohibited. Operating zones must be clearly marked and cross-zone operation must be avoided.
The COVID Free customer needs a review of the risk profile of a participant and proof of full vaccination. The participant must strictly follow “DMHTA” – distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, temperature tests, downloading the Thai Chana application. In addition, participants must watch out for possible COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days during participation and after the event.
In order to organize an event, the organizer must first develop a plan based on the “COVID Free Setting”, create an emergency plan and select an event location certified with SHA + and TMVS Plus 2HY. The plan must then be submitted to the Communicable Disease Committee of the city where the event is taking place for review. If the committee requests adjustments, the organizer must comply. The implementation of the “COVID-free” setting is being randomly inspected by officials from the city’s public health authorities or the Communicable Diseases Committee. After the event, the organizer must submit a report to the city’s Communicable Disease Committee and keep the list of attendees for at least 14 days.
Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun na Ayuthaya, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) stated that “TCEB’s proposal to incorporate“ COVID Free Setting ”is the first step in reviving MICE in Thailand. The next step would be for TCEB and its partners to push for further relaxation, especially at larger events. “
Mr Chiruit added that TCEB’s proposal is to allow cities to host events by introducing a high level of security. The last quarter of the year is usually a peak time for the Thai MICE industry and the proposal is expected to benefit around 1,000 waiting list events in Bangkok and other cities. With the approval of CCSA, TCEB’s proposal will pave the way for a wide range of stakeholders such as venues, hotels, transport companies, restaurants and other related businesses to boost their business activity, which in turn will boost the local economy and facilitate income distribution across the country . However, the implementation of the TCEB proposal will depend on how the COVID situation unfolds, and TCEB and its partners stand ready to recalibrate the industry response to stay on track to reopen Thailand to MICE.