It’s not all work

With its latest initiative to attract business events, Thailand wants visitors to enjoy a vacation atmosphere while they work

It appears that the world wasn’t listening when economist John Maynard Keynes predicted, in 1930, that the future working week could be cut to 15 hours because of technological advance. We all seem to be working harder, longer hours than ever.

Thailand’s new campaign, ‘Bleisure’, is an attempt to balance professional accomplishment with a vacation atmosphere for organisers of business events in Thailand. By engaging in ‘business-leisure’ as the name suggests, organisers can foster a professional atmosphere for events while retaining the sense of playfulness that comes from a short break at a vacation hotspot.

TCEB singled out three hotspots in particular this year to showcase Bleisure in action, three vibrant destinations that demonstrated the country’s excellence in hosting events that satisfy both business and leisure needs.

Pattaya, in the province on Chon Buri, sits 143 miles south of Bangkok and while it is certainly best known as a tourism destination, it is also an important commercial centre and one of TCEB’s appointed MICE Cities. Home to venues such as the Hilton Pattaya, with its view over the bay, and the Renaissance Resort & Spa which launches later this year and will cater for large groups, it’s a beach destination with a backbone of business.

From here the five-hour route to Thailand’s royal residence and TCEB’s second showcase destination, Hua Hin, can be achieved in just two hours via ferry. Offering 13 golf courses and the country’s coolest climate in which to walk them, Hua Hin’s royal roots date back to 1920s when Rama VI built summer residences to escape Bangkok’s stifling climate.

Meetings here take place at venues including the majestic Dusit Thani Hua Hin and the Marriott Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel with a variety of venue spaces and full planning service. Both have a true resort feel, surrounded as they are by the countryside and one of the King’s more bucolic residences.

One of the attractions in Hua Hin is the sustainability centre/CSR destination Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Park Sam Phraya. Asking for directions might be a challenge, but on arrival the agricultural centre and living natural history museum aims to inform its visitors on sustainable agriculture in adherence to royal initiatives.

Thailand’s capital Bangkok is of course the leading destination for business, and is making a stronger bid than ever to offer delegates the opportunity to kick back when the time comes.

Hotels such as the palatial Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok in the heart of the city, centred around a central pool and home to some of the finest martinis in the city, can accommodate large events in its 900sqm pillar-less Chadra Ballroom, circled by breakout rooms with natural daylight and private balconies. You need the city for the contacts, but TCEB believes the meeting should take place in an environment geared towards leisure.

To succeed in bringing business to Thailand in the first place, there must be a genuinely compelling case, and this year that case is being made in the shape of large scale redevelopment, fresh enterprise and connectivity on Thailand’s eastern seaboard. 

The Eastern Economic Corridor, a US $45bn project covering an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometres, is being pitched as the ASEAN region’s future centre of industry, the ideal place for regional HQs for multinational companies in the coming decades.

Cities revitalised for business tourism and major infrastructure investment on its eastern seaboard means Thailand will be an increasingly attractive place for business and leisure, regardless of how many hours a week you’re committed to.

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