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UOB LIVE Concerts, events hold revenue promise

April 8, 2024
With an ambitious target to secure 3.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2025, the Pheu Thai-led government faces a tremendous challenge as revenue totalled 2.09 billion last year.
Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol made the revenue pledge during a 2025 policy announcement earlier this month, with the government aiming to make Thailand a “world-class event hub”, attracting global-scale activities in music, sports, food and lifestyle.

UOB LIVE: FACE-TO-FACE EXPERIENCES

Some local companies believe Thailand has the potential to position itself as a hub of festivals, capitalising on rising demand for face-to-face events following the pandemic.
 
Craig Grossarth, general manager of UOB LIVE, said the world became more digitally connected because of Covid-19, but live events are rebounding in popularity as people realise the importance of being together.
 
Attending live events and sharing fan experiences is something special that cannot be replicated in the digital world, said Mr Grossarth.
 
Some concert-goers even reduce spending in other areas of life to attend live events, he said.
 
“Fans are interested in purchasing concert tickets outside their home market,” said Mr Grossarth, noting many consumers plan trips by considering how to package live entertainment or concerts into their itinerary.
 
“Thailand is very well positioned to capitalise on this because it’s a top international travel destination,” he said.
 
For instance, as K-pop may be restricted in parts of China, Thailand could host concerts by Korean pop acts to draw fans from the mainland and other countries, said Mr Grossarth.
 
He said Thailand already has a thriving concert industry, with top hotels for artists and tourists, as well as world-class venues for organisers to choose from.
 
As a new player in the industry, Mr Grossarth said UOB LIVE is ready to cooperate with the authorities to promote events and concert tourism in Thailand.
 
He said most of the events at the company’s venue this year will be concerts by Thai, Korean, Japanese and Western artists, with international draws such as Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran already giving live performances at the hall.
 
Launching events in line with the holiday calendar is one of its strategies, said Mr Grossarth.
 
For instance, the company is planning an e-sports event with a promoter catering to an overseas holiday period, as well as hosting a four-day festival with a line-up of multiple artists for the Songkran festival this month.
 
UOB LIVE wants to host 120-150 events per year, he said. The venue was developed with a budget of 3 billion baht through a joint venture between sports and entertainment presenter AEG and The Mall Group, which owns a 66% stake.
 
 

MISSING PIECES

Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, group chief executive of Index Creative Village Plc, said without infrastructure support, such as efficient transport and connectivity with ample international flights, Thailand cannot establish itself as a festival hub solely by hosting numerous events.
 
He said the country should work to smooth the customer’s journey at every touchpoint, from immigration at airports to their stays.
 
The government developed its “Ignite Tourism Thailand” strategic plan and the prime minister discussed airport expansion during a recent visit to Samui.
 
As an event organiser, Mr Kreingkrai said the company sees the potential of hosting events in Thailand that could draw attendees from abroad instead of depending largely on the domestic market, which has limited purchasing power.
 
Index Creative can invest in its own events to draw international audiences, compensating for a sluggish Thai market, he said.
 
The company hosted many events, such as a light show in Kirimaya Khao Yai and Muang Boran park, but domestic guests alone cannot sustain these events, said Mr Kreingkrai.
 
He said over the next few years, foreign attendees willing to spend during their travel will become the target customers for Index Creative’s events in Thailand.

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