Blogger: Mrs. Jaruwan Suwannasat Director, Exhibition and Events Department of TCEB
Thailand’s partnership with Japan has come a long way since it used to export chinaware in exchange for Japanese silk, cotton and finely produced swords.
In fact in the 130 years that have passed since the two countries signed the Declaration of Amity and Commerce, marking the start of diplomatic relations, Japan has become the largest foreign investor in Thailand with a total investment of more than 80 billion baht (US$ 2.36bn).
To put this into perspective, it is estimated that this investment resulted in the generation of more than 600,000 jobs in 2016 alone.
In one recent example of collaboration with Japan leading to labour exchange, one of Thailand’s leading energy firms, PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), has partnered with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) for research and technology development to improve production efficiency at PTTEP’s oil and gas exploration and production projects.
Thailand’s energy exhibitions are part of the five core sectors represented and assisted by TCEB, so news that PTTEP has allocated two thirds of its estimated capital expenditure this year (approx US$1.64 billion) to accelerate exploration and production projects in Thailand will be welcome news to organisers of exhibitions that cater for this sector. Events such as Sustainable Energy and Technology Asia 2018, and Asian Utility Week this month will both seek to benefit from operating in this core, supported sector
The exhibition industry has also been given a boon in the shape of the recent MoU between Japan and Thailand for the development of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) is a particularly interesting one to watch for those of us in the exhibition industry.
The agreement sees Japan’s Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, with a particular focus on technology and innovation exchange.
Because as we in this industry know, technology can only take you so far – particularly where fledgling relationships are being born. Exhibitions are, after all, one of the most efficient, and effective platforms for making the most of these opportunities, and SMEs typically provides the mainstay of exhibitors on the show floor.
Our country welcomed more than 1.3 million Japanese visitors last year, outnumbered only by visitors from neighbouring Malaysia and China. And an increasing number of these visitors are attending exhibition in Thailand either as exhibitor or visitor.
Japan is playing an increasingly significant role in the development of Thailand’s exhibition success story.