Thailand will host this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit next week at the newly rebuilt Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC).
The venue closed in April 2019 for a 15 billion baht renovation before reopening in September – just in time for APEC 2022, when leaders from the 21 member economies gather for their annual meeting on November 18-19.
It will be the first time APEC leaders have attended an in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic, when their summits were held online.
QSNCC has already hosted many domestic and international events since its reopening on September 12, including Book Expo Thailand 2022, Huawei Connect 2022, Electric Vehicle Asia 2022, ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week 2022 and Thailand Game Show 2022.
Reservations have been made for 130 exhibitions next year, in addition to the 50 reserved for this year, according to NCC Management and Development Co Ltd, which operates the conference centre.
Built 3 decades ago
Thailand’s first international convention center, the QSNCC was built in 1989 to host the 46th Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
The convention center was named after Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother in honor of her 60th birthday on August 12, 1992. The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the Queen presided over the official opening ceremony of the QSNCC on August 29 1991.
More than three decades later, Their Majesties King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida presided over the official opening of the new QSNCC on October 15, 2022.
Situated on 53 rai (8.5 hectares) of land on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok’s Khlong Toei district, the center crowns Benjakitti Park near the Asok intersection of Sukhumvit Road.
Since its first opening in 1991, QSNCC has hosted more than 20,000 national and international events, forming the hub of the Thai sector known as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions).
These include the 11th APEC summit in 2003, the last time Thailand hosted the economic bloc, and the 41st Miss Universe pageant in 1992.
five times bigger
Rebuilt from scratch after the demolition of the original building, the new QSNCC has five times the space of its predecessor, with 300,000 square meters, equivalent to 50 football pitches, capable of accommodating up to 100 000 visitors per day.
NCC, the MICE arm of Thai Beverage conglomerate owned by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has struck a deal with the Treasury Department to upgrade QSNCC and its limited 65,000 square meter space.
The convention center now has eight exhibition halls, four conference halls, four plenary halls, 50 meeting rooms and a new commercial area called “Bangkok Active Lifestyle Mall”, or BALM, covering 11,000 square meters. Its underground car park, which did not exist in the original QSNCC, can accommodate up to 3,000 vehicles.
The new QSNCC is expected to attract up to 13 million visitors in its first year of reopening, more than double its previous capacity of 6 million, according to Sakchai Pattarapreechakul, chairman of NCC Management and Development.
Ultra-modern design with Thai identity
The renovated conference center features a sleek, minimalist contemporary design inspired by traditional Thai motifs and the Queen Mother’s arts and crafts foundation. “We give them new life so they can reside among us in the modern world. Thai craftsmanship, wisdom, art and culture are all alive and thriving, radiating their essence in a new light,” the QSNCC states on its website.
He adds that QSNCC is also the first convention center in Thailand to achieve “Silver” certification under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings – the most widely used green building rating system.
The center is equipped with state-of-the-art digital technology and infrastructure to host high-tech events. Fiber optic and Wi-Fi networks allow QSNCC to host online and hybrid events operating at full capacity.
Security is tightened in and around the center as the APEC summit approaches. The adjacent Benjakitti Park will be closed to the public for the duration of the summit. The QSNCC MRT station will also be closed. During this time, the roads around the site will be closed to traffic, some 24 hours a day and others at specific times of the day.
By Thai PBS World