Public vs Private: How to work better together

TCEB senior VP, Nichapa Yoswee, examines the challenges of working in the private and public sectors, and identifies areas for growth and collaboration.

The government and private sectors are two sides of the same coin – but the speed at which each side operates (and responds to change) is vastly different. The nature of work for each sector, and the hierarchies in which they operate, is also different. The private sector is profit and opportunity driven, while the government is largely focused on processes.

Current challenges

The government sector has to be sensitive when facilitating the industry’s success because we (TCEB) are using public funding. We may not be in a position to take as many risks as the private sector because our investment needs justification. Unfortunately, this limits the ability to create streamlined policies and incentives to support the private sector.

The bureaucratic system, while lengthy and complex, is not the only limitation to further industry growth. Often a lack of understanding about the unique needs of the business events industry leads to budget inconsistency and policy changes, which disrupts the industry’s growth potential.

In order to be successful, it is important for us to continue to be ‘part of’ the industry as an effective facilitator, instead of managing from afar and acting ‘above’ the industry.

Meanwhile, amid rising global and regional competition, the private sector is also having a tough time.

The success of the private sector (event agencies, PCOs and DMCs) is not as sustainable as it once was, and many companies struggle to find balance between creative freedom and the cost of doing business. A talent crunch and lack of customer loyalty, coupled with the speed of change needed to ride global trends, is limiting dynamic customer engagement and the ability to create truly innovative event experiences.

Growth opportunities

Both public and private players must start investing and establishing better communication channels that build trust and understanding. Both must respect and accept the respective ecosystems and work paradigms, with a conscious effort to speak the same language.

Collaborations like public-private partnerships (PPPs) will benefit our industry. PPPs allow both sectors to build on each other’s strengths to maximise the return on objectives, not just investments. Transparency and accountability are the foundation for success and, in order to achieve a greater good, we need to work as a team and support one another’s constraints.

Instead of responding to change, I believe the government sector will gain greater respect by using its resources to lead change. To do this, we need clear policies supported by consistent budgets and long-term strategies. The government sector should be the one-stop-service that facilitates incentive programmes for international event planners, easing the process of doing business in Thailand. We should remove bureaucratic red tape in order to improve service and strengthen investment.

Nichapa Yoswee is senior vice president – business at the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).