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China Stakes Claims as the Next MICE Powerhouse

By Ian Neubauer in Shanghai

IT&CM (Incentive Travel & Conference Meetings) China 2009 kicked off in Shanghai yesterday (Apr 15), with its organisers saying the tradeshow is helping to turn China into the next MICE Powerhouse.

 “When we first launched our show in 2007, the concept of MICE was new to the Chinese,” said TTG Asia Media managing director, Darren Ng, whose company co-organised IT&CM China with MP International. “It was very difficult to get various provincial governments to understand the fact MICE and leisure tourism are quite different businesses and should be operated differently.

“But through much promotion and networking before, during and after [the first two] shows, we managed to enhance greater understanding among local industry players. People are now more receptive. They are awakening. Some provincial government are hopefully beginning to set up convention bureaus.”

Ng said the strong Chinese presence of 150 local exhibitors at IT&CM China was indicative of how far MICE education had advance in the country, but that it did not necessarily mean the sector had reached maturity.

Nevertheless, the Chinese Government is gunning for a much larger slice of the MICE pie. It aims to attract a staggering137 million international business travellers – 8.6 per cent of the market – by 2020 by leveraging its economic status and recent successful hosting of mega-events.

“With the hosting of Beijing Olympics and the upcoming World Expo in Shanghai and the Asian Games in Guangzhou, these catalysts will propel the country in into the next phase of MICE development,” Ng said.

“These catalysts will make us the next MICE powerhouse.”