By Ian Neubauer in Shanghai
A Melbourne-based MICE consultancy firm is change Macau’s image from a haven for gamblers to a premier destination for business tourism.
Interviewed by SpiceNews today (Apr 16) at the IT&CM tradeshow in Shanghai, Gary Grimmer & Company senior consultant Mike Williams said his firm was helping to change Macau’s image by means of product development, famils, market communication and a strong presence at tradeshows.
“Macau has traditionally been a gaming economy. Now they are trying to diversify from that, and our role is to try to help them,” Williams said.
“The first thing is developing the product. Last year we launched an Industry Partner Program (IPP) to get suppliers in Macau to package the products suitable to MICE market.
“Since the IPP product started, the Macau Business Tourism Centre has recorded a record number of suppliers represented at all the major trade shows,” he said.
Macau boast the largest stand at this year’s IT&CM China tradeshow, with 24 exhibitors including the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, the Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre and Macau Fisherman’s Wharf & Rocks Hotel.
Williams added that education of salespeople was also an important part of his firm’s strategy for the former Portuguese Colony.
“We have trained them so that are not presenting leisure product or gaming products but MICE products. So when they are dealing with the buyers they are dealing with products and services that are relevant to the marketplace.”
Macau hosted the largest stand at IT&CM China 2009 in
Shanghai this week, with 24 suppliers exhibiting at the show
Macau has also invested heavily in famils, with 118 programs hosted last year compared to 32 in 2007.
InHouse Event Solutions managing director Tricia Durrant, a hosted buyer from Australia, said Macau was emerging as one of the region’s premier MICE destinations.
“Because Macau is such a new and emerging destination, there is a lot of flexibility in what they can do and they are open to try anything basically. They will really go out of their way to offer a really different experience,” she said.
To purchase flights from Australia to Macau contact Virgin Atlantic. The airline flies from Sydney to Hong Kong using three-class Airbus A340-600 aircraft.
Connections are available to Macau from Hong Kong by ferry, turbo jet ferry and helicopter. Business travelers with tight itineraries are recommended to fly Upper Class, which features lie-flat beds and hundreds of hours of entertainment on demand.