By Ian Neubauer in Shanghai
More than 800 buyers, sellers and journalists representing every continent in the world attended IT&CM’s opening ceremony and welcome ceremony in the grand ballroom of the Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel last night (Apr 15).
Based on an ‘around the world’ theme, the event featured a international array of entertainment, wine, food, music and gifts presented in luxurious settings meant to lubricate tongues and put guests at ease before the business side of the MICE tradeshow — buying and selling travel and event services – begins in earnest.
Entertainers wow delegates at the welcome dinner
and opening ceremony of IT&CM China in Shanghai
Guests were shuttled by air-conditioned coach from their respective hosted hotels through Shanghai’s peak-hour traffic, affording a bird’s eye view of what life is like for the tens of millions of pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers who battle their way through the city’s congested thoroughfares everyday.
On arrival at the venue guests were ushered into elevators to the 10th floor, were waiters donning the traditional outfits of Chinese minorities served haute finger food, French Champagne, soft drinks and Californian wine.
Guests mingled for about 45 minutes in the reception area, which included a large outdoor deck with panoramic views of the Zhongshan Park CBD as an eight-piece Latin band belted out smooth salsa tunes.
Once seated in the ballroom, a short welcome speech was given by TTG Asia Media managing director Darren Ng, whose Singapore-based company co-organised the event with a China’s MP International.
“We are honoured to have one of the latest and most luxurious hotels in Shanghai for the opening of IT&CM China … an
opportunity for local and international MICE players to join in China’s booming tourist market,” Ng said. “Shanghai si the perfect setting to promote China to the world and the world to China.”
VIPS were then presented with gifts before a troupe of Chinese ladies took the stage with violin-like instruments accompanied by a dazzling light show.
The menu featured specialty foods from around the world, including mini quesadillas from the Americas, baby crab cakes in mango tarter from Asia and blueberry cheese tart with king island cream from Australia.
The event went off without a hitch, through the opinions of the many hardened corporate travellers who attended were mixed.
“It was done in a typical Asian style,” said Infrared Group consultant Arturo Turemka, a hosted buyer from Poland. “They like the colourful shows with many speeches and a big entrance. The organisation was good.”
“It had a nice atmosphere and gave us a chance to meet some of the sellers,” said Deutsche Homopathie Union assistant – international regional affairs, Jose Neves, a hosted buyer from Germany. “It will not influence what I may buy but it did make me feel good. Basically it’s a nice social atmosphere before the real business starts tomorrow.”
However, one guest overheard by this reporter in the elevator leaving the function was less than impressed. “The food was cold and the entertainment was boring. It’s the last time I go to one of these opening dinners,” he said.