While China's volatile economy has raised concerns about business and business travel to the country, other nations throughout Asia are seeing solid demand for meetings and events. At IMEX Frankfurt earlier this summer, IMR spoke with Ping He, global general manager for Asia Pacific Markets at Maritz Travel, about the state of Asia's MICE industry.
Asia has become the epicentre for what's coming up in the world right now; Ping He began, citing what she called the Four Small Dragons: Japan, Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong. On top of that, Indonesia is upcoming, she noted, as is Malaysia, "because it's so affordable and has the best luxury hotels at the most affordable prices." Maritz has also seen strong demand for Kuala Lumpur.
"Ever since we decided to go global, we look at Asia Pacific's roughly 60 countries and we divide into three tiers. Tier one is the most sought-after countries. Tier two is upcoming and tier three is not really in huge demand for global business." In the year since setting up its Business Network, the company has developed partnerships to support every part of the region.
"We see three different trends," she continued. "Number one is agility. You see new companies coming up day and night." Emerging markets are ripe for investment, she noted. "They are fast and furious. Build! Build it quickly!"
The second trend is memorability, she continued. Many Asian destinations are looking into building virtual site inspections of convention centers. "More importantly, they are creating a virtual experience starting from the client landing at the airport, all the way to the facility and in between." Planners can expect to see joint ventures between the CVBs, DMCs, hotels and airlines, she added.
Security is the final trend, she continued—not just physical safety, but unhackable IT systems. "This is huge," Ping He stressed.
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