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China to dominate meetings and events in 2019: CWT

The world’s largest business travel market to strengthen hold on meetings and events in 2019, according to CWT Forecast. 

China will continue to lead growth in Asia’s meetings and events sector, according to research by CWT Meetings & Events. The global agency has unveiled its predictions for the top ten Asia Pacific cities for meetings and events in 2019, ahead of the release of its Meetings & Events Future Trends report, which will be published next week.

Top ten Asia Pacific cities for meetings and events in 2019:

  1. Shanghai, China (2018: 1 /2017: 6)
  2. Singapore (2/1)
  3. Beijing, China (4/-)
  4. Bangkok, Thailand (6/3)
  5. Sydney, Australia (5/2)
  6. Tokyo, Japan (8/8)
  7. Hong Kong, China (10/5)
  8. Melbourne, Australia (-/7)
  9. Mumbai, India (-/9)
  10. Chengdu, China (-/-)

The 2019 forecast features a new entry, Chengdu (10), and two cities that dropped out of the top ten in 2018 – Mumbai (9) and Melbourne (8).

Across Asia Pacific, cost per attendee per day is predicted to fall four per cent in 2019 to USD276. The average group size is expected to increase to 81 in 2019, up three per cent from 2018.

“We continue to see a steady growth in the demand for meetings and events across Asia Pacific,” says Sam Lay, senior director, Asia Pacific, CWT Meetings & Events. “This is fuelling the need for more M&E professionals in the region, especially in China which is barreling ahead on all fronts.”

The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead the way for global growth in 2019, with the International Monetary Fund expecting the region’s GDP to rise by 5.6% next year, compared with a global increase of 3.9%. China, predicted to grow 6.4% in 2019, and India, predicted to grow 7.3%, will again lead the way.

Travel is growing hugely in China across all sectors, and it is already the world’s largest business travel market. Chinese tourists also spent USD258 billion on international tourism in 2017, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization.

The more mature destinations in the region – Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul – are leading the way when it comes to hosting conferences that focus more on ‘thought leadership’ and the ‘exchange of ideas’ rather than pure commerce.

In emerging markets, such as Vietnam, Philippines, and Cambodia, there is strong demand for exhibitions and trade shows, where activities are centred around buying and selling.

Domestic events are also a huge part of the meetings and events market in more isolated parts of the region, including Australia and New Zealand. Major Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne still hold considerable attraction as destinations for regional and global conferences, despite long travel times.

Japan is also set to attract more attention in 2019 as it gears up to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup tournament, followed by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The country’s government hopes to increase visitor numbers to 40 million in 2020, a 40% rise on 2017.