New initiatives introduced in a bid to enhance networking objectives.
The 27th edition of IT&CMA and Corporate Travel World (CTW) Asia-Pacific gathered 345 destinations along with 474 buyers at the Bangkok Convention Centre from 24 to 26 September.
The event featured more than 150 education and networking sessions, and new initiatives were introduced in a bid to enhance networking objectives.
The Meet-the-Corporates sessions linked 12 MICE brands from IT&CMA with corporate buyers from CTW Asia Pacific in a speed-dating format.
Meanwhile, Exhibition Walkabouts guided delegates through the hall to make quick connections with exhibitors like Chiang MICE and Taiwan. While well-attended, there was some inconsistency at the exhibition booth, with some sellers giving presentations while others simply exchanged business cards.
Sailing in for business
With five out of 20 knowledge sessions dedicated to the MICE cruise market, it’s clear that corporate cruising is a growing trend in Asia. Sessions featured speakers from Royal Caribbean, Costa, and Genting Cruise Lines, among others.
Jiali Wong, Asia’s regional manager for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), presented an evolving ship experience with better “software and hardware”, and said the market has grown by 60 per cent in the last decade. “Asia is now the third largest region… seeing double-digit growth in key markets,” she reported.
Wong shared the opportunities that cruise liners can provide, with higher satisfaction rates compared to hotels, synergy with the bleisure trend, and better customisation.
At the exhibition, Royal Caribbean’s director of Global Corporate, Incentive and Charter Sales & Operations, Alexis Puma, took stock of the two days and agreed that interest is extremely high.
Is the time for talk over?
The Association Day and Asian MICE Forum were lively affairs, presenting energetic discussion.
Bert van Welbeek, managing director at consulting company The Winning Edge, gave a particularly cutting presentation about the challenges of building a sustainable MICE city.
According to Welbeek, NATO — No Action Talk Only — is a major cause for concern as government policies often get lost in implementation.
“We don’t work very smart. We don’t know what a smart city is. And I hope that this will change,” he said.
China’s undeniable reach
Despite ongoing trade tensions, Chinese buyers presented optimism with a comparably larger presence at the show; many with translators in tow.
One buyer, Ye Qiu, who attended IT&CMA three years ago, said this year’s show appeared smaller, but quality of the exhibitors remained intact.
“My main purpose is to get information on developments, new technology and the market. And secondly to get a source of suppliers,” he said. “So far it’s okay because I can still find a lot of useful resources here.”