SHANGHAI (eTN) – IT&CM China’s 5th edition shows that the Chinese MICE (Meeting/Incentive/Conference/Exhibition) industry is rapidly becoming a leading market in the world. “When we started 13 years ago in Asia with IT&CMA [in Bangkok], MICE was just at the beginning, and we were greeted with skepticism. MICE is a relatively young industry here, and it is now one of the fastest-growing travel segments in China,” explained Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media, co-organizer of the show in Shanghai with MP International. According to Mr. Ng, business- and MICE-related travel expenditures grew by 40% a year in China, compared to 20% for leisure travel.
Growth in MICE markets is sustained by economic growth in the region. After a year-and-a-half hiatus in 2008/09 due to the world financial crisis, Asia bounced back strongly. Most countries in the region enjoyed average GDP growth of 5% to 10% on an annual basis, with China alone growing by over 10% in 2010. With 2011 looking as promising as 2010 from an economic point of view, MICE players expect business to further grow by 10% to 15% on average.
Talking to delegates, Mr. Ni Hui, Vice President of Grand China Express International Travel, indicated that MICE in China remains extremely dynamic with the possibility to see MICE travel becoming bigger than the US market within the next two years. “There is a huge demand for MICE travel. It is currently dominated by the healthcare/medical/pharmaceutical sector with over 30% of all clients. However, we see the emergence of new MICE sectors such as luxury brand companies. I expect those companies to lead the growth in MICE travel by 2015,” explained Mr. Ni Hui.
The importance of MICE in China is reflected in the attendance of the show – some 2,200 delegates are present in Shanghai of which 60% come from overseas and the rest from China. “We aim to reach a 50/50% balance by next year,” indicated Darren Ng. The show hosts 344 buyers from 43 countries with new participating countries being Argentina, Cambodia, Cyprus, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE.
The show welcomes 253 exhibitors, mostly from Asia. Despite the fact that many Japanese Convention and Visitors Bureaus pulled out, following the earthquake and tsunami catastrophe last March, Japan was still present at the show. “We understand difficulties faced by Japan for now. We feel glad that they are still present at our show with a 70 m2 booth,” told Darren Ng.
IT&CM China will continue to be hosted in Shanghai over the next years as the show gets the support of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Bureau. The show will, in fact, move in 2012 to a bigger venue. The Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, located at the World Expo site, will help to welcome a larger show in April 2012. TTG Media’s Managing Director announced also that new partnerships would further boost the importance of IT&CM China, but he refused to provide more details for the time being. It, however, confirms that IT&CM China is definitely the place to follow China’s MICE industry.