by Naomi Neoh | July 27, 2018
In Asia, positive business outlook and infrastructure development remain attractive draws for Asia-based meetings and events buyers at the recent Asia Business Meet held this week on July 24-25 at Singapore's Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Proximity, value and cultural diversity were some of the important considerations when sourcing within the region.

For a Philippines-based association planner, the dynamic and diverse landscape of the region are key draws. "Economies are booming, governments are business-friendly, people are young, hospitable, creative and tech-savvy - all ingredients for growth in the MICE industry," he remarked.

"City destinations, hotels, conference centres, technology providers, tourism-related businesses are always top-of-mind to know as an association," he added.

A buyer at a global associations and meetings management company echoes the positive growth outlook. "Needless to mention Asia is the growth market of the future. While the advantages are many, the most important are service with smile, food, cost and safety. New infrastructure of international quality is upcoming that will certainly give the region an edge," he said.

He cites two new convention spaces opening in New Delhi by 2025 with capacities for at least 10,000 delegates that are expected to rival the ones of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

At the present, large-scale venue capacity still remains a key hurdle for most cities in Asia for mega events. When a US-based direct-selling company was looking to hold its bi-yearly convention for 20,000 of its employees in Greater China region, it looked to Hong Kong, which are among the few destinations within the region with suitable large-scale indoor venues, shared the Hong-Kong based in-house planner.

Incentive trips for high-performing business partners are also a sizeable part of her portfolio. She names Dubai, Sydney, Hawaii and Toronto as previous destinations for these trips, which have ranged from 4,000 to 12,000. Next year, the company is looking to Bali for an incentive trip for some 6,000 delegates. 

In the Philippines, as stricter qualifying standards and controls on medical congresses have come into effect, the number of such meetings originating from the Philippines to destinations worldwide have seen a drastic drop. 

"Before, medical congresses travelled further to destinations in Europe like UK and Germany, and to Australia and Asia, with events totalling about 40 to 50 yearly. But now, it's gone primarily domestic as they are very strict with implementing the law," revealed a Philippines-based buyer from a global corporate travel management agency.

This has affected a key share of the agency's business, where such meetings series account for about 20%, she said. But growth in the incentive market from insurance sector as well as inbound transfers, hotels and ticketing have compensated for the decreases.