by Meetings & Conventions Asia | September 12, 2017


Singapore leads as the top destination in Asia for meetings and events in 2017 (Credit: vinhdav/iStock)

Meetings and events across the globe are racking up larger bills this year due to rising hotel and airfare costs--an upward trend that is expected to continue into the coming year, according to a report released by CWT Meetings & Events (CWT M&E).

The 2018 Meetings and Events Future Trends report projected a 3.7% increase in hotels and a 3.5% rise in air fares in the coming year. The global airline industry's capacity is expected to grow around 7% in 2017 and 6% in 2018.

Registering a 5% increase in 2017, Asia Pacific leads the regions globally in terms of cost increase per attendee per day for meetings and events. This is despite the smaller costs increases of hotels and air fares of 3.5% and 2.8% respectively.

Asia Pacific: where do they meet?

According to Cvent data, the top 10 destinations for meetings & events in Asia Pacific in 2017 are:

  1.  Singapore
  2. Sydney, Australia
  3. Bangkok, Thailand
  4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Shanghai, China
  7. Melbourne, Australia
  8. Tokyo, Japan
  9. Mumbai, India
  10. Seoul, South Korea

Overall in APAC, security is limiting people's desire to travel as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand all have some geopolitical challenges. Despite the threats, Thailand's government is working hard to encourage people to continue coming, and the increasing number of visitors shows the impact local authorities can have.
Which meeting venues?

Hotels largely remain the venues of choice across most of the region, particularly in China where new hotels open every week. Despite ever-increasing hotel stock in China, prices are set to continue to increase because of demand from both business and leisure travel.

China's hotels are both innovative and hungry for business, with lots of different players and many hotel chains. The Chinese government's policy of only using local hotels has further pushed down prices, which, combined with a relative absence of security concerns, has made China a good location for meetings and events.

Australia and New Zealand are outliers in the region in this respect as they haven't seen much hotel development recently so there is more demand for unique venues.
Singapore remains a hub for meetings because of its abundance in relevant space and excellent air links. South Korea and Vietnam are emerging destinations especially as Pyeongchang, South Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics next year.
Taiwan is also on the way up, though harder for Chinese citizens who need a special permit to travel there; that restriction will mean hotel prices remain stable, even though new hotels are opening, which is always a driver.
Tokyo has higher costs than other areas of Japan, even though it has great connections. Kyoto, Okinawa and Osaka are growing in popularity, particularly for people from APAC because there are direct flights.