More and more companies are choosing to host their meetings and events in Macau according to the territory's recent announcement from the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM).
The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry is one of Macau's fastest-growing emerging sectors, thanks to an emphasis on attracting conventions to the city.
In 2015 Macau's MICE industry was worth US$50 million (MOP1.4 billion). The two intervening years to 2017 saw a HUGE increase to US$445 million.
2018 tells a rosy story. Meetings and conferences WERE up 57% year-on-year to 1,342, with participants numbering 296,000, an increase OF 20.5%. Exhibitions grew by nine to 60 with attendees up by 10% to 1,769,000.
Only the number of incentives fell, with 25 in total, down 20 compared with 2018, and average duration down by 0.5 days to 2.6. However, participants increased by 17.7% to 56,000.
In Q1 of this year MICE events grew by 49 events year-on-year to 377 and, if this healthy outlook continues, the city hopes to break the 1,500 mark by year-end.
Hero events created by the Macau government that have contributed to this success include the Macau International Trade and Investment Fair, the Macao International Environmental Cooperation Forum and Exhibition, and the Macao Franchise Expo. And it's not just numbers, the above events are recognised for their quality by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI).
Non-government events have also risen, with meetings soaring 75% between 2014 and 2018 - private sector meetings took the lion's share (93.1%) of all meetings in Macau in 2018.
Conventions and exhibitions brought in over 2.1 million participants across 1,427 events in 2018.
An IPIM spokesperson has said results, "exceeded all expectations considering an overall slowdown in economic growth in the region and intense competitive activity [in the sector] within the Asia-Pacific region."
Contributing factors include increases in event venues and accommodation capacity, alongside the growth of new operators promoting the city as a MICE destination and the accessibility thanks to HZMB.