Taiwan's events industry has made a triumphant return, now larger than ever and welcoming all visitors with open arms.
During the recent Taiwan Pulse fam trip, hosted by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), M&C Asia discovers some of the destination's latest news and offerings:
A record attendance at the COMPUTEX show in Taipei demonstrates the
island’s bounce-back for international meetings and trade shows.
Taiwan’s COMPUTEX trade show at the TaiNEX centre in Taipei
registered a 12% increase in attendance compared to before the pandemic
Some 47,594 information and communications technology professionals
from 150 countries flocked to one of the world’s most prestigious
exhibitions at the in this sector, one in which Taiwan is considered a
Robots, smart home systems, artificial intelligence platforms and
every conceivable high-tech gadget and service were on show, many
originating in Taiwan itself. The event also hosted dozens of related
meetings, presentations, lectures and seminars with industry megastar
Jensen Huang, the Taiwanese-born founder and CEO of NVIDIA, the top AI
computing company, taking the stage in the COMPUTEX Keynote event.
The show’s co-organiser
TAITRA is also responsible for overseeing MEET TAIWAN, the island’s
MICE promotion arm, whose welcoming slogan ‘Open Arms’ reflects the warm
and generous hospitality visitors can expect.
Earth Mission app
For COMPUTEX, TAITRA partnered with computer giant Acer to launch an
Earth Mission APP, a 21-day sustainable lifestyle app inviting all
exhibition attendees to follow personal energy-saving and
carbon-reduction practices through the programme. The app recorded 3,000
downloads during the exhibition, and as a result COMPUTEX will plant
trees in the Amazon rainforest through the non-profit organization, One
This approach dovetails perfectly with MEET TAIWAN’S broader target
of achieving net zero emission by 2050 within the events sector.
Jerchin Lee, managing director of MEET TAIWAN, stresses that despite
media coverage of cross-straits tensions with mainland China, the
reality is that visiting the island is perfectly safe. Getting that
message across to meeting planners and event organisers is a key task.
Lee also pointed to the proactive intervention of the government
during the pandemic period. “Our government gave subsidies to help
[event companies] to pay salaries to their staff, to keep the staff in
the industry. That's very important. Otherwise, they would leave the
Lydia Huang, marketing director of Taiwan Tour, a travel agency
specialising in MICE groups, was upbeat about future prospects: “Taiwan
is ready to cater to the diverse needs of MICE travellers in various
ways and ensure successful and memorable events throughout the year. We
are excited about the prospects for the MICE sector in Taiwan this
Asia New Bay Area
One key regional development is the Asia New Bay Area in the southern
city of Kaohsiung. This 600-hectare mega-project encompasses a
visionary plan to create an industrial, cultural and exhibition hub. The
investment plan includes the integration of the Kaohsiung Music Center,
Kaohsiung Public Library, Kaohsiung Software Park Information Service,
Kaohsiung Exhibition Center (KEC), Kaohsiung Port Cruise Terminal, and
Renee Chu, project director of Kaohsiung Exhibition Center
Corporation, said that the city is on the cusp of becoming one of the
most advanced MICE destinations in the region and not simply due to
exhibitions and conferences but incentives too.
“We have been chosen by many international brands to host their
incentive activities such as Cathay Life, Amway, Nuskin and Herbalife.
They are frequent clients of Kaohsiung.”
Kaosiung Exhibition Center
Opened in 2014 on Kaohsiung Harbour, the wave-themed exterior
architecture of the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center (KEC), pays tribute to
the city’s maritime heritage. As a centre for shipping, petrochemicals
and logistics, Kaohsiung combines a stunning harbour-side ambience with
strong roots in modern industry and business, contributing to its
attractions for various corporate sectors.
The KEC has 15 meeting rooms with various configurations from 20 to
1,200 classroom style and 40 to 2,000 theatre-style. With its private 5G
network the KEC provides connectivity for makes hybrid events and
Amber Shih, KEC deputy marketing manager, explained another
technological innovation: “We are using an AI translator. You can just
speak your own mother-tongue and a screen will instantly show the
translated content. It can also be used for subtitles for online
conferences. So you don't need to hire interpreters and all attendees
just need to use their own mobile phones to download the translation
app. There is no need to use [simultaneous translation] equipment
Kaohsiung International Airport has direct flights from 40 major
Asian cities and is just 90 minutes from Taipei on the High Speed Rail
network. The city is also home to a major cruise terminal. The city has
more than 450 hotels of various classes, of which more than 3,500 rooms
and suites are at five-star level, recent arrivals include the Marriott
Kaohsiung, which has 16 meeting spaces and a capacity for up to 3,000
people in its Grand Ballroom, and the InterContinental whose pillared
Grand Ballroom can host up to 480 participants.
Taipei’s Artistic and Historic Venues
Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei’s Xinyi District
It comprises 6.6-hectares of buildings, open-air spaces and gardens.
Opened in 1937 as the Songshan Tobacco Factory, it was the centre of the
island’s modern tobacco industry under Japanese control. Built in
Japanese modernist style, the factory has been turned into a park
comprising a Baroque-style garden, an ecologically landscaped pond, a
public bath and a multi-purpose auditorium. The park was set aside to
encourage local designers and cultural and creative businesses to set up
their workshops, and as a venue with a unique backdrop for cultural
performances, exhibitions and corporate events. Its industrial chic has
become a particularly popular theme for fashion-related brand events.
The Mayor’s Residence Art Salon
Built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, as its name suggests
the building served as the official home of Taipei’s mayors from its
construction in 1940 until 1994. In 1999, the Japanese-style building
was converted into a multi-functional space, including a small
restaurant, separate private dining rooms, but also space for art
displays, literary discussions, poetry readings and the like. The quirky
garden sculptures add to its artistic attraction. Aside from private
banquets for VIP guests, the historical building and grounds offer an
unusual event space for cocktails, and corporates and brand events.
Si Si Nan Village
Situated close to the towering structure of Taipei 101, Si Si Nan (44
South) Village was designated as the Xinyi Public Assembly Hall. The
buildings were originally home to military dependents (the number 44
refers to the original military unit of the Kuomintang Army) but have
been renovated to provide arts, cultural and dining spaces. Suitable for
small groups, the venues are ideal for small presentations or cocktail
evenings. This is also a great spot for group souvenir photographs with
Taipei 101 in the background.