As borders reopen around the world, people are eager to gather and meet in person once again. However, amid shifting landscapes of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, MICE destinations must offer more than just traditional appeal—they need to also provide
flexibility, strong engagement with stakeholders, and technological capabilities.
If any place has done the above well, it is Taiwan. Throughout 2020 and 2021, clear health and safety measures for locals ensured that domestic business events
continued to run, while a strong ICT sector aided event organisers’ swift transition to digital platforms for meetings and exhibitions alike.
In 2021, Taiwan hosted 175 international meetings and conventions, reaching 60% of 2019’s pre-pandemic
number. This comes as no surprise considering Taiwan’s reputation as an R&D hub for the medical, information technology, and science sectors. When one looks at the benefits, it becomes clear why Taiwan is a great place for academics, associations, and
businesses to meet:
A position of strength
The pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge for MICE—an industry that had been steadily innovating but was inarguably people-centred and physical in nature. While countless events were postponed or cancelled, passionate stakeholders chose to lead industry
transformation. Event organisers in Taiwan, leading the charge, swiftly created virtual venues for its biggest exhibitions like COMPUTEX TAIPEI, Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS), and Taipei Dangdai.
Hybrid meetings emerged,
such as the 59th ICCA Congress held in Kaohsiung. It was a watershed event for the meetings industry, thanks to effective local government collaboration and Taiwan’s ICT prowess. In a short span of time,
organisers were able to add cutting-edge features such as live-streaming, regional hub programming, and even holographic projections to the event's repertoire.
As ICCA's first hybrid event, it led to the development of the Kaohsiung Protocol,
which now serves as a framework for holding successful events anywhere in the world. For instance, the 51st Annual Convention & Scientific Session of the Taiwan Society of Cardiology applied the ICCA Kaohsiung Protocol with great success when it was
held in August 2021. The society's decision to hold a hybrid event with virtual conference sessions resulted in a record 1,941 attendees over its two-day event.
The International Society of Sport Psychology was similarly impressed by the
outcome of its 15th World Congress, held in 2021. Despite being the society’s first online congress and its first-ever event in Taiwan, the sessions went smoothly and enabled 600 professionals from 57 countries to meet seamlessly online.
Building on greater capabilities
Throughout the pandemic, Taiwan has confidently committed to developing its MICE infrastructure with large-scale and unique venues designed to the latest green building standards and acquiring international sustainability certifications like ISO 20121
and PAS 2050. By partnering with Taiwan’s venues and PCOs, event planners stand a higher chance of winning bids from growing numbers of climate-conscious clients.
Taiwan's newest unique venue is the 5.2-hectare International Convention Center
Tainan (ICC Tainan), which opened on April 21, and is already packed with events highlighting Tainan’s prominence as a green technology, advanced manufacturing, and scientific hub. With the Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City next door, businesses
in this sector will have a top-notch destination to meet and find growth opportunities.
Similarly, the Taoyuan Convention & Exhibition Center (opening in May 2023) will complement Taoyuan’s upcoming Asia Silicon Valley Innovation and Research Center. In addition, Taiwan’s reputation as a beacon of cultural and creative innovation continues
to shine bright with POPOP Taipei, a factory turned makerspace, gallery, and meeting venue that opened in December 2020.
Hospitality players are also buttressing Taiwan’s strong MICE capabilities; to date, there are 54 hotels rated 5 stars
by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, while at least 27 internationally branded hotels are in the pipeline.
Coming years will also see the debut of various well-known luxury hotel brands, ensuring ample accommodation for large-scale exhibitions,
conventions, and other international events.
An ecosystem of high-value opportunities
What makes Taiwan stand out amongst the top MICE destinations is the ease of doing business and hosting events. Recent years have seen Taiwan’s consistent high standing in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) global rankings of
top MICE destinations.
In the ICCA 2019 Statistics Report, Taiwan was the fourth most popular destination in Asia for association meetings, while Taipei was the 19th most popular city in the world.
In 2021, MEET TAIWAN launched its “Re-Fresh Taiwan” campaign to emphasise the resilience of Taiwan’s MICE ecosystem and showcase the latest developments. This year, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau announced lowered thresholds for incentive travel groups to
qualify for subsidies, with further enhancements to come for convention and exhibition support programmes.
With this abundance of safety, expertise, and support, Taiwan is the clear destination choice for MICE players returning to a world of vibrant connection and collaboration.
This article is brought to you by MEET TAIWAN