An exciting presentation featuring musicians, a sound and light show, actors and a little bit of magic heralded the 2019 Hong Kong Top MICE Agent Awards, which took place on March 7, 2019.
Celebrating leading travel agents in the MICE sector, the awards focused on Hong Kong's top five key markets, mainland China, South Korea, Indonesia, India and Thailand. Over 60 agents attended and received awards.
Organised by Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong, a division of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the awards were launched in 2012 to encourage more MICE groups to the city, as well as to recognise top-performing travel agents.
A new and improved Hong Kong
This, the 7th edition, was opened by Kenneth Wong, general manager of Hong Kong Tourism Board's MICE and cruise division.
"In 2018, Hong Kong recorded close to two million overnight MICE arrivals, representing a year-on-year growth of 2.1%. Short-haul markets performed with a particularly strong growth rate of 8.7%. As for the meeting and incentive segment, some markets recorded a double-digit growth rate, including South Korea and our new strategic market, Thailand," said Wong.
"In 2019, Hong Kong is setting off to a new era for MICE Tourism as we have many new infrastructure, new business potential with the Greater Bay Area and most importantly, exciting new experiences for MICE groups. Travel agents play a pivotal role and we would like to express our greatest appreciation through an excitement-filled ceremony and customised itinerary, to showcase there's so much more Hong Kong can offer."
He described the new Rail & Bridge infrastructures, opened in 2018, as fantastic attendance generators for Hong Kong's MICE industry and mentioned new attractions such as Tai Kwun, The Mills, Tea House at Xiqu Centre as key cultural experiences for groups. Also on the menu for groups are new tailor-made itineraries like temple hopping, Geopark visits, hiking, workshops featuring dim sum making and calligraphy, as well as refreshed attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park.
On the ground
Crystal Campbell, general manager of Royal Caribbean Cruises Hong Kong, added, "HKTB and MEHK have put on a fantastic event. International sources [are] highly important and APAC is one of our key source markets. Making sure we really bond and strengthen our partnerships with these agents is key to our success. It is important for us to be here to seek out who the top MICE performers are so that we can work with them."
One of India's agent winners, Dheeraj Sood, senior manager of MICE with Thomas Cook, added that, "Hong Kong is the best choice for us for the mid-budget segment. The infrastructure, hotels and meeting spaces work out well for MICE groups, and there are lots [of options for] families like the theme parks.
He was excited to hear more about the greener options like hiking the Dragon's Back, as well as racing at Happy Valley or Sha Tin. He added MICE Cruise for groups with a two-night land itinerary and three- or five-night cruise is a winning combination and the new mega-infrastructures will facilitate multi-destination MICE tourism.