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Mice Asia Net : January 2010
6 miceAsia.net news it's a GAME numbers STORY BY ELIZABETH RICH Interview with AACVB chairperson Suprabha Moleeratanond Q: The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) hosted the 3rd Asia for Asia Meetings Industry Leaders' Summit in October 2009. Why did Thailand decide to initiate these summits? A: When we bid for the 2007 ICCA Congress, Asia for Asia Meetings Industry was one of our promises in the bid document. We realized the ICCA Congress will bring leaders in the meetings industry together and in order to expand ICCA's reach in the Asia Pacific and recruit non-ICCA member, we decided to stage this summit. The purpose was to capture the opportunity of the congregation of Asian leaders to do something for the Asian MICE industry. The first summit in Pattaya in 2007 was extremely successful and it was the seed for the revival of AACVB. Q: Are you planning another one this year in Bangkok to coincide with IT&CMA? Is it going to be a regular annual fixture on the calendar? A: Yes, we are planning for the 4th AACVB in Bangkok again to coincide with IT&CMA. It has not yet been decided whether it will be a regular annual fixture on the calendar but we try to use this opportunity in order to save cost, so participants do not have to travel as often, and it is our effort to help promote IT&CMA in Bangkok. Q: How do you go about deciding who should be invited as "industry leaders"? A: Since there are limited seats at the summit, it is not so difficult to identify these leaders. The invitation only goes to CEO or marketing and sales directors of the organisations. We try to invite a cross section of the industry i.e. meeting and incentive, convention and exhibition, hotel, DMC, venue, PCO, airline, etc. from all over Asia. We try to divide the number equally between various countries in Asia but of course some destinations are more interested in the summit than others. Q: It is fair to say that the AACVB used to be a much more prominent organisation in past decades. Lately we are seeing this profile lifting again. Is AACVB a partner with you for the summit? A: As the president of AACVB, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau would like AACVB to be better known and recognised so we proposed that AACVB is our partner while the whole project is being funded by Thailand. AACVB is still at its early stage of reorganisation and the funding is not yet there, and since Thailand initiated this project we are ready to help. We hope that this will become AACVB's project and become truly Asia's project when the organisation gets stronger. Q: Which destinations are currently members of AACVB? A: They are China, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand -- eight in all. However, other destinations such as Indonesia and Taiwan and other city CVBs have expressed their interest. Q: Do you think the Asian destinations are too competitive to come together effectively in a collegial way through AACVB? Is that a trait which is holding back the development of AACVB? A: In my opinion, CVBs realise that there is a limit to competition. Competition does not get us as far as cooperation and society does not grow out of self-interest. I do not think that it is holding back AACVB. I see this as a natural phenomenon. We are at an early stage of development so it will take us some time to grow and reach maturity. Asia was once the wealthiest continent before it declined and now it is about time that Asia wakes up and starts to prosper again. It is the natural cycle of things. Q: The last summit had as its theme "The Impact of Global Economic Recession on the Meetings Industry in FAST-GROWING ECONOMIES and a rapidly expanding middle class has seen growth in trade and professional associations and a concomitant rise in business events in Asia. Elizabeth Rich talks to two industry bodies and their plans for the future.