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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
Editor’s letter The challenges continue If there is one thing about the MICE industry (and the travel industry in general), it is that challenges really are the only constant. This is great news if you’re a journalist because there is always something to write about, but as a small business owner in this segment, or as a hotelier, venue operator, airline executive, or tourism bureau representative, the new challenges that constantly plaque the industry must at some stage become tiring. As outlined on pages four and five of this edition, the very latest challenge to hit the industry is that of the rising cost of fuel which those interviewed say is already having an effect on the MICE industry, particularly relating to ground transport. What amazes me from where I sit, however, is the absolute unflappability of MICE industry operators who seem to rise to each challenge with vigour and enthusiasm. Moreover, many appear to even view perceived challenges as opportunities for improvement, refinement of existing strategies, and renewal. Comments from head of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Peter Brokenshire, are typical of the general feeling and attitude of many of Asia’s MICE operators. “Challenges faced in the past few years, such as the September 11 incident, the Bali bombings and SARS epidemic have shown that the MICE industry is extremely resilient. In fact, what resulted from this are savvier companies reviewing what meetings need to be attended and who needs to attend such meetings,” he says. “We believe that it is very important to both continue to travel and plan responsibly to, where ever possible, reduce or minimise impact on the environment,” says Pacific World’s Bob Guy. “I believe that this will move from ‘nice to have’ to ‘essential to have’ elements in meetings and events programme design in future.” As a number of people alluded to in this article, rising oil prices may very well be the catalyst for better environmental sustainability practices at meetings and events. Quite clearly changes may come about much sooner because of the oil price rises than they would have if there had been no so-called “crisis”. And that has to be a good thing. We welcome your feedback, MANAGING EDITOR miceAsia.net 1