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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
Q&A Strong growth predicted Q: Are the economic problems in the U.S. having any effect on meetings, incentive and event business in Asia? A: There is no major impact in Malaysia as the US is not one of the main core market for meetings and incentives into Malaysia. There are still some major international congresses which are being organised by US bodies being planned for Malaysia despite their economic downturn. These include the HIMSS 2009 and Air Cargo Forum 2008. Head of Asian Overland Tours & Travel, Anthony Wong, has his finger on the pulse, especially in Malaysia. He spoke to Brad Foster for miceASIA.net recently. Q: We are seeing that Singapore is “buying up big” in the events sector, most recently securing the Singapore Grand Prix. Is this a good thing for the industry as a whole? A: The Singapore F1 will certainly have an effect on the Malaysian F1 in 2009, however Malaysia should be able to see an increase of arrivals from the pre and post tours from the Singapore F1 as Malaysia has more to offer in terms of destinations. Q: What about the Beijing Olympics? Will it stimulate growth or result in a slowdown in events considering that many corporations spend large amounts of money on sponsorship. A: Definitely there will be an effect for the rest of the region including Malaysia as most advertising and communication budgets would have been allocated to the Beijing Olympics which is often like a black hole taking all the advertising money. Q: Do you see there will be a long-time legacy from the Beijing Olympics? A: Yes, there definitely will be more people going to China after the Beijing Olympics as so much infrastructure has been created, plus the HR development as well. Q: Does Europe remain the powerhouse it has been, especially in the association meetings sector? A: Yes, Europe will remain to take the major lead as many professional associations especially in the medical field originated in Europe and most of the HQs are based there, but maybe 20 to 30 years up the road, Asia will be the centre of the world as futurists have predicted. Q: Where do you see the majority of growth coming from and going to in terms of business events? A: There should be growth in the area of medical, oil and gas, and biotechnology as well as environmental as these are the key issues of today. Q: Do you think the talk about greenhouse gas emissions relating to air travel will have any impact on business events in Asia? A: If we start educating the passengers early on about offsetting their emission, the impact will not be major as the passengers can then offset their air travel emission accordingly. We certainly should all play our part in greenhouse gas emissions. Our role as an industry player should also include suggesting and persuading the airlines to work with their respective governments on environmental programs such as recycling, electricity generation programs (ie. hydro, solar), waste heat recovery from industrial processes, and fuel switching to natural gas for industrial processes. Q: Is technology helping or hindering the convention business? A: Technology is definitely helping the convention business as we are able to reduce costs as well as making meetings greener. Looking back a decade ago, most conventions or businesses were still running on faxes where paper was required and sales materials were in hard copies. Delegates were given heavy loads of brochures and conference materials were mostly thrown away due to their weight. Today, with technology, a world of information can be given away and taken home in a tiny thumb drive which can be reused later. Not only does technology reduce printing costs but also reduces communication costs where the internet comes into play. Imagine if a key world-renowned speaker was unable to fly across the globe to speak at a conference? He can now speak through the internet live where thousands can still communicate with him. miceAsia.net 25