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Mice Asia Net : July 2008
australia Tourism Australia’s regional general manager of north Asia, Johnny Nee, told the TABEE group that strong economic growth in Asia, a growth in companies using business events as a performance strategy, and a heightened level of enquiries from sectors including: pharmaceutical, insurance and direct selling, retail, and investment banking were all signs that the business events sector out of Asia was looking buoyant for further growth in 2008. Mr Nee said Australia has strong appeal because of its perceived safety, diversity, expertise in the business events arena, greater air capacity, and new venues and infrastructure. Incredible India India is potentially one of Australia’s largest source markets for business tourists, and its activity as a developing nation is increasing, according to S. Sanjeev from Fullerton India Ltd who was a special guest speaker at TABEE 2008. Sanjeev said India was booming. The telecommunications sector was growing at an unprecedented rate, as was the airline business which has gone from two carriers five years ago to 15 today. In 2001 there was one life insurance company. In 2008 there are 16. As the economy and business is booming so to is the potential for the corporate meetings and incentive travel markets. Companies already utilising incentives included banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and asset management companies, automotive, IT and distributors. Australian companies looking at attracting Indian groups on Australian incentives should highlight two to three “high points” of the trip, particularly experiences that qualifiers may not have seen before; awards nights are popular; Indian food is a must; and the opportunity for shopping is paramount. Strengths Sanjeev sees Australia have are that it is an aspirational, premium destination, has world class infrastructure, friendly and warm people, and no language barriers. Another TABEE presenter, BT&I’s Hanna Seo, gave a presentation on South Korea and its potential for Australia. Ms Seo said Koreans prefer to use their national airline when travelling (Korea Air), and demand at least one Korean meal per day. Team-building activities are high on their list of priorities, and participants must be made to feel special. Ms Seo said Australia was considered a medium-haul destination for the incentive market, and any waiving of taxes and visas were highly regarded. Strong potential Tourism Australia’s Richard Beere, the executive general manager international (east) – Japan, Asia, gulf countries, believes there is great potential in Asia for the business events sector, citing strong economic growth, corporate profitability, a growth in industry sectors utilising business events for performance improvement, and an increase in RFPs (requests for proposals) as key indicators. “Increased airline activity, and increased activity by Australia’s convention and visitors’ bureau and industry generally is helping,” he said. Mr Beere says the landscape of the sector has changed. Where before the sales and promotion department of companies ran everything relating to business events the trend now seems to be that corporate service manager are playing a greater role. Part of this has to do with the company’s corporate social responsibility checklist. “It’s really becoming serious and formalised,” he explains. “In Asia they’re starting to ask questions in this area, and it’s ramping up very quickly.” Mr Beere says questions are often raised in RFPs – about offset programs and other areas relating to the environment, and this will only increase. He said companies interested in the Asian market had to be able to clearly display what they were doing in terms of sustainability if they were to compete effectively on a global scale. An announcement on where and when TABEE 2009 will be held in Asia is planned for later this year. miceAsia.net 61