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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
news China’s Water Cube: In addition to opening to the public, it will be available for corporate events. Photo by Sun Wei. and Four Points hotels already fully opened for business.” Ms Yeo says the MICE segment is already a rapidly growing one in China. “With numerous historical sites, advanced MICE facilities and more experienced professionals, China is a great MICE destination. This is especially true after successfully staging the 2008 Olympics. “MICE business will bring more business travellers to China and definitely support the business in all areas including hotels, [and the] meeting/convention, day tour and local hospitality industry. And more than that, some MICE events will help the city or even country to showcase [themselves] to the world and attract more business and investment. “We are optimistic... that a lot of MICE business will come to China next year.” Diethelm’s David Barrett says the Olympics was a litmus test for the operational logistics of accommodating and moving large numbers in China. “The legacy of the Olympics will certainly be positive for China’s MICE and leisure markets, as the world’s spotlight is on Beijing,” he said. “With the media coverage the ultimate sporting event brings to a destination, there is incredible awareness of China right now. This can only have a positive spin-off for MICE business to the destination in the long-term. “Additionally, with China’s buoyant economy and rapid growth, businesses are still eyeing the regional powerhouse as a land of opportunities. This is always good for driving MICE events into a country.” Images of China during the Olympic Games broadcast were a mix of old and new, with stunning new venues like the Water Cube and Bird’s Nest stadium contrasted with historical monuments and 8 miceAsia.net sites like Tiananmen Square. Even areas of The Great Wall of China were shown. Time for action When Barcelona hosted the Games of the XXV Olympiad in the summer of 1992 the MICE leaders at the time may never have predicted how the city would become one of the major forces in the international meetings segment a decade later. Barcelona currently sits in fifth place in the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, and has been hovering in the top five for many years now. Whether it is a coincidence that it played host to an Olympic Games and then its stature grew in hosting international meetings is uncertain. But hosting a successful Olympics definitely didn’t hurt. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics have not resulted in similar rises of meteoric proportions as those experienced by Barcelona. Nevertheless, they probably haven’t hurt either. China could very well be different. Already the Pacific Asia Travel Association is predicting big things for China in the coming decade, going so far as to say that it will be the world’s most popular tourism destination by 2018. In a report released earlier this year, PATA recommended that China consider establishing a national convention bureau, further develop purpose-built facilities, and bolster training in the hospitality sector to ensure that the high levels of service required in the MICE sector are met. In terms of general tourism, the value of China’s tourism market is in the vicinity of $100 billion per annum. Inbound arrivals topped 132 million in 2007 – a figure that will surely rise in 2008.