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Hong Kong36 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 67Hong Kong: Asia's world cityvisitor arrivals to hong kong have soared in the last year. CMW looks at soMe MiCe trends and related developMents

Hong KongISSUE 67 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 37s Asia's world city, Hong Kong is a global marketplace that links the booming economies of Mainland China and Asia with major markets worldwide.There are close to 800 flights a week between Hong Kong and major mainland cities and 50 per cent of the world's population live within five flying hours of the destination.Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong have soared in the last year. Forty-two million visitors came to the island in 2011, which was an increase of 16 per cent year-on-year according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB). The largest increases came from Mainland China, Asia and America and overnight arrivals also went up by 11 per cent to 22m.Further figures released at the end of 2011 showed that overnight MICE visitor arrivals to Hong Kong within the first nine months of 2011 reached a landmark of 1m for the first time. Among all visitor source markets, greater growth was recorded in the short-haul regions, where steady economic development and appreciation of major currencies against the Hong Kong dollar encouraged MICE organisers, especially those of meetings and incentive travel, to select Hong Kong as their activity destination. In July 2011, the biggest battery manufacturer in India organised an incentive trip to Hong Kong for over 1,400 dealers.The various mega conventions and exhibitions held during the third quarter also helped to boost the number of MICE visitor arrivals from both long- and short-haul markets These events included the International Society for Quality in Health Care 28th International Conference, the International Liver Cancer Association Fifth Annual Conference, the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, the Asian Seafood Exposition, the Natural AFlights a week between Hong Kong and major mainland cities Hktb800Products Expo Asia, as well as Vitafoods Asia, which was held in Hong Kong for the first time.Mainland China and South and Southeast Asia recorded the biggest growth in MICE visits to Hong Kong. The Mainland was also the largest MICE visitor source market, contributing over 440,000 or 42.9 per cent of all overnight MICE arrivals to Hong Kong.As for the long-haul markets, not with standing the slowdown in the European and American economies, there was no immediate impact on the MICE arrivals, given that many of the international conferences and exhibitions held in Hong Kong were confirmed at least one year in advance. Among all long-haul market regions, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific were the best performers followed by Europe, Africa and the Middle East.Looking ahead to the outlook for MICE tourism in Hong Kong, HKTB Chairman James Tien told CMW: