October 2010Conference+Meetings World13Sarah O'Donnellheads to Reed Travel Exhibitions' Chinese meetings trade show, CIBTM, and finds a local industry craving to climb the Great Wall of meetings knowledge. Thirst for meetings inthe People's Republic"There is a tremendous thirst forknowledge about the meetingsand incentives industry here inChina," Group Exhibition Director of RTE'sMeetings and Events Portfolio, Craig Moyes,told CMW. "The nature of the local Chinesemarketplace is for meetings professionals toinvestigate, and learn from, internationalpractice." CIBTM Exhibition Manager, Jeffrey Xu,agreed the meetings industry in China wasnow beginning to take shape. He said that,since 2007, the number of venues in Beijingalone had reached over 4,000, with 10exhibition halls and 134,000 hotel rooms. "The infrastructure of Beijing improveddramatically due to the Olympics in 2008and, as the Chinese economy grows, therewill be more business opportunities tocapitalise on," said director of marketing forMarriott North East, Beijing, Nobby Choi."We postponed our hotel opening to March2009, but have since held at least 10 largeevents so far this year to the value ofRMB3m (US$440,000)."Xu noted Beijing now attracts around2,000 meetings annually, of which 140 areconsidered large events. According to ananalysis of China's inbound tourism market,by China National Tourism Administration(CNTA), business travellers account for 39.9per cent of all tourists. The results of big meeting business winsfor China can be seen in the latestInternational Congress and ConventionAssociation (ICCA) country rankings. Chinais placed ninth with 245 internationalassociation meetings held in 2009. In theAsia Pacific and Middle East, China wasranked second. "With China due to become the world'slargest economy by 2050 and with the fastest-growing economy in the world, asillustrated by many multinational companieswith its regional headquarters in Beijing, it isclearly the ideal location to support theMICE sector in Asia." said Xu. Moyes added it was a most exciting timefor the growth and development of themeetings industry in China. "In China alone,Reed Exhibitions organised over 40 eventslast year, bringing together over 20,000suppliers and around 700,000 visitors."Xu believes the country has clearlybenefited from governmental investment ininfrastructure for large-scale global eventssuch as the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai,which has attracted millions of visitors. "CIBTM is one of the major driving forcesbehind the growth of the meetings industrythroughout China. It is set to help Chinafully realise its potential to attract large-scaleOfficials from the Beijing Tourism Association visit the CIBTM show floor??international corporate and associationevents," Xu added. "The market is ill-defined, so CIBTM will help to show thepossibilities."Education played a key part in this year'sshow, and the organiser was proud to noteat least 50 per cent of the speakers wereChina-based. The programme featuredguest speakers from industry associationssuch as Meetings ProfessionalsInternational, ICCA, the InternationalAssociation of Congress Centres (AIPC),international destination managementagency MCI, MICE China, the University ofWestminster London, Sarawak ConventionBureau, and the Singapore Tourism Board.RTE regional director for the Asia Pacific,Noor Ahmad Hamid, said the Chinese hadtheir own model for doing things but thechallenge is to keep the momentum tomature the industry. He argued educationplays a key role. The education programme receivedaccreditation by the Convention IndustryCouncil, so that Certified MeetingProfessionals could attain credits towardfurther certification by attending seminars."Our global portfolio approach means weunderstand completely that the needs of theindustry differ from region to region; what isright for one market is not right for another,"said Moyes. "We can therefore craftprogrammes which are not only completelyrelevant, but also provide insight into theimpact of global trends on business locally."Official backingCIBTM is officially backed by the BeijingTourism Administration (BTA) and co-hostedby the CNTA and the Beijing MunicipalGovernment. The show is also part of ChinaMeetings Week, a dedicated week supportedby the private sector, regional authoritiesand international industry associations."CNTA's endorsement propelled the showforward," says Xu. "It is a clear signal thatthe government recognises the opportunitiesto leverage its hospitality and facilities tosupport the meetings industry."CIBTM REPORT????