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????
14Conference+Meetings WorldOctober 2010CIBTM REPORTDeputy Director General of the BTA andthe co-organiser of the event, Gu Xiaoyuan,announced that she expected CIBTM tobecome the leading MICE event in Chinaand the Asia Pacific region in five years. "It is an exciting time for the developmentof the meetings industry in China and weare delighted to be working in partnershipwith CIBTM and RTE to build Beijing'sbrand image in the MICE industry. Ourpartnership with CIBTM is certainly one thatwill grow and develop over the long term,"said Gu. "The meetings industry is astrategic pillar for the Beijing Governmentand in recent years it has instigated a seriesof initiatives to entice associationconferences to come to China. We havealso invested in training initiatives for thelocal industry and invited experts to consultwith regions on how to develop their MICEoffering."RTE claimed the fifth edition of CIBTM asthe "largest ever" in terms of floor space,hosted buyer numbers and exhibitors. According to pre-audited figures, theorganiser said indications were that the totalnumber of hosted buyers and trade visitors(near 5,000 visitors in 2009) increased by16 per cent year-on-year. The show's hostedbuyer programme enlisted 275 buyersincluding 105 Beijing-based professionals,which was a 19 per cent increase on 2009'slevels overall. The total floor space increased year-on-year by 20 per cent, to over7,000sqm and a total of 310 exhibitorsrepresented 26 countries. New to exhibit atthis year's CIBTM was Taiwan, as a countrypavilion, and airline marketing group StarAlliance. The Japanese and South Koreannational tourism organisations bothincreased their stand presence. Star Alliance Co-ordinator Judy Guo saidthe group hosted around five events inChina annually, but this was the first timethey had exhibited as a group. "The buyerswe met with are not our target market, aswe wanted to meet more corporates.However, it was worthwhile to promote ourMICE products to the industry and itdepends on the leads generated as towhether or not we exhibit again," sheadded. "CIBTM takes place in the most prolificallyfast moving market in the world," saidDirector of Sales for Jebel Ali InternationalHotels Dubai, Shane Jameson. "We arehere for the long-term and we will notsurvive without business from China. On the same stand, Head of Sales andConvention Service for the DubaiConvention Bureau, Karina Lance, said:"Exhibiting means we can start arelationship with key players in the marketand China has so much potential."CIBTM is UK tourism body Visit London'ssecond edition as an exhibitor. Its Sales andMarketing Manager for North America andLong Haul, Chris Lynn, said: "The leads wehave generated this year are a vastimprovement on quality to last year, wherewe saw no return on investment. We arecautiously optimistic, but we also know thatthere is a big difference between wanting tohost an event in our city and doing it."It is slightly scary exhibiting here as it isso different to any other market and it is stillat the embryonic stage. So we are in theresearch stage," he added. The Chinese incentive travel sector is thelargest market for Taiwan. NangangInternational Exhibition Center's clientservices executive, Sophia Chou, told CMW.Although the hosted buyers were not onehundred per cent useful in terms of leads,she said, she found exhibiting worthwhile ata brand awareness level. "Chinese buyersare hesitant about bringing groups toTaiwan due to visa issues between the twogovernments. We hope in the near futureregulations will be more flexible."Xu said RTE is "delighted" with theresponse and feedback at this year'sshow. "In 2009, we launched ChinaMeetings Week and this has clearlyincreased the profile of the showdramatically, resulting in larger numbers ofcorporate Chinese buyers, key to thedevelopment of the show and its exhibitors."It looks as though many in theinternational meetings industry want ahealthy share of this futuristic Chinesemeetings pie. Whether simply being therefor the sake of being seen will lead to actualbusiness is yet to be seen, however. As the national meetings industry developsand matures, through education andtraining, it is likely CIBTM will find its placefirmly at the centre of the industry. CIBTM 2011 will be held at the CNCC,Beijing, 30 August-1 September. 'It is a clear signalthat the Governmentrecognises theopportunities toleverage its facilitiesto support themeetings industry.'New exhibitors to this year's exhibition were Taiwan and the Star Alliance marketing groupMeeting Professionals International's President and CEO Bruce MacMillian discusses trends