The success of hosting Universiade 2011 last month has made Shenzhen more MICE-friendly. Prior to the event, the government invested millions of dollars to give a facelift to the city and its infrastructure. Three new metro lines were launched with direct connections to key entry points, while new or upgraded sports venues can be used for MICE events in the future.
The University Games, the largest sports event held in Shenzhen, also benefited the city’s major hotels as many were involved as official accommodation for VIPs, government officials and athletes from all over the world.
Official hotels, such as Westin Shenzhen Nanshan, enjoyed full occupancy during the opening ceremony. General manager Timothy O’Driscoll says: “This event was a great showcase for Shenzhen, being a vibrant and young city. Shenzhen is a very energetic city with healthy economic growth year-on-year.
“More large and mid-size exhibitions and trade fairs are being held, and more international brand hotels are coming to the city, which is now becoming a MICE destination for national and international companies.”
Grand Hyatt Shenzhen shared a similar view. Jacqueline Sum, director of sales and marketing, says a large number of international visitors travelled to Shenzhen for the first time and this will greatly help build the city’s reputation.
“From metro line expansion to stadium development, today’s Shenzhen is a better developed metropolis than it was just a few years ago,” Sum says.
But it’s not all smiles for the hotels.
Henry Tay, general manager of Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) East Theme Hotel Cluster Shenzhen, which operates OCT Interlaken and several other hotels at the theme destination, says: “Although we were not among the official hotels for the Games, we suffered from traffic controls which hampered visitors from reaching some of our hotels.”