MICE arrivals in Hong Kong will grow an estimated 12 per cent this year following a 10.3 per cent growth in overnight arrivals to 725,779 from the sector in the first six months of the year.
According to Anthony Lau, executive director of Hong Kong Tourism Board, overnight MICE arrivals will continue to grow in the second half of this year. He says the staging of large-scale conventions and exhibitions will help this upward trend.
“Sustained growth of the mainland economy and stronger foreign currencies will bring more meetings and incentive travel activities to Hong Kong, especially from the mainland and other short-haul markets.” Industry experts share this view. Carly Lewis, business director of CiEvents, expects an increase in the number of Hong Kong companies planning incentive trips for the end of the year. She says this is related to the fact that some companies placed their incentive programmes on hold in 2008 and 2009.
“Over the past 12 months they have started to resume their focus on incentives. They are also starting to look outside of Hong Kong and Macau as destinations, and into other parts of Asia and, in some cases, other parts of the world.
“Companies based in Hong Kong are continuing to host their events here and Hong Kong remains a key location for inbound MICE events. This is due to the plethora of meeting venues available, the food, shopping and local tourism activities.”
Michael Chiay, managing director of MCI Hong Kong, which focuses on meetings and conventions, says there was a continued recovery in the meetings industry in the first six months of this year. “The recovery trend is sustaining into the third quarter and we believe 2012 will be an even stronger year.”
However, he points out that more firms are demanding a measurement of returns on their meeting investments, and expect their agencies to adopt strategic meetings management to help maximise marketing budgets, increase productivity, streamline processes and manage meeting investments by providing intelligence on spending patterns.