BUILDING bridges

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2011, 12:00am


Australia has become a popular destination for incentive travel from Asia since Sydney's convention bureau established its first Asian office in Hong Kong in 2004.

'Australia is an attractive destination for visitors from Asia because it is the closest 'Western' country and offers plenty of choices for Asians who love food and shopping. It is a multicultural country with many migrants from Asia, and it has world-famous icons, such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney [Harbour] Bridge,' says Lyn Lewis-Smith, chief operating officer of Business Events Sydney.

'China is definitely a market we want to continue to penetrate and grow the relationships we have built over the years.

'China is the second-largest economy in the world and its business climate is booming. Companies are growing. Staff retention, motivation and recognition are very crucial tools for companies, and this will continue to fuel the growth of MICE potential in China.'

In January, Sydney welcomed 8,500 Amway China delegates, the largest incentive group to visit Sydney this year. It is estimated the visit contributed A$42.4 million (HK$335 million) to the local economy. In 2005, Amway sent 13,800 delegates to Sydney.

As many Amway delegates had never visited an overseas country, proper pre-arrival information was crucial. Their itinerary included shopping and Chinese restaurants. The language barrier was also addressed.

Each delegate, who walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge, donated A$20 to Freedom Wheel, a charity that provides customised bikes to children with disabilities. Lewis-Smith says this demonstrated to the community how international corporate events could contribute.