REGION grows up
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Bali continue to be growing Southeast Asian markets for MICE business, according to Matt Masson, chief operating officer of Trails of IndoChina, a major destination management company operating in six places in the region.
'These destinations have hosted large numbers of corporate organisations across the banking and finance sector, and a variety of other industries, with the size of groups ranging from 20 to 1,000,' he says.
Among the locations, Vietnam is seen as a new and exciting destination. 'Event organisers are looking to Vietnam, and indeed the whole of Southeast Asia, to provide their clients with a taste of something new, something different.'
Masson says infrastructure in the region has improved rapidly in recent years although, in some destinations, finding infrastructure to handle larger events outside hotels can still be tricky.
'We have scanned the region to discover a range of unique products and venues for our group travellers, offering options such as cocktail receptions inside caves, group dinners on the beach and open air entertainment,' he says.
Established in 1999, Trails of IndoChina has expanded and now employs more than 130 staff in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Bali.
MICE revenue, mainly from incentives and meetings, is projected to account for 30 per cent of its net income in 2011/12.
'This will represent a 50 per cent increase from 2009/10 and we expect this trend to continue,' Masson says.
Australia and the United States have been its major MICE markets, and both have been increasing dramatically from year to year.
Masson says the key to a successful event is the ability to ensure meetings and incentives receive the right amount of cultural reach and exclusivity that ultimately sees those attending leave with a feeling of 'special treatment' and rare access. 'Our boutique nature allows us this competitive edge, and we enjoy being nimble enough to respond to individual needs, expectations and endeavours.'