Macau is investing heavily to attract more international MICE events.
The Macau Government Tourist Office is extending its strategic MICE market stimulation programme until the end of this year at a cost of 27 million patacas. The scheme was launched in May 2009 to support Macau's tourism industry and has been well received.
To qualify for the programme, organisers or meeting planners should only use services provided by local entities registered in Macau that have at least a 50 per cent shareholding or controlling interest owned by Macau residents. This condition excludes MICE venues and hotels.
The programme covers three categories: meetings and conventions, exhibitions, and incentives. Organisers in all categories receive help with promotions and liaising with government authorities.
For meetings and conventions, organisers also get support for bids, accommodation, food and beverage, and site inspections by officials.
For exhibitions, organisers will also receive support for accommodation, venue rental charges, hardware, opening ceremonies and site inspections.
Incentive groups should have a minimum of 100 overseas participants and spend two consecutive nights in Macau. A fixed amount of 300 patacas will be granted per overseas participant for their incentive activities in Macau.
Last year, 1,399 MICE events were held in Macau, an increase of 15 per cent from 1,215 in 2009. The average duration increased from two days in 2009 to 2.5 days, while the number of participants and attendees rose 41 per cent to 806,135.
Among these events, 57 exhibitions attracted 656,303 participants and attendees, with average duration extended from 3.1 days to 4.3 days. Meetings and conferences totalled 1,342, with average duration increasing from two days to 2.4 days, while the number of participants was 149,832.
From May 18 of 2009 to May 6 this year, the programme has supported 246 events, comprising 95 meetings and conventions, 47 exhibitions, and 104 incentive events. These were attended by 1.1 million participants, involving financial support of 49.6 million patacas.
As of June 14, an additional 38 events had enrolled in the programme. These comprised six meetings and conventions, 20 exhibitions and 12 incentive events, with an estimated 640,000 participants and involving financial support of about 29.5 million patacas.