Prudence Lui, Vera Lye, Keith Chan
EXCITING YEAR AHEAD
Macau is anticipating an exciting year as the long-awaited Sands Cotai Central, which will have 6,000 hotel rooms and 10,000 square metres of meeting facilities, nears completion.
The area will open in phases from this month, starting with the 636-room Conrad Hotel and the 1,224-room Holiday Inn.
Macao Economic Services director Sou Tim-peng expects this year to be an eventful one for the conventions and exhibitions sector.
'Local event [organisers] will be encouraged to further build their brands; professional training for different segments of industry will be offered; while exchanges between local industry professionals with their foreign counterparts will continue through their participation in overseas shows and exhibitions,' he says.
Melco Crown Entertainment's senior vice-president, leisure and brand marketing, and sales, Carmen Lam believes this year will see planners seeking personalised, upscale experiences for delegates in more intimate venues.
'[There are fears of an] economic recession this year, therefore, MICE organisers are being more selective in when they meet and who attends,' Lam says. PL
VENUE FOR NEW TRENDS
Sensing the growing trend of 'Confex' events - the convergence of exhibitions and conferences - Singapore has launched its latest MICE venue, MAX Atria @ Singapore EXPO.
Featuring 32 column-free rooms with spacious foyers, a garden courtyard and rooftop space, the 12,700-square-metre MAX Atria can accommodate more than 3,500 guests.
The facility, opened last month, has won the Building and Construction Authority's Green Mark Platinum award, the first purpose-built MICE facility to do so. Energy efficient measures have been implemented in lifts, escalators and air conditioning facilities. Light sensors have also been installed in pre-function foyers, staircases and restrooms, and LED lighting fixtures in meeting rooms and landscaping are expected to contribute more than 30 per cent of energy savings annually.
In addition to being green, MAX Atria is also Asia's first venue to offer guests complementary, high-performance Wi-fi by Xirrus.
'MAX Atria will complement the 123,000-square-metre inventory exhibition and conference hall space in Singapore EXPO, allowing us to accommodate the 'Confex' segment strategically,' says Aloysius Arlando, group CEO of Singex.
The new venue is targeting the medical, IT, logistics and health care industries. 'Based on our assessment in terms of inquiries, medical and corporate events are still quite robust,' Arlando says. VL
Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong has launched a 'Business Right Here' campaign to offer value-added services to exhibitors and their buyers. Customers who register online for events until June 30 will be entitled to a range of privileges and discounts. These include airfare discounts, additional mileage and hotel discounts from Cathay Pacific and Dragonair; lounge facilities and greeting services at the Hong Kong International Airport; shopping and dinner discounts and privileges at the airport; free and discounted Wi-fi access; admission privileges and discounts at various tourist attractions including Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park; privileges and discounts at participating dining outlets; and discounts on selected ferry services between Hong Kong and Southern China. KC
Tourism Australia has launched a marketing campaign aimed at increasing revenue from high-yielding business events to A$16 billion (HK$129 billion) by 2020.
It includes a new website of business events (www.businessevents.australia.com) that has been designed as a one-stop shop for event planners to pitch and choose Australia for their clients. The multifaceted and digital campaign features some of Australia's most outstanding events and team-based activities in unrivalled settings.
Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, says the economic impact of business events continues to rise. The latest figures show that delegates for business events contributed about A$8.4 billion in 2010, up from A$7.9 billion in 2009. On average, business event visitors spend 55 per cent more per day than the average visitor at A$212 per delegate. KC