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Mice Net : December 2008
asia update flocking to asia Story by Johanna Mc Kinnon Business travellers are expected to choose asia according to a new report. Asia en masse. As a result of the anticipated increased volumes, business class flights are expected to be in high demand. The report outlines that Asia can expect 80 million business visitors by 2012. This is in direct correlation with the number of international companies, particularly from the US, focusing on Asia for growth and investment opportunities. According to the report, as a result of the ongoing US sub-prime crisis investment banks and financial institutions are being forced to look towards Asia for growth. “Asia accounted for an estimated 80 per cent of the global growth in key financial institutions in the first quarter of 2008, and offers an alternative source of revenue as liquidity and investor confidence dries up,” the report said. As a result, the forecasted trend will see key financial executives undertaking more business trips to major Asian destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mumbai. Euromonitor International said business tourism to Asian destinations is expected to grow strongly, posting a forecast compound annual growth rate of nine percent over 2007-2012. And airlines are apparently already taking notice. Singapore Airlines already operate popular business-class only flights between Singapore and major US cities. This has caused other airlines including Virgin Atlantic, who scrapped plans for a business-class only transatlantic flight, to reconsider their approach. E uromonitor International has released the 2008 World Travel Market Global Trends report focusing on seven future trends, one of which sees business travellers heading to The report said airlines won’t be the only stakeholders to benefit from an inundation of business travellers. “Although hotels for business travellers only are not in development, hotels in Asia are upping their luxury quotient to cater to the influx of business travellers.” High-end hotels such as the St. Regis and Westin are well positioned to take advantage of the continued influx of business travellers, offering a unique luxury office and lodging away from home. Properties are also in the process of construction to cater for large quotas of corporates. For example, in Singapore the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort includes a convention centre that can cater for more than 52,000 delegates. It will be ready for the expected growth when it opens in late 2009. And what’s the best approach to tap into the anticipated influx of business travellers? According to Euromonitors operators should think outside the square. “It is important for meetings and incentive travel operators to look beyond their traditional approach. Operators should consider how to differentiate their standard offer to push the boundaries of leisure add-ons, which clearly necessitate a deeper understanding of consumer leisure trends. “It is important that meetings and incentive travel operators work with leisure as well as corporate travel retailers to customise packages to ensure that the business/family holiday trend is maximised, especially in the light of additional revenues through value-added services such as theme park admissions, tours and adventure activities.” ABOVE: View of Hong Kong from Kowloon. Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board. mice.net 103