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Mice Net : February 2009
Editor’s letter Tourism’s saviour I had an interesting conversation with Langham Hotels International’s vice president of sales, Alison Styles, just prior to Christmas about that company’s goal of increasing its MICE business globally from 12 per cent to between 15 and 20 per cent within the next three years. To achieve their targets the company has appointed a director of global sales – MICE (note that acronym MICE people!), spent a considerable amount of money on new technology designed to assist event planners, and is growing its function space in current and new properties. No doubt if I had spoken to any person in a similar position within a global hotel chain the strategy would be the same – grow our meetings business. Despite and possibly because of the economic uncertainty hoteliers are looking at getting more delegates on seats and in beds. Governments too are putting plans in place to increase or at least maintain their current market share. The Hong Kong Tourism Board, for example, launched a new division specifically for the meetings, exhibitions and events sector (see page 35), and the government has tipped in an additional HK$150 million over the next five years to ensure that it remains competitive on the global stage. In a period when we have already seen a dip in our general tourism market as people around the world tighten their belts, the resilience of the meetings market will come to the fore. Hopefully our own government will see its value and offer more support. And another thing… While I loved the Baz Luhrmann-inspired advertisements created for Tourism Australia I wonder about the one developed for the Asian market. (If you haven’t seen it you can view it online at www.tourism. australia.com). It follows the lines of the one for the European and U.S. market in which the busy executive is overworked, stressed, and feeling lost. He needs a break away from the everyday and he’s invited to “find himself” again in Australia. But from what I’ve learnt about Asia over the past 15 years in this industry, Asian people are very much about being respected and respectful. I can’t imagine a busy Asian executive turning around to his boss and saying “I’m bloody stressed and I need a holiday”! We do it in Australia – in fact I did it last week – but in Asia? Then again, maybe I’m way off base. Maybe I need a holiday myself… C M Y CM MY CY CMY K MANAGING EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Rosemarie Sama Reed Travel Exhibitions • Annabel Davis Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Lynn Fairbrass Northern Territory Convention Bureau • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DGSE • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian • Ros McLeod Tour Hosts • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Russell Bennett Staging Dimensions • Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Katie Clarke Congress West • Anna Guillan Voyages Hotels and Resorts • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane Off-Site Connections Event Management • David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS • Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives 8 mice.net