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Mice Net : February 2009
news more competition, this time from hk Competition for the lucrative conference, exhibition and incentive travel dollar continues with hong Kong strengthening its offering. efforts in the business events space. The launch of the new body follows an additional funding allocation of HK$150 million to the sector over the next five years by the Hong Kong Government, made in February 2008. According to the HKTB one in 10 Hong Kong visitors come for business event activity: about half for exhibitions and conventions and half for meetings and incentives. According to the HKTB, 1.7 million business event visitors bring HK$11 billion in revenue to Hong Kong annually. Naturally a large proportion of visitors to Hong Kong come from mainland China. Indeed, mainland China already represents a third of Hong Kong’s business events business, and about 50 per cent of total tourism business. Marketing campaigns initiated by MEHK will be targeting this sector – aiming to both protect and grow this important market, particularly in the present volatile economic conditions. According to the HKTB, the launch of MEHK is also a response to stiff competition in the region. The most recent statistics report from the International Congress & Convention Association places Hong Kong third among its Asian rivals after Singapore and Beijing, and in 12th place internationally (up from 16th place in 2006). I Full steam ahead The new MEHK will market aggressively to corporates and incentive houses and will use a number of means to win bids, including offering hospitality to organising committees, as well as other incentives. With no leadership role created to head up the new MEHK team and HKTB executives noting that “we already have 15 HKTB staff working on MICE projects”, the additional funding will likely be spent on three fronts: on focused marketing campaigns to build Hong n late 2008 the Hong Kong Tourism Board launched Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK), a new division of the HKTB that will act as a central point to stimulate and manage Hong Kong’s Kong’s MICE brand, on tailored services for event planners and corporates to convert interest in Hong Kong and on ‘one stop shop’ bid and marketing support to Hong Kong MICE operators. Under the “Hong Kong – Converging Possibilities” marketing platform MEHK will field representatives in markets identified as high-potential: Mainland China, India, Korea, Japan, the UK and the US. As a third phase of the MEHK initiative, global launch events (including at February’s AIME) will roll-out new brand materials. These will position multilingual Hong Kong as strategically located and business friendly, providing access to the might of Chinese suppliers and manufacturers alongside visa-free entry for 170 countries and high-octane entertainment options. The tailored service that forms the second string to the MEHK offering is designed to deliver on these brand promises, with in-market MEHK representatives tasked with arranging logistical support for events, from the selection of unique venues and immigration support, to VIP receptions and cultural exposés. In some cases this tailored service may take on an educational role. HKTB Chairman James Tien points explicitly to an exciting new MICE market: “We’re seeing a trend, especially among Chinese multinationals, of companies that need to offer incentives to keep their staff and engage regional teams as well as participate in exhibitions, but which have no MICE experience,” he said. “They have simply never marketed in that way. We hope that Hong Kong can cash in on this new trend.” The final element of the new MEHK service is to provide advisory services and marketing support to Hong Kong businesses, building and continually replenishing the supply side of the city’s MICE offer and facilitating an integrated approach between government and industry. At the launch event chief representatives of the major venues, hotels ABOVE: “50 Years Of Tourism” Photo Competition - “Lei Yue Mun Kwun Tong” By Fung Shun On. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board mice.net 35