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Mice Net : August 2009
news occupancies reportedly dropped to 45 per cent in the first quarter of 2009. Beijing Tourism Administration showed flair with its choice of a local DMC to handle an international MICE trade journalists’ famil at the end of April this year, of which I was a participant. China Star Professional hit all the right notes to reflect the Beijing that the local tourism body was keen to show. The young savvy company designed a famil program which was a cut above the norm. They had the smarts to inject the traditional options with the unexpected. To undersell and over-deliver takes confidence and nerve. When the program arrived, it was adequate but uninspiring especially for one who had visited previously. All the usual suspects appeared: Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, etcetera. But in delivery there was so much more. The Chinese believe Westerners “see Beijing through a keyhole”. This famil aimed to open the door to the new Beijing and succeeded thanks to clever program design and the choice of a guide who smoothly moved the group around, answering questions with intelligence and humour, and providing information beyond the standard patter. For those who haven’t been lately, Beijing has become very cool and funky. A city of contrasts… of ying and yang. The ancient and traditional mixes with a new energy which can be seen in the trendy hutong shopping, the very edgy modern art, the Cocktails on a terrace overlooking the Forbidden City. mice.net 15