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Mice Net : August 2009
news LEFT: Aman property. BELOW: The Ullers Centre for Contemporary Art. extraordinary architecture, the laid back bars around Houhai Lake, and the hip club scene. The smart gay crowd often picks up a scent of where is hot, like birds heading to water in the desert, and you can see them popping up in Beijing, appreciating the youthful energy and adding to it. The Berlin of the East? No, says one European ex-pat observing and absorbing the latest cultural revolution. “It is not duplicating the west: there is a new China Art which is providing a platform of open dialogue with the rest of the world.” The artistry and creativity spills over to the MICE sector in the choice of facilities and the creative event options. As the days unfolded, I began to design programs in my head. First time business events in Beijing wowed them with a private dinner on the Wall or in the Forbidden City; followed by a Peking Duck evening. repeat events should be moving beyond this to showcase the new face of the city, ideally with programs which allow for interaction with the locals. Incentives that combine kites with bikes, modern art with calligraphy, cool nightclubs in old hutongs, cocktails on a designer terrace overlooking the Forbidden City; fusion food; an old tea ceremony in a new spa; morning tai chi or community ballroom dancing. Events should reflect the spirit and energy of a destination. Most obvious to me was the sense of generational change and the opening up of possibilities. The pace is almost too fast. Older people must feel overwhelmed and even the baby boomers will be challenged to keep up. But it is exciting, and there are opportunities for the bold event entrepreneur. Timing is everything April is a perfect time to visit Beijing. Spring was in the air which was 16 mice.net definitely clearer than the dusty hot summer months. Pollution didn’t seem to be a problem, although other experiences tell a different story. Pick your time carefully seems to be the answer. Autumn is also popular. But one European hotelier says winter is his favourite time: although cold with icy winds, the season boasts beautiful blue skies. Snow on the Forbidden City is a striking sight. Global associations move in Seeing the potential, and encouraged by the Beijing Tourism Administration, first SITE and now MPI have both opened branch offices in Beijing. BTA is keen to lift its profile and encourage local industry members to become professionally trained. The ubiquitous association management company MCI has also opened an office in Beijing. PLACES AND SPACES Lan Club post modernism Industry friends insisted this was a must see, and they were right. Masterpiece or folly of a well-heeled local and her son, it occupies the entire floor of a large downtown office building. But it is nothing like an office. Get ready to enter a different world when you step out of the lift. Baroque? Postmodern? It overwhelms the senses. Channel Seven used it every night to entertain during the Olympics and you can see why. Unconventional décor, designed by innovator Philippe Starck, it’s about as crazy, cool and sexy as it gets. There are more than 35 different areas which can be used for groups from two to 200, with a total capacity of 1200 guests. Visit www. lan-global.com/.