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Mice Net : December 2009
40 mice.net aacvb COLUMN BY MRS SUPRABHA MOLEERATANOND DIRECTOR OF CONVENTIONS THAILAND CONVENTION & EXHIBITION BUREAU COLUMN BY JOHN MORRIS SOFITEL AUSTRALIA JOHN.MORRIS@ SOFITEL.COM morris musings At a recent conference I attended the 30 or so attendees were asked to write down what epitomised luxury to them. Attendees were all hospitality professionals, most of many years standing, so the assumption was that they would select cars, jewellery, holidays, fine hotels, etc. Interestingly, well over half put down "time" as a luxury. Time with their family, time for themselves, time to plan, time to think ... there were a number of variants on time but time itself was perceived as an absolute luxury. Amazing isn't it? In one generation we have moved from a life where all parts of your life were compartmentalised -- when you left work you finished work for the day - to one where the blurred boundaries no longer exist. With the advent of Blackberries and mobile phones there is no real separation of work and leisure, making work-life balance a real achievement. Conversely, the advent of social media has ensured the reverse with Facebook, Twitter, etc, now a regular part of many people's work days. And, this is just the beginning of social media's influence. It took the medium of television 13 years to reach 50 million viewers while it has only taken nine months for 100 million users to sign up on Facebook...(Oddly enough the fastest growing segment is 55-65 year old women). Holidays used to be work free except for the occasional emergency phone call. Now you see laptops and handhelds around the pool, in the coffee shop -- just about everywhere as we relax between "just checking". Taxis, buses, trains and anywhere where people are still for more than a few minutes, are now hives of communication activity. But much as we complain about the number of emails and phone calls we get there is always the rarely used "off" button for mobiles, blackberries or computers... So maybe it's just a case of making the time to take the time. HOW VALUABLE is your time? precious TIME Held in October at the Centara Hotel, Bangkok, the event brought together 40 private and public sector leaders in Asia's MICE industry in a high-level debate on responses to challenges and opportunities for the region's MICE sector. Asia for Asia is a joint cooperation of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and the Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaux (AACVB). This year's theme - "Impact of Global Economic Recession on the Meetings Industry in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities" resulted in a call from MICE industry leaders for new thinking in Asia's MICE sector. Following last year's global financial downturn, the business event industry in Asia now needs to embrace new business models, new technologies and to reach out to a new generation of techno-savvy business people. A common theme linked the day's discussion: there was consensus that Asia is today in a relatively strong position, and that the MICE sector should learn from the recession and become more united and assertive. Five key recommendations were made: 1. Engagement - build an 'Asia for Asia' community 2. Promotion - build an Asia brand for face to face connections e.g. MPI -- "When we meet, we change the world" 3. Rethinking - stronger focus on IT and innovation 4. New thinking - focus on talent development 5. Long-term thinking - focus on sustainable practices With the trend towards PCOs forming alliances and networks beyond Asia to get business events into Asia, AACVB was pinpointed as a potentially strong driver for creating a unified platform for Asia's MICE industry. Following Korea's participation in this year's Asia for Asia event, Korea has expressed its intention to apply for AACVB membership. Next year, Asia for Asia will once again be held in Thailand. THE 3RD ASIA for Asia Meetings Industry Leaders' Summit, jointly coordinated by the AACVB, proved highly beneficial to participants. HITSTHE RIGHT NOTES leaders' summit