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Expo 2020 Dubai has Five Months to Go

By | 2021

The Expo will be one of the first mega-events to take place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and shall run from October 1, 2021 until March 2022.

It is expected to welcome more than 200 participants, including nations, multilateral organisations, academic institutions and businesses. Also for the first time in the 170-year history of World Expos, each participating country will have its own pavilion of a dedicated space, where it can showcase its culture and progress to the world.

At the same time, the Expo has been awarded the highest rating by CEEQUAL for eight of its infrastructure projects in terms of engineering, landscaping and public spaces. CEEQUAL is internationally recognised for its sustainability assessment on civil engineering with rating and certification for best practices in infrastructure projects.

Rating range from a pass at 30 percent to excellent at 75 percent accessed across a range of sustainability issues including land use, ecology, transport, resilience and pollution.

Expo 2020 is the first project in the Middle East to receive an ‘Excellent’ CEEQUAL’ rating for connecting all three of its Thematic Districts as a meeting place in a shaded microclimate which is unlike anywhere in Dubai – Al Wasl Plaza exceeded the award’s highest threshold, with a 91.6 per cent score.

While the trellis and steelwork of the 130-metre by 67.5-metre Al Wasl dome, which encircles the plaza creates the largest 360-degree projection surface in the world, scored a high of 93.6 per cent.

Recent cultural highlight of the Expo is the installation of a three-dimension replica of Michelangelo’s world-famous David sculpture at the centre of the Italy Pavilion. A painstaking work by artists which included 40 hours of digital scanning of the original 16th-century marble artwork in Florence; the creation of a three-dimensional digital model with a

resolution of 146 thousandths of a millimetre; a production by one of the world’s largest three-dimensional  printers with finishing touches painstakingly done by hand.

 

New Survey of European Convention Bureaus Shows Post Pandemic Optimism – Despite Cuts in Staff and Funding

By | 2021

A survey of 134 convention bureaus in 33 European countries by Dr Rob Davidson of MICE Knowledge, showed that one in four of these bureaus, have had, reductions in staff levels.  While one in three, have suffered cuts in their public sector funding since the beginning of the pandemic.

Out of which 75 percent of convention bureaus depending on financial support from their partners or members have had, reductions in funding from those sources. Regardless of this, a clear majority of three in four of the convention bureaus are optimistic, or very optimistic about their future, according to Dr Davidson’s report: The Impacts of the Pandemic on Convention Bureaus in Europe.

Responses to the survey show that many convention bureaus, have suspended one or more of their marketing activities such as bidding and advertising while others have switched over to digitalised forms from virtual fam trips and digital awards ceremonies for ambassadors, to participation in online exhibitions.

Many have used the past year to focus on making improvements to their services, resulting, for example, in more effective websites, bid books, and use of the social media. Various European convention bureaus have also, increased their education and training activities, improving their own skills and knowledge as well as those of their stakeholders.

In terms of the convention bureaus’ predictions for the future: there is widespread expectation that the digitalisation of meetings will continue into the post-pandemic world; there will be more focus on local and national markets; health, hygiene and safety of destinations will be paramount; sustainability, wellness and the social legacy of meetings will become more relevant; and in-person meetings will be generally smaller and shorter, but will have to offer participants more genuine value.

This survey says Dr Davidson indicates that European convention bureaus are working hard to support their destinations by innovating and adapting to the immense challenges now facing them, including continuing uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic. It provides evidence that when the recovery comes, the bureaus will be ready and willing to play their part in restoring prosperity, travel and animation in their destinations.

MICE Knowledge is a London-based consultancy specialising in research, education and training for the international meetings industry.  The 48-page report, ‘The Impacts of the Pandemic on Convention Bureaus in Europe’ is available free from here:

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Seoul Convention Bureau to Promote More of Hybrid Model Events in its MICE Recovery

By | 2021

The bureau has undertaken some comprehensive measures for the resumption of the MICE industry in the city, and through its strategic long-term plans aim to support hybrid models of global standard, for both face-to-face and screen-to-screen business interaction in a quality environment of cutting-edge technology with existing quarantine procedures.

Essential supports include the Reassuring Package which is designed as an effective safeguard for MICE participants when business starts up again within the year. The package provides the necessary services of emergency medical insurance, language services, general concierge services for hotel and transportation reservations.

While organisers of online and hybrid events, are eligible for financial aid with as much as KRW10 million are given as a stipend for operating expenses.

Attention however, is focused, on sustaining the local MICE industry through attracting international conferences. Application requirements have eased for event planners to receive appropriate backing when hosting an international conference. At the bidding phase assistance includes thorough consultation, official supporting letters, presentation tips and a maximum of KRW200 million during the hosting phase.

To further assist in advancing skills of event planners in responding to the needs for hybrid approaches, the bureau is developing an online platform in cooperation with the Korea Exhibition Organizers Association for consulting services in international marketing and information technology. This will help relieve the burden of event planners in producing their own online platform.

In its press release, the Seoul Convention Bureau stated: Looking ahead, the bureau is confident in gaining an increased level of global competitiveness within the local exhibition sector upon the plan being completed.

A hybrid synergy of operative quarantine countermeasures and a multi-faceted plan of bolstering the capacity of MICE professionals are anticipated to both revitalise and further the sustainability of Seoul’s MICE industry.

The Seoul Convention Bureau has also established an international alliance with convention bureaus from The Hague, Geneva, Prague, Ottawa, and Durban by joining the Hybrid City Alliance, the first Asian convention bureau to do so.

Darwin Convention Centre Offers Complimentary Virtual Background Images of Australia’s ‘Top End’ Region

By | 2021

The convention centre has collaborated with award-winning Darwin based aerial photographer and artist Paul Arnold, to offer, a series of complimentary virtual backgrounds created, from the artist’s limited ‘Elevated Collection’ ranging from the floodplains of Kakadu and Cape Hotham to the shoals of Ngulbitjik in Bare Sand Island.

A uniquely stunning perspective of the ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory is captured in the collection of the geographical region that is considered, the northern most part of the Australian continent that is so big that is has, a climate from tropical to rainforest in the northern half, with semi-arid desert terrain below known as the Red Zone.

Inspired by the light, colours and textures of the Northern Territory landscape, Paul Arnold’s iconic artworks has encapsulate the region like no other from the green floodplains, to the blue ocean waters, the ‘Top End’ is one continuous yet ever-changing artwork commented Arnold.

“The centre is very proud to partner with Paul Arnold for this promotion  with planning in progress for the return of national and international events, we are excited to share a little bit of ‘Top End’ magic with our clients as we work together to meet again,” said Peter Savoff, general manager of Darwin Convention Centre.

You can download your complimentary virtual backgrounds at: https://www.darwinconvention.com.au/paul-arnold-zoom-gallery.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign

Images by Paul Arnold courtesy of Darwin Convention Centre.

Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau Rolls Out its Business Events Strategic Marketing Plan

By | 2021

MyCEB recently launched its strategic marketing plan for Malaysia’s business events industry with a time frame from 2021 to 2030, to achieve its goals and position Malaysia, as a choice destination for business events and international sporting events. This also includes establishing Malaysia, as a brand for sustainable practices and digital economy

The strategic marketing plan itself evaluates critically the past strengths and weaknesses of the business events industry in the country to formulate future strategies and action plans, while embracing sustainable marketing approach driven by the continuous process of adapting to digitalisation and innovation.

Known by its acronym SMP is also in line with two of Malaysia’s tourism sector’s strategic plan that is, to make the country a cultural destination by 2025 and the National Tourism Policy of 2020 to 2030 with the SMP, emphasising more on an integrated approach towards business and international sporting events.

According to Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri who launched the strategic marketing plan, the SMP aims to contribute three percent to the travel and tourism sector of the country and, create an estimated 25,833 total employment by 2030.  She added: majority of the strategy will be driven by industry players; however, there will be a clear role for government in facilitating the growth of Malaysia’s business and international sporting events.

The SMP has six goals: for MyCeb to get going and host business events and international sporting events; Malaysia to be Asia’s top five events powerhouse by 2030; business events to contribute directly to the economy and national gross domestic product of the country; set in motion for events to be yield-driven; business events to be a key element in the country’s ministries and government agencies by 2030; and business events to connect and boost investment opportunities in the country

China May Day Holiday Forecast Data Shows up to 200 Million Tourists set to Travel

By | 2021

Trip.com Group, a global travel services provider, has released its forecast data for the upcoming May Day holiday in mainland China showing, up to 200 million tourists, will be on the move over the five-day break.

According to data from Trip.com Group platform Ctrip, as of April 14, bookings for the May Day holiday, have seen significant increases across many business areas in comparison, with the same period in 2019.

Reported by the forecast data, current volume of hotel bookings has achieved a 43 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019. High-end hotel bookings accounted for more than 50 percent of total bookings over the May Day holiday. This forecast aligns with previous domestic travel trends, where many mainland Chinese travellers opt for a hotel-based vacation to spend the national holiday.

Air ticket bookings have also once again seen an increase compared to the same May Day holiday period in 2019, growing by 23 percent. With the increased demand, the average price of an economy class air ticket has risen to RMB 1,021, exceeding the average price of economy air tickets from the same period in 2019.

The forecast data shows that as of April 14, the number of people nationwide making bookings for attractions through Trip.com Group’s Ctrip platform increased by 114 percent compared to 2019. This number is expected to boom in the weeks approaching the May Day holiday due to the short booking cycle for attractions.

In mainland China, advance attraction ticket booking is a new phenomenon and feature introduced and spread by the industry, to better predict and prepare attraction sites for visitors, and to facilitate improved management of visitor numbers following the pandemic.

This May Day holiday will see greater enthusiasm for long-distance travel across provinces in mainland China. The data shows that over 70 percent of tourists are choosing inter-provincial travel, a trend that builds on the short-haul travel boom that occurred in mainland China following the removal of domestic travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, the current level of car rental bookings for May Day holiday travel have reached growth of 126 percent compared to the same period in 2019, with nearly 90 percent of car rental bookings made for inter-provincial travel.

Trip.com Group booking and search volumes from mainland China reveal the extent of pent up travel demand that exists in domestic markets. The most recent Qingming Festival holiday, saw Chinese domestic travel bookings on Trip.com Group platform, Ctrip, increase by 300 percent 300 compared to 2019. Trip.com Group data on Chinese mainland demand for outbound travel to Macao for the upcoming May Day holiday, saw bookings, rise by 20 percent compared to the same period of 2019.

The strong domestic travel recovery in the mainland China market is further evidence that the global travel revival will have a staggered build up. As the vaccine rollout continues worldwide and global initiatives, such as the CommonPass platform which Trip.com Group supports become more popularised, safe cross-border travel will become possible.

Keynote Speakers Wanted for Business Events around Australia

By | 2021

Business Events Perth is offering up to AUD25, 000 to help secure extraordinary keynote speakers for national business events anywhere in Australia.

For a limited time, Western Australia’s convention bureau is offering cash incentive to help business event planners lock in an outstanding headline speaker and in turn boost registrations for their 2021 business event.

Business Events Perth chief executive Gareth Martin said, the new fund was designed, to offer a helping hand to business events around Australia this year, which are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

“We recognise that to revitalise the business events industry we need to invest in it and provide immediate support, so events can proceed with certainty.”

He further added: “That is why this offer is available to national business events taking place anywhere in Australia in 2021, not just in Western Australia. We have to support events that are taking place now, so they’ll still be here in the years to come.”

The right keynote speaker according to the chief executive can, inspire and motivate a conference audience, and a high-profile personality, is often a decision-making factor for delegates to attend a business event.

Eligible events can access up to 50 per cent of the funding once the speaker is confirmed.

The keynote speaker incentive is open to business events taking place before December 31, 2021 that have duration of three days or more, and a minimum of 200 in-person delegates.

This new funding is independent of other subvention funding offered by Business Events Perth for business events held in Western Australia.

You can find out about the full event eligibility and terms and conditions at: https://www.businesseventsperth.com/host-an-event/funding-incentives/keynote-speaker-incentive/keynote-speaker-incentive-terms-and-conditions/

International Travellers Get Medical Coverage on Covid-19 during Stay at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Asia Pacific

By | 2021

Shangri-La Group now extends the programme of covid-19 medical coverage at no additional charge for international guests in its properties located in Southeast Asia, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

The programme will be introduced in phases beginning from April 2021, with hotels in Malaysia and Australia among the new inclusions.

Shangri-La Group is amongst the first international hotel chains to provide this automatic medical coverage for international guests, a move that builds on the Group’s heartfelt ‘Shangri-La Cares’ commitment as it seeks, to provide further assurance and peace of mind for guests travelling during this period.

To receive this covid-19 emergency medical coverage, international guests will have to book their stays at participating Shangri-La Hotel & Resorts properties for eligible check-in dates, and they will be automatically covered under the policy at no additional charge.

Underwritten by AIG, the coverage include emergency medical expenses of up to a total of USD184,000 for necessary medical costs that are reasonable should any guests, test positive for covid-19 during their stay.

The policy also covers additional accommodation which is for room only and travel expenses, should the guest, need to extend their stay for medical reasons due to covid-19. Guests can contact a dedicated AIG customer service team for assistance, if they are diagnosed with covid-19 during their stay. They will also have access to emergency travel assistance which is available around the clock during their trip.

Vancouver Convention Centre Opens a Community Vaccination Site

By | 2021

The local community can now receive their covid-19 vaccination at a new vaccination clinic located in the Vancouver Convention Centre’s East building.  The venue has partnered with the Government of British Columbia to open the clinic on March 29 and is also collaborating with Vancouver Coastal Health and other partners, to carry out the province’s immunisation plan.

Operated by Vancouver Coastal Health, the vaccination clinic at the Vancouver Convention Centre will employ workers from across the province’s tourism, hospitality and sport sectors to support the next phase of British Columbia’s covid-19 immunisation plan. The initiative will create more than 1,400 working opportunities and provide much-needed support to some of the province’s hardest hit industries.

In addition to this, the centre hosts the covid-19 Rapid Response Team for contract tracing, relaying test result and site for test processing.  The facility, Alternate Care Site in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority and BC Centre Disease Control has been able to accommodate response to the pandemic.

At the same time, the convention centre has enforced a comprehensive safety plan to help inform of current and future activity held at the centre. Recently, the convention centre, earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Star Facility accreditation, a cleaning industry gold standard for venues prepared for outbreak, prevention, response and recovery.

Singapore Introduces SG SafeEvents Certification for the MICE Sector to Prepare Resumption of Activities

By | 2021

The certification programme based on Technical Reference 84 developed by the Singapore Standards Council, is the first of its kind for enterprises in the country to achieve, competitive edge in the global MICE landscape.

Under the SG SafeEvents Certification, organisers are required to have a risk management plan with identified hazards documents and control measures that have, been implemented either before or during events. While venue operators, have to, ensure that a routine and periodic cleaning and disinfection plan is developed. Organisers and venue operators are also encouraged to use contactless technology where feasible.

The certification process takes into consideration the protocols that need to be put in place to contain and manage emergency situations.

While the Technical Reference 84 or TR 84 as it’s known, provides best practices for conducting events in a safe and responsible manner beyond what is covered under the government-mandated safe management measures which complements the Singapore Tourism Board’s ‘Safe Business Events’ framework.

Through TR 84, event organisers, venue owners, and suppliers in the MICE and events industry, are given guidelines as well as, best practices in: hygiene and sanitisation; safe distancing; and emergency management.

Singapore Association for Convention Exhibitions Organisers and Suppliers in the meantime, is working with Singapore’s NTUC Learning Hub to provide training for a team of SG SafeEvent Ambassadors whose role is specific to the requirements of the SG SafeEvent Standards.

To date, 700 ambassadors have undergone training and are ready to be mobilised onsite at events. SACEOS aims to increase the pool to 1,000 ambassadors by mid-2021 in anticipation of increased demand, when more events are organised.