How to Engage the Younger Generation

By | 2019

By Lesley Williams, market development director of BestCities

The theme for BestCities Global Forum 2019 in Copenhagen is ‘the future of meetings’ – what does that mean?

The world is changing at a tremendous rate, so it’s important therefore that associations, and their congresses, maintain their relevancy 20 years from now. A huge factor in this is engaging with the youth by providing them with a platform to engage in key conversations that affect the future.

Many associations are struggling to attract new and younger members, and so are having, to adapt the way they do things.  Conferences are priceless opportunities to learn, keep ahead of the innovations in your particular field, be part of them, or even create them.  I am great believer in face to face interactions.  A young person may take more advantage of the technology available to communicate and learn but either way, international meetings and international associations need to evolve to be able to adapt to the different ways of learning and networking that the younger generation demands.

What does the younger generation bring to the global meetings industry? 

The youth generation is the future of the global meetings industry. They are pioneers, full of new ideas, innovation and it’s what meetings are all about without the engagement of the younger generation, there is no movement and innovation will be stifled and slow.  Those not embracing the youth may lag behind.

When aiming to attract younger delegates to a conference, the rhetoric tends, to be around how it will benefit their careers through the learning they will experience, the opportunities to meet the experts, and the value in the networking which it does absolutely.

However, should we change the focus and talk about engaging the youth so that we, “the experts”, can learn from them?  Demonstrate clearly the “what’s in it for me?” value which many younger delegates already adopt when attending conferences; providing platforms for the youth to have a voice and shape the future of a conference or an association.  Let’s consider their aspirations and enable them to influence how we run events and exchange knowledge.

How does BestCities work with younger generations? 

BestCities recently launched our Inspiring Young Leaders (IYL) programme – part of our commitment to legacy and promoting positive impact – this focuses on ensuring international associations can enhance their relevance with today’s young people, as well as allowing them to support and inspire the industry leaders of the future.

The younger generation are spearheading a number of initiatives around sustainability, so we want to amplify that message – IYL aims to support and encourage associations doing just that.  At our Global Forum in Bogotá last year, we gave the floor to an inspiring young man, Neydar Culchac, who created an initiative to transform the lives of 480 families in his community by replacing illegal crops by pepper and cacao through a rural entrepreneur project.

Have you observed any particularly effective examples of engaging youth audiences from an association?

Many associations are able to attract the younger generation to conferences through bursaries, or just the funding of flights and accommodation, which is a great use of funds – as often these are the kind of boundaries for young people that would deter them. If we can get them there, they can learn, present their ideas, help shape the association and shape today’s world.

I’ve observed many great examples of youth engagement in associations, but one that particularly stood out recently is One Young World (OYW) and their association with Sinead Burke, activist and model, young person with dwarfism.  She is an ambassador for One Young World (OYW) and also a TED speaker.  Both organisations provided platforms for Sinead to tell her story and enable her to make an impact on the world by speaking on disability issues and business.

In fact, she’s currently gracing the cover of Vogue for HRH Duchess of Sussex guest edition, and has almost 100,000 followers on her socials, making her an ideal candidate to reach a younger audience.







MICE Show Asia 2019 Conference Focus is on ‘Winning the Hearts of MICE Buyers’

By | 2019

Speakers from across the industry, is set to share their expertise on technology, marketing and MICE developments during the inaugural MICE Show Asia conference which will take place alongside ITB Asia 2019 from October 16 to 18 in Singapore.

The conference aims to redefine industry practices and identify new trends that will shape the future of MICE events. During the three days, more than 30 speakers from Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), MICE buyer organisations, MICE tech companies and start-ups, will discuss topics ranging from events organisation and management, technological applications to trends forecasting and challenging conventional practices.

“The mission of MICE Show Asia 2019 is to provide industry suppliers with the insights and strategies to meet ever-evolving buyers’ needs. As the MICE scene continues to grow, there has never been a greater need to bring together industry professionals from across varied disciplines to share their knowledge and perspectives. Our conference sessions are designed to get attendees to rethink how they understand the industry, and gain the ability to set them apart,” said Katrina Leung, managing director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of MICE Show Asia.

For more information on MICE Show Asia 2019 visit

Macau to Have its Own Iconic International Convention Centre

By | 2019

By the first half of 2021, Macau will have a world-class event venue. Galaxy Entertainment Group announced at the IBTM China 2019, its latest addition to its integrated resort precinct.

Galaxy International Convention Center (GICC) is the new event facility developed by the Group which will have; a total space of 40,000 square metres featuring an exhibition and convention hall with 10,000 square metres of pillar-less space that accommodates up to 7,000 guests and, a 16,000 seat Galaxy Arena that can host concerts and large-scale events which is set to become the ultimate entertainment venue.

In an interview with the managing editor of MICE in Asia in Beijing, Scott Kreegar, the Group’s director of operations development for new resorts mentioned that, the Galaxy International Convention Center will be equipped with the latest immersive technology and when opened, the GICC can be considered as a venue that is the most advanced in terms of technology in the region.

Currently, according to Kreegar, the integrated resort which has Macau’s largest collection of luxury hotel brands under one roof, each of which, have their own MICE facilities with GICC however, the venue is able to provide  more comprehensive MICE facilities on a larger scale with its multiple space configuration hence, targeting bigger MICE business for the integrated resort.

He mentioned that integrated resort aims at capturing the Chinese meetings and incentive business, but is also looking beyond to Japan, Singapore and Europe. The GICC according to him has the advantage of being situated within an integrated resort precinct that is, able to offer organisers and delegates a complete package; from hospitality, entertainment, professional event services, technology, retail outlets, food and beverage and leisure.

On the overall picture, the GICC and the Galaxy integrated resort would like to complement Macau in attracting MICE business. Already Macau has become an attractive destination for MICE with Macau’s long standing association as a historical location rich in culture, gastronomy and now art.

Below:  The ribbon cutting ceremony  held on August 28 at the IBTM China 2019 to announce the opening of  the Galaxy International Convention Center in 2021.  From left to right:  Ruan Wei, Deputy Director General of Trade and Investment Promotion Department of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Dong Hui, Director of the Committee for the Liason with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese of CPPCC National Council,  Scott Kreegar, Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Director of Operations Development for New Resorts, Chen Zhituan, Director of Enterprise Service Center for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao,  Leong Kit Chi, Director of the  Office of the Macao Special Administrative Region in Beijing and Elaine Wong, Senior Manager of Promotional Activities and Development  of Conventions and Exhibitions Department of Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute.

IBTM China’s New Initiatives Connect, Educate and Inspire

By | 2019

After two full days of meetings, networking and education sessions, IBTM China ended on a high, with this year’s new show features proving a hit with the almost 4,000 event professionals who attended the region’s leading event in Beijing at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) from August 28 to 29.

This year, IBTM China featured several exciting new initiatives and activities, designed to increase opportunities for connection and learning among delegates. The Business Travel Digital Innovation Summit saw delegates explore the latest issues facing business travel managers, and the new Happy Hour provided a buzz on the show floor and allowed for valuable networking to take place.

Over 350 high quality domestic and international exhibitors attended IBTM China, a 40 percent increase from last year. These included Air Canada, Okinawa Japan, Fiji Tourism, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Sydney Conference and Training Centre, Salam Management Services, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, Shanghai New International Expo Centre and Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality.

Exhibitor Cecilia Lavin, head of sales at Sodexo & Prestige Events, said: “This is my first time as an exhibitor at IBTM China. I’ve had over 30 successful pre-booked appointments, as well as a lot of walk in trade, which isn’t very common for exhibitions like this, so that’s fantastic news. The show has been particularly good for MICE business to the UK, and the events around the show have been great for meeting more buyers, so I would strongly recommend anyone who is looking to target China’s market to attend IBTM China.”

Exhibitor Kelli Li, major account manager at GL Events Venues commented: “Compared to the other shows, IBTM China is one of the most important events for us and one of the highest quality shows in China. We’ll be continuing to attend the show and hope to see the Chinese MICE buyers grow in the region.”

Three hundred and thirty five hosted buyers attended with 84 percent of who had a full diary of appointments.

Hosted buyer Martina Spagnolello, planning and operations manager at Casta Diva Events said: “I had the chance to speak to exhibitors from several different regions in China and made good connections with local suppliers. Every time I’ve come to China it’s for work and I haven’t had time to travel around and find new destinations and opportunities. However, IBTM China has given me the chance to talk to local companies from all over the country. The amount of information and connections I have made at IBTM China in two days would take well over a year to gather!”

Nicole Ci, event manager of IBTM China, says: “I’m incredibly proud of the team and what we have achieved with this year’s event. Our first ever Business Travel Digital Innovation Summit was extremely well received and it was fantastic, to feel the buzz on the show floor throughout the event. Feedback so far, has been excellent in terms of the positive outcomes of business meetings taking place and we’re already, looking forward to building on this success for next year’s event.”

IBTM China gathered over 3,288 global meetings industry professionals together for two days full of pre-scheduled business meetings. The event uses IBTM’s bespoke ‘matchmaking’ software to provide each hosted buyer with a pre-arranged schedule of meetings to ensure that buyers only meet with people with whom, there’s a great chance they’ll do business.

Making it Easy for Anyone to be a Tourist in Asia

By | 2019

GROUND Asia a student travel company has created responsible traveller training module and made them free for anyone interested in travelling responsibly.

The move means that everyone can learn how to do the right thing on sensitive issues such as single-use plastics, responsible photography, child safety, and giving donations when visiting Asia and beyond.

This initiative follows GROUND Asia’s transformative responsible training workshop for its staff in Mai Chau, Vietnam in March. The workshop was created to address challenges that kept arising during student trips to Asia.

“Following the workshop, best practices from four years of leading student groups in Asia were distilled into new practical guidelines, policies and procedures for all GROUND Asia trips,” says Lauren Groves, general manager of GROUND Asia.

The training manual that GROUND Asia now adheres to means that the company’s field operations are closely aligned to the values and aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

There’s no limit on who can use the new responsible traveller modules. The guidelines are being made available to everyone from: students; teachers; faculty members; host communities; education sector suppliers; and tour operators.  Even competitors to GROUND Asia can use them to train their own staff, guides and host communities.

“The aim is to provide thoughtful, practical and responsible guidelines that benefit everyone in travel, education and related fields,” reiterates Groves.

Training is “concise, factual and informative,” she says. “We want to lead the conversation about issues, rather than simply dictate behaviour.”

Further information:

SMF 2019 Breaks Through New Perspectives and Forge Partnerships to Transform the Business Events Industry

By | 2019

Design experience, digital transformation, storytelling, community engagement and passionate people are the highlights framed in the key takeaways at the recent Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) held at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre on July 25 and 26.

Themed ‘Wired for the Future’, the SMF2019 showcased compelling insights impacting the business events industry. The event brought together next-generation thinkers and disruptors in MICE and industry verticals to uncover deep insights on building value through design and innovation.

Organised by Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, SACEOS also forged new ground with strategic partnerships that enable a digitally-ready and future-ready MICE industry.

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed with fellow regional trade associations and global technology companies to propel digital transformation for the sector and explore cross industry development. Following Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) MoU with Alibaba Group in April to drive visitor arrivals and spending, SACEOS has signed an MoU with Alibaba Cloud (Singapore) Private Limited to explore collaborations on digital innovation for business events in Singapore. As part of the arrangement, SACEOS and Alibaba Cloud will explore joint workshops and seminars where participants can get hands-on exposure to Alibaba Cloud solutions, big data and AI technologies.

As China is a significant visitor-generating market for Singapore, SACEOS will also be working with STB and WeChat, one of the most widely used Chinese social media platform that integrates instant messaging and social payment with over 1 billion monthly active user accounts.

The collaboration aims to increase technology adoption to boost the overall experience for Chinese MICE visitors in Singapore. As part of the efforts to accelerate digital transformation and technology adoption in the MICE sector, SACEOS also signed a MoU with SGTech at SMF2019 to share information, cross-promote, foster collaboration and build a robust business events industry.

Both parties will be working towards helping members improve their adoption of technology and digitally-enabled solutions, as well as facilitating interaction between the members in the two associations.

“We look forward to collaborating with high-impact technology companies to create more business value for both parties, help our relevant businesses in their digital transformation and spearhead greater success for Singapore’s MICE industry. With enterprises existing in various stages of collaboration, competition and transformation, these partnerships will facilitate an effective eco-system for start-ups and SMEs to grow,” said Aloysius Arlando, president of SACEOS.

Beyond digital transformation, SACEOS rallied fellow regional events trade associations to jointly build a stronger business events industry for the region. Together with four other trade associations, SACEOS signed the Asia Community Building Pledge to foster stronger, mutually beneficial cooperation.

The associations include Indonesia Exhibition Companies Association (IECA), Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS), Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc. (PACEOS), and Thailand Incentive & Convention Association (TICA)



Seoul Steps Up Efforts to Train and Support Local MICE Talent

By | 2019

Seoul provided a compelling backdrop on July 5 to help encourage nationwide youths to join the meetings industry at Seoul MICE Future Day 2019, held at Floating Island Convention within the city’s Hangang River. The event is the latest of Seoul’s efforts to upscale its support for home-grown meetings industry providers, in particular small-to-medium business events companies as well as college students and young jobseekers trained in related fields.

Hosted by the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) and sponsored by the Korea MICE Association, the inaugural MICE Future Day attracted 200 MICE supporters from convention bureaus nationwide. MICE supporters are trained by regional convention bureaus to provide operational assistance at events hosted by their host destination. The Seoul MICE Supporters program in particular assist around 100 business events a year, with an average of 20 supporters assisting at each event – all part of the city’s PLUS Seoul support program.

The Seoul MICE Future Day included a keynote speech on the topic of ‘Trends in the Digital Age and Effective Marketing’ by Kim Taewon, Managing Director of Global IT Group. Also featured was a quiz show, talks by other industry experts and a competition challenging teams of supporters representing each convention bureau to come up with creative ways of promoting inter-regional cooperation.

Describing the motivation behind Seoul MICE Future Day, STO head of MICE marketing Lee Gyeongjae said the event “established a place for talented people who are interested in, and passionate about, the MICE industry,” adding also that it “will expand upon our interactions with academia and related businesses to grow tomorrow’s professional labor force.”

The initiative follows the June 25 opening of the new Seoul MICE Small Business Support Center, designed to provide expert consultation for small-to-medium-sized business events enterprises on a range of matters, including judicial, tax, labor affairs, and key management issues. SMEs account for 85 percent of Seoul’s meetings industry providers, some of which are members of the Seoul MICE Alliance.

“We aim to make the Seoul MICE Small Business Support Center a gateway for SME companies to become empowered contributors to business events in our city” said Ju Yongtae, director of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s tourism and sports department. “In so doing, we will actively help MICE companies to create a business-friendly environment for our meetings industry.”

Seoul currently ranks in third place worldwide for the number of meetings hosted the previous year, according to the latest UIA International Meetings Statistics Report – a position it has now held four years’ running. The same report places Korea second worldwide in the country rankings category.

More information about PLUS SEOUL, along with the Seoul MICE Alliance, which includes over 300 city-approved local event venues and service providers, is available at


TCEB-Business’ Effort to Position Thailand as an Exhibition Hub of ASEAN is shaping up with 2019 One of the Best Years

By | 2019

This year sees, Thailand hosting the 86th UFI Global Congress, from November 6 to 9 in Bangkok welcoming more than 400 of the global exhibition industry’s movers and shakers. In total, 22 international exhibitions held in Thailand during 2018-2019 were certified by UFI the global association of the exhibition industry, representing the highest number of UFI-certified exhibitions in ASEAN.

TCEB also supported and won bids for 17 new international exhibitions in 2019 – a record number with more than half being focused on Thailand’s 10 S-Curve industries. They include: four events on smart devices from China, Singapore and Malaysia; one event on digital from Germany; an event on energy from Singapore; two food events from Thailand; and one each on logistics and health from Thailand.

In the pipeline, TCEB-Business is also eyeing an additional 22 possible events, mostly focusing on the 10 S-Curve industries including three digital events, two food events and two events each on energy, smart devices and logistics.

According to Nichapa Yoswee, TCEB’s senior vice president-business, new trends are emerging where international organisers are utilising Thailand as a gateway to the ASEAN region and are, keen to explore the many business opportunities provided by the Thai government’s ‘Thailand 4.0 – EEC’ (Eastern Economic Corridor) initiative; which is considered ASEAN’s largest in terms of investment values and development potential.

These include prestigious events such as CEBIT ASEAN Thailand (Digital) from Germany, Infocomm Southeast Asia (Smart Devices) from Singapore, ANDTEX (non-woven material for the manufacturing industry) from the United States and SILMO (Optical) from France.

New events that are returning for the second consecutive year in 2019 include CEBIT ASEAN Thailand, Bangkok Beauty Show (Health Tourism) and Medical Devices ASEAN (Integrated Medical Service).

She added, this record setting performance is driven partly by TCEB’s ‘360 Degree Exhibition Success’ campaign. The ‘Exhibiz in Market scheme’ has so far supported six national pavilions at various exhibitions in Thailand, including in China at CEBIT ASEAN Thailand, LED Expo and METALEX; South Korea at Propak Asia, SILMO and Medical Devices ASEAN; Singapore at Infocomm Southeast Asia; Malaysia at CEBIT ASEAN Thailand; Taiwan at Propak Asia and Medical Devices ASEAN; and the United Kingdom at Propak Asia.

The ‘ASEAN+6 Privilege’ element assists business missions in bringing trade visitors from ASEAN+6 countries, including China, to Thailand for business meetings during exhibitions held in the Kingdom.  Recently TCEB confirmed 250 trade visitors from Vietnam for business meetings at trade shows on food and agriculture, construction, infrastructure, health, retail, lifestyle and automotive events. Also confirmed are 70 trade visitors from Myanmar for business meetings at trade shows on medical and pharmaceutical, food processing and packaging, retail, logistics, sports and tourism.


ITB Asia 2019 Introduces New Buyers Elite Partner Programme

By | 2019

Under the new initiative, ITB Asia will provide complimentary hosting to partners that recommend 15 successful buyers to attend the show. This gives partners a platform to develop stronger trade ties with recommended buyers and secure more business opportunities together. The show has seen an increase in number of MICE buyers following the launch of MICE Show Asia earlier this year.

To uphold the quality of buyers at this year’s show, ITB Asia has been working closely with industry partners old and new from the MICE, Corporate and Leisure segments.

Corporate partners this year include the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), new partner Corporate Travel Management (CTM), and the United Networks of International Corporate Event Organisers (UNICEO).

ACTE will be returning with its Corporate Travel Day once more this year, while CTM will be hosting a conference for corporate travel, providing curated content for the corporate buying segment to learn and network with industry leaders.

ITB Asia has experienced a boost in partners from the MICE segment and with the launch of the new MICE Show Asia to take place alongside ITB Asia this year, it has attracted a pool of quality MICE buyers to attend the show.

MICE partners under the Buyers Elite Partner Programme (BEPP) include the likes of Advantage Meetings and Events, EVINTRA, Helmsbriscoe, who will be bringing the largest contingent of MICE buyers this year, Korea MICE Association (KMA), Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), Philippines Association of Convention Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (PACEOS), and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), who is taking part for the first time.

Building on the success of 2018’s Buyers Programme, this year’s ITB Asia has already seen about 35 percent increases in approved buyers. Buyers are coming from across the world but specifically from high-growth markets such as Southeast Asia, China and India.

“As the leading travel trade show, we want to provide a dynamic and diverse platform for our stakeholders to forge strong business relationships. We are pleased to have attracted a greater number of buyers to this year’s show, specifically from markets which have shown to have huge growth potential in travel and tourism. By working closely with our exhibitors and through the new Elite Partner Programme, we hope to spur more business opportunities for both parties,” said Katrina Leung, managing director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia.

Reykjavík Bites the Bid

By | 2019

The European Film Academy has announced that the European Film Awards will be hosted in Reykjavik in December 2020.  About 1,400 industry people and journalists from other European countries are expected to make their presence in and around the capital city during the ceremony.

Myriad of events have been planned to add a fun art buzz to the event rubbing elbows with European talent and producers alike and, Iceland’s most known director, Baltasar Kormákur.

The awards ceremony will take place at Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, as will various events and functions related to the European film industry. It will be a grand addition to all the events that Harpa has produced over the years.

Designed by Olafur Eliasson, Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects, Harpa Concert Hall is an ideally artful and statuesque venue situated by the Atlantic Ocean and graced by the juxtaposition of mountains and city life.

Reykjavík competed against two other European cities for the event and Meet in Reykjavík led the bidding process alongside stakeholders from both the public and private sectors in Iceland. Excited to win the prestigious honor of hosting the event is Thorsteinn Orn Gudmundsson, the Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík, as he commented: “We can add this to a long list of Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre success stories. This unique architectural gem is the main reason why we can compete for events like the EFA awards.”

If you’re thinking about visiting Reykjavik in December next year, you might like to know that it’s going to be bustling with European film elite.