The 22nd Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meetings Asia (IT&CMA) was successfully held at the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld on September 30-October 2, 2014. Held together with the 17th Corporate Travel World (CTW) Asia-Pacific, it is the world’s only double-bill event for MICE & Corporate Travel. Some 811 exhibitors from 261 companies and organizations were registered at this year’s event, while the total number of buyers and corporate travel managers was 537, excluding international and local media delegates, who counted 142 only.
As usual, the show organizer was TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media from Singapore, supported by Airports of Thailand (AoT), Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA). The official airline was THAI Airways International, while the supporting airline was Bangkok Airways. As official hotels were nominated the Centara Grand at CentralWorld, Four Seasons Hotel, Grand Hyatt Erawan, and Intercontinental Hotel, all centrally located in Bangkok.
Actually, after a business trip to Viet Nam and Cambodia, I came a long way right from the Cambodian border Cham Yeam in Koh Kong Province to Hat Lek in Thailand’s Trat Province and then took Bus No.99 from the bus station in Trat via Chanthaburi, Rayong, and Satthahip to Pattaya, where the former “Sin City” will slowly but surely metamorphose into a sparkling family holiday resort town. From Pattaya, the journey of altogether 387km continued via Si Racha and Chonburi to Ekamai Station on Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road, where it was not far to reach the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld on September 29, where most of the hosted media delegates were accommodated for 4 nights to attend IT&CMA.
The show was officially opened in the afternoon of September 30 with welcome remarks by Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media, while the keynote address was given by Bert van Walbeek, Managing Director of The Winning Edge Company. This “Master of Disaster” talked about the needed crisis management, which is important to keep the MICE industry running, and concluded that communication is the key to success. The impressive talk ended with the playing of the John Lennon song “Imagine”. The social Opening Ceremony & Welcome Ceremony under the theme “Absolute Happiness” was held in the evening at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center and generously hosted by TCEB.
October 1 saw the first part of the media briefings, namely by Laguna Phuket, TCEB to introduce its Thailand Connect campaign, Thai Airways International, TICA, and the Park Hotel Group from Singapore. In the evening, there was a hosted dinner for buyers and media at the Sukosol Hotel, followed by a late night function at Sofitel So Bangkok.
On October 2, there was the second part of the media briefings, namely only by members of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to promote the high quality of Taipei City’s MICE environment. It seems that Taiwan is the hottest destination in Asia for incentive travel as well as conventions and meetings. The number of inbound visitors to Taiwan broke 8 million in 2013 and is expected to grow to 9 million this year. In addition to the tourism service, both the central and local governments of Taiwan are providing sufficient facilities and support to inbound meeting and incentive travel groups. Thus, early this year the new MICE venue of the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center located in southern part of the country was open for use. It’s time for Taiwan as your next destination.
Last not least, there was the 13th Sticky Awards Luncheon for all delegates and after a final media feedback session there was enough time to visit the gross exhibition area with its 5,000 square meters at the show this year. Cambodia and Switzerland were the new national pavilions, while the largest pavilions belonged to Thailand, Macau and Malaysia.
The following new and old MICE products were outstanding (in alphabetical order):
- Cambodia’s NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, which can accommodate more than 1,000 delegates (please see www.nagaworld.com).
- Egyptian Tourism Office to promote Egypt as a legendary country famous for its ancient civilization (please see www.egypt.travel).
- India Tourism Singapore Office to promote the tourist destinations of Kerala and Rajasthan (please see www.IncredibleIndia.org).
- Indonesia’s Grand Nikko Bali as a 5-star resort located in the southern part of Nusa Dua at the edge of the ocean (please seewww.grandnikkobali.com).
- Malaysia’s Eastern & Oriental Hotel with its old, colonial charm in Penang’s Georgetown, being an UNESCO World Heritage Site (please see www.eohotels.com).
- Philippines’ Manila Hotel, which is defined by its history, elegance, and world class service (please see www.manila-hotel.com.ph)
- Thailand’s Arosa Travel Service in Bangkok, which is a Swiss/Thai managed company with over 40 years in business (please seewww.arosatravel.com).
- Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok, which is still a well-hidden secret located on Sukhumvit Soi 18 in the city’s main business district, entertainment and tourist area (please see www.rembrandtbkk.com)
- Vietnam Airlines, which operates 93 routes to 21 domestic and 30 international destinations (please see www.vietnamairlines.com).
At noon of September 3, I was transferred to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to fly back to Chiang Mai with Bangkok Airways. All in all, IT&CMA 2014 confirmed its primacy within the booming MICE industry and the professional show will be held again next year at the same venue onSeptember 29–October 1, 2015.