This year’s CIBTM, China’s leading meetings (BT MICE) event opened in Beijing’s newest exhibition venue on September 8th 2009 and was 35% larger than the last CIBTM in 2007. As one of the first events at the CNCC (China National Convention Centre), participants were in the heart of the Olympic Green and alongside the Bird’s Nest - a venue made famous around the world during the 2008 Olympic Games.
Highlights from the show included an announcement by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) to launch a new initiative for 2010 with the creation of the first week dedicated to the Meetings, Events and Incentives (BT MICE) industry in China. Co-hosted and supported by the Beijing Tourism Administration (BTA), CIBTM will be the pivot for the week which the organisers hope will bring support from the private sector, local and regional authorities, the industry Associations and CIBTM participants.
Commenting on the initiative, CIBTM Event Director Graeme Barnett said: “CIBTM’s aim is to be the driving force behind the growth of the meetings industry throughout China. This latest edition has shown that both exhibitors, Hosted Buyers and trade visitors are thirsty for knowledge of the sector and international business practices which have resulted in a record attendance for the professional education programme. By introducing a week of events surrounding CIBTM 2010 we can help China fully realise its potential to attract large scale international corporate and association events.
“We will now start to build a strategy for the creation of China Meetings Week that will focus on education and learning, knowledge sharing and best practice. As this is one of the most important markets in the world, CIBTM 2010 will lead the way in providing an insight into the needs of both inbound and outbound BT MICE business.”
Chris Lynn, Sales & Marketing Director Long Haul for Visit London, and exhibitor at CIBTM confirmed the need for education and said, “This market is a huge education process which we are wholeheartedly happy to support”.
This year’s Education programme reflected the needs of both inbound and outbound buyers and suppliers and included presentations on ‘The Changing Tastes of Chinese Corporate Buyers’. David Zhong of MICE CHINA detailed how a new trend has emerged with corporate buyers now prepared to take the advice of international third parties about destinations, whilst also participating in overseas fam trips - something that didn’t happen a few years ago when all recommendations were taken only from local travel agencies.
He also detailed how buyers are now “smarter, more realistic and focused on ROI”, whilst stability of a country and security are also high on the agenda for corporates when choosing a location.
Vivian Wang, Director of Procurement at Lenovo, one of China’s biggest PC companies, also spoke on how she selects a destination for her meetings and incentives. Lenovo spent more than $3.5m on overseas meetings since 2007 and Ms Wang said that the most popular destinations are now Europe, Japan and South Korea for their meetings and incentive programmes. “Europe is most important to Chinese people, they like it the best,” she said.
“The process of destination selection covers a number of priorities including the resources provided by the tourist board, the safety of the destination, comfort levels, the importance of the seasons and what cultural experiences they offer. Flights must be flexible and the conference facilities must be good. Finally, financial support from local tourism boards is important to ensure the budget is met,” Ms Wang added.
Other sessions included “The Perception of Chinese in the World and the Perception of the World by the Chinese” by Prof. Zhang Guanrui, The Director of Tourism Research Centre of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He talked about how 80% of Chinese see China still as a developing country and how other countries are simply sweeping China off its feet. At the same time, more and more Chinese people visit other parts of the world and they realize the outside world is not as good as they thought and not all foreigners are ‘China friendly’ as they expected.
‘Challenges and Strategies of Corporate Travel Management in the Current Global Economic Environment’ was featured on Day two and one of the sessions on the final day entitled ‘Technology in the Meetings Industry’ outlined some of the new technologies used to promote CIBTM from the Info Salons Group. All of the sessions are available to download from www.cibtm.com.
“This has been one of our most challenging and innovative education programmes to create. As a key brand value of RTE’s global portfolio of meetings events, we have the ability to draw on the resources and contacts of professionals and experts in the sector from around the world. For CIBTM this year we wanted to test the water and see how the sessions would evolve. Speakers see China as a major opportunity to help support and grow the MICE sector both inbound and outbound - regionally and internationally. We have been more than delighted with the response from everyone involved and of course from the Hosted Buyers and trade visitors, with many of the sessions oversubscribed,” said Erica Keogan, Associations and Education Manager for RTE.
During the CIBTM opening press conference, Ms Li Xuemin, Vice Director of the Beijing Tourism Administration outlined the progress of the development of the conference and meetings infrastructure in the City. Since 2007 the number of venues in Beijing has reached 4,425 with 10 exhibition halls and over 134,000 hotel rooms in the City of which 836 are star-rated. Beijing attracts approximately 2,000 domestic and international meetings annually of which 140 are considered large events.
Commenting on CIBTM, Ms Li Xuemin said: “CIBTM 2009 was very successful. I am looking forward to the success of 2010 China Meetings Week.”
CIBTM 2009 attracted more than 321 exhibiting companies and is expected to confirm 280 Hosted Buyers and over 3,500 trade visitors once the figures are officially independently audited in the coming weeks.
Colleen Jiang, Shun Tak Hospitality Services Ltd and a participant on the Macau Tourism Board stand - this year’s biggest exhibitor - said “CIBTM has been a good show. We have had many new leads and potential business from both China and overseas visitors mainly
focused on general incentive programmes and insurance company meetings. We have had 99% of our appointments fulfilled and the quality of the buyer was good.”
Lei Changqing, GM of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Hebei Sub-Council and a Hosted Buyer said, “It’s my third time at CIBTM as the programme is excellent. It helps to control the quality. As a member of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, we’re often participating in exhibitions and conferences abroad. We are eager to get information on hotel prices and exhibition venues from destination organisations.”