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April 22, 2012

Beijing’s big plans to nurture MICE

Mindful of the need to diversify its tourism offerings in order to sustain long-term growth, Beijing (pictured) has decided to ramp up efforts in developing its MICE industry.

Speaking to the Daily on the sidelines of the China (Shanghai) International Meetings & Conferences Forum this morning, Sun Weijia, deputy director general, Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development (BTD), said: “Developing MICE is an essential component of turning a city into an international destination. Over the past few years, we have been busy improving our capabilities and infrastructure. Now, our leisure tourism market is almost reaching its capacity. There are so many people coming to Beijing for holidays at the moment, especially from the domestic market, putting great strain on facilities and the day-to-day management of the capital.”

“Hence, we decided to target further expansion of Beijing's tourism industry in the area of MICE. Now is the time to develop our MICE capabilities. With help from the MICE sector, Beijing can expand even faster.”

To meet this objective, the Bejing government has introduced a preferential policy to support MICE development in the capital. Overseeing the project will be BTD, which has been granted a RMB20 million (US$3.2 million) war chest for this year, according to Sun.


Initiatives being mapped out by BTD include the hosting of networking events for MICE professionals, producing a newsletter and an online platform that provides details on suppliers, venues, service providers and MICE resources in Beijing, as well as establishing the Beijing Alliance for MICE Development, a formal grouping of MICE companies which facilitates exchange of knowledge.

In addition, BTD is planning to organise hosted fam trips and site inspections for international media and buyers, and will also provide support for event organisers looking to bid for and host events in the capital, said Sun.

Incentives offered to event organisers include sponsorship for banquets and gala dinners, printing of brochures, and access to professional consultation services through BTD.

“All the conditions are there for the development of MICE in Bejing. We have many unique cultural relics and historical sites to visit. We are the seat of the central government, so there is a lot of support. The 2008 Olympics also contributed greatly to the profile of the city. Now, everyone knows Beijing and wants to visit,” said Sun.

According to Sun, the Oylmpics provided the ideal opportunity for local DMCs and MICE companies to gain valuable knowledge on organising  large-scale international events, and was the catalyst behind much of the expansion and upgrading of hotels, facilities, transportation networks and the international airport.

“(The Olympics) also (provided us with) new attractions and venues. For example, the Bird's Nest Stadium (Beijing National Stadium) sometimes hosts performances for MICE events, and the Water Cube (National Aquatics Center) will host the gala dinner for the Site International Conference next year,” he said.



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