Xiamen is becoming a popluar MICE destination in Asia
The Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Centre is the scene of many grand exhibitions throughout the year both for international and local events.
With a close proximity geographically and culturally with Taiwan, Xiamen is growing in stature as a destination for meetings and conferences. MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
As one of the world's largest international investment promotion events, CIFIT has been approved by the State Council to be held from September 8 to 11 each year in Xiamen. As the only investment fair certified by The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the last 13 fairs have attracted visitors from over 100 countries and regions each year.
The increasing international influence of the CIFIT has brought more and more developed and developing countries and international economic organizations to participate in the event. As an important platform to attract foreign investment and a window overseas for Chinese enterprises, CIFIT is also a platform for countries and regions to promote their investment environment and attract cooperative partners. This is already the draw-card for Xiamen.
The development of a convention and exhibition industry can spur on the development of the local catering, tourism, hotel, and transport sectors. Calculations show that each CNY1 produced by the convention and exhibition industry will bring in CNY9 to its related industries.
Characteristics of Xiamen Conventions and Exhibitions
Along with the development of Xiamen's economy and society, the city now hosts several famous exhibitions including CIFIT and the China Xiamen Machinery and Electronics Exhibition (CXMEE). Related industries, for example exhibition planning and organization, customs clearance services, exhibition engineering, and advertising services are also developing fast.
Xiamen's convention and exhibition industry is becoming more professional and market-oriented. CIFIT and CXMEE are already well-known exhibitions throughout China; the Xiamen Gift Show, the China Xiamen International Stone Fair, and the China (Xiamen) International Food Procurement Fair, the Xiamen (China) Sports & Leisure Goods Fair, and many others are becoming more influential and famous.
Meanwhile, the city has attracted many nationwide large-scale exhibitions such as the China Advertising Festival.
As well as the exhibition industry, Xiamen's convention industry is also developing fast. International academic sessions and economic cooperation conferences such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Investment Forum, the International Society of Electrochemistry Spring Meeting, and the International Manufacturing Conference in China have been held in Xiamen. In addition, large corporations and multinational corporations such as Microsoft, BP, Mary Kay, Dell, KFC, and Amway also choose Xiamen when holding their annual conference, distributor meetings, or seminars.
Basic Conditions for Developing Conventions and Exhibitions Industry
The Minnan area is the most energetic area in Fujian province. With strong industrial basis, active private economy and a number of small and medium-sized businesses, it is one of China's textile, agricultural and related products production bases. The area now has become an industrial cluster with electronic information, machinery manufacturing, petrochemical, arts & crafts, and stone processing being leading industries. These will create strong market demand for conventions and exhibitions to help businesses to broaden trade channels, enhance economic and trade cooperation and strengthen information and technology exchange.
Xiamen has great exhibition venues. The well equipped Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center, incorporating exhibition, meeting, lodging and dining together, was put into use in 2000. The modern XICEC will cater for various meetings and events by deploying different meeting equipment according to actual needs of the events.
Rich tourism resources are another advantage for Xiamen. Lying in the southeast coast of China, the mild climate and beautiful scenery make Xiamen one of China's most famous tourist cities. With Gulangyu Island and the Xiamen Haicang Bridge, and the neighboring Mt. Wuyishan, Yongding Hakka Earth Building (Tulou) and Meizhou Island, Xiamen is an ideal place for various meetings, exhibitions and incentive travel.
For transportation, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport is one of China's six leading international airports. With over 140 international and domestic routes reaching most Chinese cities, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, America and European countries, the city is already an important regional hub in east China.
Exchange Platform for Mainland and Taiwan
The convention and exhibition industries of Xiamen and Taiwan have a wide scope for complementary cooperation. Xiamen can focus on the competitive industries of the Fujian and Minnan region to hold professional exhibitions. Xiamen's convention and exhibition industry has the potential be based on cross-strait industry characteristics and market demand to build an efficient platform for the trade, investment and cooperation especially between Taiwan and the west of the Strait.
The development of the Xiamen MICE industry is the ongoing process with steady steps. Although the current economic situation gives the entire industry a difficult time, in the long-term, Xiamen's urban competitiveness is growing strongly day by day, and will bring more opportunities to the MICE industry, and the growing market will also create greater values for the high-end hotels.
Cao Jin, the marketing director of Xiamen C&D Tourism and Hotels Co., Ltd, believes that the Taiwan Strait is a distinctive advantage for Xiamen becoming an excellent MICE destination. The local government has also decided to build Xiamen into a MICE destination. As a coastal city, Xiamen has a natural beauty and fine cultural environment with rich tourism resources. With the exception of June, July, and August, the high season for various meetings and events covers the entire year. Furthermore, compared with Beijing and Shanghai, Xiamen has a relatively low tariff for companies holding MICE events. Since many companies have cut their budgets because of the financial crisis, second-tier cities like Xiamen are very attractive to MICE planners.
In 2009, the market for government meetings has not seen much change, and while associations seldom hold any meetings budgets for most business meetings have been cut back. But there are still exceptions. For example, clothing garment processing enterprises from Jinjiang and Shishi in Quanzhou have moved their national trade fair to Xiamen; and many enterprises are also planning to move their headquarters to the city.
On the whole, Xiamen hotels are now focusing more on MICE and leisure holidays. Top-end MICE facilities, a pillarless ballroom and spa facilities are the main factors for hotels to attract more guests. International brands like Sheraton, Sofitel and Wyndham have improved the internationalization of the local hotel industry. Local brands, for example Yeohwa, are also doing well. They have all contributed to the development of MICE industry in Xiamen.
Seasons, budget and the comprehensive situation of a city are the main factors when clients choose a MICE destination. As a second-tier city, Xiamen has consummate infrastructure for MICE activities; its convenient transport and pleasant climate make it suitable for various events at any time of a year. Xiamen's abundant tourism resources are another bright spot.
Four factors will be taken into consideration when booking hotels. The hotel brand, the meeting facilities, the location, and clients' budget are all considered.
In addition, Xiamen still needs more restaurants and venues with distinctive characteristics. With the improvement of Xiamen's comprehensive strength, the city will see a bright future for its convention and exhibition industry.