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Pushing forward

Asian industrial countries stand for high-tech, digitalization, and service quality. The convention and event industry is certain to benefit with exciting events staged in futuristic convention centers. The continent's diversity is demonstrated in uniquely typical variants in China, Japan and Singapore.

 positive euphoric mood is noticeable everywhere in China. The convention and congress industry in particular stands to benefit: the IT&CM China, staged at the National Exhibition and Congress Center of Shanghai (NECC), and the IBTM China (former CIBTM) in Beijing's China National Convention Center (CNCC) are two established annual shows designated to "bring China to the world and the world to China". Attendance figures have risen considerably over the past years, and so has the degree of professionalism in organizing events. The eleventh edition of IT&CM staged in March of this year brought together 3,000 professionals from DMCs, PCOs, corporate travelers and associations as well as hosted delegates. Visitors had the opportunity to meet exhibitors from all spheres of the event-staging industry, not only from China, but from businesses in the USA, Japan and Great Britain as well as smaller destinations such as Macao and Bali.

The next IT&CM is scheduled from March 20 to 22 of next year, and the industry will the again meet at the IBTM China in Beijing on September 12 and 13, 2018. Some 5,000 international deciders in the meeting, event and incentive industry as well as qualified Chinese event and meeting planners are expected to show. They will meet with approximately the same number of hosted buyers: professional meeting planners from international associations as well as operators from France, Switzerland, the UK or Hongkong. Both shows will provide ample opportunities to do business on the Asian congress markets and to establish contacts to international hotel chains, expo companies and congress agencies.

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IT&CM China is staged at the National Exhibition and Congress Center of Shanghai (NECC).

Japan is considered a global center of sciences, research and industry, above all in the fields of technology, physics, chemistry and medicine. International Convention Cities labeled such by the government have hotels, research institutions, universities and conference facilities. The largest such facility is the Tokyo Big Sight; this expo, conference and congress center opened in 1996 is the country's No.1. The Intex Osaka in the Osaka Prefecture is the most important congress center in the western parts of Japan; the convention center in Kobe is above all noted for its activities for local biomedical businesses.

Those seeking to get a picture on-site may participate in the Hosted Buyers Program for international congress executives, which the Japan Convention Bureau (JCB) will stage from February 25 thru March 2 of next year in cooperation with Japan's International Convention Cities. Program details are available online; applications may be submitted until December 1 of this year. A new website operated by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) informs readers on the design of social programs. The portfolio includes tours of the film sets and theme worlds of the Kyoto Studio Park as well as events on learning to know and understand Buddhist customs and rites.

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“Bring China to the world and the world to China”: IBTM China at the China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing.

Singapore has developed into an Asian turnstile: owing to its strategic location, the destination provides access to four billion people within a seven-hour flight radius, and the city state itself has state-of-the-art meeting facilities. There's the spectacular Marina Bay Sands integrated resort towering above the city. Its three 55-story hotel towers are topped by a 340-meter-long roof garden at a height of 191 meters. The complex features a casino, a 146-meter-long Infinity Pool, a hotel with more than 2,500 rooms, 60 bars and restaurants as well as approximately 170 shops. The on-site convention center is considered the largest of its kind in Singapore, it has two expo halls and 250 meeting rooms and can accommodate 2,000 expo stands and a total of 45,000 people. The banquet halls have ample space to accommodate up to 10,000 guests, and the on-site art and sciences museum as well as two theater halls provide an array of unique opportunities for exciting and exclusive conventions and events.

However, size isn't all that matters, good things come in small packages as well. Most hotels have special packages and meeting rooms available for corporate travelers, including unconventional ones such as the Hotel Jen with its "Next Jen Meeting" program. They removed the standard chair-andtable arrangements in the conference areas and replaced them with bar stools, bistro and coffee tables; attendees may use the conference breaks to take part in Aqua Fitness programs.

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Gardens by the Bay is part of a strategy to transform Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden".

The Huone Events Hotel opened in February 2017 at Clarke Quay is designed as all-in-one business venue for meetings and events: conference rooms in Google office design are the perfect sites for staging a variety of programs and activities. Prior to any meeting, there will be an analysis on which frameworks and tools are required and useful; the rooms have a maximum capacity of 150 persons. The supplier company founded in Finland has plans to set up subsidiaries in the Top Ten congress cities all over the world.

The Inspire-Program "In Singapore Incentives & Rewards" launched for the first time in 2016 for corporate travel groups from Europe and Northern America was extended and expanded thru December 31, 2018 in order to attract gilt-edged and profitable events to the country. The Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), Singapore Airlines and the Changi Airport Group are the partners to this initiative. The program addresses groups of more than 20 persons traveling prior to December 31, 2018 and staying at least three nights. In addition to favorable conditions for flights, INSPIRE features 14 program options and free on-site extras, including theme tours and cocktail receptions. Applications must be made before March 31 of next year.

As there usually isn't a lot of time for sightseeing and shopping on business trips, the Singapore Visitor Center has published its "Essential Singapore". The compact flyer presents twelve districts between Orchard Road and Changi Airport including helpful apps for travelers. Singapore also has its green spots at the heart of the glittering skyline: where else can you walk in a rain forest, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, within 20 minutes of leaving your 5-star hotel?  PETRA MEWES