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Must-attend events

Asia is a growth market generating multitudes of congresses and expos and subsequently also events for their planners. A new feature in the Asian event calendar is the ITBM Asia Pacific in Singapore, to be staged in 2020 prior to the der IBTM China and the Korea MICE Expo.

BTM in June announced a new trade conference: the IBTM Asia Pacific scheduled from April 6 thru 8, 2020 in Singapore. Asia Pacific (APAC) is predicted to have the highest global growth rates for the business-events industry to achieve a volume of $441.1 billion by 2025. "Singapore is considered as APAC's regional hub for the business events market and that, combined with its excellent infrastructure and long-standing reputation as a global business destination, means that it was the natural choice as our host city," is how Shane Hannam, Portfolio Director IBTM as part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, explained their choice of conference site.
That venue, the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, certainly has a lot of appeal for European meeting planners to board an airplane. The resort on Marina Bay on 20 hectares features a congress and expo center, two swimming pavilions, a hotel, an art and science museum and a casino. Europeans are just as much invited to the IBTM Asia Pacific as are other international and regional buyers. In pre-scheduled one-to-one business meetings as well as during education session and networking events, they will meet with exhibitors. Personalized appointment diaries for Hosted Buyers and exhibitors will ensure that delegates only meet people with whom there's a very good chance of doing business. Michael Jones will be in charge of managing the IBTM Asia Pacific.

"It’s a market we know very well, and our research has shown that there's genuine demand for a regionally focused event both from our existing customer base but also from the industry in general," said Hannam. "We're confident that IBTM Asia Pacific will give us a focused platform from which we can service the ever-increasing demand both from the inbound and outbound APAC markets. Importantly, the event will also allow us to implement a strategic shift for our IBTM China event."

IBTM China in Beijing is focused on bringing together Chinese buyers with international exhibitors as well as international buyers with Chinese exhibitors. The next such opportunity is scheduled for August 28 and 29 of this year at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC). Over 9,000 pre-planned meetings are expected to take place this year between over 380 exhibitors and 400 hosted buyers, an increase of 37 percent compared to 2018. On top of that, there will be an anticipated 3,500 trade visitors. Exhibitors from abroad will include Busan Metropolitan City, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, and Melia Hotels; among the domestic exhibitors are Beijing Tourism, Dalian Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Jinling Hotels & Resorts.
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Next opportunity to meet Chinese buyers and suppliers: IBTM China 2019 on August 28 and 29 in Bejiing.

"We are delighted with our robust exhibitor sales so far, especially this early in the show cycle, which we feel reflects the buoyant MICE market in China and Asia Pacific," said Nicole Ci. The project manager of IBTM China looks forward to a 'busy show', new contacts and opportunities to gather information on state-of-the-art technologies and trends. She's aware of the Chinese desire for knowledge and has accordingly expanded the Knowledge Program to 50 sessions. Xiaomei Ye, Marketing Director of China Travel International from Guangdong and Hosted Buyer in 2018, emphasized: "IBTM China has become a must-attend event for MICE industry buyers who want to find out more about destination resources and business partners."

In Korea, the must-attend event for meeting professionals is the Korea MICE Expo (KME). Korea's Leading Business Events’ Trade Show was staged on June 13 and 14 of this year at the Songdo Convensia in Incheon, 28 kilometers to the west of Seoul, for 3,000 trade visitors and 300 exhibitors. "This year has significance because it is KME's 20th anniversary. We hope this will serve as a new beginning, marking KME's first step in expanding beyond Korea to become an exhibition of global scale in the next 20 years," said Namchun Kim, Director of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Meetings & Incentives Team. At the 20th edition, focus was on 'Green MICE', indicating the direction future meetings will be headed. Next to the presentation of sustainable initiatives, the KME 2019 App and the PDF Directory Books supersede papers and posters.

Among the news from Korea is the opening of the Suwon Convention Center (SCC). The megapolis Suwon is 50 kilometers away from Seoul; the new congress center is located in the Sky Park on Gwanggyo Lake Park. With 42 events to be staged this year, the new SCC is already booked to capacity in 2019. 28 meeting rooms are spread out over seven levels. The central expo hall has a size of 7,800 sqms, the congress hall approximately 3,000 sqms. Korea has two MICE communication messages to boost the country's MICE industry: 'Stay Connected for Your Success' and 'Light Up Your Passion'. They are designated to promote Korea's image as a country of new opportunities in keeping with the motto 'Korea, Beyond Meetings'. The country is considered to be especially innovative, its infrastructure is exemplary owing to unparalleled fast Internet connections and free WLAN in public-access areas.

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New opening: The Suwon Convention Center (SCC) is 50 kilometers away from Seoul.

South Korea's capital of Seoul, for example, is cutting itself a distinct profile as finance, culture and education center. The ten-million-inhabitant metropolis hosted the G20 summit and the Rotary International Convention with 46,000 delegates from all over the world. The Incheon International Airport links Seoul to 176 cities, flights from Western Europe take around eleven hours. A modern metro system takes visitors arriving at Incheon Airport to downtown Seoul. The 885 participants at the Allianz Life Indonesia’s Incentive in March of this year experienced 'A Warm Spring Welcome'. Owing to the hospitality services offered by the capital city's 'Plus Seoul' program, the delegates at their arrival at the Incheon International Airport were greeted by welcome messages on screens in the baggage claim area. Once outside the terminal, they boarded 20 busses bearing the logo of Allianz Life. Allianz Indonesia’s Chief Agency Officer Ginawati Djuandi said: "We felt that we were very welcomed, as the company’s logo was on every bus we took!"

From Seoul, it's a two-and-a-half-hour trip by highspeed train to Busan, South Korea's biggest port town. The world's sixth-largest container port is considered a knowledge hub for the maritime shipping industry and logistics, finances and IT. Busan ranks among the leading Smart Cities and is equipped with cutting-edge technology centered on the Internet of Things (IoT) covering everything from traffic management to energy conservation. In context with the Busan Smart City Innovative Strategy, engineers recently presented a floor which transforms kinetic energy generated by persons walking on such surfaces into electricity. The Busan Exhibition & Convention Center (BEXCO) with 46,000 sqms of space is an ideal venue for ideas and innovations. The next opportunity to meet with Busan Metropolitan City is at IBTM China in September.