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Capital targets more international events

Su Zhou
Updated: Dec 5,2014 8:54 AM     China Daily

Tourists capture the moment of their fall visit to Ditan Park, Beijing.[Photo by Hu Qingming/China Daily]

Success of APEC meeting results in 23 conventions booked for next year.

Beijing plans to attract greater numbers of overseas visitors by bidding to host more international events following the success of last month’s APEC meeting.

The latest figures from the Beijing High-end Tourism and Meetings Industry Alliance show that Beijing has hosted 519 international conventions with more than 200,000 participants in the past five years.

Now, stimulated by the interest generated by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, more international conventions are expected to be held in the capital.

“Even though the figures from 2009 to 2013 fluctuate up and down, Beijing still has an edge as the top venue for international conventions in China,” said Wang Qingdao, deputy head of the China Convention, Exhibition and Event Society.

“The Beijing Commission of Tourism Development has been working closely with the International Congress and Convention Association to monitor the trend, while also working hard to bid for more international events in Beijing and China.”

According to a report issued by the alliance on Thursday, 23 international conventions are due to take place in Beijing in 2015. Such gatherings bring business opportunities for the tourism industry and related sectors.

China CYTS MICE Service Co is helping government agencies and associations to bid for conventions. MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

A spokesman for the company said visitors taking part in international conventions generally spend more than regular tourists.

“Besides, they tend to stay longer because conventions last three to seven days,” he added. “Delegates contribute a lot to airlines, convention centers, hotels and catering, entertainment and other tourism-related industries.”

The APEC meeting was centered on the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel at Yanqi Lake, Huairou district. Brice Pean, the resort’s general manager, told Beijing Business Today on Dec 4 that the Kempinski convention center received inquiries from some of the world’s top companies on the first day of operations after the meeting. He said the company will be targeting the MICE market in future.

“We will work with local governments to attract more large summit and international conventions to build Yanqi Lake as a brand new destination for MICE in Beijing,” he added.

A Huairou spokesman said the district expects to welcome 20 million MICE visitors every year, and this will create jobs for 50,000 people.

Yang Jinsong, a professor specializing in international tourism at the China Tourism Academy, said tapping the potential of business and MICE tourism is essential to boost inbound tourism

“The severe smog, which might not ease in the short term, has deterred many foreigners from visiting the country, so the government should target business tours and exhibition tourism to further develop inbound tourism,” Yang said.

“There is potential for MICE visitors from abroad to become one of the main growth areas for inbound tourism. The country, especially MICE destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai, should come up with more incentives to further attract foreign businessmen and exhibitors.”

CYTS MICE Service said the integration of resources could leverage Beijing’s advantage.

The spokesman said: “When bidding for international conventions, we have noticed that our competitors all have integrated teams composed of representatives from local government, tourism bureaus, convention centers and airlines.

“This kind of teamwork really helps, and we think it is a lesson our whole industry should learn.”