Favourable factors like Europe’s improving economy and China’s 72-hour visa-free transit policy for more than 50 countries are fuelling demand for longhaul MICE into China.
China may have become more expensive, but European buyers interviewed by TTG Asia e-Daily said the destination still has a lot to offer.
Among the wishlist for Henry Waltz of Gecko Incentives & Events Germany is the formation of a China CVB.
“A China CVB would be impartial and provide a central point of contact for the specific information buyers are looking for,” Waltz said.
But Alco-Tours Kafarski Poland’s Boguslaw Kafarski said China is too big and access to the provincial authorities would be more useful to buyers.
Kafarski is keen to expand into the less well-known provinces such as Shaanxi and Hunan. “Polish MICE groups are interested in mountainous and nature destinations.
“Although China has become more expensive in recent years, it is popular because direct flights from Warsaw to Beijing take only about eight hours.”
Said Gert Bakker, owner of The Netherlands’ First Class Business Travel, which handles high-end government-related mayors’ visits and trade missions: “With Europe’s economy growing again, more companies are heading to China. In 2014, we organised four trade missions and this will be increased to five this year.
“A mayoral visit may have a delegation of 30 to 40 companies and we can pick up new ideas at IT&CM China for our clients.”
Exclusive agent for Volkswagen in Germany and Eventives’ managing director, York Schluter, said the company is getting more business this year. He highlighted the Pearl River Delta covering Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong as suitable for first-time MICE participants and the north for subsequent trips.
“What appeals to Germans is the mixture of traditional and modern China. Measures like China’s 72-hour visa-free transit policy does not only make access easier, there is also a cost saving,” Schluter said.