Affordable, high-end, and all just a hop, skip and a jump away, Asia is where it’s at for meetings and incentive travel rewards, with not only Australian group numbers growing, but the rest of the world’s as well.

As countries around the world vie for greater group numbers from Asia, Asian destinations are increasingly seeking business in their own backyard, particularly from China which is now regarded as a world powerhouse not only in independent travel but for the lucrative business events market.

Despite China’s seemingly unstoppable growth, the majority of Asian destinations remain firmly focused on the Australian market, with tourism and convention bureaux remaining a key fabric of the local business events landscape.

Destinations including Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Macau and Indonesia (principally Bali for the Australian market), remain extremely active, working in partnership with airlines to offer great packages, and some boosted by government incentives to appear even more appealing to the local corporate and association sectors.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board, for example, has teamed up with its partners to produce the Hong Kong Rewards! Privilege Program incorporating a host of specially devised events and offers to enhance any visit to Hong Kong. Depending on a group’s size, rewards start from welcome gift sets for all delegates through to some thrilling entertainment options and access to local attractions free of charge.

In nearby Macau the Macau Government Tourism Office extended its Incentive Travel Stimulation Program for international incentive groups that have a minimum of 50 non-Macau participants and who stay for at least two consecutive nights in a Macau hotel.

Groups can receive up to MOP$300 per delegate under the scheme, while additional offers include free entry for groups to specific attractions, and complimentary gifts.

Other destinations including Thailand (Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau) and Malaysia, under the direction of the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, also have special deals for the business events segment.

And if these destinations and their bureaux don’t have something that suits you, then why not just ask. All are accommodating and willing to negotiate to secure your business.


Surprise me

Groups that haven’t been to Singapore before will no doubt be surprised at what the destination now offers. It really is a destination full of hidden gems and some spectacular new venues that will literally leave you speechless. (Read more about micenet AUSTRALIA assistant editor, Lauren Arena’s most recent experiences in Singapore from page 56).

Lauren was fortunate enough to stay at the impressive Marina Bay Sands, but of course it’s not the only destination in town. Its incredible size (2561 rooms) may just seem too big for some groups.

Thankfully, there are a great many other options including the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Situated on the banks of the historic Singapore River and within close proximity to Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and the Marina Bayfront, this stunning 574-room property is one of the largest conference accommodation properties in Singapore, and certainly one of the most stylish.

Fully equipped with Wi Fi, it offers a mix of lifestyle and business-enabling conveniences, health and leisure facilities, executive accommodation and business support services, and a number of restaurants and bars.

Each guestroom is equipped with business conveniences including data ports and wireless broadband internet access, a selection of cable television channels and pay movies, an in-room personal safe, IDD service, hair-dryer, coffee and tea making facilities.

Room categories include Superior, Deluxe, Club, Club Deluxe, Executive, Waterfront, and La Residenza Serviced Suites for long staying guests. Nineteen floors are now smoke-free.

The Waterfront Conference Centre offers 34 meeting rooms, many with natural light, and state-of-the-art technology. Wireless broadband, internet, built-in projectors, motorised screens, video-conference capabilities, intelligent lighting and sound systems, are all standard or available.

The property offers a number of restaurants and bars including:

Café Brio’s – dine by the waterfront while indulging in scrumptious dishes from the popular buffet or a la carte menu.

Pontini – Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist. For more exclusive dining there are four distinctively elegant private dining rooms and a cosy wine cellar room.

The Piano Bar – a great place to unwind over drinks while lapping up serene views of the historic Singapore River. Screening of sports events are also available.

Grand Shanghai – relive the nostalgia of Shanghai in the 1940s. A unique dining concept, gourmets can enjoy the varied yet authentic cuisine of China.

A fully-equipped gymnasium, pool, jacuzzi, and tennis court complete the picture.

Aside from the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Millennium & Copthorne offers a number of properties in Singapore including Orchard Hotel Singapore, M Hotel Singapore, Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore, and Studio M Hotel Singapore.

Putting on the Ritz in KL

Delegates at this year’s Meetings & Events Australia conference will be experiencing the best of Asia’s – and Malaysia’s – hospitality soon when the country plays host to the 2014 annual meeting (in May).

This is one destination that is ramping up activity within Australia, and certainly attracting a growing share of conferences and incentive travel rewards.

The creation of the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) a number of years ago is paying strong dividends for the country. Also active in this market is the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The centre’s general manager, Australian Peter Brokenshire, recently retired from his position following a decade at the helm.

In terms of accommodation, one of the best in the heart of Malaysia’s capital is The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur which is said to “redefine the luxury hotel experience in Asia”.

The elegant design, spacious rooms and top quality facilities is the ideal choice for all accommodation, business and entertainment requirements. A haven of personal service, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is recognised as one of the top five butler hotels in the world which combines uncompromising quality and care.

Linked to the hotel, Starhill Gallery – “Malaysia’s premier luxury shopping destination” – features luxury retail, wellness and the Feast Village that houses more than 13 upscale international restaurants. The prime location of The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur within the Golden Triangle (the business and entertainment district), affords guests easy connectivity to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur across the road, and the option of a 10-minute stroll via an air-conditioned walkway or a five-minute drive to the famous Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The 365 guest rooms at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur are comprised between 251 rooms in the hotel wing and 114 luxuriously appointed suites in the adjoining tower. With butler service provided 24 hours a day, butlers are on hand to fulfil all your needs.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur offers 24 flexible meeting room options and a ballroom located at the Carlton Conference Centre. The meeting rooms are supported by a Business Centre that provides a full range of secretarial services. Carlton Conference Centre is easily accessible to the guests of the hotel via a link bridge located on the Indulge Floor (Ground Floor) of Starhill Gallery, which is adjacent to the hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur features the award-winning Li Yen Chinese restaurant which highlights an authentic Cantonese cuisine in an intimate oriental surrounding.

The hotel also offers a fully equipped fitness centre along with a large swimming pool. Last but not least, The Spa Village offers a retreat from the bustle of city living with dedicated areas for male and female guests. The extensive menu highlights ultimate spa treatments from body scrubs to signature massages.


Bali on any budget

The Indonesian island of Bali is now well and truly back in the spotlight for Australian convention and incentive groups, with new properties and old favourites combining with the beauty of the destination to offer something for events of all shapes, sizes and budgets.

The Stones Hotel, Legian Bali, (Asia’s debut of the Autograph Collection by Marriott International) is one resort that is catching plenty of attention.

Located at the southern tip of Legian Beach, it offers groups the perfect vantage point to experience all that Bali has to offer, and all with a sense of style and splash of the extra-ordinary.

A short stroll to all the vibrant activity in Kuta, and perfectly located for shopping excursions to Seminyak, The Stones Hotel, Legian Bali will have delegates relaxed, invigorated, and ready to get down to business.

Iconic architectural design meets eclectic sophistication at Legian Bali, a haven of elegance and style, with dazzling vertical gardens, it offers an oversized pool, entertainment deck, spa, and three innovative restaurants.

Dining options include: The Long Rice Table, Stones Kitchen, and Big Fish Bar & Grill.

Luxuriously appointed guest rooms are all conveniently located on one of Bali’s most popular beaches.|

Meetings facilities include five spacious ballrooms that can comfortably cater for between 600 to 2200 people.

The Stones Hotel, Legian Bali provides five specious ballrooms that can cater your events. It also offers three meeting rooms that are equipped with the latest and finest equipment and amenities. The meeting rooms are 91 square metres in size with 3.3 metre high ceilings, and can each accommodate up to 125 people.

Only 20 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport, and within a convenient walk to a variety of local and international boutiques and restaurants, this is one resort that should not be overlooked for memorable meetings and incentives in Bali.