Value, accessibility and opportunity
When it comes to conferencing Australian corporations are not only seeking value for money but greater opportunities to spread their wings into new growth areas. And Asia it seems is providing the criteria they are seeking.
The ability to combine city-based meetings in destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Malaysia with more regional, beachside retreats in areas such as Phuket and Sabah, are fuelling greater conference numbers from Australia.
And for those newer destinations, offerings to woo international groups are proving a real hit.
At the recent AIME exhibition in Melbourne, secretary general of the Taiwan Convention & Exhibition Association, Thomas Tsou, gave media a short insight into how his country is boosting its business event intake. Put simply, Taiwan is providing financial incentives to secure more meetings and incentives.
He said that over the next four years the Bureau of Foreign Trade would provide up to US$16,000 for preparation of bidding or marketing, up to US$90,000 for an implemented international meeting, up to US$70,000 for an implemented international exhibition. Then there was up to US$10,000 per event as a tour allowance for participants.
Whether such offerings attract more Australian groups remain to be seen, particularly as the high Australian dollar gives groups such strong buying power regardless of any inducements being offered.
Destinations like Thailand’s Phuket and one of its flagship hotel enclaves, Laguna (pictured above), are clearly offering plenty for the groups market, with more to come.
Laguna Phuket – a collection of deluxe hotels and villas including Banyan Tree Phuket, Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary, DoublePool Villas by Banyan Tree, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort (opening in April), Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket, and Laguna Holiday Club Resort – share 1000 acres of tropical parkland and three kilometres of beach frontage.
The Laguna Beach Resort is the second property for Outrigger in Laguna Phuket, joining the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, which it has managed since August 2009.
Since starting its Asian expansion a few years ago, Outrigger has grown its presence to include properties currently open or under development in Bali and Phuket, the two most popular resort destinations in Asia, as well as in Phi Phi Island, Thailand; Sanya, Hainan Island, China; and Quy Nhon, Vietnam.
Phuket is one destination that knows all about the business events sector and, with plenty of value-adds, looks as if it will attract considerably more business from Down Under over the coming 12 months.
Destinations like Laguna Phuket are enticing Australian corporate groups with its value for money and high level of experience in the business event sector.