Anyone who first enters the working world will be hit with a harsh reality: that experience speaks louder than any scholarly labels attached after the name. And the same goes for this industry:

Be it companies that are searching for an established PCO to help run an event in a new market, or a hotel looking for a veteran to take the helm of its sales and marketing department prior work experience remains highly sought after.
I was given the opportunity to attend the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) held in Melbourne, and I combed the show floor, attended press conferences and participated in pre-show tours like a bright-eyed doe seeing the world for the first time.
At AIME, the level of enthusiasm from both exhibitors and buyers seemed to pulsate off the walls of the exhibition centre. Exhibitors attended to their appointments with such dedication, while buyers tirelessly lugged tote bags of information from one booth to another.

It is evident there that while some countries may remain bigwigs in the industry, they have been facing heat from markets such as Malaysia, China and Thailand.
Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said, “Bureaux and exhibition organisations have become very sophisticated, and many have already caught up.”
You’ve read in the last edition that Bali, is doing all it can to beef up infrastructure and accessibility in anticipation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit this October.

In our cover story, the young but powerful Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (Page 20) shares some initiatives and targets it has to strengthen its presence in business events. I watched the newer markets vie for attention alongside the established ones at AIME. As many barriers as there may be, the one thing that distinctly gives the latter a winning edge is the confidence buyers already have in them, due to years of gaining ahead of the others.
But the persistence and optimism in Asia is heart-warming, particularly when a Vietnam exhibitor bumped into me at the show and said, unable to contain his excitement, “We wanted to be a part of this, and now we are. We want to be a part of this, every year.”
And who wouldn’t?

Kristie Thong


Andrew Chan, ACI HR Solutions • Damion Breust, Barclays • Daniel Chua, AONIA • Danielle Puceta, American Express Business Travel • David Lim, Everest Motivation • Maureen O’Crowley, Seoul Tourism Organization • Nino Grüttke, Messe Berlin • Rosalind Ng, SACEOS • Selina Grocott, Pacific World