With past MICE efforts proven successful, a new four-year plan is in place to further secure Taiwan as one of the leaders in the regional business events landscape.

BY KRISTIE THONG

Taiwan, like several other countries in Asia, saw the importance of business events years ago. Its efforts to promote MICE in the country started in 2005, under the direction of the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BoFT). In the four-year Taiwan MICE Advancement Program, it comprised subsidiary projects in overall implementation, hosting of international meetings, international marketing and promotion, and MICE training and certification. Together with the Taiwan Exhibition Competitiveness Project, the mission then was to strengthen the foundation of Taiwan’s business events industry.

Fast forward to 2013 and Taiwan is seventh amongst Asia-Pacific markets ranked for the number of meetings hosted in 2012, according to the International Congress and Convention Association. Taipei was also the sixth most active city in Asia, a further indication of efforts not wasted.

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), a non-profit co-sponsored organisation to help foreign trade, is not resting on its laurels. With 40 years in the industry, it has effectively grown 46 branch offices abroad and 10 contact points in Mainland China to garner sufficient representation.
This year, it has set a new goal for the MICE industry via a four-year pilot programme, with the sole purpose to further promote Taiwan as an appealing MICE destination to the world and attract international conventions to the country.
One of TAITRA’s continuing efforts is the implementation of the Asian MICE Forum (AMF), organised by BoFT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for eight consecutive years.
“The AMF’s goal is to strengthen the competitiveness of Taiwan’s MICE industry and provide an international cooperation platform for MICE experts,” TAITRA executive vice-president, Walter Yeh said.

This year, the AMF will take place from September 11-12 at the Taipei International. Keeping topics timely and relevant and attracting attendees can be a challenge for any annual event, Mr Yeh believed, hence there is a need for content that is fresh and innovative. What was encouraging for Taiwan was the record number of foreign participants at AMF last year, with foreign attendees making up 27 per cent. l Convention Center with a focus on creative marketing. Comprising a discussion for CEOs, five keynote speeches and five panel discussions, TAITRA is aiming to zero in on hot industry topics such as MICE marketing with innovative services, top technological trends and cross-strait business cooperation opportunities in the exhibition, meeting and incentive travel industry. Sharing global insights will include the presence of MICE experts from ICCA, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) and more on stage.

“The Forum attracted over 550 participants from 24 countries, including delegates from the Vietnam tourism industry and representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau. This shows the AMF has proven itself to be a major event for the Asian MICE industry,” Mr Yeh said.