ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi has launched a new force to drive its business events ambitions forward as it looks for the emirate to be ranked by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) as among the world’s top 50 association meetings destinations in five years. Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau – a new dedicated, one-stop entity within Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) – will support the growth of exhibitions and conferences within the emirate by forging closer links with the industry and providing financial and non-financial support. “We will provide free, and non-biased assistance and support to professional convention, incentive and exhibition planners, corporations and associations so that they can bid for, win and hold conferences, major business events, business meetings and congresses in Abu Dhabi,” explained His Excellency Jasem Al Darmaki, Deputy Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI

New reports from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have shown that visitor numbers from Australia and New Zealand have increased by seven per cent in the last year. This brings the total number of Australian and New Zealand visitors to Dubai up from 212,523 in 2011 to 226,703 in 2012. Figures show that the number of Australian visitors to Dubai climbed to 193,575 from 179,214 the previous year, marking an increase of eight per cent. The number of New Zealand visitors remained similar to the previous year with 33,128 visitors in 2012 versus 33,309 the previous year. Commenting on these figures, Julie King, Director of the DTCM Australia & New Zealand representative office said: “We are delighted that for yet another year, the growth from Australia and New Zealand has surpassed our expectations. The market’s interest in Dubai continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to an exciting year ahead with the launch of Qantas flights to Dubai as well as the commencement of the Emirates and Qantas partnership (subject to regulatory approvals).”

JAPAN

Kyoto has been chosen to host the International Liver Cancer Association’s (ILCA) conference in 2014. The three day event, being held from September 5-7, will take place at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. ILCA is the only international organisation devoted exclusively to liver cancer research for experts from all related disciplines. The annual conference’s program adheres to the ILCA principle of linking research to practice, with features including state-of-the-art sessions, plenary lectures, symposia, general sessions and scientific workshops. Kyoto was chosen as the host city due to its appeal as a business destination in the region and because of its academic heritage. Executive officer at ILCA, Géraldine Damar, said Kyoto was a natural choice for the 2014 meeting “because it offers solutions to help us achieve our dual goals of drawing on the scientific expertise of the APAC region and raising the profile of our organisation in Asia. We look forward to coming to Kyoto and experiencing all it has to offer our community.”

ASIA PACIFIC

Accor recently announced the development of three newly built hotels in Myanmar – an MGallery hotel in Naypyidaw, Novotel Yangon Max, and Novotel Mandalay Mingalar – representing the group’s 18th market in the region. “We are excited to announce the signing of three new hotels in Myanmar – the first of which will open this year – marking Accor’s return to Myanmar,” says Michael Issenberg, chairman and chief operating officer for Accor Asia-Pacific. “Southeast Asia has long been a focus market for Accor, and as the country’s tourism industry develops, we see significant growth potential for international hotel operators with long-term experience in the region. These three developments represent yet another step towards our goal of operating 700 hotels in Asia-Pacific by 2015.” The upscale MGallery hotel in the heart of Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital city, will be the city’s first international brand hotel. The property will welcome guests with 168 rooms, one meeting hall, four meeting rooms, a cigar bar and two dining outlets, including an Italian restaurant. The newly-built property, expected to open this year, will be located 15 minutes’ drive from the City Hall, Water Park and Gem Museum, and 20 minutes from Naypyidaw International Airport.

DUBLIN

Professional conference organisers must move towards forming high-level strategic partnership with clients, said international business tourism leaders during a major Dublin conference. Delegates from six continents and representing more than 32 countries attended the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) General Assembly & Annual Meeting, which took place in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. Representing businesses that manage conferences for 1.2 million delegates per year, the delegates of IAPCO are seen as the leaders in the field, contributing 3.71 billion to business tourism worldwide. “I believe everyone who attended this Dublin meeting left with at least three to five new pieces of knowledge that will change the way they do business,” said Gonzalo Perez Constanzo, President of IAPCO. The program’s theme, ‘Riding the winds of change – new strategies for PCOs’, highlighted the increasingly strategic nature of PCO’s partnerships with clients, moving away from the logistical partnerships of the past. Managing director of Keynote PCO, Noel Mitchell, commented: “We’re no longer just providers; we’re partners”. After the conference, delegates were asked that after visiting Ireland would they consider bringing a conference to Ireland themselves. Eighty nine per cent of respondents said that they would which, considering the size of business managed by the attendees, promises to generate significant revenue to the Irish economy.

QUEENSTOWN

Multi-award-winning Millbrook Resort marked an important milestone on March 6 celebrating 20 years since it first opened its gates. Now employing almost 250 staff, the luxury golf and lifestyle resort is the largest in the South Island, contributing extensively to the local economy over the years. Known the world over as one of the most picturesque golf resorts in the world, Millbrook is still privately owned by the Japanese family who created the development in 1993. Founders Eiichi and Hiroko Ishii and their son, managing director Gota Ishii, together with Gota’s wife Miki and daughter Milly, were at the resort to join in the festivities and represent three generations of the Ishii family. Eiichi Ishii said he and his family were “immensely proud” to have reached such a significant milestone in the resort’s history.

ASIA

Destination Asia has launched a new online booking engine – eDA – that allows planners to book hotel rooms, tours and transfers 24/7. It allows users to book a hotel room, tours and transfers, confirm a reservation immediately, and make changes later including additions to itineraries.

The system will be available from this month (April) via http://booking.destination-asia.com.

MALAYSIA

More than 400 of the world’s best concierges from more than 43 countries are expected to converge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 61st Les Clefs d’Or UICH International Congress in 2014. Announcement of the event was made by President of the Society of Golden Keys Malaysia, Ragu Kumarasamy, at the Royal Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The event was also attended by the guest of honour, YBhg. Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyyab (Director General of Tourism Malaysia), Ms Virginia Casale (International President, Les Clefs d’Or UICH), Colin Toomey (2nd International Vice President, Les Clefs d’Or UICH), Encik Zulkefli Hj. Sharif (chief executive officer of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau – MyCEB) and Encik Mohamed Ismail Hussain (Consultant of the congress).The congress will run from January 11-16, 2014, under the patronage of YB Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Minister for Tourism, Malaysia.