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New directions for Macao, Asia’s mega events city

Mrs Irene V.K. Lau, Executive Director of IPIM
While gaming revenues – largest in the region and four times more than Las Vegas - has declined by almost 35%, Macao still continues to attract visitors proving that there is more to Macao than its casinos.
This tiny SAR has strategically placed greater focus on its Unique Selling Proposition – the latest and newest hotels with integrated hospitality and meetings infrastructure offering the perfect facility package for mega large groups. New developments include entertainment and events space as more emphasis is placed on the promotion and development of its leisure and business events industry.

In 2015, Macao continued to record high visitor arrivals.  The SAR welcomed the 9,000 pax Joymain Annual Conference and The Global Tourism Economy Forum – GTEF (3,000 pax) this year. To further promote global tourism economy and the development of Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, the GTEF will continue to be held in Macao for the coming three editions, starting in 2015.  GTEF is hosted by the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

This year, Macao is set to host the 11th Worldwide Chinese Life Insurance Congress 2016 and International Dragon Awards. The SAR is will welcome some 6,000 members of the worldwide Chinese insurance and financial industry for a well-known awards ceremony to be held on August 14 – 16, 2016 at The Venetian Macao. This event will see delegates from 17 countries gather for meetings, networking events, award ceremonies and sightseeing tours across Macao. This is the second time Macao is hosting this event, the first being in 2001.

Other corporate events – Mary Kay China, Herbalife, Jeunesse Global and NU Skin among others, will bring participants ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 to Macao. In addition, Macao will also host ACM SIGGRAPH ASIA 2016 which will be co-located with VRCAI - International Conference on Virtual Reality Continuum and Its Applications in Industry –VRCAI. SIGGRAPH Asia is Asia’s largest annual event in computer graphics and interactive techniques with some 6,000 participants expected to converge in Macao. In 2017, Macao will host the Asia Pacific Dental Congress, a unique achievement considering that the 2016 edition will be held in Hong Kong.

In Nov last year, Macao consolidated its government agencies offering support to meetings and events organizers, and made the Macao Trade & Investment Promotion Institute - IPIM, the go-to agency for international meetings and events.

As the key government agency leading Macao’s MICE industry, IPIM will organize and participate in key industry trade shows like AIME and IMEX, plus manage a series of support programmes to stimulate its conventions and trade show business, including supporting local associations to bid for international conferences.

In launching its new Subvention Programs covering a minimum of 100 pax in a 2 day meeting plus 0.5 day corporate activity; or trade shows of more than 1,000 sqm, IPIM offers a range of incentives ranging from covering the cost of accommodation, food & beverage, keynote speakers’ participation, promotion & marketing etc. Full details of these subvention programs are available from IPIM.

Currently, Macao has more than 182,000 sqm of meeting space, and over 32,000 hotel rooms in the city with more international hotels development in the pipeline. Upcoming hotels include The Parisian Macao, Wynn Palace, MGM Cotai, and others which will bring a total of 50,000 rooms within the next few years.

According to ICCA’s (International Congress and Convention Association) Association Meetings Report 2014, Macao was positioned 20th in Asia in terms of number of international association meetings held there, up 16 places from the previous year. And, in line with the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry’s (UFI) report, in 2015 Macao was the top performing trade market in 2014, with trade fair exhibition space growing by 38%.

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