1 • Destination MICE July 2016 July 2016 The Emerging MICE Destinations The Emerging MICE Destinations The Business Events Effect

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1 • Destination MICE • July 2016

July 2016

The EmergingMICE DestinationsThe EmergingMICE Destinations

The Business Events Effect

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With just over two months to go to the Lilizela Tourism Awards provincial events and three months to go to the national event, the country’s most prestigious tour-ism awards judges have been announced. Thirty-nine people from the larger tourism industry have been appointed to serve as judges for the 2016 edition of the Lilizela Tourism Awards.

In its fourth year, the Lilizela Tourism Awards continues to recognise the best of business operators and service provid-ers and plays a pivotal role in elevating the country’s reputation as a destination of excellence underpinned by a variety of quality-assured experiences and accom-modation types.

Earlier this year, South African Tourism invited members of tourism industry to form part of the Lilizela Tourism Awards adjudication panel. This invitation was well-received, with the cream of the indus-try offering to do service on the panel of judges.

“Collaborations and partnerships are vital in ensuring the growth of the South African tourism industry. We are therefore thrilled with the overwhelming response we received from the broader South Af-rican tourism industry. This can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the

reviews from actual consumers. Grant Thornton, which is one the largest

audit firms in South Africa, was appointed to oversee the awards.

“These judges’ roles and the Tourism Analytics Programme give us the con-fidence of knowing every entry will be judged by people whose commitment to excellence in tourism is absolute. We are also confident that these awards will be given to business owners who exceed customer satisfaction and con-tinue to make South Africa a world class destination.

The Provincial Awards Ceremonies will take place in September, during Tourism Month while the National Lilizela Tourism Awards winners will be announced on the 16th of October 2016 at the Sandton Con-vention Centre, in Johannesburg.

Lilizela Tourism Awards. The judges are a combination of experts who specialise in different areas of the tourism industry and are therefore well suited to recognise products and services that offer high qual-ity of service excellence,” says Darryl Er-asmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), a business unit of South African Tourism.

Along with this expertise, the judges are now able to consult with the Tourism Analytics Programme, which is a platform that consolidates all consumer reviews for all properties that have an online pres-ence. This platform, owned by TGCSA, is used to equip Accredited Assessors and graded properties with information on their online ratings and is key in the identifying of improvement, based on

Announcement of the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Awards Judges

tourism awards

“The judges are a combination of experts who specialise in different areas in the tourism industry and are therefore best suited to recognise products and

services that offer high quality of service excellence”

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The world started with a micro atom...multiplied to be an organ and hence evo-lution shaped into multiple species of organisms. The human species gradu-ally evolved as premium level and small groups of population formed civilisations. People living in such groups had differ-ent expertise for serving their needs. The want to be more comfortable and con-venient further lead to the emergence of trade practices giving birth to the concept of fairs among civilisations. When they evolved more, the trade practices began to increase their economic size leading to exchange of goods between two different civilisations in fairs of those times and that is how! it all evolved into the exhibi-tion and conferences system that is prac-ticed all across the globe.

The economics since that era saw the transformation of barters to currency, civilisations to countries, needs to wants and from fairs to exhibitions. When the industry of exhibitions was taking shape there was a prime need for the intellectu-als to carve the sculpture with curves of policies and procedures. The framework to innovation and evolutionary practices was lead by the opinion leaders of that time in big meetings that eventually evolved into

The EmergingMICE Destinations

being accepted as the best and most cost-effective tool for marketing and business development. The western countries on the globe like UK and North America along with China in the Far East were the foremost emerged destinations for exhibitions and conferences witnessing some of the oldest and the biggest inter-national mélanges in the past decades. The countries lying under these regions were epicenters of global trade practices. But the unavoidable concept of “incon-stant” prevailed and the markets in the other side of the world were exposed to traders as destinations for meeting buy-ers and sellers. This scenario got a break through with East Asian, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa being invaded by the traders as land for opportunities and business development. The traders in the west looked for prosperous invest-ments and the sellers of the east looked for potential buyers as well as investors from the west, concluding to be a state of appropriate global business practice. The exhibitions and conferences hence played a vital role in the business devel-opment practices and added to a boom in the world economy.

The story did not conclude here, rather

mice destinations

conferences of the present. Meeting Incentives Conferences and

Exhibitions (MICE) industry has dig its roots deep since then and have reached over a massive size of USD400 bil-lion (approx). The industry has shown a multi-fold growth in the last two de-cades. The era of 1980’s exposed the world countries to each-other for better business and economic growth pros-pects. The niche concept of exhibitions and conferences of the MICE sector is

The unavoidable concept of “inconstant” prevailed and the markets in the other side of the world were exposed to traders as destinations for meeting buyers and sellers. This scenario got a break through with East Asian, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa being invaded by the traders as land for opportunities and business development.

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destination for MICE as well as leisure in the world Tourism market.

The last decade witnessed edifice struc-tures that were especially designed to ac-commodate larger groups and big busi-ness events. The MICE industry has grown quickly on the development staircase in the Asia Pacific region and it is now spreading its wings in countries like Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myan-mar. Where China, Singapore and Hong Kong, were the primary stakeholders of the MICE events in Asia and Asia pacific region countries like Korea and Taiwan in the Far East are also expanding the size of their business and leisure travel industry. In the year 2014 the Government of Tai-wan invested a sum on US$680 million on the construction of Exhibition halls. Likewise Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia are now concentrating to invite organizers of Exhibitions and Conferences to their countries with venues like Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall, exhibiting state of the art architecture and technological fa-cilities.

In the last decade Asia has developed and grown towards contributing one of the major share in the world MICE mar-ket. The government authorities of certain countries have made huge investments for developing infrastructure that could at-tract tourism as well as business events to their countries and now successfully host-ing big events.

this was just the beginning. The destina-tions that used to hold such business ori-ented mélanges not only shared the trade benefits but the economies of the hosting countries were also benefited due to boom in tourism and travel industry. Such busi-ness events became major contributors to the economics around the globe.

When the economies were growing ahead with dedication towards MICE tourism, the basic need for strong in-frastructure was felt by the developing nations. Understanding the require-ment for a physical infrastructure to hold such business events, countries started investing in formulating profes-sional Exhibition and Conference cen-ters to facilitate organizers for holding such events. As a result, the world saw a development of more than 1100 venues that have a large capacity to hold such events with UK holding nearly 469 over the total. These countries not just in-vested in venues for the events but also established a strong infrastructure to the travelers visiting their countries.

Following the footsteps, the countries in Asia-Pacific and Middle East started growing aggressively and worked to-wards a developed infrastructural fa-cility. They concentrated to design new and highly equipped Exhibition and Convention venues. As their destina-tions were unexplored and were poten-tial markets to the world countries, they started picking up the pace in MICE interest. The one that established itself rapidly was Singapore, which today is one of the most advanced MICE desti-nations in the Asia Pacific region.

Asia and Asia PacificAs a resource rich continent Asia attracts

buyers from all across the globe with dif-ferent countries having versatile natural resources. This generates great business opportunities in this region that are either under exploration or yet to be explored. Having said that, the authorities are now, constantly working on strong infrastruc-ture to attract business show organizers to their countries. Though, the destinations in the Asia Pacific region have enjoyed a leisure travel positioning for a longer span but now the Tourism boards, Association and Bureaus are concentrating to create a blended positioning of countries enter-taining both business and leisure tourism. With destinations like Singapore, master-ing this blended art of Business plus lei-sure tourism today stands tall as a leading

Middle East is extending its both business and leisure tourism prospects. It is one of the fastest developing markets of the world. Dubai and Abu Dhabi has been in the lime light since a time now, but other destinations like Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait have started to share the stage.

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Middle EastThe mavens of the world understood the

potential of the under-developing regions and started investing in those countries. Middle East which is one of the prefect examples, showed a remarkable growth in the last one decade. With petroleum being their forte they welcomed buyers from all across the globe, hence developed and are still developing exceptionally ad-vanced MICE venues for holding massive groups of Business Travelers. Shows like ADIPEC are one of the appropriate illus-trations of the same. Not just that, looking at the potential in the market the orga-nizers from the western world started to launch regional versions of the shows like OTC Houston was cloned with OTC Mid-dle East to reach out to the depth of the middle eastern and surrounding markets like Asia Pacific and Africa.

Middle East is extending its both busi-ness and leisure tourism prospects. It is one of the fastest developing markets of the world. Dubai and Abu Dhabi has been in the lime light since a time now, but other destinations like Oman, Qatar, Bah-rain and Kuwait have started to share the stage. They have also come up with dedi-cated MICE facilities and hence are look-ing forward to contribute economic gains to the country as well as world GDP.

The Middle Eastern MICE business is witnessing a fast moving growth graph

zons in this land of resources. Having said that, the old saying continues, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. The unex-plored heaps of natural resources are now in the market with full swing. The African countries have appealing opportunities to offer and so it becomes the land for the business travelers to invade every now and then.

The world exhibitions and conferenc-es organizers realize the need for MICE events in various industries. The organiz-ers are launching new business to busi-ness shows for creating a platform for the business travelers. Launch of such shows is complementing a rapid expansion of tourism as well as MICE venues in the continent. Where South Africa was the only worldly acquainted business tourism destination in Africa, it is no more alone on the charts. Leisure destinations like Morocco and under-developing nations like Kenya, Rwanda and East African countries are also growing fast with dedi-cated Exhibition and Conference venues.

Africa is wholly an emerging destina-tion and is growing parallel to the growth in the world economy. To accelerate this growth, events like exhibitions and confer-ences will be of primary contribution. Some of the convention venues that are highly equipped have been constructed and a lot more are underway. These centers designed well by keeping in mind the international standards of facilities and technology. These venues will have high capacities to hold big-ger mélanges and world renowned events. The regional approach of the organizers has already reached Africa, with big and well known shows like WTM and IMEX being launched in African versions.

ConclusionAsia, Asia Pacific, Middle-East and

Africa are the regions that the contribut-ing to the MICE industry. The Launch of new shows as well as regional versions of the shows signifies the need of highly advanced and equipped venues. This ap-proach is parallel with development of convention centres and launch of the number of shows in these respective re-gions. At this pace we look forward to see a developed MICE sector contributing major chunk to the World GDP from these regions by Expo2020. Strong marketing of destinations and advanced infrastruc-ture will contribute to the development of nations of these regions as strong and developed economies of the world.

that is marking higher touch points with every progressive year. The scheduled Expo 2020 is one of the major attractions to the world of business and economics. The companies have already started to establish themselves in these markets so that they can assure maximum benefit out of the opportunities as generated by the Expo 2020 and otherwise.

The Dubai Authorities are also working round the clock to create best in class model of a perfect destination for business as well as leisure travel. In preparation of one of the biggest events of the world the Dubai Authorities are working towards creating remarkable infrastructure. The new high ca-pacity Airport, the construction of Al Mak-toum city and the development of free zones are some of the contributors of the big plan. The UAE tourism authorities are concen-trating on the larger and easier accessibility of the world opinion leaders to the UAE na-tions. There are frequent updates registered on the flight launches from different world countries to UAE countries, likewise there are regular updates on the business policies, visa norms, export systems etc.

AfricaAfrica is a continent for global interest

with its reputation to be the fastest devel-oping economy in the world. Witnessing this boom the industry giants are moving ahead and exploring new business hori-

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Located in the Middle Easton the Medi-terranean Sea to the west and Red Sea to the south, Israel’s weather is generally subtropical, with hot summers and cool winters, so when visiting you will almost always be welcomed with great weather. Rainfall in the country varies by region and falls sporadically close to the winter, with the northregions getting the bulk making the weather in Israel comfort-able to allow for a multitude of activities throughout the year.

Summertime is from May to mid-Oc-tober which is a popular season for water activities along the shores of the Medi-terranean Sea,the Red Sea, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The Mediterranean coast boasts perfect weather and condi-tions for swimming, surfing, jet skiing, skydiving or lying on the beach working on that sun-kissed glow.If cooler weather is more your style, enjoy the elevation of the mountains around Jerusalem, visit the local farms, breweries and wineries while you make your way to experience the won-ders of the City of Jerusalem itself.

If a sense of adventure is your prefer-ence, make your way north and explore the Upper Galilee region where Mount Mer-on, Mount Zefat and the Golan Heights offer higher elevations and slightly cooler temperatures with lower humidity and a multitude of wineries. Stop at the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake, where you can enjoy a boat ride in a two-thousand-year old replica, go for a quick swim to cool off and relax by the shores over a bottle of wine or local beer from the region. Visit

species of flowers. The weather is perfect for hiking everywhere in the country from the mountains in the north to the south tip on the sea with good weather and inviting nature making itjust right for all outdoor activities.

Autumn in Israel is rather short be-tween the long summers and mild winters. While autumn here is not sosignificant weather wise, the temperatures are very pleasant making travelling andtouring the country rather convenient.Winter is short and usually lasts from December to mid-February where the temperatures are cool however, there are chances of snow in the northern parts of Israel, especially in the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon. The view of these parts is simply spectacu-lar with the mountaintops covered in the light white snow. Snow might fall once or twice in Jerusalem and when this hap-pens no city in the world is more beautiful.Though, if winter is not your plan,or you want both seasons on the same trip, ven-ture downsouth to the Negev region and sunny Eilat where the desert warmth and blue skies are always enchanting.

the city of Tiberiasthat has been attract-ing locals and visitorsto both an ancient city as well as the modern conveniences of cafés, restaurants, hotels, spas or the kib-butz accommodations (country lodging) at EinGev or Ginosar. For slightly cooler waters, travel south to the resort city of Eilat, affectionate known as the Red Sea Town, located onthe Red Sea. A true re-sort town with many hotels and activities, Eilathas unique diving sites where you can enjoy scuba diving andsnorkelling and ex-plore the amazingly colourfulcoral reef and swim with the dolphins.

Spring emergesfor a narrow window between mid-February to April where there is a chance of rain here and there, but it is during this time that Israel cele-brates in nature’s vibrant colours through the greenery and the splendour of many

A Country for All Seasons

destination update

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As 2016 ushers in the 10th year anni-versary of the pioneering Sarawak Con-vention Bureau (SCB) and a glittering celebration which coincides with the 8th Anak Sarawak Award, we take a look at the impact of Business Events to Sarawak - “the Business Events Effect”.

“To understand Business Events in Sar-awak is to understand that these events have a profound effect on every industry and profession,” said Mike Cannon, Man-aging Director of the Sarawak Convention Bureau.

A decade later after the establishment of SCB in 2006, the business of Business Events has demonstrated how its wings transcend the borders of tourism. Its con-tributing indicators do not lie. In 2015, with 59 conferences and 15,380 interna-tional delegates entering Sarawak, the di-rect delegate expenditure alone was more than RM 31.4 million. The magnitude of its effects reverberates across the state’s education, export trade, and research ca-pacity. This domino effect is greeted with no surprise, as international professionals and experts from numerous fields from all over the world flock to beautiful Sarawak.

“By providing the platform for the con-vergence of brilliant minds, Sarawak itself will grow to equal and exceed its own am-bitions of development. The impact to our home-grown industries is both diverse and long lasting,” said Mike Cannon.

>>> Mike CanonManaging Director, SCB

“The Business Events Effect”

it is crucial to get an insight of what Busi-ness Events means to some of Sarawak’s key industry players; whose businesses and contributions help to keep the industry rel-evant and vibrant. From the perspective of the Sarawak Tourism’s Mary Wan Mering, “The Board emphasizes on the overall mar-keting of tourism as it is multi-faceted. We have variations of tourism, such as medical and education tourism. However, Business Events is the strongest delivery funnel to date as it has helped to raise the profile of the destination and reinforce our brand. For instance, we have long since advocated the generic branding of ‘Culture, Adventure and Nature’ in Sarawak but the Business Events initiative has really helped to push the en-velope!”

For the Imperial Hotel Kuching, Busi-ness Events is perceived to be a dynamic segment of arrivals. MICE Manager Nora Wee said: “Business Event delegates con-tribute more revenue to the hotel than a leisure traveller; up to 3 times more! Gone are the days when hoteliers depended on FITs (Free Independent Traveler) or even GITs (Group Inclusive Tour) as their main source of revenue.”

According to Managing Director of Cat City Holidays MokVenia, “Business Events has transformed the mindset of tourism op-erators. Destination Management Compa-nies (DMCs) were born as Business Events paved the way for endless opportunities.

This led to the creation of BESarawak, a special campaign initiated by the Bureau. It is dedicated to all aspects of Business Events, empowering industry players to-wards new heights in professionalism and excellence through its 3-prong pro-gramme: Communicating, Educating and Awarding for associations, corporate or-ganisations, government agencies, media and industry partners.

To explore the world of Business Events,

“To understand Business Events in Sarawak is to understand that these events have a profound effect on every industry and profession,”

said Mike Cannon, Managing Director of the Sarawak Convention Bureau.

venue speak

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The arrival of this profession provided not only a learning curve but it also sharpens skillsets which are invaluable to penetrate into the profession. Engaging with Business Events means going the extra mile in pro-moting our state, Sarawak.”

Highlighting a first-hand example from a Destination Management Company (DMC), CPH Travel Agency’s Director of Operations Oscar Choo offered a brief narrative of the beginning of his Business Events journey, “Pioneering the tourism industry in Sarawak since 1968, we start-ed the MICE sector at a relatively slow pace with only small groups. We wanted to ensure high quality of service. In 2012, when we managed the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), we were unaware of the scale of such a congress. Even the term Destination Man-agement Company was non-existent in our dictionary! From then, we progressed with the help of SCB and the conference organizers. The smooth handling of 1200 delegates from around the world led to a succession of other international confer-ences under CPH’s belt. This built our confidence and a MICE department was created to focus on Business Events.”

From the perspective of an event man-agement company, Borneo TRU Events’, General Manager, Terence Lim said, “We are truly committed to progressing in the Business Events profession. We are also a member of MACEOS and currently in the process of joining MyCEB. Business Events is definitely the way forward.”

Jason Chew, Managing Director at Events Horizon, who has been in the Busi-ness Events game from the very beginning said, “Business Events has always been our core business focus and our ‘bread and butter’. The avenue of opportuni-ties has been paved by the SCB through BESarawak. The ball is in our court and we need to ensure our tasks are delivered

professionally and with great passion! Only by doing this can we sustain this profession.”

With the upcoming Business Events revolution set in place, SCB’s Mike Can-non stressed that the synergistic part-nership amongst all industry players has never been more important. “The efforts by conference hosts, industry members, government agencies, and suppliers – matched with their extraordinary passion, leadership and commitment, is ensuring the success of Business Events here in Sarawak.”

The 10th Year Anniversary of Busi-ness Events will see a celebration span-ning three days and two nights from Au-gust 5th. Kicking off with the 8th Anak Sarawak Award at the Imperial Hotel, this celebration unites industry partners in a sharing and education forum at the Grand Margherita Hotel followed by a series of site inspections, workshops and an excursion into Sarawak’s great-est tourism asset; the Rainforest World Music Festival.

Catchbox Revolutionises Engagement at In fo-Comm 2016 event, Las VegasCatchbox, the company that created the world’s first throwable wireless microphone, revolutionised levels of engagement at InfoComm 2016 held in Las Vegas.

The organisers of InfoComm 2016, one of the world’s largest AV events, were so delighted with the way Catchbox transformed discussions in its interac-tive and educational sessions that they plan to use them again at next year’s event in Orlando, USA.

Catchbox provided 12 of its throwable devices at InfoComm 2016, held from 4th to 10th June and at-tended by over 40,000 people from 110+ countries.

Catchbox devices were used at a number of edu-cational and interactive sessions held throughout the six-day show which included Essentials of AV Tech-nology, How to Effectively Manage AV Staff, Future Technologies and The Inside Scoop from Silicon Valley.

Chuck Espinoza, InfoComm Staff Instructor and Certified Technology Specialist in Design and Instal-lation, CTS-D & CTS-I, comments: “I would say we had 10 to 15 times more student engagement than last year when we weren’t using Catchbox for our educational sessions. The fact that I could look to a student who was hesitant to participate, and throw the mic to them made a huge difference. They could answer, and throw it to the next person in line. It was no longer an interaction between just me and one at-tendee - it wasn’t ping pong any more, it was vol-leyball.”

“I was also interested in the technology behind it as a Certified Technology Specialist in Design and Instal-lation (CTS-D and CTS-I) and an Audio professional. Why didn’t this thing make noise when it was whooshing through the air or when it was caught. It was quiet when thrown, and gated on quickly enough when the student caught it, without cutting the sound off,” he adds.

Timo Kauppila, CEO and Co-Founder of Catchbox comments: “This show was a huge success for us. The organisers said it revolutionised the way people communicated, especially during the educational sessions and the conference.

There was a fantastic reaction to our Catchboxes being thrown into the audiences at various events throughout the six day period. We increased the level of audience engagement substantially as well as the activity as our Catchboxes encourage delegates to move and stand up. Everyone we spoke to agreed that Catchbox provides a fun way to give the audience a voice at an event, even at one of InfoComm’s mag-nitude,” he added.

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2016 started on a strong note for in-ternational tourism. International tourist arrivals grew by 5% between

January and April 2016 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Results were robust across almost all sub-regions and many destinations reported double-digit growth. Prospects for May-August remain positive, with around 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the Northern Hemisphere summer hol-iday peak season.

Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same pe-riod last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009.

“Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tour-ism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“Yet, despite these good results, the tragic events of recent months remind us that safety and security remain a ma-jor challenge for all. We must continue to work closely together to address this global threat and ensure tourism is an integral part of emergency planning and response at global, regional and national level” added Mr. Rifai.

International Tourism Continues to Grow Above Average in the First Four months of 2016

Central and Eastern Europe (both at +6%) in the lead, followed by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+4%) and Western Europe (+3%).

International tourist arrivals in the Mid-dle East are estimated to have declined by 7% through April according to available information.

Results for both Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution, as they are based on currently limited data avail-able for these regions.

ProsPects remain PositiveUNWTO estimates that some 500 mil-

lion tourists will travel internationally be-tween May and August 2016, the North-ern Hemisphere summer holiday peak season, accounting for about 41% of the year’s total international tourist arrivals.

According to the UNWTO Tourism Con-fidence Index, prospects for May-August 2016 remain positive and in line with the performance of January-April. The Index shows confidence is highest in Europe, followed by the Americas.

On the positive side, Brazil is looking forward to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August. A downside is that security concerns remain high on the agenda. Furthermore, the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union in the recent referendum (‘Brex-it’) has raised uncertainty in the market and led to a substantial depreciation of the UK pound Sterling. However, UN-WTO does not expect this to have a sig-nificant impact on international travel in the short term.

By region, Asia and the Pacific (+9%) recorded the highest increase in interna-tional arrivals, with all Asian subregions enjoying growth of 7% or above. By sub-region, Subsaharan Africa (+13%) led growth, strongly rebounding from previ-ous years’ modest results.

UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3.5% to 4.5% over the full year 2016, in line with UNWTO’s long-term projection of 3.8% growth a year for the period 2010 to 2020.

results by regionAsia and the Pacific (+9%) recorded the

highest growth in international arrivals across world regions in January-April 2016, with robust results in all four subre-gions. South-East Asia and Oceania both achieved 10% growth, while arrivals in North-East Asia increased by 8% and in South Asia by 7%.

In Africa (+7%), international tourist arrivals experienced a clear rebound in Subsaharan Africa (+13%), while in North Africa results were down by 8%.

In the Americas (+6%), all four sub-regions continued to enjoy significant growth in the first four months of 2016, led by Central America and South Amer-ica (both at +7%). Arrivals in the Carib-bean (+6%) and North America (+5%) were fuelled by continued strong out-bound demand from the United States, where tourism expenditure increased by 9% through May.

Europe (+4%), the world’s most visited region, consolidated its healthy growth of recent years with Northern Europe and

tourism updates

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand has appointed Ms. Anusha Dandekar as a Lady Brand Ambassador for Thailand’s Tourism in the Indian market. The an-nouncement was made at a press confer-ence that was held to also introduce the TAT’s Women’s Journey to Thailand cam-paign to boost international female tour-ism to the Kingdom as well as to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 84th Birthday Anniversary.

The press conference was presided over by Mr. Ekapol Poolpipat, Consul-General of Thailand to Mumbai, and was attended by some 50 media and travel agents.Ms. Soraya Homchuen, TAT Mumbai Office Director said, “Once a negligible propor-tion of Thailand’s market mix and only visiting on family holidays, today women travellers represent 30 per cent of our ar-

Tourism Authority of Thailand Appoints Anusha Dandekar as Brand Ambassador for Indian Market

have a smaller share of the pie. Through our proactive marketing and publicity activities, we are certain that we will be successful with the aim to attract more women travellers,” she added.

As part of the strategy, TAT has appoint-ed Ms. Anusha Dandekar as Thailand’s tourism brand ambassador in India. The hip, young Aussie-born Mumbaikar, who many still remember as MTV’s VJ Anusha, was chosen for her inherent love for Thailand and the fact that she is sym-bolic of the exact segment that they want to target.

Ms. Anusha said, “I have been to Thai-land over 50 times during my career at MTV Asia – we shot there all the time and I’ve tried all the food. It’s one of my fa-vourite places and despite having visited so many times, it never gets old for me.”

rivals from India. We would like to scale this up to 60-65 per cent by 2022. We have done this effectively before with groups and independent travellers.

“About 5-7 years ago, Thailand saw a mix of 80 per cent group travellers and only 20 per cent independent travellers. To-date, the independent travellers con-stitutes about 60-70 per cent while groups

tourism updates

President launches official website of the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirise-na recently launched the official website of the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Invest-ment Conference (AHTIC) at the Presi-dent’s Official Residence.

The first Asia Hotel & Tourism Invest-ment Conference (AHTIC) will be held from November 27-29 in Colombo, in partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Club (SLTC).

The AHTIC, a first on Asian hotels and tourism industry to be held for the devel-opment of the hotels and tourism in Asian Region, will provide a valuable insight

President Launches Official Website of the First Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference in Sri Lanka

into the future of hospitality in the region and beyond. The conference will focus on hotel development and infrastructure plans in these key markets.

AHTIC is expected to attract an inter-national audience of senior figures and decision-makers involved in all aspects of hotel and tourism investment in South Asia.

A host of prominent speakers including the President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minis-ter of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Paddy Withana are slated to ad-dress the conference.

Duty of Care is The Dominant Theme at GBTA Convention

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry, wrapped up its 48th annual Convention yesterday in Denver. Risk, duty of care and technology’s impact on busi-ness travel were the predominant themes throughout the five-day industry gathering that brought together more than 6,500 travel professionals and industry leaders.

Featured speakers included United CEO Oscar Munoz. Munoz offered a candid as-sessment of his airline, air travel in general, and what his company is doing to improve and innovate air travel for business passen-gers. “The airline industry has made travel hell for business travelers. We need to do better to improve the air travel experience. My goal is to show you can run a business with heart that also makes money for its in-vestors,” Munoz told the audience.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger also took the stage for a one-on-one interview with GBTA Executive Director and COO Mi-chael W. McCormick. Often maligned as an agency struggling with operational discipline and low employee morale, Administrator Neffenger sees these challenges as oppor-tunities to overhaul how TSA is viewed by the traveling public and how TSA agents view themselves and their mission.

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Sydney will be the host destination for the country’s largest annual tourism trade show - the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2017, attracting more than 2,300 delegates from more than 30 countries to NSW.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said ATE 2017 will pro-vide the perfect opportunity to showcase the newly constructed International Convention Centre (ICC), Australia’s largest exhibition and convention centre.

“This is fantastic news and the NSW Gov-ernment is delighted to be working with Tourism Australia on delivering a spectacu-lar, world-class tourism event for NSW,” Mr Ayres said.

“In the year ended December 2015, NSW welcomed nearly 87 million overnight inter-national, domestic and day trip visitors who spent more than $30.6 billion in the State –

Sydney to Host Australian Tourism Exchange in 2017Sydney and the breathtaking surrounding regions of NSW.

“We look forward to showcasing our in-credible State during ATE 2017, set to pro-vide delegates with a forum for Australian tourism businesses to display their prod-ucts, make overseas contacts and negotiate deals.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said ATE presents a great opportunity to bring the tourism industry together.

“Our wonderful State never fails to impress and I am excited by the tourism opportunities that ATE 2017 will bring to Sydney and Regional NSW, cementing our position as one of the world’s most desir-able tourism and business event destina-tions.”

Australian Tourism Exchange 2017 will be held from 14-18 May 2017.

demonstrating NSW’s capacity to compete on a global scale.

“This five day event will generate sig-nificant economic benefits to the State while highlighting our iconic attractions, beautiful beaches, outstanding food and wine scene and provide delegates from overseas and across Australia with the chance to explore

Emphasizing the growing role that tech-nology plays in the meetings world, key findings of new research carried out for IMEX America by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) show that more than 40 percent of the MPI Research Panel members surveyed use laptops or mobile devices to capture content realtime.

Of that group 10.5 percent of these profes-sionals always use them for note taking and 31.6 percent use them sometimes. Hand-written notes continue to be the choice of the majority (57.1 percent) while just 0.8 percent record their observations.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group observed: “In an era when capturing live content on laptops, tablets and smart-phones is intrinsic to our working lives, it is interesting to quantify the extent to which they are being used in conferences and meetings at present. With millenni-als “keyboarding” virtually everything from an early age, usage is only likely to increase in the near future.”

More than 40 percent of Meetings Professionals Use Laptops & devices to Capture Content Realtime, According to Research for IMEX America by MPI

In this same research conducted in May, IMEX America also asked MPI members what the ideal length of a traditional confer-ence presentation by a single speaker should be, excluding Q&A. 43.6 percent thought 30 minutes, 40.6 percent chose 20 minutes, 15 percent said it should be 15 minutes and only 0.8 percent selected 10 minutes.

Carina Bauer commented: “When I en-tered the industry 14 years ago, the usual conference speech was 45 to 60 minutes. This snapshot study shows that over 80 per-

industry updates

cent of attendees favour a 20 to 30 minute speech and I would not be surprised if this trend continues to reduce with the advance of TED-style programming and the desire for people to spend time exchanging ideas with their peers, as much as hearing from talking heads. MPI’s recent World Educa-tion Congress (WEC) in Atlantic City show-cased this trend well by having a great range of formats and lengths for sessions. One size fits all no longer works for the average con-ference attendee.”

Contact for Editorial: [email protected]

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This year will see the 30th ECM Sum-mer School take place in Zagreb, 27-31 August 2016. The renowned educational programme on the Meetings Industry will provide at least 50 new delegates with the basis and know-how to progress a reward-ing career in the sector.

The aim of ECM Summer School is to pro-vide incisive insight into the structure and functioning of the Meetings Industry, bring-ing delegates face to face with top industry practitioners. The programme sets out the background and context of the industry, with a focus on up-to-date and cutting-edge examples of European best practice.

Course content is adapted to staff who are just starting out in the sector and who quickly want to get up to speed, coming from convention bureaux, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, airlines, conference venues, con-gress centres, convention centres, exhibition centres and suppliers of ancillary and other products.

“We are proud to celebrate the 30th edi-tion of the ECM Summer School. It has al-ways been the bridge to a successful career in the Meetings Industry, and has graduated

Christian Mutschlechner (Vienna Conven-tion Bureau), Miguel Neves (IMEX Group), Olivier Ponti (Amsterdam Marketing), Christine Shimasaki (DMAI), Denis Speet (ICCA), Anne Wallin Rødven (InspirAR) led by the course leader Pier Paolo Mariotti, CMP CMM.

The ECM Summer School qualifies for CMP certification and every student getting a ECM Summer School diploma is also eli-gible to receive 17.75 Clock Hours for their overall CMP certification.

“Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has be-come popular among business people due to its ideal conjunction of historical heritage and contemporary entrepreneurship. Mod-ern facilities, tradition, thriving business and a unique atmosphere are making Zagrebthe perfect place to host the 30th ECM Summer School and I look forward to meet many of you!” concluded Pier Paolo Mariotti.

more than 1,600 students - many of whom have gone on to become industry leaders. We hope to continue to welcome as many for the next 30 years!” said Ignasi de Delàs, ECM President.

“Despite tackling up-to-date issues like new technology, hybrid meetings and green meetings, the winning formula has remained the same: a unique opportunity for young professionals just entering the Meetings In-dustry to spend three days with some of the biggest names in our business.” continued Pier Paolo Mariotti, course leader.

The faculty is not made up of academics but experienced senior experts with a “tell it as it is” angle based on many years hands-on experience. The faculty are all members/partners of ECM and give their time on a voluntary basis - a way of giving back to the Meetings Industry: Luca Favetta (Hewlett-Packard International), Nalan Emre (IMEX), Paul Flackett (IMEX Group), Elisabeth Han-sa (Elisabeth Hansa - Support & Strategy On Demand), Cécile Koch (HeadQuarters & MIM Europe Magazine), Cain Leathem (GB Fitness), Heike Mahmoud (Berlin Con-vention Office), Nicola McGrane (IAPCO),

30th ECM Summer School Sets a New Milestone in the Meetings Industry!

In its prestigious annual report, the Union of In-ternational Associations (UIA) has announced that for the 7th year in a row, the capital of Belgium has achieved second place in the world and first in Eu-rope in terms of the number of conferences hosted in 2015. This means that the Region has surged ahead of cities like Seoul, Paris, Vienna and Tokyo.

In 2014, Brussels made a spectacular leap forward, growing by 80%. In 2015, it has consolidated its posi-tion, with 665 international conferences organised in the city. The capital was only beaten by Singapore, which hosts 736 conferences. The two leaders were followed by Seoul (494), Paris (362), Vienna (308), and Tokyo (249).

Patrick Bontinck, CEO of visit.brussels, is delight-ed: “This latest recognition rewards the hard work done by the visit.brussels Convention Bureau, in collaboration with suppliers, as well as the excellent event facilities the city boasts. As well as this, with the very recent creation of the Association Bureau, Brussels has once again managed to demonstrate its ambition of really standing out in this field, despite fierce competition.”

A number of factors combine to make sure that

The UIA Confirms Brussels as the Number Two City in the world, and the Number one in Europe in terms of the Number of International Conferences it Hosts

the city reflects a positive image: modern, flexible and sustainable facilities and services, a central geo-graphical position, great accommodation and access options and much more. On top of this, every day the team at the visit.brussels Convention Bureau of-fers their extensive expertise to make sure that con-ferences, meetings and events run as smoothly as possible. This includes arranging for visitors to be welcomed, pre-booking and customised support for a successful event. Added to this is the Association Bureau, a unique new concept that has only just been introduced, offering personalised services to inter-national associations and providing solutions to all their needs and questions.

industry updates

Thailand’s MICE industry - Spread-ing its wings across ASEAN

It’s the duty of any government to find ways of increasing revenue for the coun-try as well as creating jobs and boosting development. The MICE sector boosts all of these areas, which is why it ben-efits from a strong government support in Thailand, with great success. Over the last few years, under the auspices of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bu-reau, or TCEB, the kingdom’s MICE in-dustry has grown massively and Thailand is now seen as Asia’s MICE hub.

HQ Asia Pacific was lucky enough to catch up with TCEB President Nopparat Maythaveekulchaito talk about the current state of the MICE industry in Thailand and what he thinks the future might hold.

Well one thing is for certain, things are cur-rently going very well. “First half of the fiscal yearfrom October 2015 – March 2016.

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Dubai Aims for Mid-Market Appeal As Expo 2020 Approaches

Dubai, a city known for its world-class hospitality industry and landmark ho-tels, is training its focus on mid-market hotels in a bid to attract a larger percent-age of the millennial and family travel business. With Dubai s transformation from a luxury and business-centric city to a more mature destination attracting a diversified tourist profile, the move to increase the city s mid-scale room stock aligns with the requirements of the mil-lennial and family travel segments from emergent markets such as China, Africa, Brazil and India

with constantly evolving practices; highly personal and inspirational.”

The accompanying certification that goes with every newly acquired skill or education in MICE delivers a higher val-ue for people working in this industry. They are more sought after and they end up with an upper hand in competition. Rapid advances occur daily but continu-ing education successfully conquers the lack of confidence to <RE:Imagine>, as this year’s SMF 2016 theme suggests, and offer a business event that can rival some of the best thought of anywhere in the world.

Since 2010, SACEOS has trained over 300 MICE professionals with best practic-es in the industry – a notable reputation easily identified with Singapore. Training

at SACEOS enables participants and del-egates to apply to Singapore’s Productiv-ity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme where businesses can enjoy tax deduc-tions and allowances from expenditures arising from six qualifying activities iden-tified in the program. SMF 2016 attendees with a Convention Industry Council (CIC) account can clock in 14 continuous educa-tion (CE) hours which can be used to meet the minimum eligibility requirement to apply for the Certified Meeting Profes-sional (CMP) program.

Appreciate the value of continuing education when you register at SMF 2016, taking place from 28-29 July 2016 at Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore. Contact Adrian Lau at [email protected] for more information.

Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) 2016 Focuses on Creating Value through Continuing Education

industry updates

Money 20/20 Thrilled about Copenhagen & Copenhagen Convention Bureau

This April Copenhagen hosted the world’s leading conference covering pay-ments and financial service innovation, Money 20/20, attracting 4,000 delegates representing 1,500 companies from 70 countries to the Danish capital. The or-ganiser was thrilled with both the desti-nation and the local convention bureau’s engagement and services.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016When Copenhagen was announced the

host city for Money 20/20 2016, Katy Fry-att, Event Director, commented on the as-sociation’s choice of the Danish capital: “Copenhagen epitomizes Money20/20’s core values; it’s accessible, forward think-ing, competitive, entrepreneurial and of-fers an incredible event experience for the international payments and financial tech-nology community.”

The fact, that Copenhagen met the ex-pectations was underlined by the follow-ing post conference statement from Money 20/20 Founder and Chairman, Jonas Wein-er: “From the beginning the goal has been to create an event that helps to gather a wide range of people and companies and Money 20/20 Europe in Copenhagen has been a great success.”

The much awaited Singapore MICE Forum 2016 (SMF 2016), organised by the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), encourages industry practitio-ners to create value through continuing education.

Continuing education matters in MICE – an industry perpetually hungry for fresh and avant-garde ideas - diligently con-scious of its wave of economic influence and impact on both the professional and personal lives of attendees, participants, organisers and suppliers.

SACEOS President Janet Tan-Collis re-flected, “The new learning may be basic, supplementary or a thriving perspective in organising MICE asymmetrically. Con-tinuing education in our industry must work on the premise that it’s expanding the knowledge base of both raw entrants and seasoned players because it is critical for long term success. SACEOS through the Singapore MICE Forum or through its own efforts at providing continuing education as an association believes in the power of mentoring, coaching, teaching and passing down knowledge to keep an edge and remain relevant in an industry

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ibtm china 2016 (www.ibtmchina.com), taking place in Beijing on the 7th and 8th September at the China National Conven-tion Centre (CNCC), is gearing up for a highly successful event.

The show is preparing to welcome an impressive line-up of international ex-hibitors including: San Francisco Travel, Czech Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bu-reau and welcoming first time exhibitors Business Events Canada and Peninsula Hotels.

The highly successful ‘destination pre-sentations’ which are held on the show floor over the 2 days of the events will now incorporate sessions held by both ho-tels as well as destinations. Hosted Buyers will have the opportunity to pre-book the presentations during the show.

ibtm china is on track to deliver over 400 Hosted Buyers and will organise over 9000 pre-scheduled appointments with the exhibitors. The exclusive Host-ed Buyer networking reception will take place on Tuesday evening and will be held at the newly refurbished Peninsula Hotel. Bringing the buyers and exhibi-tors together on the Wednesday evening

IBTM China Gears Up for Business and Networking

Another paediatric meeting for innovation hub Dublin

The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) has been selected to host the 2019 Europaediat-rics Congress.

The bid was secured by the Faculty of Paediatrics of the Royal College of Physi-cians of Ireland (RCPI), with the conference expected to attract about 3,000 paediatri-cians and paediatric specialists from around the world.

It follows other high-profile paediatric con-ferences at the CCD in recent years, including the 53rd Annual European Society for Paedi-atric Endocrinology (ESPE) Meeting, the 32nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID), the 12th International Congress of the European Society of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology (ESPO), and the European Paediatric Surgeons Association (EUPSA) Congress.

IMPACT Exhibition has teamed up once again with the Thai Retailers Association (TRA) & Globe International Events Consultan-cy (GIEC), the exhibition organizer from Singa-pore to co-organize the 2nd edition of RetailEX ASEAN, the largest in-store equipment and solutions expo in Southeast Asia from 25th – 27th August 2016 at Hall 1, IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand. The show organizers will also be organizing for the first time POS & Auto-ID Expo which will be co-located with RetailEX ASEAN 2016.

With the Thai Shopping Centers Associa-tion (TSCA) as a new co-organizer of the 2 co-located shows with TRA, IMPACT & GIEC, RetailEX ASEAN & POS & Auto ID Expo 2016 are set to create the new benchmark in the ASEAN Retailing Industry.

The joint events will be featuring over 200 Thai and international exhibiting companies, showcasing a wide array of retail equipment, fitting design and solutions serving the whole retail industry with the POS and Auto-ID tech-nology designed to support the retail industry

Technology, Shop Fitting, Payment Solutions and many other related fields, enabled us to generate approximately 1 billion baht of trade volume during the show, the 2nd edition in 2016 promises more excitement to solidify its reputation as the leading trade, networking and knowledge hub for ASEAN Retail businesses and more opportunities with the co-location of POS & Auto-ID Expo.”

Rosalind Ng, managing director of Globe In-ternational Events Consultancy Pte Ltd (GIEC), Singaporementioned, “Bangkok, Thailand was selected as an ideal location to stage POS & Auto-ID Expo in view of Thailand being the second largest economy and second largest consumer market in Southeast Asia. With a market of 67.7 million consumers, consump-tion expenditure takes up more than half of Thailand’s GDP. Together with the co-located 2nd edition of RetailEX ASEAN, I am confident that those in the industry will realize valuable trade, networking & knowledge opportunities this coming August, when the 2 shows offi-cially open their doors.”

The 2nd RetailEXAsean 2016 / POS & ID Expo 2016 Aims to Pave the Way

at the official welcome party which is to be held at the China World Summit Hotel providing everyone with opportunities to continue their networking and business discussions.

Cici Chen, Senior Project Manager for ibtm china, commented, “I am delighted at the quality of the Hosted Buyers that we are welcoming to the show this year and the number of appointments pre-scheduled during the two days.”

“It’s a testament of how important ibtm china is in the development of the meet-ings industry in China. We play a valuable role in showcasing different destinations to those buyers who are looking to place business. We’re also committed to ensur-ing that we are providing the best possible platform for our buyers and exhibitors to meet, learn, place business and network with each other.”

as well as other the hotel, restaurant and manu-facturing industry. This provides the most com-plete trade platform for exhibitors to market them-selves profitably, increase brand image and create awareness, network and extend customer base as well as identify and tap on new opportunities in Southeast Asia.

Loy Joon How, General Manager of IMPACT Exhibition Management Co., Ltd. said, “The great success of the 1st edition of RetailEX ASEAN 2015, which oversaw the participation of more than 200 brands highlighting the latest Retail

industry updates

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Sao Paulo Expo will be the largest exhi-bition center, Congress and Conventions in Latin America with an area of 100 thousand square meters built in record time. With an investment of R$ 410 million made by GL events, one of the largest events companies in the world, the space was fully expanded, modernized and transformed into a multi-functional architectural complex capable of hosting trade fairs and public conferences and national corporate events and interna-tional, as well as cultural, social, sporting and entertainment events.

This is the largest investment in the his-

São Paulo Convention & Visitors Bureau Announce a Newly Renovated Event Venue in the City: São Paulo Expo

tory of GL events group, present in 19 coun-tries and accounts for another 40 spaces for events in the world. The concession is for 30 years. The Group’s resources are were directed to reform the existing pavilion of 40,000 square meters and construction of 50 thousand square meters of exhibition area and 10 thousand square meters of the convention center and the construction of a parking garage with 4,500 spaces (the larg-est indoor parking Brazil).

Located at ten minutes from the central city airport, São Paulo Expo has quick access to the main hotels in the area, totaling more than 7,500 apartments. The complex will have restaurants and unique services to of-fer exhibitors and visitors all the comfort to carry out or participate in events.

The list of confirmed events in 2016 in-clude the most important ones in Brazil such as: Brazil Game Show, São Paulo In-ternational Motor Show, Comic Con Experi-ence, São Paulo Boat Show, For 2017, Feicon Batimat has already been confirmed, event which is a benchmark to the civil construc-tion industry in Latin America.

Norman Foster’s emblematic building will be celebrating its 18th birthday. Since its open-ing, the Centre has boosted event tourism in the city, attracting and hosting over 2,500 events and welcoming more than 1.75 million visitors. As a result, the Centre has generated 1.9 mil-lion overnight stays and an economic impact for the city of €1 billion, a figure which is more than 33 times the cost of its construction.

In addition to the key role the Valencia Con-ference Centre has played in the local econo-my, we should not forget the urban transfor-mation of the area surrounding the building, in which a new district of leisure facilities and services has grown up, alongside five 4- and 3-star hotels providing over 1,000 hotel rooms within a kilometre of the Conference Centre and boosting its appeal as an international congress venue.

The increase in activity has undoubtedly im-proved Valencia’s position on the international stage. According to the International Congress

The Valencia Conference Centre Celebrates its Coming of age with an Economic Impact of a billion Euros

and Convention Association (ICCA), one of the industry’s most influential international organ-isations, the number of international congress-es held in the city has grown by 250% since the Conference Centre was opened, and the venue has welcomed over half of the delegates tak-ing part in international congresses in Valen-cia. According to the latest statistics, Valencia ranks 14th in Europe on the list of preferred event tourism destinations (excluding capital cities) and third in the ranking of Spanish cit-ies, well ahead of its immediate rivals.

industry updates

ibtm China 2016 Creates Technology Innovation Zone

All Inclusive Package for Start Ups and Tech Developers

ibtm China 2016 is to offer technology suppli-ers in Asia and China the opportunity to join an Innovation Zone at this year’s event, which takes place in Beijing from 7-8 September.

Each tech exhibitor will be given their own dedicated customized private space for exhibi-tors and buyers to meet and do business, called a ‘meeting pod’ the space comes with LCD screen and an all inclusive package allows the supplier to simply turn up, and get started with their appointments. All they have to do is provide their own branding. It is hassle free and there are no set-up or tear down costs, one price covers everything. Also included is access to all ibtm china networking functions, educations sessions and events.

The ibtm events portfolio creates similar technology opportunities at its events around the world with the largest area at the mothership event, ibtm world.

As a catalyst for the sector, trends, new in-novations, hands on experiences, education ses-sions and live demonstrations allow meetings planners to see for themselves what technology advancements can mean to their business.

“We are creating a dedicated area on the show floor, similar to those offered at our other events in the portfolio. We have already seen a significant interest in requests from tech start ups and companies who are providing dynamic and innovative solutions to event and meeting planners here in China and the rest of Asia. For our Hosted Buyers and trade visitors this will be a real opportunity for anyone seeking to source new solutions and access technology which has the potential to enhance their events.” Said CiCi Chen, ibtm china event director.

“We are also offering suppliers in the Innova-tion Zone, the opportunity to speak about their technology in a dedicated hub area, giving them another time to also market and promote their services. This package is designed to give a real boost to companies who want all the benefits of a trade show as well as access to the Hosted Buyer appointment system – 2 days of opportu-nities, it could not be easier,” added Chen.

Companies providing event services or tech-nology solutions, interested in the all inclusive meeting pod package and benefiting from ac-cess to a regional, local and international Hosted Buyer community should get more information regarding the ibtm china 2016 Innovation Zone on www.cibtm.com

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Korea has been ranked the world’s top 2 destination for global congresses hosted in 2015, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report, released this week by the Union of International Asso-ciations (UIA). The findings show Korea achieving 2nd place behind the USA with 891 meetings – a 40% increase over the pre-vious year. This also places it first in Asia and accounts for 7.5% of all meetings held worldwide across the same period. The re-sults reflect continued strong interest in Ko-rea, helped by the rise of its diverse regional Korean meeting destinations.

Seoul, the nation’s capital, also notably improved its long-standing top-5 UIA city ranking, moving from 5th to 3rd place with 494 meetings held in 2015; a 98.4% increase over the 249 meetings hosted in 2014. Mean-while, Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, attained a global city ranking of 11 with 150 meetings, while renowned UNESCO World Heritage resort island Jeju accounted for 112 of the year’s meetings, achieving a global city ranking of 19.

“The UIA findings demonstrate Korea’s compelling attraction for business events and travel, which is underpinned by the na-tion’s cultural appeal and steadily-growing

Korea – Now Top 2 in UIA’s Global Meetings Ranking

MICE capabilities,” said Kee Hun Kim, Ko-rea MICE Bureau Executive Director. “We will of course continue to work actively to make Korea a highly-competitive congress host, and a country with a wealth of destina-tions all featuring their own unique attrac-tions and venues.” he added.

Nationwide infrastructure growth has played a key role in boosting Korea’s MICE competitiveness, including expanded fa-cilities in future Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics host Gangwon Province, and ongoing expansions to recent Korea MICE Expo host Songdo ConvensiA in Incheon’s International Business District. Brand-new regional convention facilities include the new Asia Culture Center in southeastern city Gwangju and Hwabaek International Convention Center (HICO) in the south-

Prague Introduces Mobile App for Meeting Planners

Prague Convention Bureau in coop-eration with C.O.T. media publishing house and with the support of Prague City Tour-ism launched a mobile app to help meeting planners explore Prague congress oppor-tunities. “Prague Meeting Planners’ Guide” app is available for smartphones with An-droid, iOS and Windows Phone operating systems free of charge.

Those interested can download the “Prague Meeting Planners’ Guide” in app stores from the second half of June. Mo-bile app is intended especially for meeting

industry updates

western UNESCO capital of Gyeongju.Korea’s annual convention profile regu-

larly includes various international con-gresses, each of which benefit from a wide range of support programs specifically cater-ing to large-scale meetings from the Korea MICE Bureau (KMB) division of the Korea Tourism Organization. This includes com-plimentary city tours for delegates, airport welcome messages, customized event ban-ners and souvenirs, on-site cultural experi-ence booths, and many other enhancements. Recent major events that have utilized KMB assistance include 2015’s ICN Confer-ence & CNR, 7th World Water Forum, and 25th World Road Congress Seoul, and last month’s Rotary International Convention, attended by 50,000 participants, 21,000 of which came from overseas.

planners seeking the right venue and servic-es providers for their event in Prague. Basic information about the capital, various types of conference venues, an overview of hotels and restaurants, professional conference organizers (PCOs) and destination manage-ment companies (DMC) as well as providers of other related services can be found via the app.

“Mobile app complements the existing printed version of Prague Meeting Plan-ners’ Guide and destination presentation, which we update regularly and their digital versions are available for download on our website. The key benefit of the app is that all the information is easily accessible and always at hand. The app also allows to fil-ter the data according to various criteria, such as venue capacity or type,” said Ro-man Muška, Managing Director at Prague Convention Bureau.

New York City To Host 2019 International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s Annual

Global Convention’NYC & Company, New York City’s official

destination marketing organization, and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) today announced that New York City will host IGLTA’s 2019 Annual Global Conven-tion, the premier educational and networking event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender tourism industry. More than 600 par-ticipants are expected to attend the three-day convention in spring 2019.

“In 2019, New York City will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and IGLTA has chosen to share this celebration with the glob-al LGBT travel industry,” said IGLTA Board Chair Juan Julia. “Our members will be able to attend a great conference and also experi-ence New York City’s incredibly vibrant LGBT community. Rich with history and the cachet of being the city that never sleeps, there’s never a shortage of things to do in New York City, whether you’re looking for theater, film screen-ings, museums, restaurants or world-class gay bars and clubs.”

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AIPC President Geoff Donaghy noted that the AIPC Apex Award is based on an extensive analysis of customer input via detailed surveys, and reflects an unbiased picture of a centre’s performance as seen through the eyes of its customers.

“The Apex Award analysis is an exten-sive one that is able to make the distinctions that separate even the highest performing centres and covers a range of categories including facilities, project management, customer relations, catering, creativity and technology ,” said Donaghy. “With almost 1,000 client assessments going into this year’s award, we are able to clearly distinguish the factors that are generally most important to clients in their determi-nation of centre performance, which gives our members and additional insight to drive performance”.

The AIPC Board also recognized two

runners-up to this year’s award; the Kon-gresskultur Bregenz GmbH, Austria and the Hawai‘i Convention Center. “Our runners-up also deserve recognition, given the very high standards required to compete in this program”, said Donaghy.

“We truly feel that everyone is a winner in this process, as the AIPC Apex Award process goes far beyond simply identifying the winners and in fact creates important information and insights that drive overall centre performance. These insights can be and are in fact used to great advantage to all entrants to advance their products”.

AIPC represents a global network of more than 180 leading centres in 57 countries with the active involvement of over 900 management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention center management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its internation-al representation, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs to achieve this. AIPC also celebrates and promotes the essential role of the international meetings indus-try in supporting economic, academic and professional development and enhancing global relations amongst highly diverse business and cultural interests.

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Wins 2016 AIPC Apex Award for “Highest Client Rating Received by a Convention Centre

industry updates

Singapore Ranked As the Top International Meeting Citying itself into a technology thought leader in the region. Those technology-centric MICE events range from globally-renowned meet-ings to regional conventions scheduled for 2016 and beyond are expected to entice the professionals and will provide delegates with compelling content and opportunities to exchange knowledge with local and re-gional leaders.

“We are proud that Singapore remains a prominent international MICE destina-tion that continues to attract events with quality content. Although 2015 was a chal-lenging year with various headwinds in the tourism landscape, Singapore’s MICE industry held up well with a good pipeline of business events. Nonetheless, we must stay ahead of the competition by constant-ly evolving our destination offerings and take the Singapore MICE visitor experi-ence to the next level.” said Ms. Melissa

Ow, Deputy Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board.

Being held at Suntec Singapore Con-vention & Exhibition Centre, MICE Asia Pacific Exhibition 2016 is just two months away! A new programme – Meet The Buy-ers sessions was launched last month. The Meet the Buyers session is an invitation-only event and the VIPs will be meeting with the exhibitors at MICE Asia Pacific Exhibition 2016 to discuss business op-portunities. The sessions will be attended by leading conference organizers, exhibi-tion organizers, event marketers, meeting planners, incentive house agency, party/networking planners, meetings and event associations and tour, travel and destina-tion agencies and many more from across Asia Pacific region. Please contact for more details Katherine Chan at [email protected].

A highlight of the 2016 Annual Con-ference of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) held last week in Nantes, France was the presenta-tion of the 2016 AIPC Apex Award made in recognition of the highest client rating received by a convention centre to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre of Australia.

The Award was made from a group of 15 finalists, all of whom had qualified for the competition by achieving a high level of client testimonials to serve as the basis for an independent evaluation and analy-sis by the international market research firm Ipsos.

In receiving the Award BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe said the win was the pinnacle of the Centre’s 158 industry awards, and the highest global acclaim both for the Centre’s capabilities and for Brisbane as a leading international meet-ings destination.

“It is a great honour, and I believe a tribute to the dedicated and passionate AEG Ogden team that has operated the venue for the past 21 years”, said O’Keefe. “The Apex Award is an international benchmark for industry excellence, and we are excited that we have managed to achieve this kind of recognition”.

It is the ninth consecutive year for Singa-pore to be crowned by the Union of Inter-national Associations (UIA) as the top inter-national meeting city. The city also ranked the top international association meetings city of 2015 in Asia Pacific and Middle East region by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) for the 14th year running.

A series of business events were secured in various sectors like information and medical technologies that helped Singapore develop-

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide an-nounced a historic milestone with the opening of Four Points Havana—the company’s first hotel in Cuba—representing a watershed mo-ment for the fast-growing Four Points brand.

The opening comes on the heels of the groundbreaking deals signed by Starwood in Cuba earlier this year, which established Star-wood as the first U.S. based hospitality com-pany to enter the market in nearly 60 years. Four Points Havana, owned by Grupo Hotel-ero Gaviotaand managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, caters to the global traveler with an emphasis on approachable design and stylish comfort.

Four Points Havana offers 186 spacious guest rooms, 1,000 square feet of market-lead-ing meeting facilities, full-service dining at Don Quixote, breakfast and lunch service at El Olivo, and poolside light bites. Amenities in-clude a 24-hour fitness center, a business facil-ity and a fully equipped spa, offering a variety of massage treatments and a sauna and steam bath.

The hotel features the brand’s signature Best Brews offering refreshing local beers Cristal and Bucanero at the hotel’s lobby bar. It also offers Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The new Four Points is located in Havana’s Mira-mar district—a business and financial center

Starwood Reaches a Historic Milestone with the Opening of Four Points Havana

first-mover spirit,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “With its uncompli-cated comfort and reinvented travel experi-ence, Four Points Havana will be the ideal choice for global travelers as they experience Havana’s colorful history, rich architecture and unparalleled culture.”

With over 200 hotels in nearly 40 countries around the world, Four Points boasts Star-wood’s largest pipeline and continues to pen-etrate new markets, globally. The brand is on track to expand its portfolio of rooms by more than 60% in the next five years.

Since the agreement was signed, Starwood has made significant life & safety upgrades to the property to ensure that it meets the com-pany’s global standards.

As of today, reservations at the property can be made through the company’s book-ing channels globally and SPG members may earn points for staying at the hotel and redeem points to stay. Travelers from the United States must meet all of the travel requirements estab-lished by the U.S. government.

Four Points by Sheraton Havana will con-tinue to undergo upgrades and improvements over the next few months, as we seek to deliver the best in business experiences to which our guests are accustomed.

hospitality updates

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) and Eastern Crown Hotels Group, one of China’s fastest growing lodging groups, today, signed an exclusive development agreement to bring the “FairfieldSM by Marriott®” brand to mainland China. The agree-ment targets having 140 hotels signed in five years, of which 100 are expected to be opened by 2021. The introduction of the Fairfield brand is a signifi-cant milestone in Marriott International’s expansion into the midscale hotel segment in China, and is part of the company’s strategic plan to expand rapidly across a broad spectrum of price tiers and locations across the country. Each Fairfield hotel will have between 100-150 rooms.

“China is the fastest growing market in Asia for us. The rising disposable incomes of the middle class and development of the consumption-led economy is driving an increased demand for higher quality mid-range accommodation,” said Craig S. Smith, Presi-dent & Managing Director of Marriott International Asia Pacific. “Fairfield will focus on young consumers and business travelers looking for a comfortable and productive stay at a great value.

“Fairfield has quickly gained popularity in Asia

since its introduction into the region two years ago. Guests enjoy the value of this contemporary brand, its intuitive design and great service culture that resonates so well in this part of the world. These key indicators are true differentiators that will meet and serve the needs of China’s next generation travelers.” said Shruti Buckley, Fairfield by Marriott Vice President and Global Brand Manager. “Due to the fast growing global demand for quality mid-tier hotels, Fairfield currently has the larg-est development pipeline within Marriott International, positioning the brand as the fastest growing in the port-folio. This partnership with Eastern Crown is proof of the brand’s strong proposition and benefit to our owners.”

The Fairfield brand was inspired by the “Fairfield Manor House” at the Marriott Family Ranch in Virginia which was purchased in 1950. The “Fairfield Manor

House” was designed to be a comfortable and inviting place offering warm hospitality to guests, allowing them to rest, relax and enjoy home cooked meals from the farm. Its Chinese name (wàn feng) was inspired by the same spirit of practicality, warmth and beauty of the “Fairfield Manor House”, living up to its heritage of providing a warm wel-come, great service, and a hotel experience that’s just right for each and every guest.

Eastern Crown Hotels Group is a privately held, Guangzhou-based hotel group that specializes in franchising and operating select-service hotels. It currently has a portfolio of over 700 hotels either open or under development in 200 cities in China and Malaysia. According to Hotels magazine’s rank-ing, Eastern Crown is currently ranked No.38 among international hotel groups and No.7 among Chinese hotel groups.

Guests of Fairfield hotels in China will have the same access to Marriott’s award-winning loyalty program, Marriott Rewards (http://marriottreward-sapac.com/) as all other guests at Marriott Interna-tional portfolio hotels. Eastern Crown Hotels Group has over eight million

Marriott International and Eastern Crown Partner to Launch “Fairfield by Marriott®” a New Affordable Mid-Range Hotel

which houses many international embassies.“We are thrilled to once again be pioneers

with our groundbreaking entry into Cuba, of-fering our guests a way to stay with Starwood in this sought after destination,” said Jorge Gi-annattasio, Starwood’s Senior Vice President and Chief of Latin America Operations. “As one of the most successful brands in the Latin America region, the Four Points brand’s ag-gressive footprint—18 hotels in 9 countries—caters to business travelers from around the world. We are confident that it will be a perfect fit for this dynamic market.”

“The opening of Four Points Havana marks a monumental moment for not only the Four Points brand, but forStarwood Ho-tels & Resorts, solidifying its innovative,

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hospitality updates

Accor Ambassador Korea has partnered with CAPSTONE Asset Management and Dongnam Holdings to launch ibis Ambas-sador Seoul Dongdaemun and ibis Ambassa-dor Busan Haeundae respectively, bringing the country’s hotel network to 19 properties.

Accor Ambassador is currently operating in six cities under the Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis budget brands, with an aggressive expansion plan that will see its cur-rent network growth from 19 to 27 hotels by the end of 2019.

ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun is lo-cated in the heart of Seoul nearby to Jung-Gu and Gwangjang markets. Jung-Gu market is famous for the pervasive aroma of dried seafood while Gwangjang is renowned for its silks, linens and intricate handmade sou-venirs.

The project is developed and owned by a real estate fund managed by CAPSTONE Asset Management, in which RECAP fund is the major investor from Singapore.

The ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun features 242 guest rooms furnished with the ibis sweet bed, mini-refrigerator, rain shower and complimentary WIFI.

The hotel houses two food and beverage outlets, Oopen restaurant, which offers a va-riety of pastas, grills and Asian/fusion cuisine prepared in the open kitchen, while the hip and funky Grab & Go bar is the place to chill with a pre-dinner drink or a good cup of coffee in between meetings.

For meetings and events, the two state-of-the-art modular function rooms offer natu-ral lighting and can accommodate up to 70 people.

The 237 room ibis Ambassador Busan Haeundae, owned by Dongnam Holdings, is a 6-minute walk to Haeundae beach, is close to the subway station and Busan Exhibition and Convention Center.

Featuring an F&B outlet that serves popu-lar Mexican dishes, a bar, spa and gym, the

Accor Hotels Expands ibis Brand in South Korea

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa Presents an Endless Maldivian Summer 2016Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda

Huraa announces Endless Maldivian Sum-mer 2016: a packed program of exclusive experiences and enhanced levels of access.Running from now to November 2016, the tropical garden island Resort will be cel-ebrating the beach life with a scintillating line-up of Beach Feasts, Beach Therapy, Beach Entertainment, Beach Families and Beach Value.

There’s something for everyone, every day, all summer long, from restaurant sa-faris to Chef Ahoy fishing trips, day-long mind and body retreats, biodegradable golf, foam parties and artist-in-residence master classes.

Beach Feasts – catch and eat the fresh-est fish; make memories with a beach gar-den BBQ; and restaurant hop for a safari of beach views and island delicacies.

Beach Therapy – mini yoga retreats, bespoke juice power, and SUP with Aus-tralia’s first qualified stand up paddleboard yoga instructor, Kat Harding.

Beach Entertainment – every weeknight some of the atolls’ hottest music acts will be rocking the sands, including The Kabans, Equatic Vibe and Filza.

Beach Families – think fishing competi-tions, 2016 Summer Games-inspired ac-tivities, kids’ foam parties and island-wide treasure hunts.

Beach Value – extra fun at no extra cost, from surprise giveaways to tapping into one’s creative side with hands-on tutorials courtesy of world-renowned artists.

Top tip: guests should keep their eyes peeled for a Message in a Bottle … far from an SOS, each bespoke note is a free pass to something special.

hotel also offers two flexible meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 180 people in theater style and 120 guests for corporate events.

“With its new bright and cheerful design of the New Candy Concept, kids club and beach access, ibis Ambassador Busan Hae-undae is hugely popular with families. The hotel is perfect for guest seeking to enjoy a relaxing weekend by the beach with friends while watching kids play with firecrackers,” said Woo Young Rho, General Manager of ibis Ambassador Busan Haeundae.

Lords Hotels & Resorts aims at 40 properties by 2020

India’s fastest growing hospitality chain in the mid-market segment, Lords Hotels & Resorts has announced plans to aggressively expand especially in the south and the east and also gradually establish presence in the international tourism circuit. The announce-ment comes on the heels of the recent launch of its three new hotel properties in Agra, Jam-mu and Thissur. With this, the hotel chain today stands at a count of 25 properties, in-cluding one international hotel, and is aiming at adding another 15 to take the total count to at least 40 properties by the year 2020.

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Stayzilla.com, the largest aggregator for verified homestays in India and Uttara-khand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) signed an MOU to jointly promote and mar-ket homestays in Uttarakhand. The MoU was signed in the presence of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Harish Rawat, Mr. Shailesh Bagauli, Secretary Tourism & CEO, Uttarakhand Tourism and Mr. Ankit Rastogi, Vice-President, Marketplace, Stayz-illa.com. The region’s beauty and hilly ter-rain lends itself as ideal place for increasing homestays since tourist demand outnum-bers the stay options available. Increasing and promoting homestays in mountainous areas will help fulfill demand and support local economy.

The company is closely working with various state tourism departments for joint promotion of homestays. Stayzilla recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Madhya Pradesh State Tour-ism Development Corporation for joint promotion of Homestays.

Mr. Shailesh Bagauli, CEO, UTDB said, “These are interesting times for Uttara-khand tourism with growing influx of

Stayzilla Signs MoU with Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board for Promotion of Homestays in the Region

tourists from across the country and we are working towards strengthening our homestay eco-system. We believe that our partnership with largest aggregator of homestays, Stayzilla will be extremely beneficial for offering best-in-class stay ex-perience for our tourists.

We are cognizant of Stayzilla team’s strength as they are already closely work-ing with various state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, North East and more for joint promotion of homestays” he added.

Under this agreement, Stayzilla will sup-port verification procedures and jointly boost homestays across Uttarakhand. All

homestays registered with UTDB will re-ceive technological and operational sup-port to run the homestays. Also, Stayzilla & UTDB will jointly conduct education and training sessions for UTDB registered homestays on best practices such as online usage, content management, operations and expense management.

Stayzilla has been constantly conducting sensitization workshops for promoting the concept of homestays and bed & break-fast outfits across Uttarakhand region in cities such as Dehradun, Haridwar, Al-morah, Nainital, Gopeshwar, Munsiyari, Rudraprayag, Chamba, Uttarkashi, Tehri, Rampur, Rudrapur, Mussoorie, Dhanaulti and Lansdowne. The company also has over 500 verified homestays in the region.

Commenting on the signing announce-ment, Mr. Ankit Rastogi, Vice-President, Marketplace, Stayzilla, said “At Stayzilla we are very excited to collaborate with Uttarakhand Tourism for promoting com-fortable homestays in the region. The true essence, practices, traditions and natural ecosystem of any region can only be expe-rienced through staying in homestays.”

International hospitality provider ONYX Hospital-ity Group has signed a management agreement with Junson Capital for a new project in Chengdu, China, under the serviced apartment brand, Shama, this brings the group’s total number of properties in the region to 61, including 20 in the pipeline.

Perfectly positioned within the Tianfu New Area, the up-and-coming, state-level development zone in Sichuan province, Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu will be a 252-key serviced apartment, nearby the retail area Xiangnanli, which are all scheduled to open in 2017.

This new-build will boast a wide range of apartment

ONYX Expands Footprint in China with Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu

types – from studios to three-bedroom apartments, catering to all tenant needs from individual business travellers to families. Each unit will be tastefully fur-nished, featuring generous living and dining spaces, fully equipped kitchenette and Wi-Fi access.

Rendering of Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu (build-ing on the left), situated nearby the soon-to-be opened retail area Xiangnanli

Designed as a home away from home, Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu will offer an array of facilities – Shama Wired, an area providing business facili-ties; Shama Den, a guest lounge allowing tenants to relax and have fun; Shama Kitchen, a breakfast area which will also serve tea and pastry; Shama Play, where kids can enjoy themselves with play and edutainment equipment; the fully equipped Shama Gym; and a swimming pool.

The property will provide personalised service from dedicated housekeepers, daily breakfast, round-the-clock security and on-site management and concierge services.

Tenants staying at Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu may

hospitality updates

also enjoy Shama’s exclusive lifestyle programme “no boundaries”, which grants tenants hood-tours, net-working activities and tips to fast track their social living and make the most of Chengdu.

“Being the economic, financial and commercial hub of western China, Chengdu is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. It is not only home to the gi-ant pandas, but also a city in which more than half of the Fortune Global 500 companies have built their presence,” said Tommy Lai, Vice President, North Asia, ONYX Hospitality Group.

“As more and more global and national companies are establishing businesses in Chengdu, we see the demand for serviced apartments offerings like Shama. We are committed to addressing the accommoda-tion needs of expatriates and nationals relocating to Chengdu. We are excited and honoured to partner with Junson Capital in the development of Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu, and we look forward to combining the ex-pertise of both parties to further extend our strategic partnership across China and beyond.”

Shama portfolio consists of 17 serviced apart-ments across prime commercial and residential dis-tricts in Asia. Apart Shama Xiangnanli Chengdu, oth-er serviced apartments in development are Shama Pazhou Guangzhou and Shama Daqing Heilongjiang, both scheduled to open in 2017.

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Preferred Hotels & Resorts welcomed 34 properties across 15 countries to its brand portfolio in the first fourth months of the year, giving travelers even more op-tions for experiencing #ThePreferredLife in 2016.

As newly branded members, all 34 ho-tels now extend additional benefits to their guests through the iPrefer™ guest loyalty program, which offers valuable benefits such as points redeemable for free nights, elite status, and complimentary Internet upon every eligible stay. Highlights of the new additions include:

romantic retreats in nature...

mukul beacH, golF & sPa - rivas, nicaragua

Nestled on fringes of the jungle and overlooking the Emerald Coast, Mukul is the ultimate tropical retreat for sophisti-cated travelers, presenting 37 guest suites, including a collection of authentic Bohio tree-top bungalows eequipped with pri-vate plunge pools. A visit to this exclu-sive, beach-front property is not complete without a stop at Spa Mukul, where guests receive a private spa suite to call home for the day in between customized treatments that harness the ancient therapies of the land. All experiences at the resort – from the spa to surfing and other shoreline ad-ventures – are all strongly connected to nature and built around respect to the lo-cal community.

gran Hotel Domine bilbao - bilbao, spainThe stylish, Javier Mariscal-designed

Grand Hotel Domine is the ideal Spanish retreat for creatives. Located in the center of Bilbao’s art district, guests are within walking distance to the famed Guggen-heim Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts. The inspirational setting continues inside the hotel’s 145 spacious guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows framing a natural masterpiece - the green mountain-sides of Northern Spain. Guests can enjoy views overlooking the mountains and The Guggenheim Museum from the hotel’s rooftop terrace each morning, where an extensive buffet breakfast is served.

lough erne resort - enniskillen, united Kingdom

Situated along the serene waters of

Lough Erne just two hours outside Dub-lin, Lough Erne Resort is a retreat desti-nation known for its proximity to nature trails and stunning vistas, offering hikes ranging from scenic forest walks, histor-ic castles, to the UNESCO Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. In respect to its natural surroundings, each of the resort’s 120 guestrooms offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the beautifully manicured Faldo Champion-ship golf course. For a unique perspective, guests can take in the Northern Ireland landscape from a helicopter tour, or ex-plore the 365 islands of Upper and Lower Lough Erne by Water Taxi.

come for business, stay for Pleasure...

aKa Wall street- new york, new york, united states

For travelers in need of more than a bed and well-stocked mini bar, AKA Wall Street is a sophisticated full-service resi-dence located in the vibrant hub of New York City’s Financial District offering daily, weekly, and monthly stays. Busi-ness travelers and long-haul vacationers alike have options ranging from studio accommodations to two-bedroom suites and penthouses – all fully-equipped with sleek kitchens and Bulgari bath amenities. After a busy day in the concrete jungle, residents can relax at a.terrace, an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge with private cin-emas offerings spectacular city views.

Fortune select excalibur - gurgaon, indiaSeven new Fortune Hotels joined Pre-

ferred Hotels & Resorts at the start of 2016, including the 135-room Fortune Se-lect Excalibur, located in the heart of In-dia’s financial and industrial hub. Guests in search of an elevated experience during their time in Gurgaon can book a Fortune Club Room, which is tastefully designed and offers to Fortune Club Lounge for im-promptu meetings. Ideal for business and leisure travelers alike, this hotel also offers a variety of dining options including a 24-hour coffee shop, authentic North Indian cuisine, pan-Asian, cocktail lounge, and one of the best patisseries in town.

Additional properties Preferred Hotels & Resorts welcomed to its brand portfolio in 2016 include:

Preferred Welcomed 34 Properties Across 15 countries Beginning of 2016

West Bay Club (Turks and Caicos Is-lands); The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort (Destin, Florida); The Raithwaite Estate (Whitby, United King-dom); Wanda Reign on the Bund (Shang-hai, China); Fortune Select Excalibur (Gurgaon, India); The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel New Delhi (Delhi, In-dia); Fortune Park Ahmedabad (Ahmeda-bad, India); Fortune Select Exotica ( Navi Mumbai, India); Fortune Select Global (Gurgaon, India); The Dewberry Charles-ton (Charleston, South Carolina); Fortune Select Trinity (Bangalore, India); Fortune Select (Grand, Chennai - Chennai, India); The Avenue, a Murwab Hotel (Doha, Qa-tar); Ohla Eixample (Barcelona, Spain); Si-maisma, A Murwab Resort (Al Khor, Qa-tar); NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace (Amsterdam, Netherlands); Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain); NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento (Rome, Italy); NH Collection Amster-dam Doelen (Amsterdam, Netherlands); Hotel Condes de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain); Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa (Anguilla); Treasure Island Beach Resort (Treasure Island, Florida); The Whitehall (Houston, Texas); The Carlton Tel Aviv (Israel); Palazzo Versace Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates); The Pelham Hotel (London, England); The Gore Hotel (Lon-don, England); Only You Hotel Atocha (Madrid, Spain); Fortune Inn Grazia (Noi-da, India); and Thandeka Game Lodge & Spa (Limpopo, South Africa).

hospitality updates

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Hilton Worldwide is opening of its new-est hotel, the dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside and Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside, bringing a total of 364 new rooms to the heart of downtown San Diego.

The opening further establishes Hilton Worldwide’s strong presence in Califor-nia, and it is another prime example of the company’s expansion into urban areas.

“San Diego brings in more than 34 mil-lion visitors each year, and with the large number of business and leisure travellers, it’s beneficial to offer a variety of options,” said John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn.

“As a dual-brand property, this new hotel in San Diego will not only meet the demands of this booming tourism market, but provide diverse accommodations for visitors with varying needs.”

The new Hilton Garden Inn and Home-wood Suites by Hilton San Diego Down-town/Bayside complements the city’s

Hilton Worldwide Opens Dual-branded Property in San Diego

diverse culture and local attractions that both domestic and international travellers enjoy.

Both properties are located at 2137 Pa-

cific Highway, offering guests a central location and convenient access to the best of San Diego’s local attractions.

Nestled between Little Italy and San Diego Bay, the hotel is near the San Di-ego Cruise Terminals, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego Convention Centre and San Diego Zoo.

Guests can also explore the Old Town, Coronado Island and Mission Bay, which is just a short distance from the hotel’s doorsteps.

The dual-brand concept creates en-hanced and larger communal areas than what would be standard at a stand-alone property, benefiting both business and lei-sure travellers.

The hotel has one distinct lobby, two out-door courtyards for connecting and relax-ing, a standalone restaurant, fitness cen-tre, and rooftop pool enhancing the guest experience.

The hotel also offers 4,500 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space that can accommodate up to 300 people.

Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang opens in Wujiaochang, a thriving business, innovation and university district in Shanghai, East China, where the 306-room Hyatt Regency hotel offers guests an urban retreat that fosters connections and serves as a dynamic, energizing place where they can col-laborate and find inspiration.

“The opening of Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang fur ther expands Hyatt’s brand pres-ence in Shanghai and significantly enriches our authentic and diversified brand experiences for guests”

“The opening of Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang fur ther expands Hyatt’s brand pres-ence in Shanghai and significantly enriches our authentic and diversified brand experiences for guests,” said Christopher Koehler, Hyatt’s vice president and managing director of operations for

Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang Opens in East China

China. “This hotel has been thoughtfully designed to make guests feel welcome and comfor table so that they can socialize, connect and celebrate any occasion.”

Wujiaochang, meaning “hub of five avenues,” highlights the hotel’s ideal location by enabling guests to easily connect to the very best that Shanghai has to offer. Whether working, meeting, socializing or unwinding, guests can enjoy exciting culinary experiences, easy tech-enabled connectiv-ity and convenient service.

“Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang offers guests access to nature and seclusion, right in the middle of urban Wujiaochang. Featuring in-spiring spaces and purposeful hospitality, this hotel will provide guests with a memorable place to connect with friends, family and business par tners,” said Grace Tsou, general manager of

hospitality updates

Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang.Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang is located

in the Hopson International Plaza, a new tower com-prised of Class A-grade offices, a luxury shopping mall and dining and entertainment venues. The hotel is conveniently situated beside Wujiaochang Sta-tion on Metro Line 10, providing guests with easy access to and from central Shanghai. Shanghai Pu-dong International Airport is a 50-minute drive, and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is less than 15 miles (24 kilometers) by car.

Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang offers 306 comfortable and contemporary guestrooms, including 17 suites, ranging in size from 430 square feet (40 square meters) to 2,249 square feet (209 square meters).

Magical Weddings and Flawless EventsPerfectly suited for all types of business and

social gatherings, Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wuji-aochang offers 30,763 square feet (2,858 square meters) of dynamic and flexible meeting and event spaces across two levels, including the Regency Ballroom and seven multi-function rooms. The pillar-free 8,331 square foot (774 square meter) Regency Ballroom with a 25-foot (8-meter) ceiling creates a sense of festive celebration for up to 700 guests. Styled with rich gold tones and leaf-patterned car-pets, doors on one side open onto the landscaped roof terrace. A bridal dressing room provides a pam-pering lounge and private dressing area beside the ballroom.

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