Business tour is the next big thing: officials
Updated: 2013-09-17 07:25
By Jin Haixing (China Daily)
Chinese capital strives to become global attraction
Tourism authorities in Beijing have vowed to attract more business travelers, especially those from overseas, by rolling out many measures to promote the city's image as a major tourist destination.
The fast-growing niche MICE market for business traveling, short for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, is gaining more and more importance among Beijing's tourism administrators and operators.
"Beijing's long history and rich cultural resources for tourism are key advantages for us to develop the MICE market," said Li Xuemin, head of the tourism development commission of Beijing's Dongcheng district.
Beijing will be a good choice for incentive traveling, a type of business travel that helps motivate employees or partners, Li said. "Tourists from overseas will enjoy respect after they visit Beijing's famous scenic spots and learn about the city's traditions and history during incentive traveling".
According to Li, Dongcheng district signed an agreement of partnership with Italy's Forli-Cesena Province at the Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Expo in Beijing earlier this month, a latest move by the city to attract inbound business travelers.
According to the agreement, the cities will share information about MICE market resources and hold promotional campaigns in the two countries to boost the development of the MICE industry, Li said.
"We see a trend from sightseeing travel to leisure tourism and holiday tourism. In this sense, the MICE market will be our focus to attract more tourists from overseas," said Cao Pengcheng, deputy head of Beijing commission of tourism development.
According to Cao, the number of MICE travelers was about one-third of the total of inbound tourists in China.
But business travelers spend more. The revenue from MICE travelers accounts for half of the total inbound tourism revenue in the country. He did not give the figures for Beijing.
In 2012, the Chinese capital set up an alliance of MICE destination cities with other Chinese cities, and now it has 12 members. The alliance will make joint efforts to build China as a major MICE destination.
Moreover, the Beijing government has released many measures to encourage tourism companies and hotels to develop the MICE market.
In Dongcheng district, for example, tourism companies will get subsidies from the government if they take part in large international MICE exhibitions and, if MICE events are held in Dongcheng, organizers will get suggestions and support from the local government, according to Li.
She said the policy is applied to the district's more than 100 tourism agencies and hotels.
Beijing has advantages over other cities in the MICE market.
According to the latest report of the International Congress and Convention Association, 311 international meetings were held in China in 2012, making the country 10th in the world for such events.
Among them, 109 international meetings were in Beijing, about one-third of the total in China.
(China Daily USA 09/17/2013 page15)