Shanghai, host city of the IT&CM 2010: Copyright Navjot Singh
Jinmao Tower and the Shanghai World Finance Tower: Copyright Navjot Singh
Organised by TTG Asia Media and MP International, with Hangzhou Tourism Commission (Presenting City), the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental and the Millennium Hongqiao Hotel Shanghai, the IT&CM (Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meetings) from the 7th till the 9th of April 2010 was a showcase for China to promote itself to the world through various forms of channels connected with tourism including major international and Chinese branded hotels’, resorts’, theme parks’ and tour operators’. The main reason for its presence was to serve as a platform for the 230 exhibiting companies and organisations, as well as international and leading Chinese participants in the MICE industry to explore exciting business opportunities within the world of travel. The theme for the 2010 event was labelled as “Bridging the global MICE business”. The beautiful city of Hangzhou, which is considered one of Shanghai’s two branch cities (the other being “Suzhou”) was hosting as a presenting city. Hangzhou is promoting itself as the best city for tourism in China 2010 and beyond.
With the Shanghai Expo 2010 just around the corner, the IT&CM was a perfect platform for various countries, which have planned activities during the Expo 2010, to showcase themselves to China and to the buyers who had come from around the world. Overall there were just over 300 buyers in attendance from over 39 countries ranging from Europe, Middle East, Africa, Americas and the South-East Asia region. This was well backed up by over 100 supporting media from around 26 countries. The vast majority of the buyers and exhibitors were from South-East Asia and the Greater China region.
The China Pavilion at the Expo 2010: Copyright Navjot Singh
But the main question is, did the IT&CM achieve its goals? Was it worth it for everyone to fly in from around the world and spend their 15 minutes face to face with their hosts? The answer to this is not as easy as one may assume. For those people who came to the IT&CM in the hope that they would sign a few contracts, this was not the place I would imagine as it was rather a platform for putting faces to names, and making sure those vital working relationships are cemented in person rather than on the phone or via e-mails. Though having spoken to a few exhibitors, the event seemed to a good success. One of the spokesperson for the Portman Ritz Carlton in Shanghai, who did not wanted to be named, made numerous positive comments. Perhaps she was a bit too proud that on that very day (8th April), the former US President George W Bush was staying at their hotel. As with all the other US Presidents, including President Obama, the Portman Ritz Carlton is the preferred choice when they visit Shanghai. Mr. Bush was in town for a short 2 day “unofficial” trip to meet China’s Finance Minister Mr. Xie Xuren. The security and secrecy of their meeting was so high that the Grand Hyatt in Pudong, where the meetings were held, was closed off to the media and public for half a day (so no guests were allowed to stay inside during that time).
Having just arrived from the west, where there is still the bad air within the economic climate, I seemed to get the feeling that everyone is heading off to China, India or somewhere else in the emerging markets world.
Kaiane Aldorino, the current Miss World title holder, paid a special visit to promote Vietnam as the premier destination, especially as the country is hosting the next Miss World competition in 2010. Hats must be taken off to Miss. Aldorino, a native from Gibraltar, who had to stand almost the whole day and take photos with her many fans. Accompanying Miss Aldorino on her PR trip across China was the British founder and CEO of Miss World, Ms. Julia Morley.
Kaiane Aldorino in Shanghai without the crown: Copyright Navjot Singh
Julia Morley, CEO of Miss World: Copyright Navjot Singh
Mr. Kieu Hoang: Copyright Navjot Singh
Kaiane Aldorino in Shanghai: Copyright Navjot Singh
The IT&CM was also a platform for some international companies that have set up a new presence in China to provide a taste of their products. Such as international exhibitor, Sharon Lee, area vice-president of Sales, Asia Pacific of Melia Hotels and resorts commented: “Sol Melia’s comprehensive suite of properties is well diverse to cater to different buyer needs, with each property having something unique to offer.” Gran Melia Shanghai is the first Latino style luxury hotel in China to be managed by a leading European hotel group. It offers great scenic views of the Bund and the Oriental TV Tower.
In his closing remarks, Mr Darren Ng, the MD of TTG Asia Media, thanked the participants, the media and the guests, and labelled the event a success. Mr. Ng also acknowledged the idea proposed by me that there should be more airline representatives in future events. This would be a great corridor to gather momentum for the travel incentives overall. One positive aspect which I really admired was that this event was well organised- and this is very important in China. The host hotel (The Shanghai Hongqiao Sheraton) was a superb choice for all the participants to stay at. All the essentials amenities of life were available, and even more so for journalists (internet and telephone etc.).
Then there were some other prominent faces present at the IT&CM, including Kieu Hoang, a self made successful businessman who is the head of the Kieu Hoang Tu Thien (Charity), head of the Tien Giang Tourist Company, and also the host of the Miss World competition in Vietnam in 2010. Below are some photos showing the highlights of the media event. These included press conferences from the respective tourism boards of Hawaii, Japan, Malaysia, Egypt, and various others. So its off to Bangkok in October 2010 for the next event organised by TTG Asia Media!
Dr Nasser Abdel-Aal from the Egypt Tourism Authority: Copyright Navjot Singh
Gilly Wong, General Manager of Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK): Copyright Navjot Singh
Hanli Tan, Assistant Marcoms Manager: TTG Asia Media: Copyright Navjot Singh
Katsuaki Suzuki from the Japan Tourism Board: Copyright Navjot Singh
Michael Murray from the Hawaii Tourism Board: Copyright Navjot Singh
Zulkefli Hj Sharif from the Malaysia Tourism Ministry: Copyright Navjot Singh
The opening reception at the Sofitel Shanghai: Copyright Navjot Singh
Traditional dancer during the opening reception at the Sofitel Sheshan Shanghai: Copyright Navjot Singh
Chinese dancer at the Sofitel Sheshan Shanghai: Copyright Navjot Singh
Darren Ng, MD of TTG Asia Media and Jason Ng of MP International taking questions: Copyright Navjot Singh
William Leong from Asian Times asking questions, with Renee Chew from the Travel Business Analyst in the background: Copyright Navjot Singh
Jason Ng, MP International: Copyright Navjot Singh
Darren Ng, MD of TTG Asia Media: Copyright Navjot Singh