Co-organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISOS), and coordinated by China Chamber of International Commerce (CCIC) and Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), the 13th China Expo Forum for International Co-operation (CEFCO) 2017 officially kicked off today (Jan. 12) at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Four agreements and letters of intent were successfully signed on the first day of the event.

Mr. Lionel Leong Vai Tac, Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), Mr. Yao Jian, Deputy Director of Liaison Office of the Central People´s Government in Macao SAR, Mr. Jiang Zengwei, Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Mr. Pan Yundong,  Deputy Commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Macao SAR, Mr. Andreas Gruchow, President of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), Mr. Ryan Strowger, Chairman of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), and Mr. David Audrain, Executive Director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) were present at the inauguration ceremony at the invitation of the Co-organizers.

Mr. Lionel Leong Vai Tac said that, since its inception in Beijing in 2005, CEFCO has been actively constructing a platform for exchange and co-operation between Chinese and foreign enterprises and has now become one of the most representative and professional forums of the convention and exhibition industry at home and abroad and this is also an important annual grand event for the international MICE industry. Mr. Leong pointed out that Macao became the host city of CEFCO 2017 owing to attention and support by the Chinese Central Government and relevant ministries to Macao´s economy, especially the development of the MICE industry with priority to conventions. This will help to further enhance Macao´s visibility as a MICE destination, thus promoting the development of the local convention and exhibition industry.

Mr. Jiang Zengwei said that, in view of the intricate international and domestic economic and trade situation, in order to provide an effective support in promoting China from a  convention and exhibition major country to a convention and exhibition power, firstly, it is essential that the country´s convention and exhibition industry firmly grasp the country´s economic trends and new features; secondly, to vigorously promote international exchange and co-operation; thirdly, it is necessary to continuously accelerate the application of new technologies. Furthermore, he believes that the holding of CEFCO 2017 in Macao will inject new impetus to the city’s economy.

After the opening ceremony, several agreements were signed, including the “Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Working Committee to Promote MICE Industry in Macao SAR”, signed between the Secretariat for Economy and Finance of Macao SAR and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT); “Agreement on CEFCO Co-operation between CCCPIT, UFI, IAEE and SISO”; “Letter of Intent on Further Cooperation in Exhibition Industry” between Macau Fair & Trade Association and the Training Centre of CCPIT; and “Macao International Audio Visual Show and Portable Hi-Fi Show Co-operation Agreement” between a CCPIT sub-council and Macao.

The theme adopted for this edition of CEFCO is “Embracing Change”. More than 800 representatives of the MICE industry, from 25 countries and regions, including 330 local delegates and delegates from the Portuguese-speaking Countries, were invited to participate. The “Global MICE CEO Roundtable” was held on the first day of the event. During the Roundtable session, many participants praised the hardware and software facilities of Macao´s MICE industry and agreed that Macao is indeed an ideal destination for the holding of conventions and exhibitions. At the same time, several participants made recommendations regarding the present situation and future perspectives of Macao´s MICE industry. The Dean of School of Economics, Trade and Event Management of the Beijing International Studies University (BISU), Mr. Liu Dake is confident in the future development of Macao´s MICE industry. He suggested to firstly develop corporate meetings, and then to focus on conferences of the international business associations. The Vice-President of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Mr. Chris Meyer and the CEO of Info Salons, Ms. Joe-Anne Kelleway suggested that Macao could combine technology to promote its own advantages in the MICE industry.

On the other hand, IPIM´s President, Mr. Jackson Chang, as guest speaker on the topic of “The Belt and Road Initiatives: New Opportunities for MICE” during one of the plenary sessions, pointed out that in the new global economic norm, the main layout of the world convention and exhibition industry is shifting to Asian countries and other emerging economies, which has gradually become the new impetus for the development of the world´s MICE industry. Macao could develop its own characteristics and functions to push forward the innovative and synergistic development of related industries, he added.

In addition, a total of 21 Macao enterprises exhibited their services and participated in business matching at the “Macao MICE Business Zone”, set up at the venue to facilitate networking and assist the enterprises to explore business opportunities. Several sessions will be held tomorrow (Jan. 13), including “Shifting Role of government in MICE Development” and “Macao Mice Industry – Road to Innovation”. As for January 14, the Co-organizers and Coordinators have arranged an Outdoor Networking for the participants, to visit Macao´s MICE facilities and experience the city´s cultural and tourism characteristics.