As an emerging industry, Convention and Exhibition (commonly known as MICE) Industry has been steadily developing with a strategy of “prioritising conventions” in recent years.  At the beginning of 2018, various conventions – from annual conference of animal nutrition product company involving hundreds of attendees, to software developer’s conference sizing thousands of participants of and medical equipment company, and even the conferences of medicine and healthcare company and internationally renowned enterprises that are expecting tens of thousands of participants – have set Macao as their business events destination.  Most of the organisers expressed their recognition of Macao’s well-developed facilities for MICE and its reputation as UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.  Some of them even developed the combination of team building and in-depth experience of Macao by arranging for event attendees to visit different communities in Macao, assigning tasks for attendees to complete at cultural heritage sites and IPIM’s Portuguese-speaking Countries Food Products Exhibition Centre, inviting event attendees to workshops of making Macao local pastry.  Such arrangements had enabled events participants to enjoy a unique convention trip.

Fully Developed Facilities for MICE

According to Mr. Zhang, who organised a large annual conference for a medical company from Mainland China, choosing the venue for this year’s annual conference was the biggest problem they had as there were over ten thousand of attendees.  There were not many choices for Mr. Zhang when they were looking for places which could simultaneously meet the needs of convention, accommodation and food.  He added that even in the first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the venues for conventions and the ones for exhibitions were separated. The place for conventions was absent in large exhibition centres. In respect of accommodation, when Mr. Zhang coordinated events sizing over ten thousand participants in the past, the attendees were often arranged to stay in many different hotels as the accommodation facilities were not keeping up with the conventions.  Mr. Zhang said that the hotels in Macao, on the contrary, centralise the venues for conventions and exhibitions while providing accommodation and food for tens of thousands of people at the same time, which was very convenient for both event organisers and attendees.  He added that the quality service provided by Macao’s hotels and their internationalised staff, the professional security measures and visitor flow arrangement had Mr. Zhang and his clients rest assured, and these were the main reasons for him to choose Macao to be the event destination.  In addition, Mr. Zhang considered the strong support to MICE sector provided by the Macao SAR Government an attractive element in organisers’ eyes.

Indulgence in the City of Gastronomy

Representative of a medical equipment company Ms. Cheong repeatedly complimented Macao on its local food.  She said that the staff of her company had high expectation from Macao’s food, because not only the famous Portuguese cuisines were available in Macao, also many Michelin-starred restaurants were located in Macao.  That was one of the biggest attractions to them.  Based on the opinion of Mr. Chan, person in-charge of an animal healthcare product company, Macao’s double-stewed soup provoked the remembrance of his hometown.  He also shared that his Japanese colleagues who had tasted Macao’s cuisines highly appreciated the Chinese food culture, which really made him feel proud.

Abundant Cultural Experiences

When foreign companies are hosting annual conferences in Macao, it is common to arrange for visitors to visit different districts in order to experience Macao’s culture.  Ms. Cheong from an animal nutrition product company found Macao’s history and its combination of Chinese and Western cultures very fascinating, so she allocated half a day during the two- and-a-half-day trip to hold a treasure hunting game in the Macao city for the event participants to experience Macao’s culture.  Based on Ms. Cheong’s explanation, players were split into many groups, each of them contained 2 sub-groups – “rabbit” and “hound” – which would chase one another’s group to complete the race.  In order to complete the game, players had to travel to different communities and cultural heritage sites such as the Ruins of St. Paul’s, A-Ma Temple and Macao Tower.  Prior to the annual conference, Ms. Cheong had sent out activities preview and the information about the tourist spots through WeChat’s platform, which enabled her staffs to have better understanding of Macao’s history and culture, and to enhance the enjoyment when the staffs arrived these tourist spots.

Macao is expecting a great number of large conventions in March, which will bring in more impetus and customers for all different industries in Macao after the Chinese New Year.  These conventions include a convention in medical field with 1,000 attendees, a conference sizing 1,800 attendees held by renowned software developer, a scientific technology related conference with 2,500 attendees expected and a convention of medical association with a possible of 1,000 attendees.  Various upcoming activities will also attract event attendees to local communities for sightseeing and shopping.

Event attendees take part in team building activity held in a local community and pay visit to IPIM’s Portuguese-speaking Countries Food Products Centre

Event attendees take part in team building activity held in a local community and pay visit to IPIM’s Portuguese-speaking Countries Food Products Centre

Event attendees make Chinese almond cake in a DIY workshop

Event attendees make Chinese almond cake in a DIY workshop