IT was my first time in Dujiangyan, a county-level city under the administration of the prefecture city of Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. Before this trip, I must admit I’ve never heard of Dujiangyan. The trip was all worth it and I have learned a lot about this ancient city, which is a jewel of a place.
The trip was in connection with the China International Meetings Development Conference-Chengdu (CIMDC-Chengdu 2019) held in Chengdu. The event, which ran from September 5 to 7, 2019, was organized by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and its members in Chengdu; the China Meetings Industry Convention (CMIC); and the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Exposition (CMBE). I was one of five international guests and the only Filipino in the over-200 conference attendees.
On the first day of the conference, Dujiangyan officially became a member of the ICCA. Earlier, Dujiangyan had been designated as the permanent host city of the CIMDC, which was held for the first time and will be held there annually. With these affiliations, Dujiangyan is positioning itself as a destination for MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions).
Day 2 of the program was a familiarization tour of Dujiangyan where we visited three of its most famous sites: the over 2,300 years old Dujiangyan irrigation system, Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Panda Base.
The Dujiangyan irrigation system, a World Heritage site, is one of the great technological achievements of ancient China and one of the oldest “no-dam” irrigation structures still functioning today. It is billed as the “Treasure of Sichuan” and still plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources to more than 50 cities in the province.
Mount Qingcheng is considered one of the birthplaces of Taoism, and one of the most important Taoist centers in China. The mountain entered the Unesco World Heritage list in 2000 and was featured in Kung Fu Panda movies in 2011 and 2016. Dujiangyan Panda Base, also known as China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda (CCRCGP), is the only giant panda care, disease prevention and control institute in the world. The giant panda is a Chinese national treasure, and one of the rarest animal species in the world. They total 1,864 in China, with about 74 percent located in Sichuan province. The Dujiangyan Panda Base has 170 of them.
You may also have not heard about Dujiangyan but, from what I saw, it has great potential to be an international MICE city as it aspires to be. With MICE attendees now combining business travel with leisure time (also referred to as “bleisure”), I am certain that Dujiangyan, with its touristic sites, unique culture, culinary delights and convention facilities, is well on its way toward achieving its dream. It is only a matter of time when pandas meet MICE more often!
The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific and the CEO and founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives. The PCAAE is holding the Associations Summit 7 on November 27 and 28, 2019, at the Philippine International Convention Center, which is expected to draw over 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day event is supported by the Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board and the PICC. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on AS7.