Building a MICE metropolis: The Chengdu way

IN my September 20, 2019, column, “Chengdu: Up the Pinnacle of MICE Success,” I talked about my experience as part of a small group of international guests to Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province that, in a relatively short time, became one of the top 10 destinations in Asia and the Pacific for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. Now let me share how the city has holistically done it and, perhaps, serve as a model for other cities to follow should they wish to also boost their MICE industry.

In his presentation on September 5 during the China International Meetings Development Conference-Chengdu (CIMDC-Chengdu 2019), Chen Fu, chairman of the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Exposition and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Chengdu Council, outlined these six approaches in building Chengdu as an international metropolis for the MICE industry:

  • Integrating infrastructure and industry development with culture, commerce, tourism and sports: This has already spawned the construction of a second airport, the new Tianfu International Airport within the Tianfu CBD, a new development area; the Tianfu agriculture expo center; the East Railway Station Hub economic zone; the Anren cultural and creative zone; and the Li Bing cultural, creative and tourism zone, among others.
  • Attracting influential MICE events with global vision and international standards: Chengdu in 2018 has already hosted 689 major events, of which 163 were international ones. A total of 10.27 million exhibition areas were used in these events that drew 106 million participants and netted RMB 109.19 billion ($15.34 billion) in revenues.
  • Optimizing business environment and promoting Mice enterprise development and expansion: Designated by the Unesco as a “world city of gastronomy,” Chengdu is also one of the key high-tech industrial bases, commerce and logistics centers, and integrated transportation hubs in China. Expos on candy, wine, pharmacy, beauty products, cars, among other businesses, are held in Chengdu every year.
  • Promoting Mice business innovation and quality service: The government provides strong support to investors who put money into Chengdu’s MICE industry, as well as providing tourism services and promotional campaigns. Most of the known five-star international hotel chains have presence in the city, improving local capacities for service quality and innovation.
  • Boosting international image by communicating the Chengdu story: This is done by participating in international MICE expos and trade shows and organizing MICE-related conferences and B2B meetings. The government also partnered with the city’s leading universities and colleges to enhance communication with international conference and exhibition organizers, and invite them to host international events in Chengdu.
  • Forming a strong team of MICE talents: The city does this through professional training programs and a holistic coordination mechanism among government, universities, enterprises and associations.

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 ADFIAP, the Tourism Promotions Board and the PICC. E-mail inquiries@adfiap.org for more details on AS7.


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