Taiwan is seeking to expand its business in the travel segment known as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions). At a July 19 luncheon meeting at The Sherwood Taipei sponsored by AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee, Walter Yeh, President & CEO of the semi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), addressed the subject with a presentation entitled “Transforming Taiwan’s MICE Industry.”
Primarily through the approximately 40 international trade shows that TAITRA puts on each year, including such prominent events as Computex Taipei in the information technology field and the Taipei Cycle Show, Taiwan has already established a foothold in the MICE field. More than 80,000 international visitors come to Taiwan annually for these events.
But Taiwan has trailed behind some other cities in the region as a center for international conferences and incentive travel, due to a lack of sufficient facilities, promotion, and training.
Yeh said the Taiwan government is now placing new emphasis on the MICE industry, in part to make up for the decline in tour groups coming from China. The mission to help promote the business is even being given to Taiwan’s representative offices around the world, which in the past dealt purely with economic and political issues.
Some of the key points touched on in Yeh’s presentation included:
- Taiwan has an excellent opportunity to attract more incentive travelers from Muslim countries, especially from Southeast Asian locations such as Malaysia and Indonesia. To create a more welcoming environment for such visitors, the government is assisting restaurants to qualify for Halal certification and encouraging the setting aside of prayer rooms in more public places.
- The opening of Hall 2 of the Taipei Nankang Exhibition Center in 2019 will substantially increase the amount of available exhibition space, permitting expansion of popular trade shows such as Computex.
- One of the government’s goals is to bring more events to cities other than Taipei, especially Taichung and Kaohsiung. The Kaohsiung Exhibition Center was completed in 2014, and a Greater Taichung International Expo Center is scheduled to be ready for opening in 2021.
- A “Meet Taiwan” promotional program funded by the government and operated by TAITRA is dedicated to making Taiwan better known internationally as a good place for MICE activities. Among Taiwan’s strong points, Yeh cited its scenic and cultural attractions, the friendliness of the people, the convenience and safety, and the diversity of the society.
The 2017 Universiade Summer Games to be held in Taipei August 19-30 will be one of the largest events ever staged in Taiwan. Another major event in the planning is the Rotary International Convention in 2021, with an estimated 36,000 participants.