CIFIT Lifts Xiamen's MICE To New Heights

The 13th China International Fair for Investment & Trade will be held in Xiamen from September 8 to 11, 2009. Compared with former ones, the 13th CIFIT is expected to be much better in terms of scale, program, and effects.

CIFIT Lifts Xiamen's MICE To New Heights

CIFIT is one of the world's largest international investment promotion events and has been approved by the State Council to be held from September 8 to September 11 each year in Xiamen. As the only investment fair certified by The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the last 12 fairs have attracted visitors from over 100 countries and regions each year.

The increasing international influence of the CIFIT has brought more and more developed and developing countries and international economic organizations to participate in the event. As an important platform to attract foreign investment and a window overseas for Chinese enterprises, CIFIT is also a platform for countries and regions to promote their investment environment and attract cooperative partners. This is already the draw-card for Xiamen.

The development of a convention and exhibition industry can spur on the development of the local catering, tourism, hotel, and transport sectors. Calculations show that each CNY1 produced by the convention and exhibition industry will bring in CNY9 to its related industries.

Specialization And Branding: Characteristics Of Xiamen Conventions And Exhibitions

Along with the development of Xiamen's economy and society, the city now hosts several famous exhibitions including CIFIT and the China Xiamen Machinery and Electronics Exhibition. Related industries, for example exhibition planning and organization, customs clearance services, exhibition engineering, and advertising services are also developing fast.

Xiamen's convention and exhibition industry is becoming more professional and market-oriented. CIFIT and CXMEE are already well-known exhibitions throughout China; the Xiamen Gift Show, the China Xiamen International Stone Fair, and the China (Xiamen) International Food Procurement Fair, the Xiamen (China) Sports & Leisure Goods Fair, and many others are becoming more influential and famous.

Meanwhile, the city has attracted many nationwide large-scale exhibitions such as the China Advertising Festival.

As well as the exhibition industry, Xiamen's convention industry is also developing fast. International academic sessions and economic cooperation conferences such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Investment Forum, the International Society of Electrochemistry Spring Meeting, and the International Manufacturing Conference in China have been held in Xiamen. In addition, large corporations and multinational corporations such as Microsoft, BP, Mary Kay, Dell, KFC, and Amway also choose Xiamen when holding their annual conference, distributor meetings, or seminars.

Basic Conditions For Developing Conventions And Exhibitions Industry

The Minnan area is the most energetic area in Fujian province. With strong industrial basis, active private economy and a number of small and medium-sized businesses, it is one of China's textile, agricultural and related products production bases. The area now has become an industrial cluster with electronic information, machinery manufacturing, petrochemical, arts & crafts, and stone processing being leading industries. These will create strong market demand for conventions and exhibitions to help businesses to broaden trade channels, enhance economic and trade cooperation and strengthen information and technology exchange.

Xiamen has great exhibition venues. The well equipped Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center, incorporating exhibition, meeting, lodging and dining together, was put into use in 2000. The modern XICEC will cater for various meetings and events by deploying different meeting equipment according to actual needs of the events.

Rich tourism resources are another advantage for Xiamen. Lying in the southeast coast of China, the mild climate and beautiful scenery make Xiamen one of China's most famous tourist cities. With Gulangyu Island and the Xiamen Hiking Bridge, and the neighboring Wuyishan, Yongding Hakka Earth Building (Tulou) and Meizhou Island, Xiamen is an ideal place for various meetings, exhibitions and incentive travel.

For transportation, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport is one of China's six leading international airports. With over 140 international and domestic routes reaching most Chinese cities, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, America and European countries, the city is already an important regional hub in east China.

Exchange Platform For Mainland And Taiwan

The convention and exhibition industries of Xiamen and Taiwan have a wide scope for complementary cooperation. Xiamen can focus on the competitive industries of the Fujian and Minnan region to hold professional exhibitions. Xiamen's convention and exhibition industry has the potential be based on cross-strait industry characteristics and market demand to build an efficient platform for the trade, investment and cooperation especially between Taiwan and the west of the Strait.

Professional Views

Hotel: Creating A Perfect Meeting Experience For Guests
Adam Zhang, the general manager of Seaview Resort Xiamen, opines that Xiamen has a pleasant climate, a good urban environment and many unique scenic sites, combined with a convenient transportation system — the airport, railway station and convention center are all within 30 minutes drive from anywhere of the city. Huandao Road beside the sea has both charming scenery and the city's leisure style. Xiamen's Minnan local culture, the special local food, the world-known Gulangyu Island, the modern urban and shopping environment, and the rich nightlife all make Xiamen outstanding among tourist cities. And, Xiamen is also honored to be one of the best cities for human residence in China and the ideal venue to hold a variety of international conferences or exhibitions. The China International Fair for Investment and Trade, an unparalleled worldwide investment promotion event in China, is held in Xiamen annually. Today, Xiamen is taking great leaps forward as it embarks on a route to becoming a famous international MICE destination.

As one of China's most luxurious hotels, Seaview Resort Xiamen targets the high-end market. According to Zhang, the biggest difference between a luxury resort and a business hotel is the seasonal characteristic; the high season for resort is extremely obvious. Seaview Resort Xiamen takes the lead in human resources, service management, and market forecast, with its dedicated service offering the perfect experience to guests.

The highlight of Seaview Resort Xiamen is the new-built Main Building, which was unveiled in June 2009, containing 372 exceptionally luxurious and spacious rooms with memorable views of the sea and mountains, and dining outlets serving cuisines in different styles. The well-equipped meeting rooms with various sizes and banquet areas total up to 3,500 square meters; the largest pillarless ballroom covers an area of 1,000 square meters with a ceiling height of eight meters. All the meeting venues are equipped with high-tech communication equipment and simultaneous interpretation systems. The professional meeting and banquet team of the hotel will help guest hold various types of event successfully.

The MICE market is very important to Seaview Resort Xiamen, stated Zhang. The development of the Xiamen MICE industry is the ongoing process with steady steps. Although the current economic situation gives the entire industry a difficult time, in the long-term, Xiamen's urban competitiveness is growing strongly day by day, and will bring more opportunities to the MICE industry, and the growing market will also create greater values for the high-end hotels.

DMC: Taiwan Strait Is A Unique Advantage
Xiamen C&D Tourism and Hotels Co., Ltd. is a tourism group with a business scope covering travel agency, hotels, and car rental — including the C&D International Travel Service Co., Ltd, JMICE, Yeohwa hotels, and Yihao business hotels. JMICE is a professional events planner and a regional MICE destination management company.

Currently C&D Tourism and Hotels Co., Ltd has eight luxury business hotels in tourism and business destinations such as Xiamen, Quanzhou, and Wuyishan, with more than 2,500 guest rooms and suites. It also plans to have 500 more rooms within one year, of which there will be five business hotels and resorts of five-star standard.

Cao Jin, the marketing director of Xiamen C&D Tourism and Hotels Co., Ltd, believes that the Taiwan Strait is a distinctive advantage for Xiamen becoming an excellent MICE destination. The local government has also decided to build Xiamen into a MICE destination. As a coastal city, Xiamen has a natural beauty and fine cultural environment with rich tourism resources. With the exception of June, July, and August, the high season for various meetings and events covers the entire year. Furthermore, compared with Beijing and Shanghai, Xiamen has a relatively low tariff for companies holding MICE events. Since many companies have cut their budgets because of the financial crisis, second-tier cities like Xiamen are very attractive to MICE planners.

In 2009, the market for government meetings has not seen much change, and while associations seldom hold any meetings budgets for most business meetings have been cut back. But there are still exceptions. For example, clothing garment processing enterprises from Jinjiang and Shishi in Quanzhou have moved their national trade fair to Xiamen; and many enterprises are also planning to move their headquarters to the city.

The originality of a hotel's MICE product, the planning ability of a hotel's MICE team, and the service of a hotel are the main criteria for Cao in choosing the right hotel. Yeohwa Hotel Xiamen has points out that its new "Eco-Garden" brand can not only guarantee professional service but also brings a freshness to guests.

On the whole, Xiamen hotels are now focusing more on MICE and leisure holidays. Top-end MICE facilities, a pillarless ballroom and spa facilities are the main factors for hotels to attract more guests. International brands like Sheraton, Sofitel and Wyndham have improved the internationalization of the local hotel industry. Local brands, for example Yeohwa, are also doing well. They have all contributed to the development of MICE industry in Xiamen.

Buyer: Consummate Infrastructure For MICE Events

Li Xuyu, the director of meetings for Shanghai 8D Travel Ltd, plans various meetings and events to held in Xiamen for companies and organizations each year; for example for companies such as Unilever and Draeger Medical Equipment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. He acknowledged that the number of events and meetings has decreased due to the impact of the financial crisis. However as a hot MICE destination, Xiamen has still attracts many companies.

According to Li, seasons, budget and the comprehensive situation of a city are the main factors when clients choose a MICE destination. As a second-tier city, Xiamen has consummate infrastructure for MICE activities; its convenient transport and pleasant climate make it suitable for various events at any time of a year. Xiamen's abundant tourism resources are another bright spot.

Four factors will be taken into consideration when booking hotels for his clients, Li Xuyu said. The hotel brand, the meeting facilities, the location, and clients' budget are all considered. Out of all the hotels Li has worked with — including Wyndham Xiamen, Sheraton Xiamen Hotel, Millennium Harbourview Hotel Xiamen, Days Hotel & Suites Fortune Xiamen, and Xiamen International Seaside Hotel — the Wyndham Xiamen with its perfect location, beautiful sea view and great facilities has greatly impressed Li.

In Li's opinion, international brand hotels in Xiamen can meet the demand for conventions and exhibitions. As a professional in the exhibition industry, Li thinks that Xiamen's hotels still need to do better with professional simultaneous interpretation equipment. In addition, Xiamen still needs more restaurants and venues with distinctive characteristics. With the improvement of Xiamen's comprehensive strength, the city will see a bright future for its convention and exhibition industry.