South-East Asia stays competitive compared to Australia
Growth in outbound MICE groups from many European markets to Asia remains flat, with a slowdown in corporate travel budgets over the last year. High airfares and poor exchange rates are major obstacles to externally held meetings and incentive trips, experts say. But well-connected South-East Asia remains competitive compared to, for example, Australia.
“Airfares are a major disincentive for MICE travel, especially when corporate budgets are tighter and companies must demonstrate a financial return on travel for meetings or seminars,” Gordon Owen of Messrs G Owen & Co explained. “Asia [offers] better value by far, but for a group of 70-100 delegates, the cost of travel to Asia is high, which evokes hesitation from travel managers.”
Marc Lambert, owner of Antipodes Voyages Belgium, claims to have seen a 20% rise in the number of MICE groups to South-East Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia in 2012. “Because the [Australian] dollar is so high, clients are switching to New Zealand and South-East Asia instead,” he said.
[pictured: The 600-seat Galleon Restaurant and Bar near the InterContinental Shenzhen, a double-sized replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Monica; courtesy IHG]