As Taiwan sees the volume of Mainland Chinese travellers petering out, event and venue operators in Taipei are turning to South-east Asia to fill their rooms and halls.
Key markets include Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, from which travel has picked up since Taiwan launched the New Southbound Policy, said industry players.
Tsai: Taiwan can be made more attractive by increasing its range of unique experiences and seasonal attractions
Providing subsidies, administrative assistance, souvenirs and more, the scheme is aimed at encouraging incentive groups from the 10 South-east Asian countries, six nations in South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
“There was a 50 per cent drop in Chinese visitors in 1H2016 as compared to the same period in 2015,” said Kitty Wong, president of K&A International. “But (arrivals from) other countries have made up for it.”
To capitalise on this, K&A is aiming to lure incentive groups from Muslim markets in Asia, the Middle East and UAE.
Meanwhile, the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel has been receiving more interest from the Philippines and Thailand markets, said Betty Tsai, its director of sales and marketing.
Tsai observed that incentive and meeting groups from these countries often prefer to remain in Taipei and its surrounds. They also favour authentic local experiences such as visiting the Huashan and Songshan Cultural and Creative Parks, cycling, and experiencing the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.
What would help Taipei become more attractive is by selling these unique experiences as well as the city’s seasonal attractions like the nearby Beitou hotsprings, remarked Tsai.
For now, MEET Taiwan – the business events promotion agency under the Bureau of Foreign Trade – has ramped up its promotional efforts aimed at South-east Asia, said Nana Di, project manager, convention section II, Taiwan World Trade Centre Exhibition and Convention Operation Department of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).
These include twice-yearly SENSE Taiwan fam trips dedicated to South-east Asian buyers and increasing its networking roadshows in the region to twice a year. TAITRA has also been working with ICCA to hold workshops that educate suppliers and organisers on how to better bid for international conferences, shared Di.
Hotels have come in to back up these efforts. For example, W Taipei will be providing hosting support for incoming fam trips.
Its general manager Harvey Thompson told TTGmice that discussion and dialogue between hoteliers and TAITRA has increased, and he hopes that by working together, it would enhance Taiwan’s marketing and accessibility to visitors.