Political uncertainties in US, Europe unlikely to bring down meetings demand in Asia

The meetings industry in Asia will continue to thrive in the face of political uncertainty and changes taking place in Europe and the US, according to industry leaders interviewed at ICCA Congress 2016.

Destination marketers in Asia predict that demand is set to grow as people will require more face-to-face meetings and networking sessions to find solutions for the common good and to solve issues affecting the world.

“Meetings help with problem solving. The weakened US dollar and sterling is not going to have any impact on the choice of destination for the next meeting for an association headquartered in Europe or US because the decision on where to go is decided by votes from the majority and not by a particular person,” said Mike Cannon, CEO at Sarawak Convention Bureau.

While political uncertainties in the UK and US had negatively impacted a basket of major currencies, resulting in longhaul travel into Asia-Pacific becoming relatively more expensive, it is not likely to negatively influence attendance from longhaul destinations into Asia, opines Khoo Cheng-Hoon, executive secretary of Asia Oceania Geosciences Society.

She believes content is paramount in boosting delegate attendance even from destinations that may be hit by uncertainty and changes in government. “For scientific conferences, what is important is having good content,” she said.

Jill Henry, an associate at GainingEdge in Australia, said associations plan their meetings three to five years ahead. Uncertainties such as those arising from a surprise US election result or Brexit will not affect attendances at conferences hosted in Asia as delegates would have already made a prior commitment to attend.

She added: “However, I do foresee more regional meetings taking place and this has been a trend over the last five years that will continue to grow.”

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