Taipei moves to open up unconventional meeting spaces

The Taiwanese government is stepping up its efforts to open up more conserved heritage sites and buildings, as demand rises for more out-of-the-box meeting and conference venues in Taipei.

MEET Taiwan, the Bureau of Foreign Trade’s business events promotion agency, has been increasing dialogues with heritage venues, hoteliers and conference organisers.

Chen: more exciting and unique spaces wanted by clients

“Top management often want something different from a traditional function room; this is especially so for association meetings,” said Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel’s director of sales and marketing Betty Tsai.

Unique locations she cited as well-received include presidential suites, Taipei’s Huashan and Songshan Cultural and Creative Parks, as well as historical department stores.

Access to these venues has been improved thanks to government cooperation with bus companies for direct links to attractions outside the city, explained Tsai, who hopes that more of such efforts will pull in more event planners.

Event organisers are also looking for more interesting locales to accommodate large conference and event groups.

Assistant vice president of GIS Group, Amber Chen, noted: “Taipei needs more unique spaces, such as museums or historical buildings, for companies to hold offsite gala dinners. Areas like Songshan Park are not big enough, and clients want something more exciting compared to exhibition centres.”

However, getting heritage venues to open up is a more difficult hurdle to clear, 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).

She explained that the preservation of these landmarks alone is difficult, hence venue owners are often reluctant to host large delegate groups.

Still, TAITRA is working on making more of such historical venues available, especially for receptions and gala dinners, said Di. Successful examples of heritage buildings in Taipei that have opened up to delegate events include The Red House, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, and Taiper Store House.

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