CWT: Chinese cities to dominate APAC destinations for corporate meetings and events in 2019

CWT Meetings & Events, a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), has unveiled its predictions for the top 10 Asia Pacific cities for M&E in 2019. The ranking is based on proprietary and industry data in CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report.

2019 forecast for top 10 Asia Pacific meetings and events cities

Next year’s table has one brand new entry, China’s Chengdu (10) and two cities that dropped out of the top 10 in 2018 – India’s Mumbai (9) and Melbourne, Australia (8). Of the three cities who dropped off next year’s list, two were new entrants in 2018 – Taipei in Taiwan (7), and China’s Guangzhou (9) – and one was a former high flyer, Shenzhen in China, which came third in 2018.

Across Asia Pacific, cost per attendee per day is predicted to fall 4% in 2019 to US$276. The average group size is forecasted to increase to 81 in 2019, up 3% from 2018.

“We continue to see a steady growth in the demand for meetings and events across Asia Pacific,” said Sam Lay, senior director, Asia Pacific, CWT Meetings & Events. “This is fuelling the need for more M&E professionals in the region, especially in China which is barreling ahead on all fronts.”

The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead the way for global growth in 2019, with the International Monetary Fund expecting the region’s GDP to rise by 5.6% next year, compared with a global increase of 3.9%. China, predicted to grow 6.4% in 2019, and India, predicted to grow 7.3%, will again lead the way.

Travel is growing in China across all sectors, and it is already the world’s largest business travel market. Chinese tourists also spent US$258 billion on international tourism in 2017, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization.

The more mature destinations in the region – Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul – are leading the way when it comes to hosting conferences that focus more on ‘thought leadership’ and the ‘exchange of ideas’ rather than pure commerce.

In growing markets, such as Vietnam, Philippines, and Cambodia, there are strong demand for exhibitions and trade shows, where there is a lot more activities centred around buying and selling.

Domestic events are also a huge part of the meetings and events market in more isolated parts of the region, including Australia and New Zealand. The Australian cities of Sydney – the region’s fifth most popular destination for 2019 – and Melbourne still hold considerable attraction as venues for regional and global conferences, despite long travel times.

Another destination set to see plenty of attention next year is Japan, which will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup tournament, followed by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The country’s government wants to increase visitor numbers to 40 million in 2020, a 40% rise on 2017, with plans for 60 million arrivals by 2020.

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