Tailor-made subventions

Destinations are offering distinctively different subvention benefits to draw corporate groups, but they all share one common thread – tailored support services that promise a win-win relationship for both parties

These Asia-Pacific destinations are offering a slew of customised subvention schemes, ranging from local culture immersions to tailored financial support services, but all are designed with the aim of attracting more corporate groups this year.

Tourism Australia announced an A$12 million (US$8.7 million) Bid Fund Program (BFP) in March 2018 through which event organisers may apply for subvention programmes.

The fund prioritises events that are aligned with Tourism Australia’s business events strategy and trade sectors of national significance to Australia such as Food and Agribusiness; Advanced Manufacturing; Infrastructure; Resources and Energy; International Health and Services and Disruptive Technologies.

The programme can be used to help with actual event costs such as accommodation, venue hire and transport. It will not cover administrative, logistics or marketing cost for bids, marketing collateral, delegate acquisition or travel costs for organisers.

Submissions must be for a minimum of A$100,000 (US$70,970; excluding GST).
International association events and exhibitions must demonstrate that their event will attract at least 500 international visitors while incentive events require a minimum of 1,000 international visitors and/or bring an economic value of over A$3 million dollars.

There are no deadlines to apply for the programme, but the BFP can only support bids where a decision will be taken by June 30, 2021.

Funds will only be released after contracts are finalised and will be provided in instalments, and are subject to the delivery of key performance metrics as outlined in BFP contracts. – Adelaine Ng

The Hong Kong Rewards! programme offered by Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) offers attractive privileges to meeting and incentive groups, as well as convention delegates.

MEHK has been working with hotels, airlines, attractions and travel industry partners for a number of years, and together, they continue to create new and exciting incentives.

Value-added rewards include complimentary cocktail receptions; dining and attractive shopping discounts at Hong Kong Disneyland; “Fun & Feast” offers at Ocean Park Hong Kong; “Party on Us” at Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Happy Wednesday carnival-themed events; extra baggage allowance; and meet-and-greet services at the Hong Kong International Airport by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

In an effort to showcase Hong Kong’s colourful past, MEHK is also offering an array of complimentary cultural performances for event dinners or airport arrival welcomes.

For group sizes of 100 or more, event planners may choose between traditional lion and dragon dances; acrobatic and kungfu shows or “three cultural extravaganzas” featuring Chinese rainbow calligraphy, Chinese knotting and flour doll making. The art of face-changing, Chinese quartet performances or Chinese drum shows are also available for groups of at least 300 people. – Prudence Lui

Organisations planning incentive group tours in Japan can benefit from various services from the Japan Convention Bureau (JCB), a division of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

Tokyo Tower, Japan

This support includes access to online resources and information from regional JNTO offices throughout the world. The JCB also coordinates support provided by cities and regions nationwide in which planners have an interest.

Prior to choosing a destination for the incentive trip – and with at least one international destination still in contention – planners can receive partial support for international flights to Japan and domestic transportation from international airports to destination

Eligibility depends on the size of the incentive group, number of room nights and experience chosen in Japan.

Long-stay or large Japan-bound incentive groups that apply to their local JNTO office one month in advance of their visit to Japan can enjoy a welcome greeting or token Japanese gift such as a fan during their trip, provided by the JCB. Guidebooks and maps can also be provided to all groups.

While the JCB does not offer any other specific support, it does provide advice for all kinds of business events and considers other support on a case-by-case basis, mostly related to assisting in bids rather than hosting events. – Kathryn Wortley

Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) has consolidated its subvention support programmes into one programme called the Convention & Exhibition Financial Support Programme.

It assists with bidding and hosting business events in Macau. The application process has been streamlined to cater for confirmed events and for potential events to take place in Macau.

For confirmed meetings, IPIM offers financial support towards accommodation; F&B; meeting packages, marketing promotions; simultaneous interpretation; ground transportation; on-site inspection support and more.

Eligibility is dependent on the size of each group. A minimum of 100 participants or more for general conventions, and 200 participants or more for international conventions is required.

In terms of potential meetings, conventions or exhibitions, Site Inspection Support will be provided if Macau has been shortlisted as one of the potential destinations. This includes support for round-trip transportation to and from Macau, local transportation support and a maximum of three nights of local hotel accommodation for four key individuals in each group. – Prudence Lui

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) – the marketing arm of the Philippine Department of Tourism – offers customised incentive experiences that give back to the community; a network of contacts; site inspections; marketing promotions; airport welcomes and complimentary dining for groups.

Based on the nature of each business event or the preferences of incentive groups, TPB can also curate a host of CSR and culturally immersive experiences in the Philippines.

Through these imaginative experiences, delegates are given the opportunity to interact with indigenous peoples, volunteer at PWD centres; build houses and schools; engage in teambuilding activities using local martial arts known as “Arnis”; and learn survival techniques in the jungle.

Events may also be held in exotic island locations, where Chinese, Spanish and Filipino-themed parties can be hosted to showcase the country’s culture and heritage. – Rosa Ocampo

The Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), which champions the growth of the business events industry under the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), offers a number of incentive schemes for organisers.

The future of Singapore’s MICE future looks bright

The Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme offers customised support that may include funding; facilitation in securing venues; introductions with leading government agencies, local associations and business partners; as well as marketing; and publicity support. Funding support is also given through the BEiS scheme on fulfilment of its evaluation criteria and deliverables.

The successful SMAP (Singapore MICE Advantage Programme), now in its second phase, is a partnership between the SECB, Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines, Grab and JetQuay.

SMAP was designed to provide business events organisers and delegates greater value such as savings on air tickets, enhanced event planning and delegate experiences, financial grants and discounts on advertising spaces in Changi Airport, among other benefits. It is intended to complement the BEiS incentive scheme.

Finally, INSPIRE (In Singapore Incentives & Rewards) is an incentive programme that leverages Singapore’s unique attractions to curate value-added experiences for meetings and incentives. These are centred on dining, entertainment, attractions and thematic tours. INSPIRE is currently available in Europe & the Americas, China, India and the Middle East. – Pamela Chow

The Korea MICE Bureau (KMB), under the Korea Tourism Organization, offers a range of support for corporate meetings, corporate incentive programmes and international conventions held in the country.

Corporate meetings and incentive groups that hope to qualify for subvention must stay for at least two nights, and have at least 10 foreigners in attendance. For corporate meetings, delegates must convene for at least four hours. Other terms apply.

Subvention comes in the form of arrival support services for VIPs, sponsorship of performances, tourist experiences, destination-specific souvenirs and entry to tourist attractions, as well as grants for a welcome event, cultural experience or teambuilding programme.

The range of subventions available to the group grows with the number of delegates in attendance. For instance, a corporate incentive group of 10-49 attendees can enjoy a complimentary souvenir, while a group with 3,000 delegates and more will benefit from specialised support and VIP arrival support.

For international conventions, KMB dishes out hosting and bidding support, with the extent of subvention dependent on the size of the qualified event.

Hosting support includes an official banquet and coffee break, cultural programmes and tours, cultural performances and souvenirs, while bidding support includes complimentary site inspections that come with accommodation and airfare sponsorship, as well as liaison assistance.

Large-scale international conventions stand to enjoy premium hosting support, such as having an allocated MICE Concierge Desk and exclusive immigration checkpoint at Incheon International Airport, event app development, and more.

To qualify, the convention must be hosted by an international organisation or affiliate with a minimum of 100 foreign attendees, and run for at least three days. Conventions hosted by an organisation that is not a member of an international body must have a minimum of 150 foreign attendees and a programme lasting at least two days. It must also meet UIA and ICCA conference standards. – Karen Yue

Taiwan’s MICE project office MEET TAIWAN, sanctioned by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, has a Business Events in Surprising Taiwan (BEST) Rewards Program to provide incentives and support to overseas groups coming to Taiwan for corporate meetings and incentive travel.

BEST Rewards’ Partner Package offers incentives such as premium local products, inspection subsidies, and complimentary tour passes. Rewards are scaled according to event size and type, and are stacked for planners and agencies that rebook events in Taiwan.

Groups of 50 people and more who stay for at least two consecutive nights can benefit from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s administrative assistance, as well as various benefits like welcome gifts and a cultural show valued at up to NT$150,000 (US$4,800).

Groups from target countries under the government’s New Southbound Policy that stay more than three consecutive nights can enjoy customised support and more financial rewards.

Various city governments in Taiwan also provide individual incentive programmes for different MICE events. – Pamela Chow

The latest subvention schemes offered by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) are the ASEAN MaxiMICE programme, and Fly and Meet Double Bonus – Redefined campaign.

ASEAN MaxiMICE, created in partnership with Thai Airways International (TG), is aimed at business events travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.

Privileges are offered across three tiers – Silver for 40-99 delegates, Gold for 100-149 delegates, and Platinum for 150 and more delegates. Qualified groups can enjoy a range of benefits, such as a dedicated immigration lane, cultural performances, additional baggage allowance, pre-assigned group seating, and a BTS Card for skytrain travel.

To qualify, groups must arrive in Thailand on a TG flight, and stay for at least two nights.

TCEB has also teamed up for the second year running with Bangkok Airways for the Fly and Meet Double Bonus – Redefined campaign, targeted at corporate travellers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).

Benefits include financial support, fast-track immigration service at Suvarnabhumi airport, cultural performances, meet-and-greet services, one free ticket for every 30 tickets purchased, pre-assigned group seating, priority boarding and extra baggage allowances.

To qualify, each group must comprise at least 30 persons, fly to Thailand on Bangkok Airways, stay for at least two nights, or hold an event at a venue recognised by the Thailand MICE Venue Standard or a registered hotel.

Applications for both programmes are open from now until August 31, 2019, with travel to be completed by September 30, 2019. – Rachel AJ Lee

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