AMEX GBT report reveals top five cities in Asia-Pacific for M&E

Singapore, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong have emerged as the top five cities within Asia-Pacific, according to the Asia Pacific Destination Report 2019 published by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).

The American Express Meetings & Events survey also revealed the key drivers behind this as relating to minimal travel times within Asia-Pacific countries, cultural variety, cost, and the emergence of attractive second-tier meeting cities.

Singapore (pictured) is the top meeting destination in Asia-Pacific

The report surveyed 200 Meetings & Events professionals across the region, focusing on the top five meetings and events cities, as ranked by Cvent’s annual destinations list.

According to the research, 47% of meeting planners are seeing a strong interest in operating meetings within the region, while 63% said this interest was increasing.

“We anticipate that Asia-Pacific would continue to rise in popularity globally as a meetings and events destination, but to see such a level of interest across a spectrum of cities is encouraging for the longer-term success of the region,” said Jamie Roseburgh, market leader, Singapore, India and ASEAN, American Express Meetings & Events.

“Our research shows respondents enjoyed the relatively short travel times and the different cultural experiences that come within a wide variety of nearby destinations. As meeting planners face increased pressure to provide unique experiences, they can look to Asia-Pacific as an appealing destination,” added Roseburgh.

Despite Asia-Pacific’s rising popularity, the region is not without challenges. Potential language barriers across countries, as well as rising costs, have been identified as possible obstacles when deciding on a destination.

The 2019 Global Meetings Forecast from American Express Meetings & Events further revealed that costs are rising faster than budgets, with hotel rates within Asia Pacific expected to rise by an average of 1.1%, while overall meeting spend across the region is expected to rise by only 0.9%.

Roseburgh said: “Well-established global cities such as Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore are typically considered expensive for executing large-scale meetings or events. As planners are under increasing pressure to maximise every dollar spent, this may fuel greater interest in countries such as Vietnam and Thailand where new experiences can often be delivered at a lower price point.

To reduce risks, such as safety hazards or dealing with disreputable operators, it’s common for meeting organisers to stick to cities and suppliers with which they’re familiar. While it’s likely that increased business and leisure travel to new cities will increase familiarity and possible Meetings and Events interest, meetings organisers should also conduct suitable due diligence in new, interesting, and cost-effective locations, to increase their options for future events.”

A full copy of the Asia Pacific Destinations Report 2019 can be downloaded here.

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