Taiwan gives a peek into what she’s doing to resume business events during these challenging times, without solely banking on the return of international travel
In 2019, Taiwan was coming into its own as a choice Asian MICE destination. Its capital Taipei established a dedicated MICE office in March, around the same time Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 2 (TaiNEX 2) started operations.
Due to Covid-19, MEET TAIWAN admitted that Taiwan’s MICE industry has been severely impacted, with numerous international exhibitions, corporate meetings, and incentive tours cancelled. To help Taiwanese event companies cope with the crisis, the agency has been providing financial relief.
Turning its attention inwards
Although the global pandemic has put a damper on international arrivals, Taiwan’s domestic meetings industry has seen some green shoots.
A number of events had taken place after restrictions on domestic meetings were lifted on June 11. All events must abide by strict guidelines set by the authorities to ensure the health and safety of delegates.
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) – Taiwan’s main PEO and official trade promotion agency – has also been consistent in its messaging, informing the larger MICE community that Covid-19 is well under control in the destination. The government agency has been updating the safety levels of its MICE environment and travel policies, and is actively sharing its experience in working to overcome the pandemic.
During a webinar organised by the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations in July, TAITRA addressed the growing trends in Taiwan’s MICE industry, such as the rising popularity of virtual reality (VR) exhibitions.
Online business matching are also proving to be more crucial than ever for trade personnel, particularly in the absence of face-to-face meetings. Industry players have recognised that organising virtual events will not be supplementary, but a necessity in the post-pandemic era, leading to the rise in hybrid events with both physical and online components.
Adapting quickly to change
Reflecting Taiwan’s adaptability and responsiveness to industry trends, her MICE stakeholders have made a quick pivot to meet the new online demand.
In late September, some 20 international exhibitions are scheduled to take place, such as the Taipei Intelligent Machinery & Manufacturing Technology Show (iMTduo) and SEMICON TAIWAN 2020, all of which are hybrid events. These shows will benefit more than 3,500 manufacturers across a range of industries.
One of Taiwan’s largest international exhibitions, COMPUTEX 2020, is among the first to transition from physical state to online.
Its 2019 edition hosted 1,685 exhibitors from 30 countries and attracted 42,495 visitors from 171 countries, and 2020 was set to welcome even more delegates. With international travel severely curtailed, COMPUTEX was at risk of losing that momentum.
Hence, Taiwan moved quickly to launch a series of online events to keep the global technology community connected with COMPUTEX. The first-ever COMPUTEX virtual event debuted on June 2, where its live-stream was watched by over 400,000 viewers.
During the event, key executives from tech companies such as Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm addressed the latest trends on artificial intelligence and 5G. In addition, the event also saw 30 VIP buyers from 14 countries meet with Taiwanese suppliers, while startups had a chance to showcase their new products via Taiwan Trade Show’s YouTube channel.
Soon to come on September 28 is a platform that will display and promote exhibitors’ products and services.
Organisers hope that the physical show will return next year, with dates currently scheduled for June 1–5, 2021.
Looking to the future
As Taiwan’s MICE industry rebuilds itself, infrastructure developments have continued in earnest, with several new event venues on schedule to open this year and into 2022.
They include the Taipei Music Center (September 2020), Kaohsiung Music Center (end-2020), and two convention centres located outside of capital city Taipei – the Tainan Convention & Exhibition Center (2021) and Taichung Shuinan International Convention Exhibition Center (2022).
Despite the bleak situation, MEET TAIWAN told TTGmice that the destination has not lost sight of its global market, and the appetite to attract international business events has certainly not been diminished.
“With the partial reopening of domestic MICE, a full reopening is soon to follow. We warmly welcome event planners from all over the globe to Taiwan, and will wholeheartedly support them before and after the borders reopen,” MEET TAIWAN stated.