Asian sellers confident in the region’s appeal due to strong Greenback

Noor Ahmad Hamid flew Malaysia's flag high at IMEX America

Asia’s key business events destinations, bar a muted China and Hong Kong presence, were at IMEX America (October 11-13) in larger numbers, compared to the show’s May edition in Frankfurt.

During the tradeshow in Las Vegas, buying domestically dominated. And while Asian booths were less busy, those TTGmice spoke to affirmed corporates and meetings groups were eyeing the region, albeit in smaller group sizes.

Noor Ahmad Hamid flew Malaysia’s flag high at IMEX America

The US is one of the top markets for Singapore’s World Express (WE) with Darren Tan, its managing director, sharing with TTGmice that he had “good leads” and sees “growth and potential”, despite Asia lagging behind other parts of the world in opening up.

Tan, who also made sales calls in the US, commented life and the travel market were back to normal, and the strong US dollar was a plus, but recession fears created some “pullback”.

“The US was good for us in 2022, and 2023 is also looking decent,” he commented, adding that corporate meetings were doing better than incentives. Group sizes were below 100 people, and niche demand was from higher-level educational and special interest groups.

Noor Ahmad Hamid, chief operating officer, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), also noted the strong US Dollar has made Malaysia and other Asian destinations more appealing to the US market. As such, he expects corporate and incentive enquiries to materialise in early 2023.

He added: “The association and exhibition sectors will work differently, based on the content of the association meeting and exhibition’s value proposition. We are anticipating growth for these two segments as Malaysia is a very attractive destination in terms of value for money due to the strong US dollar.

“There are a lot of enquiries and we need to work quickly on this increasing demand.”

To smoothen the entry process, one of MyCEB’s initiatives includes a Business Events Special Lane for arriving delegates, on top of providing financial support. MyCEB also includes sustainability, legacy and inclusivity in all of its business events activities, which Noor indicated that “many planners from the US find meaningful”.

Taiwan-based DMC K&A International, which sent a representative to IMEX America to test waters, said activity was slow and North Asia, in general, was “not receiving MICE (enquiries) yet”.

K&A founder and president Kitty Wong pointed to inflation, changes in flight schedules, and the conflict in Ukraine were reasons why association meeting delegates were not travelling.

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