Taking place at its now established base of the Bangkok Convention Centre within the CentralWorld complex and alongside the Centara Grand Hotel, host hotel to many of the delegates, the three days from the 27-29 September were packed with business and education opportunities that loaded delegates with new business, new business leads and the very latest of industry knowledge.

This year’s education programme was particularly gripping, with a record-breaking 50 renowned speakers from across governments, academia, and industry professions, all of whom were on hand to impart their knowledge and expertise at more than 20 sessions, including the ASEAN MICE Forum, the 2-day Association Day forum, Campfire Knowledge Sessions and the CTW Asia-Pacific Conference Sessions. The programme’s focus and depth, poignant topics and relevant speakers inevitably drew many approving nods from attending delegates.

Also drawing nods from exhibitors was the targeted outreach and sponsorship sessions at this year’s event, coming in at another all-time high, with a whole host of companies such as Visit Berlin, Dubai Business Events, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, Carlson Wagonlit and the Fukuoka Convention and Visitor Bureau all participating as both exhibitor and sponsor.

“Exhibition platforms such as IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific play an important part in our clients’ brand building and market activation goals, so we are heartened by the trust and commitment they have placed in us and we endeavour to keep building our capabilities, offering new value propositions, and providing opportunities for our delegates to maximise their investments and engage with the people who matter most to them,” said Darren Ng, Managing Director, TTG Asia Media.

Notable amongst exhibitors taking advantage of specifically targeted outreach to buyers in the Asian market was the premier European destination of Berlin, a shining example of the strong business connection between Europe and Asia for both inbound and outbound MICE business.

“We were interested in finding a different way to further strengthen our network in Asia, so we decided to return as an exhibitor and come in as a first-time sponsor,” said Ralf Ostendorf, Visit Berlin’s Director of Market Management for Asia, Australia, and Middle East, of their hosted luncheon for 32 Asia-based buyers. “The added value and targeted engagement from pre-selecting the buyers we wanted really gave us the opportunity to present our destination and show our buyers what Berlin has to offer. This gave us the exact audience we were seeking.”

Attending IT&CMA for the first time and also seeking a new audience was the European principality of Monaco, another premier MICE destination for the European market and now setting its sights firmly on attracting the Asian market as well.

“There has been a lot of energy at the show and the selection of international buyers is amazing,” said Benoit Badufle, Monaco Government Tourist Bureau (Asia)’s Regional Director. “Monaco is happy to stand out as a luxury travel destination and we have managed to garner valuable contacts and meet buyers we have not met before to propagate the image of Monaco.”

The presence of such key European destinations as well as most of the major MICE destinations from around Asia and further beyond is testament to the value of IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific as an instrumental platform in bringing together only the best buyers, sellers, and speakers in a single marketplace to do business, learn, and network. This was certainly signalled by the almost 3,000 delegates from more than 50 countries, including 600 hosted buyers and media, at this year’s show, as well as the on-going support of the host and partner Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), who took the opportunity of the profile event to launch their new marketing communication concept.

“The initiative – ‘Thailand CONNECT…Your Vibrant Journey to Business Success’ – will confirm Thailand’s outstanding hospitality and present Thailand as a destination that can really CONNECT an event’s vibrant journey to business success,” explained Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

TCEB then wasted little time in showcasing the renowned Thai hospitality by hosting the Opening Ceremony & Welcome Reception to round off Day 1 at the nearby Royal Paragon Hall with a “Siam Spice Night” theme event featuring the best of what Thailand can offer as a leading MICE destination and ensuring delegates could build networks from the off and get the event off to a buzzing start.

TCEB’s vibrant journey to business success sits very snugly with IT&CMA’s marvellous MICE journey to consistently increasing event success, with 2016 being no exception to the quality of show and improvements that Kongres Magazine has been part of and witness to over the past five years. Much chatter from the show floor was of how the process for arranging business appointments was excellent this year, how the quality of the buyers was extremely good and how the education programme was exceeding all expectations. Add excellent social functions and numerous break out opportunities to this and you haver the recipe for such a successful outing, so it will be interesting to see how it can be improved in 2017, but that is something we certainly look forward to finding out!

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