Chiba gains more monetary muscle to compete for business events

AN ADDITIONAL 50 million yen (US$493,412) has been added to Chiba Convention Bureau and International Center’s (CCB-IC) 2014 budget, bringing its spending power this year to 250 million yen, in an effort to boost its sales and destination promotion capabilities.

In an email interview with TTGmice e-Weekly, Takeo Katsura, director of convention division with CCB-IC, explained that the bureau does not usually enjoy a yearly budget increment, and the booster fund was a result of Chiba Prefecture’s renewed focus on the business events industry.

“Chiba Prefecture (wants to) take advantage of the opportunity presented by the national government’s goal to increase the number of overseas visitors to 20 million per year by 2020 and Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics,” said Katsura.

“Chiba Prefecture is in a good position to take advantage of this opportunity because it is right next to Tokyo, is home to Japan’s main international airport (Narita International Airport) and has the Makuhari Messe Convention Complex.”

CCB-IC has since established a new international business development office and hired two staff to seek out new business leads. The convention bureau will also be expanding its activities beyond participation at international trade conventions to include more destination marketing shows around Asia and sales trips with the prefecture governor.

Some of the market outreach activities planned for this year include the Narita City Thailand Tourism Mission in Bangkok later this month and a seminar in Taiwan this October which will coincide with the Top Sales Tour led by the prefecture governor.

In January 2015, CCB-IC will organise a seminar at PCMA Convening Leaders in Chicago.

CCB-IC has raised its sales target by 40 per cent and hopes to win enough event bids this year to drive an additional 6.7 billion yen into the local economy. While association meetings will remain the focus of CCB-IC, Katsura said opportunities in corporate meetings and incentives, especially from South-east Asia, will be sought out.

Chiba Prefecture, which ranks 294th on ICCA’s list of global meetings cities and 10th in Japan on UIA’s charts this year, already welcomes a number of notable international events. Some of them include the 1,200-pax Asia Pacific Physics Conference in July 2013 and the 1,200-pax JASCA 50th Anniversary Conference IUAES Inter-Congress 2014 in May.

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