Australian, New Zealand event buyers gain more interest in Asia

ACCESSIBILITY, relative affordability and culture are among the factors driving MICE planners from Australia and New Zealand to choose Asian destinations for their events, according to hosted buyers at AIME this week in Melbourne.

Debra Grandidier from Brisbane-based Events and Leisure, who has events in Vietnam and Thailand later this year, said these destinations seem to offer the same products for less money than in other countries.

“With our dollar being great value in Asia at the moment it’s exactly the destination people are looking for,” she said.

Although Erin Gillin, who represents Strata Community Australia, has yet to book business offshore, she told TTGmice e-Weekly that she is surprised at the capacity available in Asia and with destinations being a short trip away, the region was a logical option for events.

Hot Events New Zealand’s business director, Victoria Wales, opined that improved air access to Asia, as well as culture, food and safety, were driving Asia’s popularity among corporate clients.

“Asia is perceived to be safer now than Europe,” Wales said.

However, she found it challenging to negotiate with Asian suppliers.

“We find we struggle with flexibility of suppliers, but we work with preferred ones now and that’s how we’ve gotten around it,” she remarked.

Strengthening trade links between New Zealand and China are also helping to raise outbound MICE demand for Asia, observed Mark Ferguson, a travel trade specialist who will join Extra Mile in New Zealand next week.

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