Both financial and non-financial support from potential host cities can make a big difference to the success and quality of an association meeting. Here are the range of assistance major Asian meetings destinations are offering this year
International associations can apply for subvention schemes through a new A$12 million (US$8.9 million) Bid Fund Program (BFP) launched by Tourism Australia last year.
The fund prioritises events which are aligned with Tourism Australia’s business events strategy and trade sectors of national significance to Australia. These are currently defined as Food and Agribusiness, Advanced Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Resources and Energy, International Health, and Services and Disruptive Technologies.
The BFP can be used to help with actual event costs such as accommodation, venue hire and transport. It will not cover administrative, logistics or marketing cost for bids, marketing collateral, delegate acquisition or travel costs for organisers. Submissions must be for a minimum of A$100,000 (excluding GST).
Associations must demonstrate that their event will attract at least 500 international visitors and that it will significantly contribute economically to Australia.
There are no deadlines for applications but the BFP can only support bids where a decision will be taken by June 30, 2021. Also, Australia only considers applications when it is in competition with other international destinations.
Funds will only be released after contracts are finalised. It will be provided in instalments and are subject to the delivery of key performance metrics as outlined in BFP contracts.
The Hong Kong Rewards! programme offered by the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) office supports qualified business and association events held in the destination.
This programme has been enhanced over the years through MEHK’s partnership with various industry partners such as hotels, airlines and attractions. Perks include complimentary cocktail receptions at partner hotels, shopping and F&B discounts at partner attractions, extra baggage allowance offered by partner airlines, and meet-and-greet service at Hong Kong International Airport.
New rewards are added to the Hong Kong Rewards! programme every March.
On top of these, MEHK boosts assistance with complimentary cultural performances that add a distinct Hong Kong flavour to the meeting programme.
Options include a lion dance, acrobatic/kung fu show, a trio of cultural extravaganzas comprising Chinese rainbow calligraphy, Chinese knotting and flour doll making, face-changing performance, Chinese quartet and Chinese drum show. Options available for choice vary according to the meeting size.
While the Japan Convention Bureau (JCB), a division of Japan National Tourism Organization, does not offer financial support for association meetings, it does provide a variety of other support services for meeting organisers in the planning stages.
Using its extensive domestic and international network, JCB recommends potential destinations across Japan based on the association meeting’s needs. It assists local association members with the preperation of bid papers, lobbies key persons and provides promotional resources. As part of its key role is helping to plan inspection tours, it also invites association meeting planners to visit Japan on its special inspection site programmes.
Held in cooperation with Japan’s International Convention Cities, these inspection site programmes offer attendees the opportunity to visit Japan’s regions, connect with local convention bureaus and visit convention and tourist facilities. JCB acts as a liaison, matching event needs to what each city and venue have to offer.
Participants should represent an international conference of at least 200pax (at least 30 per cent of whom would attend from outside Japan) that has the possibility of bidding to convene in Japan within the next five years.
Each participant’s package typically covers a round-trip airfare in economy, as well as accommodation and transportation expenses incurred during the inspection site program.
Budget-strapped associations can also appeal for financial assistance from city-level convention bureaux, such as Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau and Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau, both of which extend various types of support for qualified association gatherings.
The Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) has consolidated its subvention schemes into a single plan called the Convention & Exhibition Financial Support Programme, which comes with a simplified application process.
The general aim of the programme is to assist with bidding and hosting qualified events in Macau.
For confirmed meetings, IPIM provides a variety of financial support that covers accommodation, F&B and meeting packages, keynote speaker appointments, event promotion, simultaneous interpretation, document translation, and many more.
To qualify, the meeting must have at least 100 participants for general meetings, and at least 200 for international meetings.
Support is also dished out to potential meetings that Macau has been shortlisted for, and in such cases assistance comes in the form of site inspection arrangements – round-trip flights, ground transfers and a maximum of three nights’ accommodation for up to four key decision-makers.
For international meetings approved or recognised by ICCA, associations can expect extra benefits such as financial support for the hiring of a local PCO and a designated fast-track immigration channel for arriving event delegates.
The Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB), which is the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism, has a range of complimentary subventions for association meetings.
It provides assistance in bidding for international association meetings by matching international account leads with local counterparts; in the planning, preparation and submission of bid proposals; in getting multisectoral support; and in drawing up a total package of benefits and privileges for bid presentations.
It also links local associations with contacts in the government and private sectors and suppliers.
Other valuable support includes coordinating/organising site inspections, technical visits and pre/post-tours, promoting attendance through TPB’s network of local and overseas offices, providing airport reception for group arrivals, hosting dinner or meals, and marketing support such as e-marketing, marketing paraphernalia, and delegate bags and kits.
The Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), which sits under the Singapore Tourism Board, offers a number of incentive schemes.
The Business Events in Singapore (BEiS) scheme offers customised support that may include funding support, facilitation in securing venues, introductions with leading government agencies, local associations and business partners, as well as marketing and publicity support. Funding support is also given through the BEiS scheme upon fulfilment of its evaluation criteria and deliverables.
Another scheme is the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP), a partnership between the SECB, Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines, Grab and JetQuay to provide business events organisers and delegates greater value such as savings on air tickets, enhanced event planning and delegate experiences, financial grants and discounts on advertising spaces in Changi Airport, among other benefits. It is intended to complement the BEiS incentive scheme.
The Korea MICE Bureau (KMB), under the Korea Tourism Organization, offers a range of support for international conventions held in South Korea.
It dishes out hosting and bidding support, with the extent of subvention dependent on the size of the qualified event.
Hosting support includes an official banquet, coffee break as well as cultural programmes, performances and souvenirs, while bidding support includes complimentary site inspections that come with accommodation and airfare sponsorship, as well as liaison assistance.
Large-scale international conventions stand to enjoy premium hosting support, such as having an allocated MICE Concierge Desk and exclusive immigration checkpoint at Incheon International Airport, development of an event app, and more.
To qualify, the convention must be hosted by an international organisation or affiliate with a minimum of 100 foreign attendees, and run for at least
Conventions hosted by an organisation that is not a member of an international body must have a minimum of 150 foreign attendees and a programme lasting at least two days. It must also meet UIA and ICCA conference standards.
MEET TAIWAN, sanctioned by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, provides the Business Events in Surprising Taiwan (BEST) Rewards programme to incentivise and support overseas business groups coming to Taiwan.
BEST Rewards’ Partner Package offers incentives such as premium local products, inspection subsidies, and complimentary tour passes. Rewards are scaled according to event size and type, and are stacked for planners and agencies that rebook events in Taiwan.
Groups of 50 pax and more staying for at least two consecutive nights can also benefit from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s administrative assistance, as well as various benefits like welcome gifts, and a cultural show valued up to NT$150,000 (US$4,960).
Groups from target countries under the government’s New Southbound Policy that stay more than three consecutive nights can enjoy customised support and more financial rewards.
The various city governments in Taiwan also provide their own subvention programmes for different qualified events.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) supports association conventions that run at least two full days, have at least 50 international delegates who flew into Thailand for the event, and have a programme with academic content.
Assistance comes from the TCEB Conventions Department, a division dedicated to offering a range of financial and non-financial assistance to qualified associations and convention organisers.
TCEB’s latest subvention scheme is the ASEAN MaxiMICE programme, created in partnership with Thai Airways International (TG). Launched in January 2019, the programme is aimed at business events travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.
Perks are offered across three tiers – Silver for 40-99 pax, Gold for 100-149 pax, and Platinum for 150 pax and more. Qualified groups can enjoy a range of benefits, such as dedicated immigration lane, cultural performances, additional baggage allowance, pre-assigned group seating, and BTS Card for skytrain travel.
To qualify, groups must arrive in Thailand on a TG flight, and stay for at least two nights.