THE intense government crackdown against extravagant functions, lengthy meetings and unnecessary overseas travel in the public sector that began late last year has dampened MICE business, say the trade.
In his welcome remarks at the China (Shanghai) International Meetings & Conferences Forum 2013, Dao Shuming, chairman of Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, said: “Austerity measures have brought new challenges and issues...Hence, there’s a need for the industry to re-evaluate their business models in order to move forward.”
Julia Zhu, global sales manager, Jin Jiang International Hotel Management Company, told TTG Asia e-Daily that the new rules had resulted in cancellations of several government events during the January-February peak period.
However, Liu Ping, CEO of Beijing-based China Star, said: “The austerity drive hasn’t had a big impact on us as the majority of our business is focused on international meetings and associations.”
Liu recognised that there had been an impact, as many trade players were now strategising on how to deal with the measures, but observed that it was mostly hotels and suppliers on the government’s procurement list that had been especially affected.
Likewise, Michael Hong, deputy general manager, Shanghai Airlines Event Management, said his company was “not so much affected” as it draws more corporate than government business.
“In the near future, we plan to woo corporate business more aggressively, as well as pursue new opportunities in association meetings,” Hong said.
Jean Qian, director of sales & marketing, Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo Hotel Shanghai, said her hotel’s balanced mix of international and national-level meetings had helped to minimise any negative impact from the government’s austerity campaign.
Zhu added: “Even without F&B business (from the government), we have been doing well in attracting people to come to our hotels for meetings, trainings and seminars."
On a positive note, Liu remarked: “As an industry player, I am certainly concerned about the economic fallout of this policy. However, I support the government’s anti-corruption drive.”