THE tourism and business event sectors in Shanghai will benefit from the city's hosting of the 52nd ICCA Congress, said local tourism leaders at the event's opening session on Sunday morning.
Du Yili, vice chairman of China National Tourism Administration, said the congress, which features four days of educational sessions led by meeting specialists from around the world and business exchanges, will enable China’s MICE players to “learn from other destinations and raise the standards of the industry”.
“I hope that (overseas attendees) will also gain a better knowledge of China’s MICE facilities and resources (through this congress),” said Du during her welcome address.
The 52nd ICCA Congress has drawn up to 930 delegates from 60 countries – the largest attendance for an edition hosted outside of Europe. Of these attendees, 230 are first-time participants.
Describing China’s MICE industry as having “entered a new era of development”, Du said: “Cities across China have seen an improvement in MICE standards. In 2012, convention and business footfalls exceeded six million and made up a major portion of total tourist arrivals.
“The country has placed greater importance on tourism development (and) recognises that this industry plays a key role in job creation and the stimulation of domestic demand and economic growth.”
Yang Jinsong, chairman of Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, believes that the congress will raise the awareness and popularity of Shanghai as a destination for both leisure trips and meetings, and enable the Chinese city to sustain the growth momentum of its meetings industry.
Underlining Shanghai’s business events capability, Yang said the destination offers “many exhibition centres as well as over 300 star-rated hotels that can cater to events”.
“When the National Convention and Exhibition Center in Hongqiao is completed (in 2015), it will offer 500,000m2 of exhibition space and be the country’s largest venue,” he added.
The congress concludes this Wednesday and the next edition will be hosted in Antalya, Turkey in November 2014.