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Issue: May June 2015
As The 9th IT&CM China Opened To Business, Shanghai Opened Its Doors
By: Matt Thomas

The Leading International MICE event in China opened its 9th installment on April 14th at a new venue, the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center of International Sourcing.   IT&CM China 2015, held from April 14 to 16,  intended to, "Promote China to the World and the World to China." The 2015 event drew over 3,000 MICE professionals including DMCs, corporate travel and associations. Over 400 hosted delegates participated in more than 10,000 business appointments as well as over 60 businesses, education and networking sessions

And what better city to hold this prestigious MICE event than Shanghai, one of the most exciting destinations in the world.  Home to thirteen million people, it is surprisingly the third largest city in the world.  In addition to its historical sites, it has the best shopping, free museums, a great waterfront promenade and efficient transportation.  A strange and intriguing mix of old and new China, Shanghai is one of the most interesting and entertaining cities I've visited. 

According to Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media, IT&CM China 2015 has achieved new heights in featuring a wider audience profiles, larger industry support and deeper engagement opportunities. "Since its inception, the show has widened beyond China's general MICE industry to involve and address the objectives of valuable niches through a 2-day program.  Including corporate travel and the inaugural CTW China travel management conference in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, China," explained Ng.

He continued, "These expansions are part of a successful endeavor to deepen the value that our delegates receive, allowing them to better engage, network and harness information. Destination presentations and campfire knowledge sessions are built on top of already familiar business models, educational and networking highlights."

As a result, commitments from NTOs, CVBs and corporations yielded an exciting profile of new exhibitors including destinations such as America, Australia, Berlin, Canada and Hunan.  Chic Outlets Shopping, Howard Johnson Conference Resort Chengdu, Jinling Hotels, Pan Pacific Hotel Group, Union Pay, World Tourism Cities Federation and Yu Yang Expo all exhibited with their own-branded booths. This year also saw a stronger lineup of airline representatives including AirBerlin, Delta Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

And all of this B2B networking blended nicely into Shanghai's dizzying growth rate since the late 1990s.  Foreign investment, private businesses such as those participating in IT&CM China, and rising personal income have all left their marks, especially in the form of a booming construction industry.  A China guide told me that the average age of the city's buildings is only seven years.  "The city is constantly reinventing itself," my guide explained.  "Buildings get torn down and destroyed, new ones go up and even people in their 40s can't take you to places where they grew up." There are 4,000 high rises, already more than New York, and plans are in the works to build 1,000 more.

Fitting nicely into this building renaissance is the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview, Shanghai's latest city property that was host to over 900 IT&CM China and CTW China delegates at the Opening Ceremony and Welcome Dinner. Michael Malik, the Shanghai Marriott's Market Vice President, stated "The Opening Ceremony & Welcome Dinner was a true experience for delegates. We were excited to showcase our outstanding MICE facilities and "Meetings Imagined" approach with seven food stations symbolizing seven meeting purposes - underlining our concept of unique meeting experiences tailored for the purpose of meetings. Some lucky delegates also walked away with prizes during the evening's lucky draw."

Malik added, "We believe that Marriott's partnership with IT&CM China & CTW China with not only the Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview, but also the JW Marriott Changfeng Park and Renaissance Shanghai Yangtze as our official hotels, highlighted Marriott's unique advantage. This includes our Enhanced Marriott services that include Meetings Imagined, and our Meeting Services App. These solutions clearly underline our leadership as a conceptual and technological MICE innovator, as well as the number one choice for MICE events"

IT&CM's goal of building strategic partnerships with reputable global and local organizations has resulted in valuable outcomes at this year's conference. The show's optimal 80% Chinese to 20% International buyer ratio featured 60 hand-picked buyers by Euromic, the MICE Committee of China Association of Travel Services (CATS) and World PCO Alliance. These three partners along with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), and SITE also contributed expert speakers to deliver the most relevant and dynamic knowledge and educational sessions at this year's event.

And the international participants had no shortage of things to do in Shanghai.  Whether taking a walk along the Bund, the historic waterfront promenade that separates old colonial buildings from the Huangpu River, or strolling along the pedestrian East Nanjing Street and its endless side alleys, adventure awaits around every corner in Shanghai.  Oh yeah, did I mention shopping?  There are three levels of shopping in Shanghai.  The high end with such brands as Armani, Chanel, Prada and Rolex; the mid-range with legit Western brands like Nike, Timberland and Michael Kors; and the low-end selling everything from massed produced Gucci bags, fake (though good) Rolex copies, and Hermes and Prada knock-offs.  You'll also find counterfeit DVD's of all of your favorite movies for $2.00.

IT&CM China, along with IT&CM and CTW Asia-Pacific - which is held in Bangkok, is organized by TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media.  Both the Bangkok and Shanghai events bring together international MICE exhibitors and buyers in two dynamic marketplaces.  IT&CM China and IT&CM and CTW Asia-Pacific are both platforms for leading players in the MICE industry to explore business opportunities on all fronts - inbound, outbound, domestic and international.  Delegates who invest in the Bangkok and Shanghai events receive the best return on their investment through structured business appointments, exhibition showcases, seminar sessions, official networking sessions and educational tours. 

The IT&CM and CTW Asia-Pacific event in Bangkok last October, drew more than 800 exhibiting delegates with exhibitors from destinations as diverse as Cambodia and Switzerland.  Buyers selected from over 1,000 registrants represented corporate travel associations, luxury travel and MICE organizations from all over the world.  The Bangkok event also featured the first-ever post show familiarization trip outside of Thailand, to Cambodia - which I participated in.  Exploring Siem Reap and Angkor Wat - the world's largest religious monument, was an amazing and memorable experience. 

With over 10,000 business appointments and more than 80 business, educational and networking sessions, IT&CM and CTW Asia-Pacific has proven to be the perfect platform to find new business partners and showcase your products in Southeast Asia.  Likewise, since 2007, IT&CM China has proven to be the ideal event to discover new and exciting MICE products in China - and for them to discover you.