Here’s how key developing destinations such as China, Brazil, India are changing the landscape of the meetings industry.
What constitutes an “emerging market”? By definition, it is a country whose economy is just beginning to grow. But as it pertains to the meetings industry, the term can apply to any of the following:
• A destination that is just discovering how meetings, incentives and exhibitions can further boost its economy;
• A country with a newly developed infrastructure (e.g., hotels, convention facilities, airports and destination management firms) for hosting events; and
• A country that, due to its strong economy, is developing domestic meetings markets and even expanding its group business regionally and overseas.
A number of nations have met some or all of these criteria in recent years, including China, India and Brazil, which leading hospitality companies such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts consider some of the fastest-growing hotel markets in the world. And where hotels sprout, meetings are sure to follow.
China, for example, was cited as the most popular country in Asia for meetings, according to a fall 2012 research study conducted by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organizers of the annual China Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (cibtm.com) held in Beijing. Indeed, Reed reports that CIBTM itself has doubled in size since 2009. And Geneva-based multinational planning giant MCI (mci-group.com) says a quarter of its revenues now come from Asia, with China providing the lion’s share.
In India, Reed sees enough potential that it is launching an inaugural IBTM there this fall. And with business so strong in Latin America, globally focused industry associations expect to see big membership increases from those countries. At the same time, meetings industry show organizers are taking note of the next generation of emerging markets, chiefly Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East.
On the following pages, leaders from the convention, association, corporate and incentive sectors weigh in on how these destinations are affecting their own organizations and the very landscape of the meetings realm, exposing a fast-growing number of planners and attendees to new lands and cultures.