From Vegas to Singapore: Business events industry introduces cities to windfalls

[ad_1]

Visitors to the CES 2024 crowded the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 10 for the tech event. [YONHAP]

Visitors to the CES 2024 crowded the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 10 for the tech event. [YONHAP]

 
[CHASING MICE] 
 
Tourist spending in Las Vegas more than doubled over the last decade. The big contributor, however, isn’t gamblers but convention and conference-goers, with over 60 percent of the city’s revenue coming from non-gaming businesses.
 
The city, once infamous for its seemingly infinite opportunities to gamble and indulge in other vices, has undergone a metamorphosis to become one of the most optimal destinations for international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, referred to as MICE.
 
MICE has emerged as one of the fastest and most efficient economic growth drivers with large-scale meetings and conventions coming to a city, which brings not only people that spend money but also opportunities to generate employment and attract foreign direct investment.
 
Also called the “business events industry” or “meetings industry,” MICE is also known to cause a ripple effect — the allure of incoming spending incentivizes local authorities to make improvements in the area.
 

A view of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore [EPA/YONHAP]

A view of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore [EPA/YONHAP]



‘A golden industry without a chimney’
MICE is business tourism at its finest, bringing significant sources of revenue in diverse industries, from transportation, accommodation and entertainment to food and drinks as well as leisure.
 
Traditionally, MICE embraces mostly business events, while leisure events like shopping or concerts fall under a different category. However, many organizers now add leisure activities to larger gatherings to better engage with attendees.
 
A MICE visitor on average stays around two more days in the city for tourism-related activities, spending an average of three times more than a normal tourist, according to data from the Korea Tourism Organization.
 
Around 6 billion people participated in business events across more than 180 countries in 2019 before the pandemic, resulting in a global economic impact of $2.8 trillion in business sales, a recent report from the Events Industry Council found.
 
The events were responsible for 27.6 million jobs worldwide and $1.6 trillion in global GDP.
 
“The MICE industry is called the ‘golden industry without a chimney’ due to its high value-added economic impacts, as those major events are held at already built conference centers; it’s not like we have to pour in large sums of money every time,” said Park Jin-hyuk, head of the MICE team at the Seoul Tourism Organization.
 
“MICE events also play a key role in promoting the specific region’s cultural and technological prowess, what the industry now calls the ‘MICE legacy,'” Park said. “Like Busan’s hosting of the G-Star game exhibition every year — it is advantageous for expanding game-related businesses and attracting more talent.”
 
The global MICE market is expected to reach an estimated value of $1.56 trillion in 2030, double that in 2022, according to data from the market tracker Research and Markets.
 

Visitors to the CES 2024 crowded at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 11 for the tech event. [YONHAP]

Visitors to the CES 2024 crowded at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 11 for the tech event. [YONHAP]

 
Las Vegas: From Sin City to premier convention destination
Many cities have already successfully transformed themselves into MICE stops with early but aggressive investments by governments to build massive convention centers and related infrastructure.
 
The city of Las Vegas began its push in the 1980s, with the enactment of a law to collect a 12 percent “room tax” from hotels to reinvest into infrastructure construction.
 
Sin City, as it has long been known, constructed the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), a 230,000-square-meter (2.47 million-square-feet) exhibition center, in 1959, and carried out four expansions. The Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest tech fairs, has been held at the LVCC annually since 1995, attracting around 130,000 visitors from 150 countries every year.
 
The convention reportedly brings around $200 million in economic effects to the city per year.
 

An aerial view of the Hannover Messe, the world's largest convention center in Hannover, Germany [EPA/YONHAP]

An aerial view of the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest convention center in Hannover, Germany [EPA/YONHAP]

 
In 2023, tourism had an overall economic impact of $85.2 billion on Las Vegas, with visitors’ direct spending standing at $51.5 billion. Out of a total of 40.8 million visitors, 6 million were convention attendees, up 20 percent on year.
 
Three of the largest U.S. convention centers are now located in Las Vegas, with around 330 three-star or higher hotels with 150,000 rooms.
 
Once earning two-thirds of its revenue from casinos back in the 1980s, Las Vegas now rakes in 60 percent of its overall revenue from non-gaming businesses.
 

A view of the Marina Bay Sands and the city skyline in Singapore [EPA/YONHAP]

A view of the Marina Bay Sands and the city skyline in Singapore [EPA/YONHAP]



Making business trips exciting

In the Eastern Hemisphere, Singapore has emerged as a MICE mecca, drawing hundreds of international meetings thanks to its geographical advantages and richness of recreational facilities.
 
Singapore held 780 business conventions in 2020 to become the No. 1 host country, followed by the United States.
 
For greater accessibility, the country opened Changi Airport in 1975, the largest and busiest airport in Southeast Asia. It also built Marina Bay Sands in 2010, which includes a massive convention center that can accommodate around 40,000 visitors with 2,000 booths at the same time.
 
To boost the MICE business, Singapore set up the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, which has offices in over 20 countries around the world to attract events. Singapore is currently a regional hub for over 150 global institutions and 7,000 multinational companies.
 
“While U.S. and European cities are saturated with MICE competition, Singapore is highly recognized by MICE organizers for its vivid business ecosystem, flight connectivity and various leisure options,” the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy wrote in a recent report.
 
“It is also geographically advantaged as it is situated near China and the newly-rising Asean and Indian markets.”
 
Germany is home to the most active MICE industry in Europe with Hannover Messe, the world’s largest convention center at 496,000 square meters. Of the world’s 10 largest convention centers, Germany has four.
 
The Innovation for All convention, the world’s largest electronics show, is held at the Messe Berlin convention center every year, while the IMEX trade show is held at Messe Frankfurt annually, welcoming 20,000 visitors from 150 countries.
 
The MICE industry is responsible for about 3.25 percent of the total U.S. GDP, while Britain’s total comes to 3 percent and Canada, 1.5 percent.

BY SARAH CHEA [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]



[ad_2]

Source link