Of late, the MICE sector has come increasingly in focus, especially as global tourism takes small steps towards establishing a new normalcy. Studies show that MICE matters a great deal to host destinations, and in the new ‘normal’, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) looks at the sector from a holistic viewpoint. As per a Bloomberg Economics report from July 2020, Taiwan is amongst the top 5 countries on evaluation criteria of successfully controlling Covid-related cases and mortality rate, high level of economic activity and the policy space available to counter the damage.
We cannot go back to the old ways of planning tourism, experiences and itineraries for MICE visitors. The new ‘normal’ that Taiwan Tourism Bureau is focussing on comprises of three key elements:
‘Think Ahead, Do Ahead’ strategy
With this strategy implemented at an early stage, Taiwan has developed one of the best risk management frameworks and maintains one of the lowest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world (under 500, at the time of issuing this newsletter) with no lockdown ever imposed. The bureau has also launched a Taiwan Global Anti-Covid-19 Pavilion website (www.anticovid19tw.org) to inform the public and private sectors of the latest information from Taiwan, as well as a series of integrated online services to inform exhibitors of global business opportunities. Additionally, TTB remains available to help plan and adapt for MICE-planners since one size does not fit all, and its support should be as ‘enablers’.
Last month, a total of 24 MICE leaders from 21 companies involved in exhibitions, conference planning, incentive travel, and conference hotels were invited to attend a conference. Using the industry’s perspective as a base, post-pandemic MICE innovation and transformation were evaluated and discussed.
Taiwan is already open for Business visitors from low or medium-risk COVID-19 countries, with varying testing and quarantine measures in place. A strong demand for business events was witnessed after restrictions on domestic meetings were lifted on June 11, with more than 50 such events held in the month of July.
Combining Physical and Virtual Events
With the varying Covid-19 situation across countries, TTB would like to create an equal platform for all MICE and B2B sector initiatives and audiences. A significant role will be played by ‘Hybrid MICE’ – a combination of physical and virtual attendance and experiences. This hybrid model allows participants to choose between physical attendance of events or virtual participation encouraging TTB to work with MICE-partners to provide technological solutions and event itineraries. Already, TTB is working with relevant companies to develop strong VR models to enable exhibitions. It invites all who are involved in the industry to rethink their promotion, revenue and interaction models, towards developing a new value landscape.
Taiwan Tourism Bureau has have initiated a few such virtual events, especially in the B2C space with concerts and have seen an initial willingness to pay in spite of virtual attendance.
Holiday for Healing
The campaign launched in the aftermath of the spread of the virus holds relevance for all sectors, and planning MICE travel will also incorporate elements of the healing holidays that include effective use of outdoor spaces, especially exploring the natural beauty of the island nation and its 368 mountains with peaks higher than 3000 metres. Creating itineraries that allow for guidelines to be imposed, ensure healthy interactions and allow individuals to explore Taiwan and their sector of interest with peace of mind are top priority. 2020 was announced as the year of Mountain Tourism, and 2021 will be the year of Bicycle Tourism, all with a fun element which could be explored by the MICE traveller under the umbrella goal to provide a ‘Holiday for Healing’
A message for the industry and people of India from Dr Trust HJ Lin, Director – India, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore & Middle East, Taiwan Tourism Bureau
“Given the situation in India, we send our good wishes and support to the people. India’s outbound MICE may take longer to recover, however, we have full faith in India’s resilience. We will continue to invest in the Indian market and offer our warmth and support to the Indian people. Taiwan will wait for you.”