Home / Travel / Travel

Suzhou extols expos and conventions

By Ma Zhenhuan and Zhou Furong | China Daily | Updated: 2011-09-09 09:39
Suzhou extols expos and conventions

Originating in Suzhou, traditional Kunqu is a form of Chinese opera dating back to the 14th century. Provided by Kunshan Information Office

Suzhou extols expos and conventions

The ancient city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province has evolved into a leading business metropolis and is now taking advantage of its tourism resources and expo facilities to become a top-notch center for meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions, known in the trade as the MICE industry.

Only 60 km north of Shanghai, the nation's business hub, the city has a leading expo facility - the Suzhou International Expo Center in the Suzhou Industrial Park - that provides an excellent venue for exhibition organizers worldwide.

Suzhou's business travel demonstration area, also in the Suzhou Industrial Park, now has leading-class golf courses. The area is becoming a hot spot for nightlife as well through its popular bars, teahouses and cultural performances.

The city recently witnessed a remarkable improvement in tourism service standards due to efforts from the local government. It now has 24 five-star hotels, ranking it third nationwide.

The city's unique geographic location provides it with five airports - Nanjing, Hangzhou, Pudong, Hongqiao and Wuxi Shuofang - within three hours' drive.

It is also along the Beijing to Shanghai high-speed train link, providing easy access for tourists and MICE participants.

"In terms of exploring the MICE industry, we have been striving to develop the sector since the expo center opened in 2004, " said Michael Chen, CEO of the center.

He also serves as chairman of the Suzhou exposition industry association.

"Suzhou's leading hotel facilities, together with the SuzhouExpo, will provide integrated advantages for MICE sector development around Jinji Lake in the Suzhou Industrial Park," he added.

David Zhong, publisher of the industry magazine MICE China, said it is vital for the local government to transform and integrate the MICE sector into its overall tourism development strategy - which poses a huge challenge for tourism authorities.

Suzhou is adjacent to Shanghai, one of the nation's biggest sources of MICE clients, and has developed enough attractions for tour organizers to choose Suzhou as a destination for company incentive packages.

Johnny Du, director of Sales and Marketing at the Intercontinental Suzhou, said the hotel has become a hot pick during conferences.

"Our hotel is fully booked when large companies such as Johnson&Johnson host conferences, as the hotel is adjacent to the expo center," he said.

But there are many factors for companies to consider when choosing their MICE destination.

"For example, when hosting MICE activities, enterprises need to consider the destination's linkage with their core business. Suzhou has developed a solid industrial chain, especially with the launch and robust development of the Suzhou Industrial Park, so many Fortune 500 companies consider Suzhou when hosting conferences."

The local tourism authority should broaden its emphasis from traditional tourism and move further towards promoting the more value-added MICE sector, according to Michael Chen.

"The tourism authority should work toward the higher average rate of return for five-star hotel operators in Suzhou, and developing the MICE sector will be an ideal choice. It is only in this way that the overall tourism sector will witness a long-term sustainable development," Chen said.

If the local government can work closely with local tourism and expo enterprises in promoting the MICE sector, Suzhou has a good chance to become the third-largest MICE destination in China following Beijing and Shanghai, he said.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349