The panel, “Reimagining MICE: New Challenges and Opportunities,” successfully brought together professionals from the MICE business and academic specialists on October 26, 2022, at MBtv. Prof.Glenn McCartney, Associate Professor of International Integrated Resort Management at the University of Macau, was invited to take part in the panel debate as one of the guest speakers on how to recover the ailing Macau SAR Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

According to data provided by the Statistics and Census Bureau, 449 conventions and exhibits were held in Macau in 2021 with 1.4 million attendees. This represents a reduction of 70% and 90%, respectively, from 2019. A total of 97 MICE events were hosted in Macau during the first quarter of this year, a roughly one-third increase in the number of events. This helped the number of participants and attendees increase by 20% to 165,000.

It is worth noting that the government announced that package tours from mainland China will resume in November to revitalize the local tourism industry and economy. Bruno Simões, President of the Macau Meetings, Incentives and Special Events Association, also emphasized during the panel that while the group visa business has not yet recovered, the Macau MICE industry should be ready to resume operations. Todd Cai, Vice President of the Macau Association of Convention, Exhibition, and Tourism Sectors, said that Macau, as a promising MICE destination, should have confidence in the revitalization of its MICE industry. He emphasized that the relevant restriction policies continue to be the key obstacle. Prof. Glenn McCartney and the UM researchers noted that while the MICE sector does need flexible measures to be supported, we should also consider how to use the existing travel corridor between Macau and the mainland to benefit the MICE industry.

The panel also covered the significance of talent development in the MICE sector for the sector’s resurgence. Simões thinks that some exceptional talents have left the MICE business due to its temporary stagnation, but we also need to draw them back with more enticing human resources training. These specialists include many conference organizers, photographers, designers, and other relevant experts in addition to MICE business professionals. According to Prof. Glenn McCartney, the new 10-year gaming concessions have outlined the role gaming operators should play in the growth of Macau’s MICE sector, which compels the government to design a more specific plan for the development of industry expertise.

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