Darren Ng: Many people see IT&CMA as a small event
He also told us about investing in quality, to fill the smaller dimension of the event, in the face of major exhibitions, like the European.
You are celebrating your 25th anniversary. How will the next 25 years be?
We started IT & CMA when we realised that the market had a flaw in the Corporate Travel and MICE sector. That was 25 years ago. These areas continue to evolve due to economic and social factors affecting the global market. I think there are still a lot of people who undervalue the Asia Pacific region and we expect IT & CMA and CTW to continue to be a driving force in positioning the region competitively in the global arena.
What are the main obstacles to this region's success?
Asia is not like, for example, Europe, a continent that is mostly connected by land. In Asia-Pacific we are very fragmented and travelling to almost all countries implies catching a flight, you can not go by train, except from, for example, Malaysia to Singapore. But when we talk about Hong Kong, Korea, China, plane is mandatory. This is the challenge. In Europe there are some events like IMEX and IBTM that are great because everything is very close, it is just a train trip. Here that's not the case, so our exhibitions will continue a niche event. We sell a high quality exhibition. We have 5 or 6 thousand square metres and have many educational components taking place, including networking with a specific target. For example, we have lunches with various types of people, if they want buyers from China we make it happen, if they want corporate travel buyers we help joining them for lunch. We have almost 600 corporate or MICE buyers. There are many personalised activities.
Are you attracting European buyers to IT&CMA?
We have managed to attract many to come to our event. But we always keep 50% of the buyers for the Asia-Pacific area, 35% from Europe and a smaller percentage from other places like the US and Middle East. Whoever is interested in this area area should come here because we have 50% of buyers, who effectively buy. Many people see this event as small, but they lose a lot if they do not come.
Is air travel a problem for anyone coming to Asia on business?
There are so many options now... I do not think that flights are a problem, business is intraregional in Europe. The worst is distance itself.
How do you rate IT & CMA performance this year?
We have 2,900 registered delegates, an increase over last year. Space occupancy grew 43%, meaning the area is the same, but the number of participants increased. We are thinking of changing location, we are analysingit , but we have not decided anything yet.