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year is the growth in meetings and events going outbound from China. The mood regarding China is extremely buoyant, with 74 percent of buyer respondents (over two-­‐thirds of whom were based in China) and 52 percent of suppliers forecasting an increase in the volume of events they will organise over the next twelve months. Nevertheless, China, operating in a globalised economy, is not immune from the factors affecting demand elsewhere in the world, and, as has been the case for the last three years’ surveys conducted for CIBTM, this year’s research found yet again that the factors most likely to influence events held in China in the next twelve months were the economic climate and pressure to reduce costs.

On the supply-­‐side, however, China’s meetings-­‐related infrastructure continues to grow, and that country is leading the world in terms of new hotel openings -­‐ although expansion is also rife in India and South America.

In a special series on Emerging Meetings Markets, Meetings and Conventions magazine provided clear evidence that hotel expansion in China is growing fast:

• Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced it would double the number of properties it plans to add in China from 11 to 22, with 4 to open in 2011 and 9 more in 2012

• Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to add 86 new properties in the coming years to the 62 already in place in China. This year alone, one third of all new Starwood hotels are opening on Chinese soil.

• Both Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels Group plan to double their hotel presence in China by 2016, to 120 and 280, respectively. Most new properties will offer meeting space.

The expansion in the provision of hotel accommodation has been matched by the growth of new convention centres, such as the 120,000 square-­‐metres Fuzhou Strait International Conference & Exhibition Center opened in May on China’s east coast. This vast complex offers a conference centre, two exhibition halls and an entertainment district.

Over the next two years, more meeting planners will experience China as a meetings destination at first hand, as two of the industry's major conventions -­‐ Site's International Conference and the ICCA Congress -­‐ are set to be held in Beijing in 2012 and in Shanghai in 2013, respectively

The Middle East

The Middle East Meetings Industry Research Report, launched at The Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition in March 2011 noted that the number of business events in that region was higher than at any time since the annual survey began five years ago. In the survey undertaken for this Report, the buyer respondents reported organising an average of 6.2 events in Middle Eastern destinations over the year. This compared favourably with an average of 4.6 events organised in the same region by buyers responding to the 2010 survey. Moreover, 89 percent of the buyers surveyed stated that they would be planning more events or the same number in the year ahead. Average delegate numbers were unchanged, although the average duration of events fell from 3.9 days to 3.37 days.

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