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Impressive Achievements for BOFT’s Taiwan MICE Advancement Program

In 2009, the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) launched a four-year development programme entitled Taiwan MICE Advancement Program, consisting of four parts: Taiwan MICE Overall Implementation Project, Taiwan MICE International Marketing and Promotion Project, Taiwan MICE Training and Certification Project, and Taiwan MICE International Meetings Hosting Project. The goals were to integrate relevant central government agencies and local government resources and to balance the development of the conference and exhibition industry among various areas in Taiwan.

Between 2010 and 2012, more than NT$2.1 billion was invested to build an attractive international conference and exhibition environment and develop information technology for the conference and exhibition industry. To attract more business events to Taiwan and promote sustained development in Taiwan's MICE industry, the BOFT has succeeded in increasing the number of international conferences, exhibitions and incentive travels held in Taiwan in recent years. With the achievements of these past four years in mind, media representatives from around the world are being invited to MEET TAIWAN Week, to be held 27-29 September in Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1, to witness how Taiwan's MICE industry has advanced.

Taiwan MICE Overall Implementation Project

The Taiwan MICE Overall Implementation Project has two primary tasks: conference and exhibition policy promotion and industry research. Conference and exhibition policy promotion, in particular, consists of the MEET TAIWAN Awards and policy briefings as well as city and county government symposiums on the MICE industry. MICE industry symposiums will be held in 11 counties and cities around Taiwan to enhance the competitiveness of city and county governments in the MICE industry. With a single window that brings together central and local government as well as non-governmental resources, the MICE Project Office has helped with 287 conferences and exhibitions held in Taiwan and assisted over 7,000 foreign nationals to enter the nation, facilitating their participation in Taiwan.

As for increasing business opportunities in the MICE industry, since 2009, a total of 689 applications were made for over NT$140 million in grants and subsidies from organisers in order to obtain, promote, and organise events in Taiwan. In 2010, the MICE Project Office launched Asia's first MEET TAIWAN Card designed exclusively to give businesspeople discounts. To date, 102,130 MEET TAIWAN Cards have been issued, serving to successfully integrate related industries and generate business opportunities. In addition, a large number of studies in the area of MICE industry research have been carried out over the past four years to identify the scope, production value, and economic benefits of Taiwan's conference and exhibition industry.

The MICE Project Office also published "A Survey of the Development of Taiwan's MICE Industry" to support government personnel in their work as they promote the conference and exhibition industry and formulate policy. Propelled by policies to promote the industry as a whole, the number of conferences between 1998 and 2011 increased by 173%. In the ICCA (International Congress and Convention) Country and City rankings report 2011, Taiwan was ranked 27th nation globally and 5th in Asia, while Taipei was listed as 20th city globally and 4th in Asia.

Taiwan MICE International Meetings Hosting Project

The Hosting Project collects and integrates information on association and corporate conferences, raises awareness about them, and briefs non-governmental groups in Taiwan (e.g., schools, associations, institutes, and enterprises) about them. It does so to encourage organizers to join international organizations and organize bidding teams. It also provides funds to subsidize applications as well as various types of administrative assistance. It also works with professional conference activity organizers, travel agencies, and hotels in Taiwan. As more and more international conferences are held here, the increased experience helps to increase the number of successful conference bids, Since 2009, the Hosting Project has held eight bidding seminars and organized four familiarity trips for interested parties to inspect the MICE environment available in Taiwan. It has sent personnel to take part in exhibitions abroad ten times, carried out 1-on-1 discussions with 307 international organizations and conference and exhibition businesses, helped 41 people to join international organizations and be elected to important positions in international organizations, worked with others to make plans for international organizations and other relevant units to scout sites in Taiwan 56 times.

Over the past four years, the Hosting Project has initiated and helped bids on a total of 235 international conferences and 98 business conferences. As of June 2012, it succeeded in bringing 188 international conferences and business conferences to Taiwan. It estimates that about 100,000 foreign nationals have come to Taiwan as a result, generating some NT$8.7 billion in economic benefits. Consequently, Taiwan's ICCA ranking has jumped eight places from 35th in 2008 to 27th in 2011. This more than testifies to the achievements that have been realized as a result of cooperation between government and non-governmental circles.