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MICE Industry

Posted November. 01, 2010 08:24,   


Singapore has opened two large-scale resort complexes this year. Resorts World Sentosa, which was invested in by a Malaysian company, has a casino, 13 hotels and two golf courses. Marina Bay Sands, a complex built by U.S. gaming giant Las Vegas Sands for 5.5 billion U.S. dollars, has more than 7,000 employees. Since their opening, the two resorts have grown into popular destinations for international conferences and Chinese tourists. Fueled by a manufacturing boom, Singapore’s economy expanded at a 35-year high of 19.3 percent in the second quarter this year, overcoming a recession in 2005 when it just launched the resort construction business.

Fellow city-state Macau pursued similar investment long before Singapore did, becoming the world`s largest gambling center in 2006 to overtake Las Vegas in earnings. The success of Macau and Singapore has enticed other Asian countries to pursue building their own resorts and casinos. Taiwan has legalized casino gambling while the Philippines, Japan and Thailand have also jumped on the bandwagon.

Casinos attract not only gamblers but also businessmen through international conferences. A prime example is the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The success of casinos requires more than gaming facilities; it requires transformation of a complex by pursuing the so-called MICE (meeting, incentive travel, convention and exhibition) industry.

The Seoul G-20 summit is just 10 days away. The Korea International Trade Association expects the event to bring 31 trillion won (27.5 billion dollars) in economic benefits to Korea, while Samsung Economic Research Institute estimates 21 trillion to 24 trillion won (18 billion to 20.6 billion dollars). The association predicts the summit`s effects will allow the nation to attract a million visitors to international meetings by 2015 with 66 trillion won (60 billion dollars) in revenue. Yet it could be premature to paint a rosy picture since many are a bit perplexed over this data. The profits of international meetings must be strictly calculated since ballooning of the benefits can result in excessive overlap in investments. Many countries suffered deficits after investing in just exhibition facilities and not those of leisure. Korea must rebuild its strategy to surpass Singapore and Macau.

Editorial Writer Park Yeong-kyun (parkyk@donga.com)