The future of Taiwan tourism
The second in the ECCT’s Next Generation Business and Leaders Series was held on the topic “The future of Taiwan tourism - MICE, business, and leisure travel”. The Premium Event lunch featured a panel discussion with guests S Steven Pan, Executive Chairman of the Silks Hotel Group and FIH Corporation and James CF Huang, Chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). The discussion was moderated by Michael Wu, Co-chairperson of the ECCT’s Travel & Tourism committee. Read the full event report.
James Huang said that this year’s Computex will have a hybrid format. The exhibition portion will be virtual while the tech forum portion will be live and feature CEOs from top global technology firms. He said that TAITRA is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to make special travel and accommodation arrangements for visiting CEOs to allow them to participate in the live forums as keynote speakers and panellists.
Steven Pan said that Taipei-based hotels had suffered badly from the drop in overseas visitors but that resorts in popular destinations had seen a boom in business. He said that the first two months of the pandemic were the worst period but that since about May last year, the domestic travel market has seen a brisk pick-up, benefiting his group’s resort hotels and the banquet and catering business of hotels in Taipei.
Looking ahead to beyond the pandemic, Huang said that the hybrid model for exhibitions is likely to continue but that there is also no substitute for personal contact for building personal relationships. Therefore, the future of MICE is likely to be hybrid. However, the percentage of virtual/live activities and the format of each event will depend on specific factors, including the type of business being promoted.
Steven Pan said that pandemic has led people to no longer take for granted things like health, sanitation and the safety of food and water. The hotel industry will have to step up their efforts to meet heightened consumer demand for health and safety in order to be competitive.
In the Q&A session both speakers expressed doubts that MICE and international business travel will ever return to pre-pandemic levels and that they will need to adjust their business models to the new reality and different expectations of customers.