US loses to Europe for global MICE

The United States will lose out on MICE business from booming Asian markets because of the stringent measures it imposes on international visitors, according to a new report. The 2006 Global Trends Survey from Euromonitor International, found that total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10% to seven million over the 2004-2005 period, while the number of business visitors to Europe grew by 8% to 84 million over the same period. The report predicts this trend to continue as the burgeoning Chinese and Indian MICE markets opt to hold overseas events in Europe ahead of the US. Euromonitor International research manager Clement Wong said these decisions were down to the security restrictions that made obtaining visas more difficult. “In the present security climate, acquiring business visas for US-based events is an arduous and expensive process,” he said. “Even with the relevant documentation, the screening of lists and clearing customs is adding much delay to the journey time.” But First Protocol director of business development Julian Clarke-Jervoise said the trend was also indicative of economic factors, as well as the travel policies of multinational companies. “Budgets are shrinking and many clients cannot afford to hold meetings in the US anymore,” he said. “For multinational businesses looking to bring staff from Asia to one single meeting point, the decision to meet half way in Europe will often make financial sense as well as minimise diary time of busy executives. Central European destinations such as Hungary and Estonia have a growing hotel and venue offering and often prove far more affordable than holding overseas meetings in cities like New York.”

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