Mice business in Taiwan: my Interview with Walter Yeh, Taitra President

As a truly Taiwan lover, and as a professional event organiser since over 20 years, I am very keen to get more information on the MICE business in Taiwan. In my very first visit to Taipei, I did a site inspection to the Taipei World Trade Center and was very impressed. In the centre of the city and amazing facilities:

And Taipei is a really fascinating city, for its beauty, for its organised transportation, for its traditional and modern culture, nice people, and for its super food.
Taiwan Tourism is booming: according to new statistics released by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the number of visitors to Taiwan from Southeast Asian countries in the first half of 2018 has increased by 17% over the previous year. This comes after visa-free entry was granted to visitors from Thailand, as part of the New Southbound Policy in August 2016. 
And every year, more and more Europeans are visiting the island. To me is one of my top countries in Asia!
In this link you can read my guide about Taiwan
In this link you can see my pictures of Taipei
Read in this link my favorite hotels in Taipei*
If you like dimsums, this is my article about dimsums and Din Tai Fung*
*Link to google translate below the tittle.

The MICE industry in Taiwan has been put on the fast track by TAITRA, TEMA, Chan Chao Exhibition Hall, and New Era International Inc., which specialises in organising professional international exhibitions. ACE Forum, Wes Expo Co. and Kaigo are active international exhibition agents there. Chan Chao also conducts digital exhibitions via the Internet. TAITRA is equipped to hold 20-plus international exhibitions, annually. MICE is based on a service model which also helps develop other associated industries. Apart from the development of exhibition and conference venues, peripheral industries also gain, such as public relations consulting companies, translation firms, decoration, utilities, transportation, travel agency industries and the hospitality sector.
I met Walter Yeah several years ago in IBTM Barcelona and have been following his career since then. Walter has a wide experience in brand management: hosting Taiwan Excellence competitions, Taiwan Excellence Pavilions overseas, assisting Taiwanese companies with branding for international markets. He also has been the President of Taiwan Exhibition and Convention Association (TECA) and is member of the board of WTCA, board of Directors of UFI, board of Directors of IAEE, and Chairperson of IAEE Asia Exhibition. So, to me, Walter is one of the most important experts about MICE in Asia. 
Last time we met, in occasion of the UFI Asian Conference in Tokyo, we had a chat regarding the MICE opportunities in Taiwan:

Founded in 1970, TAITRA is Taiwan's foremost nonprofit trade promotion organization. Sponsored by the government and industry organizations, TAITRA assists enterprises to expand their global reach. TAITRA has a team of 1,300 specialists and operates five local offices in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as 60 branches worldwide, with its headquarters being in Taipei. Together with Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) and Taiwan Trade Center (TTC), TAITRA has formed a global network dedicated to promoting world trade.

Its core missions are: To assist Taiwanese businesses in developing international markets, to collaborate closely with the Taiwanese government in trade policy implementation, to provide business consultation services and connect international firms with Taiwanese partners, to assume the role of ‘Smart Integrator’ - complement government policies, facilitate industry needs, and develop new business opportunities around the world. And of course, its main services are: Global Marketing, Taiwan Industry Enhancement Project, promoting the Service Sector, Market Research and Publication, Digital and E-commerce Marketing, Trade Insights from Trade Data Analytics, International Trade Institute, Taiwan International Trade Shows, Exhibition and Convention Venues, External Relations

TAITRA is among the top ten exhibition organizers in Asia. Every year, TAITRA organizes over 40 professional exhibitions in Taiwan. Some of these exhibitions are renowned globally, and have garnered multiple accolades throughout their history: TIMTOS: The world's third largest machine tool show, COMPUTEX: The world’s second largest ICT & IoT show, Taipei Cycle: The world's second largest show in the bicycle industry, Taiwan Fastener: The world's third largest fastener show (held at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center), Taiwan International Boat Show: Asia’s largest indoor boat show (also held at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, with marine pier advantage, presenting yachts indoors, outdoors and on the water).

- Walter, what are TAITRA’s plans for 2019?
As the most important trade organization in Taiwan, we constantly seek to improve Taiwan’s trade status in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2019, the two major events are TaiNEX 2, ONE TAITRA service manuals, and preparing for the 51st WTCA General Assembly in Taipei.
1- Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 2 (TaiNEX 2) opened in March. Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 2 (TaiNEX 2), a new venue funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and operated by TAITRA, began operations in March 2019, in its first exhibition -TIMTOS 2019. This new state-of-the-art facility can host exhibitions, conferences, and other major events.
Convenient public transportation, and a safe and tourist-friendly culture allow foreign guests to enjoy their stay in Taiwan. TaiNEX 2 is 15 minutes from the city center by metro and 45 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport by car.
Combining the spaces already available at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1 (TaiNEX 1), the total capacity holds more than 5,000 booths and 38 meeting rooms. These two exhibition centers are expected to become the core venues of Taiwan's MICE industry, as well as a major convention and exhibition centers in Asia.
TaiNEX 2 offers 156,700 sqm floor space to accommodate 32,000 visitors for exhibitions, conferences, business meetings and events. As the first exhibition hall to be awarded the ‘Golden-Level Green Building Label’ in Taiwan, TaiNEX 2 features 6,100 sq. m. of outdoor sky garden space on the top floor, in conjunction with the 7th floor convention hall, which has a seating capacity of 3,600, and offers a beautiful view while remaining multifunctional.Along with room for 2,360 new booths, TaiNEX 2 boasts high ceilings in its exhibition spaces of 12 meters on the first floor and 9 meters on the 4th floor. Free WIFI will be available throughout TaiNEX 2. The complex also offers 1,296 indoor parking spots managed by a ‘smart’ parking system.

2-  ONE TAITRATAITRA integrates all online and offline service resources in launching the ‘ONE TAITRA’ website. This physical and digital services manual provides practical business and diversified sales solutions. ONE TAITRA provides a one-stop service for businesses to expand their overseas markets. International market information/reports, local and international trade shows, e-commerce, marketing activities and tools, overseas services, and talent and training services, are introduced on TAITRA’s special page in the Service Manual. The manual can also be accessed via mobile phone.
3- The 51st WTCA General Assembly in TaipeiWTC Taipei will host the 51st General Assembly of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) in Taipei, March 1-4, 2020. The event is expected to attract more than 350 influential WTC delegates and business leaders from all over the world. WTC Taipei will also cap off with a year-long celebration of the Association’s 50th anniversary. And in in Taipei it will focus on connecting businesses to the digital world. During the event, attendees will also get to visit Taipei Cycle 2020, one of the world’s top three bicycle trade shows.

- Which are the most dynamic MICE cities in Taiwan?
1- Taipei: The center of all of Taiwan’s activities, Taipei is not just a major MICE city in Taiwan, it is also significant in the entire East Asia region. The majority of Taiwan’s exhibition and convention infrastructures are located in Taipei. These include the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1 and Hall 3, Taipei International Convention Center, Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 1, and the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 2, which opened this March. As the newest exhibition center in Taiwan, Nangang Center Hall 2 is key to the future growth of Taiwan’s exhibition market. It enables many trade shows to add over 2000 exhibition booths, allowing for more exhibitors and visitors. Additionally, there are many 4-5-star hotels located adjacent to each facility, making it convenient for visitors to stay in proximity of the event site.

2- Kaohsiung: Located in Southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung is home to the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center. Completed in 2014 as Taiwan’s first ever waterfront exhibition center, the Taiwan International Boat Show was fittingly the first show to launch the facility. Along with its exhibition space, there are additional meeting rooms and halls readily available, and the center was the core focus of the city’s successful bid to host the 2020 ICCA Congress. As an up-and-coming tourist spot in Taiwan, high-quality hotels have sprung up in the city in anticipation of potential visitor growth.

3- Tainan and Taichung: Two other major cities in Taiwan, Tainan and Taichung are currently building new exhibition halls, and are due to be completed by 2022. These new exhibition halls will add important exhibition space to the ever-increasing demand of Taiwan’s market.

- What do you consider to be Taiwan’s main MICE advantages in comparison to other East Asia regions?
Taiwan is fast cementing its regional position as a top business and travel destination. Featuring world-class facilities and services, Taiwan offers a myriad of options when it comes to hosting MICE. The island’s plentiful array of clustered attractions can maximize time and boost event results: 
SOCIETY: Safe and hygienic, Taiwan has a stable economy and many opportunities.
PEOPLE: Diligent, energetic, enthusiastic and friendly. Hospitality is a significant characteristic that visitors remember and often inspires their return.
CULTURE: Modern and ancient traditions combined with a unique mix of cultures produce aboriginal regions, festivals and buildings, the world-famous National Palace Museum, and the modern National Taichung Theater.
GATEWAY TO ASIA: With a prime location and long history of trade ties with Asian nations, Taiwan’s centrally geographic location can be accessed within a few hours from almost anywhere in Asia.
CUISINE: Whether an exquisite feast or a quick night market snack, visitors can taste Taiwan’s high rating cuisine.
NATURE: Taiwan’s range of beautiful, unique flora, fauna, and scenery can’t be missed bicycling along winding coastlines or gently rolling plains, hiking a lush forest mountain or among monumental rock formations.
MEET INSPIRATION / MEET PASSION: Abundant hands-on experiences / Attractive incentive travel options
Taiwan has an excellent education system and research environment, which contribute to its top conference destination status. The safe and congenial environment, comprehensive infrastructure, rich tourism assets, and supportive central and local governments have prompted more and more companies to embrace Taiwan as a MICE destination.
MEET EXPO: More than 130 trade shows and countless opportunities. According to the Trade Fair Industry of Asia report issued by The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), Taiwan hosts over 130 international trade fairs on an annual basis. With experienced and efficient service teams, Taiwan attracts more than 20,000 exhibitors and 1.7 million visitors from around the world annually. These statistics show that Taiwan is the sixth most popular Asian destination for trade shows.
B2B trade shows include the world’s second largest ICT show, COMPUTEX TAIPEI and the world's second largest bicycle industry show, Taipei International Cycle Show.
STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES: THSR: 96 mins. from Taiwan’s north to south, train: Six lines to get around Taiwan, Subway: Three cities: Taipei, Kaohsiung & Taoyuan, bus: Express and intercity buses, bicycles: Public bicycles in 15 cities, wifi: More than 10,000 hotspots
GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY: Over 60 visa-free countries, 80 airlines connect to 141 cities,  Taoyuan International Airport ranks a global 3rd for service quality (ACI 2018)
MUSLIM-FRIENDLY: Muslim prayer rooms at Mice venues, transport hubs and national scenic areas, 7 mosques and over 100 Halal-certified restaurants and hotels, Taiwan ranked 5th for Muslim travel among non-Muslim nations (Mastercard’s 2018 Global Muslim Travel Index)


- How is TAITRA helping Taiwan implement the Government’s ‘MEET TAIWAN’ plan?
Since 2009, the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has been dedicated to improving Taiwan's MICE industry. With continued investment in the industry, Taiwan's MICE Promotion Program (MEET TAIWAN) was launched to shine a light on Taiwan’s MICE industry. 
Taiwan's MICE Promotion Program (implemented by TAITRA) aims to turn Taiwan into a leader for outstanding MICE services. It has a long-term objective to enhance the quality and efficiency of services, strengthen Taiwan’s brand, and sharpen the nation’s competitive edge in the global market. The program will in turn, make Taiwan a top destination for MICE business.

1- Services Available for Domestic and International MICE Companies Taiwan's MICE Promotion Program (MEET TAIWAN) provides incentives and measures to seek more business opportunities and boost industry growth. These include:
A. Overseas Promotional Delegations: The program aims to extend the reach and facilitate global partnerships for MICE companies. We put together delegations for overseas conferences or incentive tours, and hold promotional meetings or arrange visits to foreign counterparts in the MICE industry.
B. Matchmaking Meetings for Target Markets: The program focuses on emerging markets with promise and potential. Cross-straits procurement meetings are held to bring together more companies from Taiwan and China for mutual growth and to boost business exchange. Furthermore, cross-national strategic alliances are built to enhance the international competitiveness of Taiwan’s companies. Services are also provided for local companies to organize trade shows overseas, and enhance Taiwan’s MICE brand.
C. Facilitate International Meetings in TaiwanLocal companies and non-government organizations (NGOs) are welcome to take advantage of the program's resources, ranging from opportunity allocation, bidding assistance, database formation, to counseling and other services. These resources aim to increase international conferences and incentive tours in Taiwan.
D. Increase Competitiveness: Experts from various fields join forces to form a special team that provides personal counseling. It is hoped that with the help of professionals, Taiwan's MICE industry can be taken to a new high, so that Taiwan's MICE industry will become international, high-tech, sophisticated and green at various levels and capable of competing in the global arena.
E. Provide Cloud Services for New Shows and Conferences: Ubiquitous Internet service is key to the upgrading of the MICE industry, such as the establishment of portal websites, social networks, or very new and popular mobile applications. To seize this opportunity, the program provides cloud technology services to organizers of new shows and conferences to enhance promotion.
F. Provide Subsidy to Bring in International Shows and Flexible Entry Permit: To attract more international conferences, exhibitions and incentive tours, the program provides subsidies with the hope of broadening the scope of the local MICE industry. With a policy of flexible entry permits, MICE visitors from foreign countries or China could also obtain visas within a shorter period of time.
G. Provide Energy Saving Counseling Services for MICE Events and Venues: Green MICE is a global trend. To synchronize local trade shows and venues with international standards regarding environmental protection and energy saving, the program provides services to detect such problems and proposes possible solutions to help organizers save energy and become greener.
H. Present Taiwan MICE AwardsThe annual Taiwan MICE Awards aim to stimulate the growth of outstanding MICE companies, strengthen Taiwan's MICE brand, and promote the entire industry. Excellent MICE events are selected each year and awarded the prestigious accolade.
I. Taiwan MICE Training and Certification Project: The Taiwan MICE Training and Certification Project aims to develop MICE-related talent as well as a MICE expertise certification system. MICE professionals require knowledge, proficiency and extensive experience to deliver their services and perform at the highest standards.