Beijing, Shanghai Partner in Pursuit of International Meetings

Destinations typically compete for meetings business. In China, however, they're collaborating, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which reported this month that two of China's largest cities — Beijing and Shanghai — have signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation in the meetings and incentives market.

Signed on April 16 in conjunction with the China International Meetings & Conferences Forum in Shanghai, the agreement between the two cities means that each will jointly promote the other as a destination for conventions and tourism, focusing on their different yet complementary strengths.

On several prior occasions, the two cities have successfully put forward joint bids for major conferences. This new agreement formalizes that cooperation with a commitment for governmental support and coordination. Specifically, it calls for:

• Joint bidding for large international events, such as the ICCA Congress, taking place in Shanghai in 2013;
• Mutual involvement in industry events such as CIBTM and IT&CM;
• Cooperation to facilitate the operations of industry organizations like Site and ICCA;
• Integrating government and industry resources for international marketing initiatives to publicize China's image as a high-end meeting destination;
• Conducting joint market research;
• Offering certification services; and
• Jointly supporting collaboration on meetings-industry projects across regions.

Said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk, who attended the signing ceremony, "We're delighted to see this important new evolution in China's development as a mature international meetings destination, following on the formation 18 months ago of the ICCA China Committee, and anticipating further positive changes as we move towards the 2013 ICCA Congress in Shanghai."