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Feature Cover Story 24 JAN-FEB 2020 MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS MCMAG-ASIA.COM W hile a new decade represents a new era and new hopes for the MICE industry, what a new era brings with it too are fresh challenges. Global tourism numbers are feeling the strain from an uncertain economy amid socio and political instability. Leisure travel habits have gone conservative, with many travellers opting for shorter vacations and spending less on their journeys. What remains unchanged, however, is that travellers are constantly looking for the best value-for- money deals and experiences to make it worth their while. A signicant number of them are choosing to blend business with leisure – hence the coining of the term "bleisure" in recent years – and this rising demand has put additional focus on having experiential business events. More than ever, destinations are counting on MICE arrivals to boost tourism revenue. SUSTAINABILITY Once a buzzword in the travel industry, Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer an afterthought. With teenager Greta Thunberg inspiring a generation of youths with her climate change movement, the growing "ight shame" campaign in Europe, and the general acknowledgement that the travel industry has to take greater responsibility on sustainable tourism, stakeholders in the MICE industry have made meeting Sustainable Development Goals their priority this year. More than just cutting single-use plastics or reducing carbon footprint, what the MICE industry needs is to be looking at adopting wholesome programmes that give something back WORDS STANLEY HO The start of a new decade is here and the question facing the MICE industry is: How ready are you to succeed? Are you ready for 2020? CREDITS: KRITCHANUT/ ORLA/GETTY IMAGES

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