The Incentive, Conference & Event Society (ICE), a new professional body that represents the industry across Asia-Pacific, was launched at the Asia-Pacific Incentive and Meeting Expo (AIME) in Melbourne earlier this week.
According to the organisation’s inaugural president, Nigel Gaunt, rapid growth in the sector is being driven by Asian markets, yet expertise and experience is primarily found in more mature markets such as Australia and New Zealand.
“In 2013, the value of the incentive travel, conference, meetings and corporate events business in Asia-Pacific passed a milestone, exceeding US$100 billion in economic value. Yet despite the scale of the business events industry within the region, there has been no Pan-Asian society or association to represent the interests of professionals working within this sector until now," he said.
The core objective of ICE is to harness existing expertise in the region rather than rely on professional bodies based in Europe and North America, said Gaunt.
Membership will be held on an individual basis, and not limited to those in region. Target groups include corporate customers of the industry; intermediaries such as owners and employees of agencies engaged in managing their clients; suppliers of goods and services to the industry; and students of tertiary education studying industry-related courses such as event management, tourism and hospitality.
Member benefits will include access to the latest research reports and benchmarking tools, plus the chance to join professional development programmes including regional seminars and distance learning courses. An inaugural members' convention will be held in Bali in November 2014, and the society aims to attract around 3,000 members over the next three years.