It was in 2012 that Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK), the meetings flagship of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), first launched its top agency awards ceremony and familiarisation in the hope of promoting inbound MICE tourism to Hong Kong.
Five years on, the programme is reaping 10 per cent year-on-year growth for MICE arrivals, and recently saw the city welcome its largest ever famil tour of over 50 organisers.
Taking place February 22-26, 2017, the trip drew agencies from mainland China, Indonesia, India and South Korea and incorporated a range of activities from egg tart-making and Peak hikes to Iron Man experiences and sky-high teambuilding.
The awards presentation, held February 24 at Hong Kong Maritime Museum, recognised agencies that brought the greatest number of delegates and groups, as well as newcomers, top M&I producers and more.
MEHK launched its Top Agency Awards Programme (TAAP) in 2012 to recognise top-performing MICE agencies bringing meetings and inventive participants into Hong Kong.
Over the course of the five-day familiarisation, MEHK showcased experiences that are being newly offered to delegates this year through its Hong Kong Rewards! MICE hospitality programme, such as a night at the races with free beer, food and carnival party.
Customised itineraries were created for each market, with Indian delegates participating in a wing chun [Chinese martial art] class, Indonesian delegates trying tea-pairing, South Korean delegates preparing Hong Kong-style milk tea and egg tarts (below), and the mainland Chinese group taking to the skies for teambuilding at sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck.
Closing the familiarisation was the Top Agent Awards Presentation 2016, held at the Maritime Museum. This was the first year that South Korea was represented, with Tour Emmao and Hana tour receiving awards for bringing the greatest number of groups and participants respectively.
With over 50 agents attending this year, the awards ceremony and familiarisation was the largest to date. MEHK has hosted the trip annually since 2012.
Kurniawan Halim, from Indonesian agency PT Bet Obaja International Indonesia, said the night at the races was a highlight, as the event was "full of energy" and "a perfect blend of business and pleasure".
Speaking to MIX at the awards ceremony, Wong said MEHK plans to build on this momentum and extend the scheme to new destinations over the next few years.