Looking back on a year of ups, downs and hope

WHAT has stood out in the past two years in terms of how readers respond to MIX’s coverage of the conference and events industry is the way in which we have reported the positive signs that planners need to navigate this ongoing crisis.

As we emerge from the Christmas holidays and into 2022, I thought best to look back on the 10 most-read stories on Mixmeetings.com.

Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane with the MIX Top 10 of 2021:
10/ Dentists fill first conference of 2021 – Live events were edging their way back in Hong Kong last January as more than 3,000 dental professionals attended the Hong Kong International Dental Expo and Symposium.
9/ TV match-up transforms BODW – Business of Design Week in Hong Kong last January turned to local broadcaster channel ViuTV to broadcast special events. A sign that technology drawn from theatre and TV forms the bedrock of modern conferences.
8/ Biz event leaders urge HK government to change course – Image problems continued apace for Hong Kong. This time the flak was coming from the conference and exhibitions industry angry over a subsidy scheme and strong quarantine rules event for fully vaccinated business travellers.
7/ Tokyo issues anti-Covid guidelines – As Japan’s capital prepared for the Summer Olympics, doubts persisted so Tokyo Convention Bureau worked with city officials to ensure safety. And didn’t the Games go well!
6/ Online conference marks new era for Labor – TurningPoint Solutions Peter Pecotic and his colleagues were at the centre of it all as they produced a virtual conference for the Australia Labor party
5/ Putting the Hyatt in hybrid – MIX sat down with Hyatt executives in Hong Kong to learn how the hotelier was innovating as Covid continued across Asia Pacific.
4/ Sands Resorts Macao hosts 6,000-strong conference – Now we’re talking! Travel restrictions have again returned to the region, but Cotai showed how it can be done when it hosted the biggest live conference since Covid restrictions were eased.
3/ Stories of Survival – MIX scribe Steve Cray donned his trademark press hat to interview six event creators on how they coped and pushed ahead with projects as the Covid slowdown gripped.
2/ Pico electrifies Audi E-tron launch – Where there’s a new car, an auto launch is not far behind. Hong Kong-listed experiential agency Pico thrived in China and did the same in Dubai as it created pavilions for the World Expo.

And coming in at No.1, an event that was out of this world…
1/ Sydney Space Conference reaches for the stars… Not content with great wines, scenery and decimating England’s cricket heroes for the Ashes trophy, Australia is also a space race contender. Conference organiser ICMSA joined forces with Business Events to give lift off to the 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly – and the most-read story of 2021 on MIX.

It was a year that saw vaccine rollouts, the “pivot to virtual” – and pivoting again to hybrid events. In a few cases, live conferences returned with a policy of safely returning to normal for Singapore’s MICE industry; criticism in Hong Kong giving way to government providing more support; and, exhibitions in China seemingly in full swing following action already taken against the rise of Covid in 2020.

We saw the big tradeshows returning live with IBTM Barcelona and IMEX America. We lost icons along the way too, with the passing of Sands president Sheldon Adelson in January ’21 and Pacific World wrapping up business in the latter months of 2020.

Relocation and logistic companies fared well as hotel executives and their families packed bags under a quiet wave of layoff across the hard-hit hospitality industry, which was itself pivoting to digital when it came to its meeting and conference business.

Have a happy, safe and successful 2022
Martin Donovan, Editorial Director, MIX

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