In an exclusive interview with Travel And Tour World, Kenneth Macphie, Sales Manager of Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau shares his views on how Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to secure more international meeting and events.
Travel And Tour World: Share with us about the role and contribution of Fukuoka Convention Bureau in earning more MICE events in the city.
Kenneth Macphie : The Fukuoka Convention Bureau brings together public, academic, and industrial sectors in Fukuoka City. We are a one-stop service which supports groups as they bid to host MICE events in Fukuoka City, our support is both financial (subventions) and in the form of guidance, as we provide our experience of coordinating event bids.
Our organisation is supported by a wide range of local businesses. With our network of connections in the city we make the job of organising MICE events in Fukuoka simple, and enjoyable for organisers, and profitable for the local economy.
Travel And Tour World : How this city is becoming an emerging hub of business events?
Kenneth Macphie: Fukuoka City has long been known in Japan as the gateway to Asia. Our international airport is just a 10 minute subway ride from the center of the city and has direct flights to many cities in Asia, and in the near future we anticipate direct flights from Europe restarting. Our international airport will open a second runway in 2025, after which international access to Fukuoka will become even easier.
The last few years have seen a huge increase in hotel rooms in the city, we now have over 38,000 hotel rooms, we have seen the building of new convention centers and meeting facilities such as the Hakata International Exhibition Hall & Conference Center (opened April 2021). These new facilities complement our existing, well established meeting facilities like the Fukuoka International Convention Center.
Our city has been designated as a National Strategic Special Zone for Global Start Ups and Job Creation. There is a drive to push Fukuoka city forward, as we make it easier for Business Events business to be held here.
Fukuoka aims to attract bright and young minds from the world over, to create an even more cosmopolitan, livable and attractive city. And by emphasizing how unique Fukuoka is among Japanese cities, we hope to attract further business.
Travel And Tour World : What are the steps you have taken for green meeting or environmental friendly meetings?
Kenneth Macphie: Our convention bureau introduced subsidies to support MICE organisers hold sustainable, environmentally friendly meetings and incentive events. We encourage MICE organisers to reduce their carbon footprint by using locally produced goods in their events. We continue to support MICE organizers as they incorporate sustainability measures into their events, by offering support such as recycled giveaways to Incentive event attendees, and recently developed a new activity program which contains various SDG friendly activities.
Travel And Tour World : In this current year, what are the events you have added in the city and what are your steps to allure more events in next year.
Kenneth Macphie: We have been active in supporting large international events such as the World Aquatics Championships which will be held in Fukuoka City in July 2023. And recently we managed to win the bid host the ISHA 2025 conference. In order to continue attracting international MICE events to Fukuoka City, we plan on attending events such as the IMEX America, ITB Asia and various other trade shows. Also later in 2023 we hope to bring key people in the MICE industry to Fukuoka City for a familiarization trip/city showcase.
Travel And Tour World : What are your marketing strategies you want to place to allure more MICE events?
Kenneth Macphie: To get the message out that Fukuoka City is one of the best MICE cities in Asia, we are increasing and improving our social media presence, developing new marketing tools such as PR videos, and co-operating with other cities in Japan, to promote, not just Fukuoka City but also the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. So MICE organisers know that when they bring their events to Fukuoka City they will be holding it in one of the most tourism/business friendly regions of Japan.