Istanbul hosts meeting, congress sector expo

ISTANBUL

An expo spotlighting the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) sector started on Wednesday in Istanbul.

This year’s ACE of MICE expo — its 6th annual outing — is hosting over 250 purchasing agents from 41 countries, said Volkan Ataman, the head of event organizer Tourism Media Group.

The three-day event at the Istanbul Congress Center is expected to attract around 15,000 visitors this year, he noted.

“The MICE industry is the top sector of the tourism sector by revenue,” he explained.

Over the last five year, the ACE of MICE expo attracted nearly 94,000 visitors coming to see some 1,500 exhibitors and attend over 37,000 business-to-business meetings, he said.

Around 50 experts will give speeches in 28 sessions during the expo, whose name sponsor is Turkish Airlines.

Fettah Tamince, the chair of Rixos Hotels, stressed that the MICE sector serves as insurance for the accommodation sector.

“Turkey has important substructure and experience in the tourism sector,” he said, adding that Turkey needs better facilities — especially in Istanbul — to host more and bigger exhibitions.

Bahadir Yasik, a board member of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, stressed that the expo is an opportunity to promote Istanbul and Turkey’s tourism sector.

“Tourism is a locomotive for Turkey and Istanbul’s economy, and we need to boost Istanbul’s share of the world tourism sector,” he added.

Hamdi Usta, Istanbul’s vice governor, said that while most tourists spend $500 on average, for congress tourists this figure rises 500 percent.

Congress tourism’s share of all tourism fields reached 30 percent, he added.

He also said, “The rate of capacity utilization of the Istanbul accommodation sector is around 35-40 percent on average.”

Source: AA