In the first-ever assessment of China’s MICE market, the GBTA Foundation found a total of 138.5 million domestic trips were taken for MICE purposes.

Enterprising Saga of Chinese Business Travelers and Their Spending Habits


In the first-ever assessment of China’s Meeting, Incentive, Convention, & Exhibition (MICE) market, the GBTA Foundation found a total of 138.5 million domestic trips were taken for MICE purposes and MICE business travelers spent a total of $110 billion USD (¥680 billion CNY) during those trips in 2014. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of Chinese business travelers expect the number of MICE meetings they will attend to increase over the next year.

Business travel for MICE activity comprises 42 percent of total domestic business travel volume in China and 45 percent of total business travel spending. Shanghai (27 percent) and Beijing (25 percent) hosted the majority of MICE trips in China over the last 12 months, followed by Guangzhou (24 percent), Hong Kong (11 percent) and Macau (6 percent).

These findings come from a new study, Market Assessment of MICE Business Travel in China, conducted by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, and sponsored by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

“This first-ever assessment of China’s MICE market shows just how large this segment is in China making up 42 percent of total domestic business travel and producing spend of $110 billion USD – second only to the United States,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research. “The MICE segment presents a large opportunity for travel suppliers and we expect it to continue to grow at a rapid pace as China’s economy expands.”

“We are excited to partner with GBTA Foundation for this unique study focused on China’s Meetings & Events industry,” said Nichlas Maratos, Vice President, Sales- Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “As we continue our aggressive growth strategy across China, the findings not only help us better understand the nature and the size of the MICE industry, it will also help shape the future of our business. It’s also reassuring to see that the study affirms our efforts and growth plans in China, where we currently have over 150 hotels in operation and more than 150 hotels in the pipeline.”

In the past 12 months, 86 percent of business travelers have taken a trip for MICE purposes in China and each business traveler spends an average of $1,100 USD (¥6,782 CNY) per trip. Chinese MICE trips last 2.9 days on average with the majority of trips (59 percent) lasting between two and four days. Most business travelers (64 percent) reach their MICE destinations by air while 18 percent travel by train and 14 percent by car. MICE meetings are typically held at conferences and convention centers (38 percent) or hotels (33 percent).

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