IMEX announces 2013 Wild Card winners – Fukuoka City and Davao City

News Release: 17 April 2013

IMEX Zdroj:

IMEX Zdroj:

Fukuoka City in Japan and Davao City in the Philippines have both been selected as winners of the IMEX in Frankfurt Wild Card competition for 2013.

The IMEX Wild Card programme offers aspiring entrants into the international meetings market the chance to exhibit free of charge alongside established destinations and other suppliers. Winners exhibit on a dedicated Wild Card Pavilion and receive widespread publicity, social media and other marketing support as a result. History shows that IMEX Wild Card winners frequently go on to establish a successful presence in the global meetings industry, especially where they use IMEX as part of a concerted and sustained effort to generate new business or new funding. Previous Wild Card winners over the years have included El Salvador, Budva, Mongolia, Poznan and Uganda.

For the second consecutive year, both winners will benefit from a new business support package, provided by specialist business events consultancy, GainingEdge. The company has committed to providing each winner with advice on how to maximise return from the IMEX prescheduled appointment system, detailed sales and marketing training as well as help on how to make the most of international trade show participation.

To be eligible for a free exhibition place, Wild Card entrants must justify their potential either as a meetings and incentive travel destination or a new convention and conference centre. They are also expected to demonstrate sufficient infrastructure and skill to support their ambition to flourish within the global meetings and incentive travel market. Importantly they must never have exhibited at an international trade show in the past.

Ryoko Baba, International Relations Coordinator, Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau commented: “We are very excited to make the first appearance at IMEX as a Wild Card winner; there is no better way to commend Fukuoka as a rising Japanese destination to the international MICE industry. Fukuoka is often described as a well-hidden gem and is enjoying rapid growth in demand for the facilitation of international events. To create an atmosphere of city-wide welcome, the convention bureau and the government try to involve the citizens in MICE events, an approach which has so far gone well.

“Taking advantage of being the closest Japanese metropolis to Asia, we have been successful with the conventions which expect more participants from the Asia-pacific region. Our growth plans will now start with joining ICCA and appearing at IMEX. We will also target conventions relevant to made-in-Japan technologies such as videogames, beauty products and robots, as well as sports events, which Fukuoka is prominent for,” says Baba.

Art Boncato, Regional Director at Department of Tourism Davao, Philippines commented: “Davao City is extremely delighted to have been selected as one of two Wild Card Stand winners at IMEX in Frankfurt this year. It is a rare opportunity for our destination to be given attention on the global MICE stage. This opportunity would definitely firm up our mission to work very hard in making Davao City a serious MICE player.”

About Fukuoka
Japan’s most popular seaport for cruise ships, Fukuoka City is also the railway and airline hub of Southern Japan. After Tokyo, it has become the second most popular destination for international conventions in Japan thanks to the comprehensive convention zone adjacent to both the airport and downtown. The zone offers three major venues: Fukuoka International Congress Center, Marine Messe Fukuoka and Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Just a 10 minute drive from downtown is a modern attraction, the Fukuoka Yafuoku Dome (baseball stadium), which has a retractable roof and capacity of 38,000 people available for large-scale parties. Asia’s largest Hilton stands right next to it, offering 1,800 guest rooms and over 30 meeting rooms (its largest room has a capacity of 3,000). In total, Fukuoka City has a capacity of over 20,000 rooms. The city’s convention bureau plays an active role in organising social events at key locations including the aquarium, the national museum, a shopping arcade and shrines. Furthermore, for optimum convenience Fukuoka City offers numerous direct flights from major cities in Asia including Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Manila, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul and others. Recent additions include routes to Honolulu and Amsterdam. For pre-and-post convention visits, Fukuoka offers easy accessibility not only to the entire south-west Japan (including the world’s memorial cities Hiroshima -Nagasaki and the Yakushima World Heritage Island) but also Busan Korea, which can be accessed by speed boat within three hours.

About Davao
The Davao region is primarily an ecotourism area, with key attractions including Mount Apo and the city of Samal. Its current tagline “From Islands to Highlands” highlights the diversity offered by the region’s beaches, rivers, mountain ridges and caves.

The SMX Davao Convention Center, is the SMX brand’s second venue, and is located in Lanang, Davao City, 2.5 kilometres from Davao International Airport and around six kilometres from the domestic and international seaports. It is the largest convention and exhibition center in the south. The venue offers a public transport terminal and is close to numerous hotels and tourist attractions. Its function and meeting rooms have a capacity of up to 5,000 delegates and it is predicted to become the leading venue for meetings, conventions, and exhibitions in the southern region of the Philippine archipelago.

The five cities in the region; Davao, Tagum, Digos, Samal and Panabo, are earmarked as key destinations for the meetings industry, with Davao City positioned as the gateway for both international and national events. In addition to excellent dining and shopping facilities, other local attractions include Samal Island, which is home to the rich marine life of the Davao Gulf, and Bonsai Forest, which is situated in the forest of Mount Hamiguitan, and hosts a specific species of bonsai trees. The Davao River is popular for white water rafting, while Mountain Apo Boulder Face, is the country’s highest peak and a great challenge for mountaineers.


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