這次很榮幸訪問到於10月14日應邀出席致理科技大學主辦，中華國際會議展覽協會協辦之「2016會展產業論壇─會展產業南向的機會與挑戰」的講者 — 國際會議協會亞太區總監 Noor Ahmad Hamid。
Noor Ahmad Hamid於馬來西亞旅遊促進局負責國際及國內旅遊推廣、媒體接待、會議及獎勵旅遊等活動籌劃，他派駐洛杉磯五年，積極參與會議和獎勵促銷活動，在其為期16年的馬來西亞旅遊促進局工作期間，負責活動管理、贊助和創新旅遊商業計畫，經歷非常豐富。承蒙國際會議協會亞太區總監Noor Ahmad Hamid同意進行專訪。以下為訪談紀要：
Q: ASEAN is a big market and ICCA has doing good job in promoting meeting industry. If Taiwan wants to establish MICE business relations with ASEAN countries, what is your opinions and suggestions?
A: For ICCA, we focus on the meeting, especially association meetings. ASEAN is in the Asia pacific region, therefore, we aware of the development of exhibition and incentive sectors. I think ASEAN is a huge market. As we said that countries outside ASEAN region like Taiwan for example, you better track the market of ASEAN. I believe there’s a lot of opportunity, you not necessarily that you have to focus into all different segments of MICE and incentive but you should concentrate on what you actually strong at, and what you want to further develop. I suggest that maybe look at the exhibition sectors, because that’s your strongest area, and definitely you can not only export some of your consumers and treat exhibition into ASEAN region, likewise you can also invite more events to Taiwan. By these two ways you can get benefit. When you talk about association market, there’s a huge groove of association in ASEAN region and again once the Taiwanese association leaders start to cooperate with them, there’s a huge opportunity for Taiwan. When you are close to ASEAN, you can use your relationship to let more ASEAN meeting to come to Taiwan. So this is one of the angles you can work with.
Q: In those 10 ASEAN countries their development is widely different as far as tourism per capita is concerned. What does it means for Taiwan? What are the different promotion strategies to take?
Q: 這些東協十國的人民平均所得發展迅速，對台灣而言有何意義? 該如何運用不同的推廣策略?
A: The facts that I represented earlier on the GDP from the tourism sector and also the TTCI, which is the travel tourism competitive index is a good foundation for us to understand how the market established. In perspective, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand is top three, which make sense because they have been more aggressive in the tourism sector. They have good buildings, good facilities, attraction and also new tourism products. When it comes to travel tourism competitive index, they are the top. We should figure out the GDP and also the tourism receive. Countries like Cambodia is the top, because it based on the population base and composed the numbers of the arrivals. Because their population base is smaller than the arrivals and the figure seems much bigger, compare to other even more proper destination like Thailand and Indonesia. That figure means to Taiwan is that to understand how the market in ASEAN. While we are looking ASEAN as a region, at the end of the day, we have to understand each country by yourself. Like Indonesia is a huge country, Malaysia has east coast and west coast, Thailand has north and south, same as Vietnam. So we cannot just take them as one region, we can cooperate with the region, eventually doing marketing, sales promotion, and we have to understand specific area you want to going to. That figure would guide you to a basic understanding.
Q: Our Government has initiated new Southbound Policy, main targeted market is South East Asia. Would you please provide your opinions on what would be best ways to execute the policy?
A: Definitely, the new Southbound Policy is the positive we’re look forward for Taiwan. Talk to the limitation, how you want to execute and get the improvement from both the buyer sector and also the population of Taiwan. Like I mentioned earlier, the successful of any policy is that you really do it now. If you look at ASEAN region particular 30, 40 years ago, they were under development nation, they are looking at the countries which are already develop like Taiwan, Korea and Japan, so there are a lot of countries in ASEAN they called it “Look East” Policy. Looking East means looking at the big brother and learning from the big brother. And now they are already developing well, and because of the huge population, and big consumer power in that region, a lot of countries now are looking at them. So it’s a reverse after 30 years, for Taiwan I think you really need to look at which area you want to focus, which area can benefit the people of Taiwan, then the policy would have more meaning. Right now, I think the whole concept is very positive but again we need to be very clear at the strategy at which particular area you want to going to.
Q: You have been in Taiwan several times. From your viewpoints what kind of strengths Taiwan do have in attracting MICE business to Taiwan and what strategies to take?
A: If you can use one word, I would say Taiwan is a livable place. Lots of people they have never been to Taiwan didn’t know that Taiwan is very clean and have a very safety environment. You can walk around and move from one place to another, there’s a lot of option of public transport such as taxi, bus, train, MRT, and lot of rental bike around the city. Therefore, that also shows Taiwan has developed the city into a smart city. Taiwan is also very sustainable and green, that is a key factor once you promote Taiwan as a livable city or livable destination, automatically people will think about Taiwan will be very sustainable, green and clean. In fact, that’s all true, if you promote Taiwan as beautiful unique culture that is quit subjective to me personally, because all the destination would claim the same but if take Indonesia or Malaysia as an example, our public transportation is not so good. We’re not so sustainable, and not very convenient to move around one place to another but Taiwan is not like that. So we really need to emphasis on what people didn’t know about Taiwan.
Q: Middle East market is also important one for us to explore. And Malaysia has been doing very well in this market. Would you please share your opinions and suggestions for Taiwan on how to tap this market?
A: The muslin travel group and tourism is not as high as many people think, Malaysia is fortunate because the biggest population are muslin. Therefore, the facility is already there, if you talk about tourists coming from Middle East to Malaysia, other than all the normal attraction, everybody go. In addition, wherever you go, there’s a lot of halal food, plenty to choose from. Secondly, because the population is mostly muslin, the prayer room is important because they pray five times a day. These are the basic items and praying facility should also be available. For now, muslin destination or country in ASEAN like Thailand, they are doing well in muslin group, because Thai is one of the largest producer of halal food. The hotel for muslin in the tourist resort, and even Bangkok hotels do serve halal meal, you don’t have to go to muslin hotel to get muslin meal. Similarly, I learned that in Japan two years ago, government’s policy had gone aggressively and trying to attract the muslin market. They don’t have so many halal restaurants. Therefore, the government in Japan leads all the restaurant reveals in the country. It’s easy for all the tourists to see where are the restaurants are located. They also broaden the praying area but most interestingly is they invite some of the private company in Japan to produce halal products in particular cosmetic, because they know that middle east market they have high interests about to buy expensive cosmetics but they have to buy halal product. Some of the companies in Japan has already gone into that. In my recent trip to Taiwan, I was very surprised, even thought you don’t have that many muslin restaurant and halal food but few of the halal restaurant I’ve been to, you called the restaurant as “muslin friendly”, it’s new for me. I didn’t know what is muslin friendly, but I went there they not only serve halal food but they provide different all the separate from other guests, that means I eat I will have a different plate, chopsticks, cup. I think Taiwan is moving to that direction. If you provide more these facilities you’ll be able to attract more muslin tourists. I think tourists from Malaysia, Indonesia or the Middle East will come to Taiwan if they know all the facilities are available and information can easily find in the website.