By Ben Blaschke
The Macau government should establish a set of sustainable event guidelines and adjust exhibitor subsidies to push organizers of MICE events to implement green strategies, according to a new research report published in the Journal of Convention & Event Tourism.
The report, titled “An examination of the impact of green impressions by delegates toward a trade show” and penned by Professor Glenn McCartney and Venus Meng Wai Leong, examines the benefits of establishing green initiatives within the MICE industry and how doing so can be an important part of Macau’s diversification strategy.
But it also notes that Macau’s lack of any official sustainability standards is potentially inhibiting the city’s ambition of stimulating its non-gaming tourist economy and becoming the “World Center of Tourism and Leisure.”
“A set of sustainable event guidelines and standards essential for the long-term development of Macau’s MICE and tourism industry as a whole should be a requirement,” the report recommends.
“Void of any government policy or stewardship at present, it is left to individual MICE stakeholders on determining the level to which sustainable principles are used. In the absence of green event standards to enforce by Macau’s MICE and tourism authorities, MICE organizers such as MGS, Macau’s venue providers or suppliers are neither rewarded nor punished should they adopt or omit green measures.
“The Macau Government already significantly subsidizes trade shows and, therefore, implementing green standards could mean adjusting subsidizes and resources based on a transparent green framework and measurement criteria. The message through these subsidies from the government is of financial assistance, not of environmental protection.”
The research points to a 2017 report by the Vienna Convention Bureau that found the average waste production of congress delegates is 3.5kg of non-recyclable waste, 5.5kg of paper waste, 151 liters of water and 204kg of carbon dioxide. However, it also found through previous studies as well as feedback from delegates to the MGS Entertainment Show in recent years that visitors are aware of green issues and may base repeat visitation decisions on green factors.
“As seen with Macau’s regional neighbors and tourism competitors, green is being slowly embedded within the tourism sector including MICE,” it says. “As well as being responsible to the environment such actions provide attributes to competitively differentiate the destination.
“The trend is that green perceptions from delegates are important to MICE development. For Macau to move ahead with MICE expansion in this highly competitive regional landscape responsible tourism and MICE development should be an issue for consideration.”