Bangkok and Chiang Mai of Thailand will be two of the leading meeting destinations in the Asia-Pacific region in 2014, according to a global forecast by American Express Meetings & Events (AEME).

China’s Shanghai will top the list of the most popular meeting destinations in the region, followed by Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong/Macau, and Bangkok/Chiang Mai.

The findings are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meeting professionals, planners, buyers, and hotel suppliers from around the world.

Asia-Pacific is expected to slow down and experience a slight decline from the previous year (-1.2 percent) in the number of meetings.

It is also forecast to experience the largest decline among all regions in terms of overall spending on meetings per organisation (-3.6 percent), due to tighter budget controls.

Across all regions, meeting organisers will likely continue to face challenges as they strive to achieve more with flat or decreasing corporate-meeting budgets compared to previous years.

North America is expected to be relatively flat, while Europe, Central and South America, and Asia-Pacific are predicted to see slight declines in overall meetings spending because companies across all the regions are re-examining their meeting strategies to increase efficiency and control costs.-VNA