Xian, one of the oldest cities in China (which is saying a lot), has tantalized the modern world ever since the discovery in 1974 of the terracotta army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Xian MICE venues have flourished in the wake of this discovery, which has evolved from a trickle of scientists to today's full torrent of touristic captivation. At last count, the full-sized, clay warriors, which were buried as part of the Emperor's funerary rites, numbered about 8,000; but they are far from the only statuary. Subsequent excavations have uncovered horses, chariots, court officials, and entertainers.
Xian is located in the Shaanxi Province, which is in the northwest of China. It is nearly 1,200 kilometers from Beijing and more than 1,400 kilometers from Hong Kong, which are typical points of day-trip origin to Xian Xianyang International Airport (XIY). A flight from either of these cities lasts between 2-3 hours. There are also several direct flights to destinations throughout Asia, and connections to global destinations through airline alliances. (While train service is available, the length of travel time is generally not feasible for international MICE attendees.)
Chief among MICE venues in Xian, Qujiang International Conference Center can accommodate up to 4,500 people in its Golden Hall - the largest of its 9 halls. The second-largest Quijang Great Hall, which holds 2,024. In Xian's high-tech corridor, the 30,000-square-meter Greenland Pico International Convention & Exhibition Center (GPCEC) features 4 exhibition halls, one Convention Hall that can accommodate up to 4,000; and 10 additional meeting rooms. GPCEC is adjacent to the 397-room Holiday Inn Xian Greenland Century City, which has 4,000 square feet of space of its own.
Largish Xian MICE hotels include the 414-room Sofitel Xian on Renmin Square, which has 90,000 square feet of meeting space in 27 meeting rooms; the 355-room Kempinski Hotel Xian, with 90,000 square feet of space in 42 meeting rooms; and the 71-room Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian, 70,000 square feet of meetings in five rooms (the largest of which comprises nearly 56,000 square feet).
Xian is noted for its culinary excellence, but while there are many offsite dining venues in Xian, MICE groups may find it more comfortable to eat at hotels - where, indeed, many popular restaurants with private dining can be found. These include DUO Spanish Authentic Cuisine at the Gran Melia Xian, Paulaner Brauhaus at the Kempinski, and the Shang Palace at the Golden Flower Hotel, Xian by Shangri-La. An exception, of course, is the offsite crowd-pleaser Tang Dynasty. Each night within its complex, more than 650 guests sit down to dinner and a show.
Aside from the ancient landmarks that draw Western visitors in droves, modern Xian is also a university town and a high-tech incubator - both of which ensure a population of lively young people. English is frequently spoken.