IBTM World 2019 in Barcelona.

The major industry meeting held since our last issue was of course Iceberg partner IBTM World 2019 in Barcelona.

In News this issue of Business Events World and also on The Iceberg, interest from new exhibitors in advance of IBTM World more than doubled compared to 2018. New exhibitors included Greece, Azerbaijan, Macau, South Korea and Croatia. The virtual experience economy is set for big growth, according to the 2019 IBTM World Trends Watch Report, presented at the event. Silicon Valley start-up “wordly”, which uses voice recognition and artificial intelligence to translate fifteen languages, won the IBTM World Tech Watch Award. Heike Mahmoud, Chief Operating Officer of Congress Center Hamburg, received JMIC’s Profile and Power Award at the IBTM World Meetings Leadership Summit. The Joint Meetings Industry Council presents The Iceberg.

Also in News this issue, two further stories from Iceberg partners, the International Congress and Convention Association and the Global Destination Sustainability Index. Collaborating to transform skills in emerging destinations, ICCA and the World Tourism Organization are holding “Masterclasses on the Meetings Industry”. Visit Flanders and the region’s five major cities have just joined the GDS-Index.

Across the wider sector, Expo 2020 Dubai is set to welcome more then 25 million visitors over its six months. Organisers have teamed up with over 1,000 authorised ticket resellers in key international markets. ACC Liverpool has announced major bid wins of both new and returning association congresses. The European League Against Rheumatism is taking its huge congress to Frankfurt for the first time in almost two decades, after a joint approach to win the bid. I’ve shamelessly stolen that pun from Iceberg partner Association Meetings International.

Marketing Cheshire’s “Brilliant Science” campaign has helped it win the Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology September 2020 40th anniversary meeting. Toronto’s Leaders Circle has just honoured thirteen local experts, across fields from atomic physics to human rights, for their role in bringing eight international meetings to the Canadian city. Monaco has seen a rise of 5.4 percent in business events during 2019. The principality has focused on continually improving services in the sector, which makes up 25 percent of its economy.

There’s still more on The Iceberg itself (click View all News). During 2019, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre successfully attracted ten major international events to be held in Malaysia between 2020 and 2025. The venue’s recent expansion project contributed to these wins. Plus, meeting professionals are feeling less optimistic about the future, according to MPI’s quarterly Outlook Survey for November 2019.

There are three new Features this issue. It’s not as easy to get to Kathmandu as it is to Brussels or Barcelona. But the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition accepted such logistical challenges with its 19th General Membership Meeting this March, leaving a major local legacy in the process. New Zealand has won its bid to host 2023’s 10th World Avocado Congress. The five-day conference will bring in the world’s leading growers, researchers, marketers, tech innovators and investors. In addition to both of those stories, there is also a welcome return from The Iceberg‘s occasional podcast “Below the Waterline”. My colleague James Latham catches up with Sissi Lygnou, CEO, Operations & Development, at AFEA Travel & Congress Services. Together they define the proper functions of a PCO (Professional Congress Organiser) in the current meetings landscape.

Six Opinions this issue are fresh, and three of them are about new venues. Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is set to open for its first conference in just under a year. General Manager Ross Steele explains that it is “an incredibly exciting time”. Opening in 2021, Macau’s Galaxy International Convention Centre hopes to be Asia’s most technologically advanced venue. Director of Operations Development Scott Kreeger says incentives will be one of its core markets. Battersea Power Station has been a London landmark since 1933. Decommissioned in 1983, the facility is now undergoing regeneration, which will create new event spaces for organisers to hire.

Also in Opinions, cities with a “business-friendly” environment for international associations will attract more of their offices and even regional headquarters. That’s according to Martin Sirk, International Adviser of Iceberg partner GAHP, the Global Association Hubs Partnership. Setting out his agenda for Convening Leaders, the flagship event of the Professional Convention Management Association, PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat explains how debate has shifted towards the outcomes and impact created by the sector. Retail conference Shoptalk has just announced that its next conference will feature an all-women speaker lineup. The decision has been applauded as a bold move, but is not uniformly seen as a good idea.

In Research you’ll find added The Exhibition Industry in Latin America (November 2019) from Iceberg partner UFI, the exhibition industry’s global association. This is UFI’s first in-depth study of the Latin American sector landscape. The MeetDenmark Outreach and Legacy Report, part of the MeetDenmark Outreach Study, is a fresh and invaluable take on association legacy creation. I’ve been checking the website for months now waiting for it! The IBTM World Trends Watch Report 2019 is also quite unmissable, and a detailed current snapshot of the entire global meetings industry.

Finally, and as always, The Iceberg reiterates its call for you to join our Global Ambassador Program. You can see Ambassadors listed on The Iceberg homepage, Ambassadors page, and in Business Events World below. Visit Call for Ambassadors 2019 & 2020 to find out more.

Until the next major industry meeting…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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