Davos 2020: President Trump versus Greta Thunberg, and a legacy strapline.

Oh, the January blues! In Australia, bushfires are still raging. A rallying call for event planners to rebuild the visitor economy is threatened by the coronavirus outbreak quarantining incentive groups in China. As airlines suspend their flights, and the WHO declares the health crisis a global emergency, meetings across the People’s Republic are in chaos.

In America, impeached President Trump is under “trial” in the Senate. The vote of the Republican-lead upper chamber not to call witnesses or hear new evidence was also the day the White House quietly expanded its travel ban to exclude citizens from six more countries, now thirteen in all. Here in the UK, the country exited the European Union with a whimper rather than a bang after 47 years of membership. Downing Street played out recorded chimes of Big Ben, the national timepiece being currently silent during a lengthy refurbishment.

President Trump escaped the start of his “trial” to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The mainstream media saw Davos 2020 as Donald Trump versus Greta Thunberg. While acknowledging the imperative of tackling climate change, The Iceberg is also reflecting how lucky Convention Bureau Davos is to have its destination’s name used synonymously for such a high profile event. We’re also pleased to see the legacy strapline “Committed to Improving the State of the World” right underneath the logo. This world certainly needs improving.

There are four new Features in this issue of Business Events World and also on The Iceberg. Over 500 senior oil and gas executives will visit Nairobi in March for the sixth East Africa Oil & Gas Summit & Exhibition. Athens boasts an event history spanning 5,000 years, and its convention bureau is now launching a conference ambassador programme. There’s a roundup of the knowledge clusters and their meetings across major cities in England. Plus, three fascinating videos celebrate a legacy trilogy of association events, all of them awarded grants in the past round of “Incredible Impacts” by Iceberg partners BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA (the International Congress and Convention Association).

In News this issue, conference owners are having to cancel, delay or relocate meetings in China because of the coronavirus outbreak. Australia’s convention bureaux leaders have sought to dampen fears about the recent bushfires and quash the spread of what they call “misinformation”. Iceberg partner IMEX Group has announced that its fourth annual “Talking Point” will address the power of “Nature” and include IMEX’s largest ever research study. The theme will run for two years not one, with the research being lead by Guy Bigwood, MD of Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Index. Participate here. The synergy between academia and meetings was recently on show with the University of Leeds hosting a group of experts on the Great Ice Age. The Iceberg does like an ice event! UK Universities hosting conferences can expect to boost annual sales by around £2 million, according to a survey. Cuts to UK event marketing spend were seen in 2019 quarters three and four, but the IPA Bellwether Report is optimistic about the sector for 2020 and 2021.

Also in News this issue, Switzerland’s leading platform for the healthcare sector has just been staged in Basel. Malaysia will welcome over 65,000 conference and exhibition goers in 2020, convention bureau MyCEB having secured 42 meetings across the next 12 months. The Seoul Convention Bureau is partnering with other Korean cities to help promote business events. Currently Gangwon and Gwangju have agreements, with four more soon to join. Seven national and international organisations have already signed contracts to hold their events in the $288 million Oklahoma City Convention Center, opening at the end of 2020. ExCeL London is partnering with the London Academy of Excellence, a sixth form centre in local Stratford. The Palais des congrès de Montréal is joining with #MEET4IMPACT to conduct a major study of global legacy measurement.

In Opinions this issue, you might think all those invited to attend Davos are a part of the global elite. But the World Economic Forum actually assigns its delegates a category according to their level of importance. The Professional Convention Management Association and the PCMA Foundation have set a goal of raising at least $250,000 to help those affected by bushfires in Australia and earthquakes in Puerto Rico. With the consensus that we are already in a full-blown climate crisis, are meetings now in a state of emergency? German Convention Bureau Director Matthias Schultze, UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf and Iceberg Founder James Latham are among the voices canvassed. For those employed in the medical field, burnout and stress can be real and severe. So planners of medical meetings are providing “provider wellness”, as well as networking and education.

Also in Opinions, Conference Aston Head Samantha Brown explains how the industry can meet the needs of all its delegates through a new approach to venue accessibility. The Mayor of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Paul TenHaken, was inspired to tackle his city’s inefficient transit system after attending a three-day, immersive summit. Jim Sharpe, the new CEO of Aventri, explains that event technology is now far easier to use. While The Iceberg doesn’t usually focus on individual agencies in the sector, it’s hard not to notice one founded at the same time as our own little platform celebrating meetings legacy, particularly when the agency is actually called “Legacy”.

Now here are this issue’s parish notices! Iceberg partner UFI, global association of the exhibition industry, has opened applications for its 2020 Next Generation Leadership grant. Apply here.

Iceberg partner the IMEX Group has opened applications for the IMEX – EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award. Apply here.

Iceberg ambassador Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, has made a video about the People Make Glasgow Healthier initiative. Watch here.

Finally and as always, The Iceberg reiterates its call for you too 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.

Roll on February…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


Photos: World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard /

Boris Baldinger / Jakob Polacsek / Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary.


Showing Featured Features

View all Features


Showing Featured News

View all News

JMIC Case Studies

Showing Featured JMIC Case Studies

View all JMIC Case Studies


Showing Featured Research

View all Research


Showing Featured Opinions

View all Opinions


Showing Featured Education

View all Education


Showing Featured Events

View all Events


Showing Featured Ambassadors

View all Ambassadors


Showing Featured Publications

View all Publications

Partner Spotlight

Showing Partners

View all Partners