Professor Greg Clark (left) and Robert Coren in the webinar’s virtual Iceberg.

As we TV folk often say… “welcome back after the break”.

The Iceberg and Business Events World just took a short hiatus from our fortnightly regular delivery. The Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg, had come up with the idea of producing a global manifesto to help the sector put business events at the heart of economic recovery from COVID-19 in advocacy. From that came the idea of getting a large cross-section of leading and emerging industry lights on video to shape the document’s content. Plus, turning the material into TV reports, getting reaction to them and other commentary from renowned urbanist Professor Greg Clark, and putting out the finished caboodle as a global advocacy webinar. This would be shared on one day across four satellite events in Asia Pacific (hosted by AIME), Africa and the Middle East (hosted by Meetings Africa), Europe (hosted by IBTM), and the Americas (hosted by IMEX).

Some videos were self-filmed. Many contributors were recorded by Iceberg Founder James Latham as interviews over Zoom (sometimes even correctly!). I edited them together, then introduced the resulting segments through our recording with the remarkable Greg Clark. JMIC Executive Director Rod Cameron and President Kai Hattendorf kept a watchful eye on proceedings, and a dizzying selection of sector voices was duly assembled.

We are extraordinarily grateful to everyone who took part (it does seem like it was almost everyone), to the four Iceberg partners who hosted the satellite events on July 2nd, and to everyone who attended them. I’ll talk content below as we get to it. Suffice it to say first that it was good to be reminded how valuable holding a business event can be, not by creating or curating content about the meetings of others, but by staging one all of our own. It was also fun to welcome a global industry audience into my humble home office, the innocent-looking crime scene from whence this publication is fortnightly perpetrated (at least until CSI Iceberg catches up with me).

So in Features this issue, you’ll find the fruits of the above, meaning the JMIC Global Manifesto itself (hot off the press!), our webinar in two parts, and some of the other coverage it generated. We strongly recommend you make the time to read the first and last, watch the second, and shape your own advocacy accordingly. Please help the JMIC Global Manifesto and its webinar to create their own legacies.

Also in Features, the “Incredible Impacts” grant partnership between Iceberg partners ICCA (the International Congress and Convention Association) and BestCities Global Alliance has been renewed, and 2020 submissions are now open until July 24th. Our video page features entry encouragement from BestCities’ MD Lesley Williams, ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath and judge Tracy Bury, as well as videos from two past winners.

In News, our webinar got a detailed write up in Conference & Meetings World, from the stable of new Iceberg partner Mash Media. Welcome! Too many other stories in this issue show why the event was necessary. IBTM Americas 2020 postponed again. The Iceberg partner’s show, set for Mexico City in August, gets replaced with virtual events through the rest of 2020 into 2021. IMEX America 2020 cancelled. Iceberg partner IMEX Group confirmed the show, set for Las Vegas in September, is now another casualty of the era. Over 80 percent of associations have been forced to cancel a flagship meeting due to COVID-19, says a survey. Worryingly, almost 18 percent said the effects on the organisation had been “severe”. Europe’s largest exhibition centres have demanded a reopening by September 1st. EMECA, which represents major venues, called for financial support to help the industry to survive. The owners of ICC Wales and Celtic Manor Resort are cutting staff by almost half due to the pandemic. 450 of 995 workers are to go, the financial model not now being sustainable.

But there’s good News as well. RAI Amsterdam is one of first venues in Europe to reopen without visitor number restrictions. Large trade fairs hosting thousands of visitors are already taking place in South Korea, which has one of the lowest death rates for COVID-19 in the world. Until June 2021, funding is available there for safety measures, which you can watch at work in the incredible SIDEX video embedded in this piece. Montreal has become the first Canadian city to join Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Index. GDS-Index has also just launched another platform to help cities develop economic and social structures to make them fairer, more inclusive and more resilient. The Global Destination Sustainability Movement steps forward from GDS-Index foundations. A “groundbreaking” Phd study into the academic benefits of attending and hosting meetings has been published by the convention bureau Wonderful Copenhagen. Plus, a step-by-step guide to creating meetings with long-term legacies has just been published by MeetDenmark. The study was co-authored by Iceberg partner GainingEdge.

There’s still more bad and good on The Iceberg itself (click View all News). The Geneva International Motor Show, cancelled just days before opening earlier this year, will no longer take place in 2021 and has been put up for sale. The Association of Corporate Travel Executives has ceased operating and after 32 years will be filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. ACTE had not only cancelled its April New York Global Summit because of COVID-19, but also the August 2019 Macau edition due to the Hong Kong protests. But Berlin’s business events industry is kickstarting reopening, with outdoor meetings of up to 500 delegates allowed since June 16th. Plus, the Scottish Event Campus has secured new conference business during lockdown in partnership with Glasgow Convention Bureau and academic institutions across the city. The business won will bring £144 million into Glasgow’s economy.

Stop press: Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that UK conferences and exhibitions will be permitted to reopen from October 1st.

All twelve Opinions this issue are fresh, and six are from Iceberg ambassadors. Jane Cunningham is Director of Community Engagement for Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance, Global Ambassador for JMIC, and the star as well of a second Deep Dive podcast from Association Meetings International Editor James Lancaster. During COVID-19, conference centres have become field hospitals, logistics networks have shipped personal protective equipment, and surplus food has been donated. A new social contract is being written for the industry, explains Geneviève Leclerc, CEO of Iceberg partner #MEET4IMPACT. Iceberg partner IMEX Group has just had to cancel IMEX America 2020, after also cancelling IMEX Frankfurt earlier this year. CEO Carina Bauer explains how the decision was taken. Martin Sirk, of both Sirk Serendipity and Global Association Hubs, an Iceberg partner, has thoughts on how some countries will be more successful at reopening business events than others. The contributions on video in our JMIC Manifesto webinar included one from Martin Lewis, the former Managing Editor of Iceberg partner CAT Media. In this longer extract from his Zoom interview, he paints a picture of the “new normal” that will be tough for many in the industry to hear. The webinar also contained a section on the manifesto promoting the use of business events to address UN Sustainable Development Goals. Fiona Pelham, CEO of Iceberg partner Positive Impact Events, picks up that baton.

Also in Opinions, our JMIC Manifesto webinar got a review! The packaging may have been “inflated”, but the content was “laser-focused”, and the main speaker Professor Greg Clark “supernaturally articulate”. Mark Taylor, Chief Executive of the QEII Centre in London, believes the industry’s recovery from COVID-19 could see it in time get to be even stronger. Iain Bitran, the Executive Director of ISPIM (International Society for Professional Innovation Management), shares the challenges of changing a key physical meeting into a digital one: the XXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference. As many business events also pivot to virtual, what does that mean for the presentation skill demanded of speakers? Roy Sheppard, a conference MC and presentation trainer, explains. The death of George Floyd, and of others before him, has prompted black meeting professionals in the US to speak out, including the President and CEO of Destination DC, Elliott Ferguson. Plus, shall we get back to talking about legacy? A New Zealand conference where experts will discuss protecting the earth’s precious wetlands is being held up as an example of the positive impact of business events on society.

In Research you’ll find seven fresh items, beating last issue’s record of six! These are first the aforementioned and important dissertation from Thomas Trøst Hansen via Wonderful Copenhagen The Impacts of Academic Events: Cycles of Credibility as an Analytical Framework, IRF’s new COVID-19 and Disruption in the Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events Industry: Adaptation and Recovery, Iceberg partner TMG’s (Talley Management Group’s) How Can Associations Be Ready for Post COVID-19?, Iceberg partner GainingEdge and CVB Wonderful Copenhagen’s Meeting Legacies: Innovating for Enhanced Value Creation (also a remarkable piece of work), PCMA’s June COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, ICCA’s 2019 ICCA Statistics Report: Country & City Rankings (the public abstract), and finally UFI’s Global Exhibition Barometer 25th Edition (July 2020).

This issue’s parish notices start with previously published coronavirus resource pages from within our own partner community: the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), IMEX Group, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), plus publications Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT)Association Meetings International (AMI) and ASAE’s Associations Now Today’s Coronavirus Tracker.

There are also association resources aplenty at the new website of Iceberg partner the Global Association Hubs, including a Free Virtual Meetings Guide made available by Julius Solaris of, and COVID-19 advisories from the four GAH destinations: Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC.

JMIC posted a press release about our JMIC Manifesto for Economic Recovery Webinar.

As mentioned above, IMEX has cancelled IMEX Americas 2020, due to have taken place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas, from September 15th – 17th. The decision is outlined here by IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer (also an Iceberg ambassador).

UFI posted a press release wrapping up Global Exhibitions Day. 114 countries and regions participated in GED activities on June 3rd. A GED “Position Paper” was also released. The UFI Global Congress will still be face-to-face, but now “glocalised” as a number of events held around the world in November at dates and times still to be announced. Sign up for information here. The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre will now host the event in 2022. The UFI Asia-Pacific Conference and Digital Innovation Forum, originally scheduled in Macau for late March and then rescheduled in August, has now been cancelled, ongoing travel restrictions making it impossible to proceed.

There are outbreak advisories from…

The Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), via UFI

The Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), via UFI

The Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau, via UFI

The United States, via UFI

Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing has called for an open and permanent dialogue between European institutions and local destinations. ECM proposes to open this dialogue and lead a task force.

Iceberg partner GainingEdge has posted the advisories COVID-19 and Destination PromotersPutting Some Order to the ChaosWhat to Ask Associations Beyond “Will You Be Rebooking?”Partnerships and Collaboration: Now Even More Essential, and Building Confidence with Your Stakeholders, plus Bulletin: COVID-19 Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3, Issue #4, Issue #5, Issue #6 and Issue #7.

Iceberg partner IBTM has released first details of the rescheduled IBTM Asia Pacific 2021, to be held on April 13th – 14th in Singapore, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. IBTM has also launched the second edition of its Event Business Accelerator investment and mentoring programme, to run in conjunction with IBTM World, due to take place in Barcelona on December 1st to 3rd 2020. More here.

Iceberg partner AIME, the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event, has announced that its 2021 show will now take place from March 15th – 17th at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, incorporating a virtual / hybrid format.

There are further resources at the Events Industry Council (EIC), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) and at Meetings Mean Business. Northstar Meetings Group has posted a running list of New Dates for Events and Conventions Postponed Due to Coronavirus, and updated its Pulse Survey in June.

The Geneva International Association Forum, launched earlier this year by the ASSOCIATIONWORLD Foundation in collaboration with the Geneva Convention Bureau and Congrex Switzerland, has been rescheduled to September 17th – 18th 2020.

Go LIVE Together has raised upwards of $500,000 to support legislative actions to aid the industry and its workforce recover from COVID-19. Go LIVE Together also has created a toolkit with material the coalition is using in its meetings with legislators that includes key facts about the economic impact of business events .

A group of leading agency heads offering free advice to smaller businesses on how to survive the COVID-19 crisis hit has helped more than forty firms so far and is set to help set up a similar service in the US.

As mentioned above, ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance have announced that their “Incredible Impacts” programme awarding associations leaving lasting legacies will be returning for its fourth year. The partnership has been renewed for a further three years.

Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Index has as mentioned above announced that Montreal has joined, opened up the 2020 benchmarking period, and launched the GDS-Movement.

Iceberg partner Boardroom has launched Boardroom MiniCourses, a dedicated online learning site loaded with short, high-quality educational videos. Contributors include Geneviève Leclerc, Chief Executive Officer of #MEET4IMPACT and Iceberg ambassador. Boardroom MiniCourses has an Instagram page here.

Freeman has won the inaugural UFI Industry Partner Award 2020, for Fuzion by Freeman™. ICC Sydney is the winner of the UFI Sustainable Development Award 2020 for its Waste Reduction Program. See also here. UFI and MBB-Consulting have joined forces to launch a nw industry education programme for exhibition organisers, the UFI Exhibition Management School.

Iceberg partner Positive Impact Events is seeking 100,000 event professionals to build the future of the industry. There is a great video here.

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 time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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