With the ICCA team (left) at the 59th ICCA Congress global kick-off.

The six-week “Road to Kaohsiung” journey of the 59th ICCA Congress has officially started. The Iceberg team has been invited to help out with the meeting’s hybrid / regional hub-and-spoke model hosting, so it was my great privilege to venture out to a DPRG TV studio a few days ago and moderate the impressive panel above.

As I write the kick-off press conference has been broadcast, and we are next live on September 22nd with a longer opening session. In Features this issue, you can see the press conference itself, plus an exclusive panel discussing how ICCA is tackling this year’s congress. Iceberg Founder James Latham interviews ICCA’s CEO Senthil Gopinath, along with President and CEO of Talley Management Group Gregg Talley, and Enterprise Vice President Global and Industry Presence at Maritz Global Events, Ben Goedegebuure. ICCA, Maritz and TMG are all Iceberg partners.

In News this issue, brave attempts to surmount current challenges, warnings from those about to succumb, and sad news of those who have already. Collaboration and unity were shining through as 1,419 event professionals, including 305 on site across twelve venues, attended UKickstart. Olympia London has said it is ready to reopen in October, as larger UK events resume. But in a separate announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the October 1st reopening date for UK business events is to be reviewed following a spike in the pandemic infection rate. Olympia’s big opener, The Meetings Show, has also pivoted to virtual since I posted that story. So has Iceberg partner IBTM World 2020, due to have taken place in Barcelona from December 1st to 3rd. The event will now be online between December 8th and 10th. Iceberg partner UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, and research compiler Explori have released latest findings from their “Global Recovery Project”. What a surprise! Visitors and exhibitors significantly prefer live events to digital.

Also in News, Manchester’s EventCity has announced its closure and shelved plans for a brand new site. The venue will cease trading completely from March 31st 2021. Hong Kong-based destination and event management company Pacific World has announced it will stop all meeting and event operations as of November after four decades in business. IEIA (the Indian Exhibitions Industry Association) has urged the Indian government to allow exhibitions to be staged again, to “ensure the survival of the industry and revival of the Indian economy”. Leaders of meetings and events in the Czech Republic have pleaded for government support and say without it up to 114,000 jobs may go. BECA (the Business Events Council of Australia) has welcomed AU$50 million funding announced by the Australian government to help support the restart of the country’s business events industry. The Singapore Tourism Board will accept applications for events of up to 250 people from October 1st, up from the current limit of 50 attendees. Planners must demonstrate ability to implement new health and safety measures. Meanwhile, an officer of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has called upon the meetings industry urgently to speed up action on climate change. Miguel Naranjo warned there “would be no events industry” if the challenge is not met.

There’s still more on The Iceberg itself (click View all News). The World Economic Forum has postponed its Annual Meeting in Davos. The event booked for January will now run either “early next summer” or when the safety of both delegates and the host community can be guaranteed. The UK Government has made it mandatory to wear face masks inside conference and event venues. The limit on public gatherings in Copenhagen and Odense has lowered to 50 people after an increase in pandemic infections, but the limit for meetings and conferences in Denmark remains at 500. Aquatech China 2020, the largest global meeting for the Asian sector, has run at the Shanghai National Exhibition and Convention Center after a postponement of three months. Iceberg partner IMEX has just donated $250,000 to Meeting Professionals International to help members facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. The MPI Foundation will distribute most of the donation, with the balance going to European chapters to help the industry to recover. Finally (and what a surprise!), Zoom shares hit a record high as the virtual meeting platform released financial results for Q2 2020. Revenue was 355 percent up on the same time last year, reaching $663.5 million.

All twelve Opinions this issue are fresh. When the time comes for business events to resume in person, convention centres across the US will be ready to deliver a new experience prioritising health and safety, via new technologies, cleaning protocols and staff positions. As the industry continues to press pause on large F2F meetings, venues and suppliers are still serving those in need. SDCC (San Diego Convention Center) has delivered 500,000 meals to the community since April. When the Serbian Federation of Beekeeping Association entered the “Incredible Impacts” grant awards run by Iceberg partners ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, its bidding stage legacy story wasn’t eligible. Nevertheless, SBFA’s work is discussed by the association and Serbia Convention Bureau. The Bulb, a UK-based sustainable event consultancy, has released a helpful guide to help meeting organisers navigate the “new normal” and make sure the progress made towards a sustainable industry is not lost.

Also in Opinions, reports from various business events, be they virtual, hybrid or in person. 2020’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) made history as the first US national political convention held online. The RNC (Republican National Convention) offered a second chance to see how a high-stakes, big-budget hybrid meeting can capture audience attention and engagement, despite some criticism over choice of venues and lack of social distancing. PCMA collaborated with the National Speakers Association and also the International Association of Speakers Bureaus on a virtual event addressing new industry business models. A new phone app let the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association meet safely but in person through the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Colorado. By mid-June the Netherlands had begun to welcome back international travellers. There are no attendance limits for meetings and events, but even so associations are wary. Consumer electronics show IFA has run at Messe Berlin, just 750 attendees allowed at each show segment. The hybrid multi-site event BOCOM saw players from across the German meetings industry demonstrating readiness for future event formats.

In Research you’ll find Positive Impact Events’s Exploring the Role of the SDGs in Building the Future of How Human Connection Happens, UFI’s The Trade Fair Industry in Asia – 16th Edition (August 2020), and UFI, AIPC and ICCA’s updated Good Practice Guidance: Addressing COVID-19 Requirements for Re-Opening Business Events – Version 2 (September 2020). All are Iceberg partners. Also just added is PCMA’s August COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard.

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)Conference & Meetings World, Conference NewsExhibition WorldExhibition News and ASAE’s Associations Now Today’s Coronavirus Tracker.

There are 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.

As above, ICCA’s registration for its 59th ICCA Congress in Kaohsiung remains open. The hybrid format regional hubs are Cape Town, Sarawak, Luxembourg, Malaga and Riyadh, with Latin and North America events being held virtually. A six-week online programme is underway leading up to main dates November 1st to November 3rd. The registration page is here. ICCA has also partnered with the Geneva International Association Forum (GIAF), which was launched by the ASSOCIATIONWORLD Foundation in collaboration with the Geneva Convention Bureau and Congrex Switzerland earlier this year. GIAF also announced a further postponement to November 5th and 6th. The event, being held at the InterContinental Geneva, will refund ticket purchases if the event is cancelled or postponed again due to the pandemic.

UFI’s registration for its “glocalised” Global Congress 2020 in November remains open. There will be physical attendance in three locations: Dubai, Basel and Hong Kong. The main theme is “resilience”. The registration page is here. UFI Connects is also back with all new online talks.

IMEX’s PlanetIMEX virtual experience platform is set to deliver “personal and collective transformation” with a series of headliners from the business events community and beyond on October 13th and 14th as part of a full week of creative content. Users will enjoy an enriched experience and smoother user journey. The IMEX Group is working with new providers GRIP and Event.Video and also continuing its partnership with Cvent.

As mentioned above, Iceberg partner IBTM World 2020 has announced a pivot from the Barcelona-based live event between December 1st to 3rd, to “IBTM World Virtual” between December 8th and 10th.

Iceberg partner AIME (Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event) has launched its 2021 Hosted Buyer program, designed to kickstart the industry and provide some certainty to participants in these uncertain times.

Iceberg partner AIPC’s Annual Congress will take place in Paris on September 24th and 25th. Hosted by the Palais de Congrès in Paris, members who are facing travel restrictions will be able to participate virtually.

Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance has posted Your Guide to COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols at Every BestCities Destination.

Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing launched its first ever ECM Mentor Programme during the ECM Summer School 2.0. The industry-supported initiative has been created to secure networking, relationship building and knowledge exchange between newly-appointed and advanced professionals in the meetings industry.

Iceberg partner Mash Media has announced that the Exhibition News Awards (EN Awards) are postponed to February 5th 2021. Tickets are on sale here. Mash Media has also partnered with to launch the Everything Event Tech Guide, which will be unveiled with a series of event technology awards at International Confex 2021.

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 insights Tracking the Return of the MICE Events Sector in a COVID-19 WorldThe MICE Sector in a COVID-19 World – Lockdown, Transition, New Normal, and Tracking the Return of the MICE Events Sector in a COVID-19 World – Part 2, plus Bulletin: COVID-19 Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3, Issue #4, Issue #5, Issue #6Issue #7, Issue #8, Issue #9 and Issue #10.

Iceberg partner Boardroom has launched Boardroom MiniCourses, a dedicated online learning site loaded with short, high-quality educational videos. New strategy, communications and marketing MiniCourses are available. Contributors include Geneviève Leclerc, Chief Executive Officer of #MEET4IMPACT and Iceberg ambassador, plus International Pitch Coach David Beckett. Boardroom MiniCourses has an Instagram page here.

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

There are extensive further COVID-19 resources at the Events Industry Council (EIC), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA)Meetings Mean Business and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). 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 August.

As mentioned above, the hybrid 2020 edition of The Meetings Show in the UK has just pivoted to an all-virtual event. Ongoing increases in the UK rate of COVID-19 infections and the tightening of government restrictions have forced the change.

The organisers of CHS Birmingham have announced that the show will be moved to spring 2021, following discussions with exhibitors, stakeholders, the event’s venue and its Advisory Board. The exhibition will now take place April 20th 2021, but organisers will also be running a series of smaller “buyer meetings” in October.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the umbrella body for the UK’s events industry, has launched a reopening survey. The poll will show how industry suppliers across the country are preparing to reopen safely. Take part here.

The IRF, FICP and SITE Foundation partner each year with market leader Oxford Economics to conduct the most comprehensive research ever into the incentive travel industry and its future evolution. This year’s Incentive Travel Industry Index survey is now open for submissions.

Twelve event agencies have put their support behind a new sustainability concept called Isla. Described as an organisation, its creators say it will support businesses to “implement consistent standards of environmental impact, measurement and management of events”, and “accelerate the event industry’s transition to a sustainable future”.

EventWell, the UK charitable social enterprise which educates and campaigns for better mental health and wellbeing in the events industry, has announced that Event Wellbeing Week will be Event Wellbeing Month this year. EventWell has partnered with The Shaper Group to launch EventWell Pledge, a peer-to-peer pledge and support programme designed to offer help for event professionals who are in need or experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Stress Matters, the event industry workplace wellbeing organisation, has launched the #MHFAEveryEvent campaign to promote workplace wellbeing and offer free training and support to out of work event professionals. To get involved in the campaign, apply for mental health first aid training or to apply for a gifted place on the training course, visit the Stress Matters website. The Stress Matters support line, set up in April to provide event professionals with mental health guidance during the COVID-19 crisis, has been replaced by a new Support Circle service.

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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