Alongside ICCA President James Rees (right) during the 59th ICCA Congress.

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

The Iceberg and Business Events World just took another short hiatus from regular delivery, to assist with studio presenting duties on the 59th ICCA Congress. James Latham and I both found the multi-hub, hybrid event experience truly invigorating, and the content covered across the regions was impressive. Huge thanks to James (Rees), Senthil, Sina, Ksenija and Josephin at ICCA, to Ben at Maritz and to Gregg at TMG, plus to Dale, Gemma, Max, Zac and all at DRPG. I look forward to seeing the Hollywood adaptation of The Kaohsiung Protocol.

Has anything happened while we’ve been away? Is Donald Tump still President? Are we still waiting for a vaccine?

To coincide with the congress, Copenhagen CVB shared its Copenhagen Legacy Lab processes and tools with the global events industry. Copenhagen Legacy Lab is also now an Iceberg partner. Welcome! Find out more about and make use of these invaluable resources in Features, where you can also discover how to become an Iceberg partner or ambassador yourself for 2021 / 2022.

In News this issue, the owner of venues including ICC Birmingham and the National Exhibition Centre, NEC Group, is set to make 450 redundancies after earning “almost zero revenues” due to the pandemic. More than 525,000 jobs are now at risk across the £84 billion UK events and experiences industry, and three out of four companies could fail to survive beyond next February, the government has been warned. Two industry associations, SISO and Iceberg partner UFI, have asked global governments to prioritise COVID-19 testing over quarantine to “keep business going”. The Vienna Tourist Board has been celebrating the success of the Vienna Tourism Conference, its first on location meeting since the start of the pandemic, held with testing and strict health and safety protocols in place. And, of course, a vaccine that may stop over ninety percent of people from COVID-19 could mean the return of in-person conferences and events sooner than anticipated.

Also in News, research. Ashfield Meetings and Events and IPCAA (the International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association) have both partnered on a study into healthcare professionals’ thinking about online medical congresses. The 27th annual UK Conference and Meeting Survey report confirms that last year the industry was “extremely robust and dynamic” and contributed nearly £18 billion towards the UK economy. A report from Iceberg partner IMEX calls for the global meetings industry to regenerate and not just to restart. Authored by Guy Bigwood of Iceberg partner GDS-Movement, Regenerative Revolution: A New Paradigm for Event Management calls on the sector to move beyond sustainability and to adopt the circular economy model.

After research, we return to legacy. Announcing new performance figures, the acting CEO of BESarawak Amelia Roziman said that the knowledge and inward investment stimulated by business events has a “far greater value” than any tourism receipts. As above, Iceberg partner ICCA’s multi-hub, hybrid 59th Congress concluded with a message of support from Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Other highlights included the Copenhagen Lecture and the The Kaohsiung Protocol, a crowdsourced legacy framework for industry recovery. Following years of research into the impact of congresses, along with producing legacy reports and tools with MeetDenmark, Copenhagen CVB has shared its Copenhagen Legacy Lab with the global meetings industry. Again as above, Copenhagen Legacy Lab is also now an Iceberg partner. Plus, Gateshead Council’s planning committee has approved the development of a £260 million regeneration scheme which will create about 2,000 jobs in the North East of England region. A conference and exhibition centre is part of the Gateshead Quays scheme.

There’s still more on The Iceberg itself (click View all News). A nearing “milestone” vaccine against COVID-19 saw event organiser Informa become the third highest riser on the FTSE100 share index. Under the second national lockdown in England, business events of up to thirty delegates are allowed to take place. Plus, there has been welcome news of bid wins secured by MyCEB in Malaysia, Dubai Business Events in the UAE and Melbourne Convention Bureau in Australia.

All twelve Opinions this issue are fresh. Four are about associations and the meetings they hold. When the American Psychological Association turned its in-person annual convention all-virtual, it was decided from the start to make the August event better than it could possibly have been on site. The Italian Society of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, Intensive Care and Resuscitation has taken its annual congress on the road to avoid any mass gathering of its members. For 55 years the Austrian Society for Labour Law and Social Law has held its annual conference in Salzburg. This year the conference was postponed from April until October to make sure it could still be live. Meanwhile, Iceberg partner Global Association Hubs’ International Advisor Martin Sirk talked to four association leaders in preparation for an online education session during the recent #PlanetIMEX event.

Also in Opinions, destination management organisations. There is a report on how 2020 has been crushing for DMOs. Some in the US have been brought to the brink. Plus, how do DMOs maximise their attendance in-person now as hybrid meetings proliferate? Sarah Fleming, Managing Director of Sarah Fleming Associates, offers ideas. There is a special report on event venues taking food sustainability seriously. Plus, now a COVID-19 vaccine seems imminent, after months indoors on Zoom, we’ll want to meet, travel and see people. But that is no reason to throw away our obligations to the planet. Kai Hattendorf, MD and CEO of Iceberg partner UFI, the exhibitions industry’s global association, has been a guest on the AMI Deep Dive podcast. Meanwhile, UFI’s NGL Grant promotes the next generation of leadership within exhibitions. 2020’s recipients have been discussing the role hybrid offerings play in the sector. The pause of face-to-face events has left a void of connection designers have to address as delegates meet again. Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events’ Chief Behavioural Officer Charlotte Blank teams up with Enterprise VP for Design Studio Greg Bogue to explain. The Netherlands Tourism Board recently hosted a workshop live at the museum of the Royal Delft pottery factory. Virtual delegates painted white tiles with blue paint in the style of the famous “Delftware” produced in the town since the 17th century.

In Research you’ll find PCMA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard for October. Also added, and aforementioned in News, Ashfield Meetings and Events’ and IPCAA’s Healthcare Professionals’ Experiences of Virtual Congress, and IMEX Group’s Regenerative Revolution: A New Paradigm for Event Management.

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 mentioned above, ICCA has just concluded its six week long congress culminating in a series of online and in-person sessions in Kaohsiung and eight hubs, attracting 1,500 delegates, 280 associations, and featuring 220 speakers across 100 hours of content. The association has defined a blueprint for the transformation of association meetings, and paved a clear path for the future of events with the signing of The Kaohsiung Protocol, a framework of macro and micro trends and strategies for meetings. ICCA also honoured five of its members with a special virtual edition of its Best Marketing Award. Sponsored by the Meetings Show UK, the BMA recognises excellence and the outstanding achievements of organisations in marketing their destination or product.

ICCA has announced with great sadness the sudden demise of Sergio Baritussio, Director of the FIEXPO Latin America, and the ICCA Chapter Chair for Latin America. The entire ICCA community is shocked.

UFI has confirmed that this year’s Global Congress will be a digital-only event between November 16th and 19th. The event’s main theme is “Resilience”. More than 100 member companies present from 40 countries and regions have met online to review UFI’s activities throughout 2020 and to confirm plans for the year ahead. Chaired by UFI’s 2020 President Mary Larkin, the General Assembly highlighted an array of new initiatives to support UFI’s global membership in around 83 countries.

UFI and Explori have published the first edition of the Global Recovery Insights 2020 report, which presents the findings of a global study conducted with support from SISO (the Society for Independent Show Organisers). The findings, based on over 9,000 responses from 30 countries, show that exhibition visitors and exhibitors overwhelmingly prefer live events, and that there is no evidence of a major shift away from face-to-face meetings. Although the intended frequency of participation has dropped for both groups, this is only marginally the case for exhibitors, indicating a clear desire amongst exhibiting companies to return to on-site show floors.

UFI and SISO have also called for “testing over quarantine” policies to keep businesses going. They want policymakers and governments around the world to maintain the flow of people, products, and services through the potential of rapid antigen COVID tests.

UFI President Mary Larkin has issued a message to the industry for October and November. There are changes announced to UFI’s education programmes. The UFI European Conference in Gothenburg has been cancelled for 2020.

Iceberg partner IBTM has announced Cecilia MoSze Tham and Mike Wittenstein as the latest two keynote speakers for IBTM World Virtual, taking place between December 8th and 10th 2020. Tham has been described as an “innovation activist” and serial entrepreneur. Wittenstein is an expert in customer experience with a client roster including AT&T, Adobe, and Apple. Both speakers will present sessions on IBTM World Virtual’s new feature IBTM TV. IBTM has also announced first details of hosted buyer and exhibitor sign-ups for IBTM World Virtual 2020. The main event page is here.

IBTM and PR agency Davies Tanner have launched a Destination Marketing Post-COVID-19 Survey. The survey has been created to assist destinations, and the business and travel sectors within those destinations, in planning recovery activity after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iceberg partner AIPC has held its first hybrid annual conference in Paris. 25 AIPC members from across Europe decided to participate in the event live and travelled to Paris, and 125 participants logged on and joined the conference remotely.

Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance gathered industry thought-leaders, international associations and destination partners from around the globe under one digital roof for its annual Global Forum from November 17th to 19th. The event was based around transforming associations and destinations to future-proof models, engaging with your audience and community building, and measuring impact by exploring the latest exemplary legacy projects within the industry. BestCities has also welcomed Dublin as the latest destination addition to its Global Alliance. The alliance – which brings together exemplary meetings destinations across six continents to share knowledge and create legacy with international associations – will see Dublin become the fourth European partner of its twelve-strong network.

140 Tourist Information Centres’ professionals representing 42 leading European cities attended the online 7th TIC Expert Meeting of Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing. The event traditionally takes place in person, but due to the pandemic pivoted to digital.

Iceberg partner Mash Media has announced a new set of awards aimed to recognise excellence in online events, The Digital Event Awards. The prizes, launching online this month, will recognise excellence in organisers of conferences, exhibitions, music events and award ceremonies, as well as marketing and commercial prowess, and companies providing the tech, production and facilities behind events. Tickets for the Exhibition News Awards (EN Awards), now on February 5th 2021, remain on sale. Mash Media has also itself been nominated in three categories in the 2020 Professional Publisher Awards. Mash Media is a nominee for Independent Publishing Company of the Year and Coronavirus Response, while editorial director Martin Fullard is up for Editor of the Year.

Conference News has named its CN30 under Thirty Class of 2020. The intake were inducted during a hybrid event at ODEON Leicester Square in London on November 4th. Half the group were at the COVID-secure event in person, while the other half dialled in remotely.

International Confex, organised by Mash Media, will now take place on May 12th to 13th 2021 at ExCeL London. The show was originally set to take place in March 2021, and “difficult decisions” about postponing were made following conversations with exhibitors.

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 NormalTracking the Return of the MICE Events Sector in a COVID-19 World – Part 2, and “How Accessible is Your Association?”, plus Bulletin: COVID-19 Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3, Issue #4, Issue #5, Issue #6Issue #7, Issue #8, Issue #9, Issue #10, Issue #11, Issue #12, and Issue #13.

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 Coronavirusjust updated its Incentive Pulse Survey, and updated the main Pulse survey in October and November.

In cooperation with IMEX and MGM Resorts, MPI is asking event professionals around the world for their input on what the industry’s future will look like. Participation is anonymous, but you can also enter your name and email address to receive an advanced look at the survey’s results.

The much-postponed inaugural Geneva International Association Forum will now be a virtual event this year due to the ongoing pandemic. GIAF was set up by ASSOCIATIONWORLD in collaboration with the Geneva Convention Bureau and Congrex Switzerland. The virtual event will also extend over a longer period of time, releasing exclusive speaker interviews over the coming months. GIAFs latest strategic partnership is with the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, which comes on board as an exclusive Asia Destination Partner to offer collaboration, engagement and support.

PCMA will hold its flagship annual meeting Convening Leaders as a hybrid event. Originally scheduled to take place in Houston, the conference will now have multiple further hubs for small face-to-face gatherings around the world from January 11th to 14th as well as going online.

Host City 2020, a meeting for cities and sports, business and cultural events, has announced its speaker line-up for its 2020 event. The conference will be taking place from December 8th to 9th, hosted online from Glasgow, and is set to reach a global audience of 1,000 event industry professionals. Major congresses are well represented by Aileen Crawford of Glasgow Convention Bureau, Emily Blitz of the International AIDS Society, Sven Bossu of the AIPC and Aoife Delmas of the European Society of Cardiology.

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.

Agency DRPG, whose studios hosted the 59th ICCA Congress global broadcasts, says its event solutions have now reached one million online delegates. The group runs ten studios across the UK. DRPG also attracted 1,000 delegates to its theme-park orientated virtual DRPGBIGTalk event.

Fay Sharpe is to focus on new projects after leaving BCD Meetings & Events, the end of a 30-year agency career. Sharpe said: “I’m sad to leave behind some wonderful work colleagues and friends. I’ll be focusing on Fast Forward 15 and my new mentoring and retreat business. I’m looking forward”.

The Meetings Show’s first virtual edition has been hailed a success, with 83 percent of buyers “likely” or “extremely likely” to recommend the event to colleagues. The Meetings Show took place as a virtual show in October with almost 1,400 qualified buyers connecting with 250 exhibitors.

The One Industry One Voice coalition campaign has grown to include a further three major event and experience campaigns, and a new suite of social media channels have also been launched. The initiative has launched a national and regional media campaign, #WeCreateExperiences, to support public and corporate buyers.

The Face Of Events campaign has been launched by event professionals to highlight the struggles being faced by those in the business events and meetings sector. The aim is to create a virtual gallery of those who have been affected and continue to face hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemicEverybody from the events and hospitality sector is encouraged to take part by simply uploading an image of themselves.

Until the next time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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