PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 included a holographic Sherrif Karamat.

A rather belated Happy New Year! The Iceberg and Business Events World are back with you now as a monthly shot in the arm, albeit not the shot in the arm you are most keen to receive right at the moment.

The virtual CES 2021 has been and gone. The show’s pivot last July was a stark early warning of quite how protracted the pandemic’s devastation would be for the sector. PCMA has also staged Convening Leaders as a global broadcast, President and CEO Sherrif Karamat beaming in as a hologram. This is indeed our most desperate hour! Help us, global meetings industry! You’re our only hope…

In Features this issue, Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance looks at the legacies to be left in Madrid this year both by its own Global Forum and by the congresses of two associations, one of them the ever legacy-focussed ESTRO (European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology). Plus Iceberg partner UFI’s CEO Kai Hattendorf has views on whether exhibition sector recovery should rely solely upon global vaccine rollout or upon advocacy and running safe events.

In News this issue, Germany has clearance from the European Commission to roll out an umbrella scheme offering damage compensation to trade fairs and congresses in the country. The initiative is reportedly worth €642 million. The Scottish government is to provide further funding for its events industry as part of a coming £104.3 million package split into nine separate funds. The Dutch government is to expand support for jobs and the economy with a raft of measures including plans for a €300 million guarantee fund for events. Organisers hosting meetings in Vienna through 2021 and 2022 will also be covered by Austria’s government to the tune of €300 million if there are COVID cancellations or restrictions. Meanwhile, the Austria Center Vienna is now the nation’s largest COVID-19 testing facility. Around 113,000 rapid tests took place at the venue over the two weeks before the holiday break. Two of Copenhagen’s largest event venues, Bella Center Copenhagen and Øksnehallen, have also been opened as vaccination centres.

Also in News, PCMA’s Convening Leaders has been held as a global showcase for business events. PCMA ran the show mainly through the Marina Bay Sands Global Broadcast Center in Singapore. The content was constructed around “Recovery Discovery”. Two Iceberg partner industry events have not been quite so fortunate. IMEX Frankfurt 2021, due to have been held at Messe Frankfurt this May, has been cancelled after last year’s cancellation of both IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America. IMEX Group said the industry’s resurgence would arrive too late then to organise a successful show. AIME (the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event) has had to cancel its 2021 edition set for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and online in March. The challenge of current travel restrictions weighed against healthy interest from exhibitors and buyers. A deal to merge the Events Industry Council with the Joint Meetings Industry Council (which presents The Iceberg) is no longer on the cards, albeit with the door still apparently left ajar. But confidence among exhibition organisers that profits will double this year has been revealed in the latest Global Barometer survey of Iceberg partner UFI. Plus, a plan to create a carbon reduction target for the business events sector has been presented with the aim of launching during COP26. Iceberg partner Positive Impact Events is hoping to raise £30,000 for the project, to deliver under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Two are about sustainability. The first is a general discussion from leading industry voices including two Iceberg partners, the Global Destination Sustainability Movement and IMEX Group. More and more industry sectors are committing to carbon reduction, but what about the agencies, PCOs and commercial event producers? Fiona Pelham, the CEO of Positive Impact Events, feels that a voice at the table is crucial. Plus, WindEurope is the voice of the wind industry in Europe and worldwide. In December what should have been its normal exhibition and conference became a full TV show, featuring commercials, news bulletins, weather forecasts and even games.

There are two podcasts to enjoy in Opinions. AMI editor James Lancaster talks to Damian Hutt, Executive Director of the Association of Association Executives, about pricing for online events, engagement of members, changing delegate profiles and vaccine passports. Plus, legacy in at least one segment where we don’t always find it. Graham Alderman, Owner and Managing Director of Ulterior Events, talks about the changing landscape of incentive travel, why virtually staged incentives aren’t for the long-term and about the need to leave lasting legacies. Legacy is also all across further written articles. During the recent CL21 (Convening Leaders 2021) above, over fifty delegates contributed to “Hospitality Helping Hands”, PCMA’s social responsibility opportunity. They created online art and in doing so raised money for water filtration systems in East Uganda. The sponsor was Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events. The Iceberg has already published the Copenhagen Legacy Lab toolkit, and CLL has even become one of our partners. Now Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, Deputy Convention Director at Wonderful Copenhagen, offers a progress report on the new initiative.

Also in Opinions, state-of-play views from across the global industry. The CEO of Iceberg partner IMEX Group, Carina Bauer, discusses the decision taken to cancel IMEX Frankfurt again. Geoffrey Thande, Director Business Development Services at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, describes how Kenya’s conference business has been badly hit by the pandemic. Gregg Talley, President and CEO of Iceberg partner Talley Management Group, believes Africa’s attraction as a business event destination should remain clear-cut after coronavirus. The Chief Executive of ICC Wales, Ian Edwards, profiles the UK meetings industry’s current state of play, a sector worth £70 billion annually to the economy in terms of visitor spend. Sven Bossu, named as Iceberg partner AIPC’s first CEO back in May, offers the same message of reassurance as a favourite retiring TV anchor, “everything will be fine”.

In Research you will find PCMA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard for both December and January. From UFI also read Global Exhibition Barometer 26th Edition (January 2021), as per above.

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), 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 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.

UFI has appointed Marie-Laure Bellon as its next Chief Operating Officer. Currently the CEO and General Manager at French exhibition organiser Eurovet, she will join UFI on March 1st, and work out of the organisation’s headquarters in Paris.

Following its release as reported last issue, UFI has posted “Takeaways from Part 2 of the UFI-Explori Global Recovery Insights 2020 Study”. The work is based on a survey of over 9,000 exhibition exhibitors and visitors in ten languages from over thirty countries. UFI has released the first Industry Partners Benchmark SurveyExhibition organisers and venue operators say service providers have a relatively high impact on overall event success. UFI has also released an updated damage assessment for the global exhibition and trade show industry, covering the full year of 2020. Global industry revenues for 2020 dropped by 68 percent, compared to 2019. This result is based on regional data from the latest UFI Global Exhibition Barometer published above. There is an accompanying infographic here.

UFI and the European Exhibition Industry Alliance are supporting the Greek initiative for EU digital vaccination certificates and a global solution with an IATA Travel Pass. The EEIA has welcomed European Council decisions related to rapid antigen tests and vaccinations and called for their speedy implementation, particularly the rapid development of a standardised digital proof of vaccination platform, possibly the IATA Travel Pass.

UFI has already announced themes for its 2021 awards. The focus will be on awarding best practice and highlighting creative solutions during and after the pandemic. The entry deadline for all categories is March 16th 2021.

The 2nd ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter Summit (ICCA AP Summit), curated from Yokohama on December 15th and 16th, drew 300 participants both on-site and online from 14 countries, including 40 speakers and 35 associations. ICCA is to host its first global hybrid event of 2021 in Dubai on February 17th. Called “ICCA – from Resilience to Revival”, the event will run 10am – 4pm (GST) and will share knowledge of new business models, technology and strategies.

ICCA has launched a new certification programme, ICCASkills. Courses will begin in the third quarter of 2021 and ICCA will grant recognition to an industry professional who has met certain qualifications. ICCA has also announced a number of new senior appointments. Caroline Stanners is the newly created Chief Business Development Officer. Frances van Klaveren is Community Engagement Manager. Agnes Maignien is ICCA’s Senior Event and Promotions Specialist. Heleen Dijkstra has also joined as Junior Financial Controller.

The ICCA UK and Ireland chapter is looking to harness the power of positivity with its new “Supporting Others” campaign. The initiative will centre around positive ideas and goodwill, and the chapter is calling on industry professionals to get the project off the ground.

As mentioned above, Iceberg partner IMEX Group has been forced to cancel IMEX Frankfurt 2021. Chairman Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer’s full statement is here.

As described above, Iceberg partner AIME has cancelled its 2021 event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The unpredictability around international border closures is the reason cited. Prior to cancellation, AIME had announced an AIMEbassador programme to kick-start business in 2021. The first AIMEbasssadors have now been profiled.

Reed Exhibitions has announced announced that the CEO of Russia, Turkey and the Middle East, Anna Dycheva-Smirnova, is now CEO of Reed Exhibitions UK. Reed has also released its White Paper “COVID-19 and How it’s Changing the Event Industry”, highlighting findings from its COVID-19 Customer Needs and Mindset Barometer involving nearly 3,000 exhibitors and over 9,000 attendees across 201 events.

Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing has posted an infographic of its 2021 action plan and tools.

To add to its Boardroom MiniCourses, the online learning site full of short, high-quality educational videos, Iceberg partner Boardroom has recently launched #Roadmap2030. This will deliver practical, hands-on educational content, networking opportunities, mentorship, news and community engagement. An initiative by the publishers of Boardroom, Boardroom MiniCourses and the advanced tech company Bond, #Roadmap 2030 is set to become a global resource for associations executives and staff.

Boardroom is also running a survey about the future of associations, designed by consultants at Factum Global and StrategicStraits. There are eleven questions, and participation is invited here.

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 #12Issue #13 and Issue #14. GainingEdge is also supporting ICCA’s newly launched ICCASkills certification programme mentioned above.

Iceberg partner Talley Management Group has posted “TMG Stands United”, a statement of solidarity calling for national unity across the US after the January 6th violent insurrection on the Capitol Building.

Iceberg partner ASAE also posted “ASAE Condemns Assault on Democracy at US Capitol”. After the inauguration, ASAE sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging the incoming administration to engage the association community in policy discussions of critical importance to the nation.

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

Lima, capital of Peru, has announced the development of a long-term strategy to revitalise its tourism and business sector. This includes joining Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. GDS-Movement will co-create the sustainable and regenerative strategy.

Global engagement and marketing agency MCI has unveiled a new brand design which it says is to “reflect marketplace demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. The Iceberg partner says it is helping brands, associations and non-for-profits develop multi-channel strategies and deliver ongoing engagement.

Iceberg partner AIPC has posted about Ungerboeck’s recently released e-book of inspiring examples from leading international venues showcasing best practices around hybrid events. “Hybrid Event Best Practices – from Onsite to Online Experiences” includes stories from Manchester Central, SwissTech Convention Centre Lausanne,  Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, and Auckland Live and Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events.

Cvent has also launched a new e-book “Virtual Event Strategy for Dummies” in partnership with publishing brand Wiley.

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.

IACC has announced that its CEO, Mark Cooper, has been appointed 2021 Chair of the board of the Events Industry Council.

As mentioned above, PCMA has held its flagship annual meeting Convening Leaders as a hybrid event. President and CEO Sherrif Karamat has posted a takeaways article “We Will Never Fail”. Incoming PCMA Board Chair Kirsten Olean has posted the interview “‘We’re Going to Start to See Events Come Back’ in Late 2021”.

PCMA has also announced it will stage a new omnichannel event, Convening EMEA, for business event leaders and professionals. Lausanne, Switzerland will host the inaugural event, from October 17th to 19th. Switzerland Tourism, the International Olympic Committee and Lausanne Tourism are all backing the event, with support from Lausanne Montreux Congress members.

GES has launched a new interactive Global Event Tracker, covering key trade show cities over the last 90 days. It shows where events are taking place across the world, is updated twice a month, and makes use of a traffic light system to show where events are and are not permitted under COVID-19 restrictions.

The UK’s Event Supplier and Services Association board has Lou Kiwanuka as its new Chair. Kiwanuka, Managing Director of EventShaper, has more than 25 years of experience in events.

The UK’s Association of Event Organisers is celebrating 100 years of operation this year. Comprised of 87 national and international members, AEO will mark its centenary with a schedule of activities throughout 2021.

The UK’s EIA, formed of ESSA, AEO and the Association of Event Venues (AEV), is calling for more funding, and improved availability of cash through current grant schemes, as part of its wider lobbying of government.

The UK’s Alliance of Independent Event Agencies has discounted its annual membership fee by up to 50 percent in the light of ongoing pandemic impact on members. This means for sole traders that AIEA’s annual membership fee costs £50.

The Elevate mentoring and training programme has opened applications to UK and international event professionals for 2021. Since its foundation in 2016, the initiative has matched 650 mentors and mentees for the six-month programme.

Stress Matters, a UK events industry Mental Heath First Aider facilitator, has released a collection of forty stories from people across the events industry which capture a snapshot of their emotional wellbeing in the lead up to Christmas. The UK’s “One Industry One Voice” campaign is also getting behind a new drive to promote Mental Health First Aider training across the event industry.

Meeting Allstars, a new initiative that enables individuals to become their own boss while trading under a larger established name, has launched as “a transformative new way of working for UK event professionals”.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership and the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Events have submitted a series of recommendations to the COVID Recovery Commission. The Commission presents practical ideas to Government to support higher productivity, encourage business investment and promote a nationwide culture of innovation. BVEP has also submitted a budget request to the Treasury ahead of the budget announcement on March 3rd 2021. The request asks for long-term targeted support to aid the recovery of the meetings and events industry.

The UK Government has launched the second round of a broadband scheme launched in August 2019 for event venues across the country to improve their fibre connectivity. Applications for a share of the £200,000 funding are open until March 2nd.

A bid by Marketing Sheffield’s Conference Team, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and the University of Sheffield saw the UK city win The Stillbirth Alliance Conference in 2023. The meeting will bring together 300 international delegates, including bereaved parents, health professionals and researchers, with the aim of driving global change for the prevention of stillbirth and neonatal death.

The executive chairman of The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD), Dermod Dwyer, has announced he is to step down from the role after 23 years. Dwyer steered the concept, design, construction and funding of the CCD to completion in September 2010.

The Hybrid Event Arena is Sweden’s largest studio solution for hybrid meetings and has been launched at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers in Gothenburg.

The European Society of Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) will bring back face-to-face event business to the halls of IFEMA in Madrid this August.  The venue will host the society’s annual congress from August 27th to 31st in its North Convention Centre and Hall 10.

Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) has announced the creation of a new building, able to host conferences of 5,000 delegates and offer 50 breakout rooms. Completion of the new facility is set for spring 2021.

Vienna will host the 14th European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB 2021), set to take place from October 5th to 7th. The Austria Center Vienna is expected to gather around 400 leading experts to explore pioneering technologies in this field.

Hamburg will host the Associations & Conference Forum (AC Forum) in 2022. The event will gather European congress organisers from science associations, medical congresses and major business association meetings.

After eighteen months of intensive research, the “Future Meeting Space” innovation network of the German Convention Bureau and Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering will present its latest research findings on February 22nd. GCB also launched a new online forum focused on innovation at PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 called the “Response Room”.

The Estonian Convention Bureau and Tallinn Convention Bureau, in collaboration with Publicon PCO and local authorities, associations and universities, will host the annual European Congress of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN) in June 2022.

Associations in Africa are encouraged to participate in the development agenda of the continent. The best of their efforts will be rewarded at the inaugural Associations Advance Africa Awards, a competition launched by the African Society of Association Executives. Associations are invited to submit entries by April 30th 2021. The ceremony will be on September 24th during the 3rd AfSAE Africa Association Summit in Kigali.

After six months of the South Africa Events Council’s existence, Chairperson Tes Proos will hand the rotating position on to Board Member Ellen Oosthuizen, the Chairperson of the PCO Alliance and owner of Bebe‘s Events and Promotions. The Council has been engaged in a drive to reopen events and demonstrate industry compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will host the World Congress of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS World Congress) 2024. This will be the first time the signature event will have been held in the region since it launched in 1994.

Global PCO Kenes Group has announced the passing of its Founder and President Gideon Rivlin. Rivlin founded Kenes in 1965 in Tel Aviv and was also one of the founding fathers of the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), serving as its President between 1981 and 1983.

The 14th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) concluded on January 19th, attracting over 63,000 viewers. The two-day event took place in a virtual format and was organised by the Hong Kong government and Trade Development Council.

Continuing its efforts to stay connected with both the local and international meetings community, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre has installed brand new production studios. Production-grade audio visual equipment and bandwidth can deliver any sort of event, live broadcast or stream.

“Hygiene Safety Guidelines – Holding a Successful Business Event in Tokyo” is now available for meeting organisers headed to the Japanese capital. The document released by Business Events Tokyo contains guidelines for planning stages, on-site management and post-event.

Jeanette Stanton has been appointed events project manager for Business Events Industry Aotearoa. She will be rejoining New Zealand’s industry association after six years as marketing and business events services manager with Auckland Convention Bureau.

Event Tech Live is launching a dedicated show for the US and Canada this year, before the UK edition returns to London in November with a hybrid format. Event Tech Live USA & Canada takes place on June 8th and 9th.

Until the next time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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


Showing Featured Newsletters

View all Newsletters