LVCC cuts the ribbon on its $1 billion West Hall expansion.

A technical issue has kept us away for a while, but The Iceberg and Business Events World are now back with refreshed optimism. The welcome sight of the Las Vegas Convention Center opening its West Hall expansion, including the LVCC Loop fast shuttle transport developed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, for a concrete convention is indeed a concrete sign of recovery and return to normality.

In News this issue, meetings industry professionals gathered with leaders in business, government and the media to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day 2021. Global Exhibitions Day was also marked all over the world. The milestone coincided with Fira Barcelona’s return to activity on site for Integrated Systems Europe. The venue also hosted Mobile World Congress Barcelona. The Las Vegas Convention Center’s $1 billion West Hall expansion, as mentioned above, opened with Informa Markets’ World of Concrete. The event was the first big convention in the destination and the whole US after the pandemic.

Also in News, just fifteen people in 60,000, in line with the broader population, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending one of nine pilot events studied as part of the UK’s Events Research Programme. The national convention bureau Business Events Australia has placed AU$3 million more in the subvention pot to support international event bids. Vienna is allocating a further €4 million to support organisers of meetings held in the capital until the end of 2023, and offering as much as €60,000 per event. Business leaders in Hong Kong have been recruited promote “the vertical city” as a top meetings and conventions destination. One hundred inaugural ambassadors are being led by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

But the scale of the challenges facing event planners were once more laid bare with the World Economic Forum cancelling its Special Annual Meeting set for Singapore. The Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe updated its study “The Impact of Coronavirus on Europe’s Convention Sector”, which proffers three recovery scenarios to reflect possible futures given the level of uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve in coming months. One in three European convention bureaux have suffered public sector funding cuts during the last year. That’s according to a new report into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic upon meetings. The average association meeting was fifty percent bigger through 2020, but only because it had pivoted online. That’s according to the latest ICCA Statistics just released. Average registrations rose from 908 to 1,356, but associations did take a huge hit on attendee fees, the average price dropping from $525 to $211. Finally, organisers of the 24th International AIDS Conference will create lasting legacies by helping on site and virtual delegates from poorer countries to attend in 2022.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Seven have video or audio. Global Meetings Industry Day was celebrated in New York City with a hybrid event. One enterprising publication chose to experience the meeting both online and on site. Marking GMID, the Professional Convention Management Association also hosted the first ever PCMA APAC and EMEA debate. Moderated by Oscar Cerezales, at the time Global Executive VP Corporate Division of Iceberg partner the MCI Group, the session discussed the pros and cons of the potential vaccine passport. While many conferences are still virtual, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is going back in person to Las Vegas, but requiring attendees at its August conference to show proof of vaccination. With the global vaccine rollout not yet injecting enough certainty into the industry, four Northstar editors Zoom to offer a global outlook. As vaccines and emerging virus variants wage war across the world, Rod Cameron, the Executive Director of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (which presents The Iceberg), asks “where to from here?”. JMIC has also supported industry advocacy through COVID-19 with resources like the JMIC Global Manifesto and the JMIC Advocacy Guide. President Kai Hattendorf looks at advocacy across the sector, examining some of the lessons that have been learnt.

Also in Opinions, three quarters of convention bureaux have suffered financial cuts during COVID, according to a new report called The Impacts of the Coronavirus on Convention Bureaux in Europe. What does this mean for associations and for their meetings? Report author Rob Davidson explains. The Madrid Convention Bureau’s legacy projects include collaborations with EMS (the European Emergency Medical Services Congress), setting up first aid training stations, and now with ESTRO (the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology), whose 2021 bidding process focussed around legacy impact. In another piece, ESTRO’s Alessandro Cortese has put a new notion at the centre of his meeting strategy, local legacy, or how much the hosting city will benefit from the event, measured by improvements in health. Martin Sirk is International Advisor of Iceberg partner the Global Association Hubs Partnership. In a podcast he talks future of association meetings in terms of both vaccine passports and also of measuring outcomes. Plus, the Event Director David Thompson discusses running IBTM World Virtual in 2020, and why he is certain the Iceberg partner will have a live show in Barcelona this year. Finally, as Iceberg partner the IMEX Group launches its latest digital platform IMEX BuzzHub, CEO Carina Bauer explains how the community is key to COVID-19 recovery.

In Features this issue, The Iceberg always enjoys business events described with an iceberg metaphor. But this time it is not the broader legacy benefits that are harder to see below the surface, but the tacit against the explicit knowledge they impart. German Convention Bureau MD Matthias Schultze discusses what is unique about face-to-face and also GCB’s hybrid BOCOM event.

In Research you will find added PCMA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard for March and April. Lime Venue Portfolio resumes a series it paused with the pandemic, and the new chapter is Beyond Food: Beyond COVID-19. Read also Hybrid Congress Guidelines from both our partner BestCities Global Alliance and the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO). From IRF there is another helpful guide: Health Information and Attendee Privacy: Getting Back to Meetings and Incentives Safely. Plus, there are two reports already mentioned in News: The Impacts of the Pandemic on Convention Bureaus in Europe from MICE Knowledge’s Rob Davidson, and The Impact of Coronavirus on Europe’s Convention Sector 2021 from the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe, via the German Convention Bureau.

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’s Asia-Pacific Conference reconnected a pandemic-affected exhibition industry digitally, as different markets in the region are in different stages of reopening. The digital conference was attended by around 250 industry leaders from over 20 different markets. Participants connected live to the show floor at Art Basel Hong Kong

Leaders from across the regional and international exhibition sector have gathered in Dubai for the UFI MEA Conference, taking the opportunity to see how the destination is restarting business events after the pandemic. The conference was the first fully in person event for UFI. It was attended by 150 attendees from ten countries.

Global exhibition organisers and associations from around the world are joining together to form a coalition to bring live event platforms back to market, with safety at their foundation. The coalition is led by UFI and fellow industry association SISO, as well as leading organisers Clarion Events, Comexposium, Diversified Communications, Emerald, Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions and Tarsus.

Fira de Barcelona has received UFI’s Operations and Services Award for 2021. The trophy recognises the institution’s versatility in dealing with the crisis of COVID-19, the return to activity with new digital and hybrid models and the implementation of innovative security measures, as well as the strengthening of links with society and the territory.

UFI’s Board of Directors has elected Michael Duck as future President of UFI for the 2022 to 2023 period. Currently Commercial Development EVP for Informa Markets and Informa Group, Duck joins outgoing President Anbu Varathan and incoming President for 2021 to 2022 Monica Lee-Müller. Anbu Varathan posted this message in April.

The IMEX Group is creating a buzz around the global business meetings and events community with the launch of IMEX BuzzHub. The new digital platform will run for over four months from May to September. Powered by Swapcard and managed by award-winning creative agency, Smyle, the IMEX BuzzHub offers chances to learn, share knowledge and network. Two IMEX BuzzHub Buzz Days have already taken place, on May 12th (also here, and here) and June 9th.

The international range of exhibitors contracted for IMEX America, taking place November 9th to 11th, includes destinations Greece, Detroit, Newport Beach, Michigan, the Bahamas, Aruba, Kansas, and Milwaukee, together with companies Club Med Groups & Incentives, Live Nation Special Events, Global DMC Network by JTB, Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts and The Hoxton.

IBTM Events has also run IBTM Wired, a four-day online meeting for eventprofs that took place from June 28th to July 1st. The event offered one-to-one business meetings, networking sessions and live and on-demand education. On each day of the event, IBTM Wired showcased a region’s business meetings and events offering and included insight and expert opinion from professionals representing that region.

Many destinations that were forced into hibernation over the COVID-19 period have now awoken and are actively looking to the future. That’s according to an IBTM survey of city, regional and national convention bureaux and destination marketing organisations, which reveals that some 89 percent of destinations remained actively engaged with their buyers and stakeholders, despite the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Iceberg partner AIME (the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event)) has announced PCMA (the Professional Convention Management Association) as its official 2022 Knowledge Program partner. PCMA will support the delivery of AIME’s most dynamic and challenging Knowledge Program to date in Melbourne next March.

Global engagement and marketing agency MCI has appointed Oscar Cerezales as Chief Strategy Officer. In his new role, Cerezales will guide the Iceberg partner’s strategy, alliances and partnerships. He will be responsible for driving and integrating hybrid business models, technology, sustainability and creative solutions.

Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Movement has launched the GDS-Academy for DMO professionals, organisations and their partners. Its ultimate goal is positive social, environmental and economic regeneration through tourism and events. The GDS-Academy offers education as open-enrollment online classes for professionals, and online/hybrid learning for organisations and destinations. The two initial formats are: The GDS – ICCA – ECM  Certificate in Regenerative Destination Management (a sixteen-week learning journey), and Masterclasses (three to four session deep-dives delivered in partnership with Travel Foundation and #MEET4IMPACT). ICCA and ECM (European Cities Marketing) are also both Iceberg partners.

Michelle Mason will take on the role of President and CEO of Iceberg partner the American Society of Association Executives on September 1st. Mason is now President and CEO of the Chicago-based Association Forum and will succeed current ASAE President and CEO, Susan Robertson.

The M&IT Agency Challenge will take place at Wyboston Lakes Resort in July this year. In light of the ongoing pandemic, organisers behind the event have decided to switch locations from Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, where the event has historically been held, to a location in England in accordance with England’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Digital Event News, the new publication from Mash Media, has launched its online offer. The new site is aimed at planners and marketers responsible for virtual and hybrid events. It features best practice case studies, creative ideas, tips, advice, interviews and opinions on platforms and the practice of staging events online.

Also organised by Mash Media, the first in person event for the live events industry for over fourteen months, the Event Production Show, has taken place at the Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre. Joanne Knowles, EPS show manager, has spoken about the unique challenges of putting on the event under current COVID-19 restrictions.

Boardroom has published two new MiniCourses, both sponsored by Destination DC and introduced by its CEO Elliott Ferguson. In one Kirstie Tucker of DC Fly-Ins explains how to pivot to virtual advocacy meetings. In the other Dr. Christian Vogler, a Professor in the Communication Studies program at Gallaudet University, explains that making video conferences more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people helps actually everyone to minimise fatigue.

To add to its Boardroom MiniCourses the Iceberg partner recently launched #Roadmap2030. A progressive and future-focused community and learning forum for associations, #Roadmap2030 is now live. The first edition of #Roadmap2030’s Chat Café has taken place, with a selected number of invited associations moderated by Martin Sirk, International Advisor to the Global Association Hubs.

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, Issue #14 and Issue #15.

GainingEdge is also offering its first instructor-led online courses. These 90-minute courses will help industry professionals to upskill their expertise with GainingEdge specialists in multiple times zones around the world. After participating in a session, the learner will receive a certificate of completion.

Iceberg partners Maritz Global Events and Talley Management Group have posted a video and case study about an event The Iceberg also worked on, last year’s hybrid ICCA Congress. With regional hub locations in Cape Town, Kuching, Luxembourg, Malaga, North America, Latin America, Riyadh and Seoul, the live event based in Kaohsiung showcased how face-to-face events can thrive in the “new normal”.

Positive Impact Events used Earth Day to empower its ambassador community of 1,400 to take action and Participate in progressing the UN SDGs through events. The Iceberg partner has shared a report bringing together all the action that day, including an interview with CEO Fiona Pelham.

This year Positive Impact also used Earth Day as an opportunity to gain support for a Climate Action Framework for the events sector. If you would like to show your support, please join Positive Impact’s community of 1,400 ambassadors and / or purchase its EDUCATE product.

Registration remains open for Positive Impact’s Explore#5: International Day of Peace on Tuesday 21st September.

Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Movement has contributed to a webinar on destinations embracing sustainability. Managing Director Guy Bigwood joined Colm Clarke of Exempla and Chloé Menhinick of the International Currency Association for a panel moderated by Association Meetings International Editor James Lancaster.

Iceberg partner AIPC (the Association of International Convention Centers) has announced it plans to hold this year’s AIPC Academy from October 3rd to 8th in Dolce la Hulpe, the heart of the ancient Sonian Forest, outside Brussels. The AIPC Academy is a week-long educational immersion that covers all key areas of centre management and operations.

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 UK updated its Pulse Survey in April and May.

The PCMA Foundation has developed a new scholarship fund in memory of Cecilia “Cele” Agnes Fogarty, a respected executive in business events. To honour her commitment and passion for education, the Cele Fogarty Scholarship Fund will support event professionals with opportunities to advance skills and proficiency in the field of event management.

Registration is open for PCMA’s inaugural Convening EMEA (formerly known as the European Influencer Summit), an omnichannel conference for business event professionals throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Supported by Lausanne Tourism, Switzerland Tourism, and The International Olympic Committee, the event will take place within Lausanne’s SwissTech Convention Centre from October 17th to 19th.

Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO of PCMA, has posted “Leaning into In-Person Events”. Digital events have their place and will remain an important part of the industry going forward. But it’s face-to-face events that change the world.

Research and lead generation company Sarah Fleming Associates, known to many as “SFA”, has rebranded as SFA-connect and launched a new website. The change in brand symbolises the new direction and vision this friend of The Iceberg has for customers moving forward.

UK associations, agencies and venues have backed the introduction of COVID-status certification as a temporary measure to support the full reopening of the sector. Dozens of event professionals signed a letter vowing to work with the government on status certification to support recovery.

Portfolio etc.venues has reported that its bookings increased 500 percent after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions on meetings were lifted. As of Monday May 17th, indoor events for up 1,000 people or 50 percent venue capacity have resumed. Bookings included corporate conferences, annual general meetings, association meetings and government departmental events.

VisitBritain has released details about the government’s Business Events Growth Programme. The scheme has been designed to support the attraction of international business events that align with government’s priority industry sectors. Funding applications are open.

A new report has revealed that UK event planners are confident about returning to live events in July 2021. The report conducted by Leeds-based AYRE Event Solutions polled a mix of attendees and organisers to explore sentiment towards the return of live events. An optimistic 17 percent of event organisers said they expected events to return in June, 35 percent anticipate getting back to live in July, and a further 27 percent believed events would make a comeback in October.

Global exhibition, publishing and business information multinational Informa plc has reported an underlying operating profit of £268 million ($372.8 million) on revenues of £1.6 billion in its FY2020 results. The Informa Markets division, which includes exhibitions, was hit hard and saw a 63.5 percent revenue drop for the year.

London-based virtual event platform Hopin raised $400 million in its March financing round, adding LinkedIn to its list of investors. LinkedIn has been owned by Microsoft for five years, but retains independence with the investments it makes.

Now in its 28th consecutive year, the UK Conference and Meeting Survey (UKCAMS) will this year focus on the value and volume of the market and the performance of meeting venues. It will also highlight key market trends identified by venues and calculate the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further details of the research are available here and the survey itself is available here.

The Meetings Show will take place on September 30th and October 1st 2021 at ExCeL London. Following the success of its virtual format in 2020, the event will be delivered as a hybrid format to allow planners unable to attend in person to interact with the show’s exhibitors, education programme and networking opportunities.

The Association of Event Organisers has announced details of its first live event of 2021. The AEO Summer Soirée will take place on July 21st at the Honourable Artillery Company in East London, and bring industry colleagues back together for a long-overdue face-to-face networking event.

The first Virtual and Hybrid Event Awards by the Virtual Events Institute saw twenty awards dished out on the night. The event was broadcast from ExCeL London and Anna Valley’s hybrid event studio. VEI co-founder Simon Burton hosted the ceremony and presented accolades across fifteen categories.

Sustainability-driven UK agency Legacy Events is launching Legacy Marketplace, a platform that provides everything needed to organise a sustainable event. The launch comes at a time when the fight against climate change is increasing in urgency and industries are looking to help in the battle.

Graduates of the Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme have been celebrated in a ceremony to mark their achievements throughout the past year. The mentorship scheme, set up by Fay Sharpe to champion female event professionals, pairs fifteen mentees and mentors from across the events industry with the aim of reaching goals and enhancing careers. The graduation ceremony at Tobacco Dock London was a hybrid event with more than 50 guests in the room and a handful remotely accessing the event via video link.

A new competition is offering event graduates the opportunity to get a foot in the event planning industry door. Event industry hub micebook has partnered with Event Grads UK to invite professionals to help design and shape the inaugural V Awards which will celebrate best in class virtual and hybrid events. The live awards ceremony is booked for September 3rd at Nobu Portman Square in London.

EVENTIT, the annual showcase for business event professionals, is returning after a forced two-year hiatus because of COVID-19. Its comeback is the first major business event to be held in Scotland since restrictions were introduced last year. EVENTIT will be held on September 10th at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

The EICC will also host the international Countdown Summit on climate change from October 12th to 15th 2021, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. Non-profit idea-spreading platform TED and climate action group Future Stewards partnered to launch Countdown, a global initiative championing and accelerating solutions to the climate crisis, in October 2020.

The former Head of Business Tourism at Marketing Edinburgh, Amanda Ferguson, has been appointed by the University of Edinburgh as Head of Business Development at Edinburgh First, the university’s  commercial arm. Prior to the pandemic, Edinburgh First typically hosted 130,000 delegates at 1,600 events a year  across 70 venues.

Glasgow Convention Bureau has become the first CVB in the world to join Tourism Declares, which was set up in January 2020 to align tourism and travel with the target of cutting global emissions in half by 2030. Prior to the pandemic, Glasgow hosted 20 energy, sustainability and low carbon industry-related conferences over a 24-month period, boosting the city’s economy by more than £23 million.

Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the Scottish Event Campus, has been talking to Iceberg partner AIPC’s CEO Sven Bossu about hosting COP26 in November.

A pilot event held at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales on May 20th proved that under current COVID-19 safety protocols, meaningful business events are impossible. While England now allows events for up to 1,000 people indoors, reopening in Wales has been more cautious with reluctance to commit to any schedule. The event saw the Caernarfon Suite, which can normally hold over 1,000 people, already full with 100 people under two-metre distancing.

The #WeCreateExperiences B2B and B2C campaigns, part of One Industry One Voice, have reached a combined total of 3.7 million views via social media channels. The B2B campaign, which launched at the end of 2020, reached 1.48 million post impressions. #WeCreateExperiences showcases the power of events, their broad range and the legacies they leave. has launched to deliver nuggets of behavioural science to help the global business meetings and events community highlight why face-to-face interaction can’t be beaten. It has been created and is presented by behavioural researcher and social skills trainer and coach Jonathan Bradshaw.

Michael Hirst, immediate past chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, has been appointed to the UK government’s Independent Review of Destination Management Organisations. The panel will look at whether there is a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at a regional level, and if so, what it might look like.

Stress Matters has announced details of new industry-specific mental health and wellbeing training. The two self-study courses teach event professionals how to manage mental health and design mentally safe events. Both are accessible for £59 and aim to equip event professionals with the skills needed to support themselves and their teams.

The thirteenth annual One Young World Summit will be held at ICC Belfast in July 2023. The event will bring young leaders together in Northern Ireland with the aim of creating a better world through “responsible and effective leadership”. Irish-born campaigner Sir Bob Geldof is one of the summit’s counsellors.

The Convention Centre Dublin has become only the third venue in the world to achieve the highest-level accreditation of the World Obesity Federation’s Healthy Venues Award programme. The CCD was previously awarded Silver status in 2017, but the venue has now been upgraded to Gold. The award encourages venues to support their delegates and staff in making healthier choices during conferences.

Professional congress organisers have been recognised for their association meetings through 2020 at an international awards ceremony. The eleventh Global Eventex Awards dished out trophies in long-standing categories, as well as new ones that reflect the changing sector. Geneva-headquartered Kenes Group and Milan-based AIM Group International were two big winners on the night.

Launched in December 2020 to encourage, promote and facilitate the delivery of hybrid and multi-city events, the Hybrid City Alliance has recently added eight new members. Antwerp, Cannes, Durban, Edmonton, Lausanne Montreux, Seoul, Sydney and Zurich join co-founding members The Hague, Ottawa, Prague and Geneva, covering the globe. The group’s original members have also been speaking to Association Meetings International Editor James Lancaster.

Copenhagen Convention Bureau has published a sustainability guide for planners to help minimise the environmental impact of meetings and events. As part of Copenhagen’s Tourism for Good Strategy 2030, the bureau has created a special microsite with a toolkit and case studies. The guide is based on six key pillars and offers insights into the development of a new generation of sustainable events.

Copenhagen will welcome back the EULAR European Congress of Rheumatology in June 2022, as the association marks its achievements and 75 years. As a leading forum for education, research, networking and fostering friendships, the international association first met in the Danish capital in 1947 and returned most recently in 2009.

Electronomous, the organisation behind Electronomous – The International Mobility Summit, has also selected Copenhagen as host city for its summit in 2021 and 2022. The fifth year summit will take place from September 20th to 24th this year and feature a hybrid format of five virtual days and a one-day physical event in Copenhagen.

In summer 2022, Helsingborg is holding the H22 City Expo, and has announced that “Urban Future” will kick off the event from June 1st to 3rd. Urban Future Helsingborg 22 anticipates the participation of global decision-makers, influencers, and change agents working to make cities the world over more sustainable.

Physical events held in the Finnish capital’s congress and event facilities are now easier to combine with virtual content. Virtual Helsinki, produced in partnership with VR studio Zoan, is a set of virtual environments that organisers can use in their own productions. The environments currently available include Senate Square, the Three Smiths Statue, the island of Lonna and Finlandia Hall.

Meanwhile the Scandinavian Association of Urology’s NUF2022 conference will take place at Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre from June 8th to 11th 2022, after being postponed from this summer. 400 to 500 urologists and urological nurses are expected to attend.

Dennis Speet is the new Director of Meetings and Conventions for the Amsterdam Convention Bureau. Speet previously worked for many years at the International Congress and Convention Association, including in the role of COO and CEO.

Maastricht has sealed its position as the home of psychiatry in the Netherlands. A five-year-contract has been signed between the Netherlands Psychiatric Association and MECC Maastricht in the presence of Mayor of Maastricht Annemarie Penn-te Strake. The Netherlands’ largest national medical association, NVvP organises a three-day conference every spring attended by over 2,700 psychiatrists and psychiatrists in training. MECC will be the association’s permanent conference location until 2026.

Academics and industrial researchers in the field of Mass Spectrometry will also descend on the Dutch city in 2022 for the biennial conference. More than 1,500 delegates are expected at the 24th International Mass Spectrometry Conference being held at MECC Maastricht from August 27th to September 2nd.

The Krakow Network Protocol has been released. The document, a set of good practice recommendations inspired by ICCA’s Kaohsiung Protocol, is covered by the honorary patronage of the Polish Tourist Organisation and the Poland Convention Bureau.

Since January members of Response Room have been submitting ideas to help solve challenges facing the business events industry. Launched during PCMA Convening Leaders 2021, the open innovation platform created by the German Convention Bureau in cooperation with PCMA and the IMEX Group has now been profiled here.

Meanwhile Matthias Schultze, GCB Managing Director, has been explaining how a new hybrid campaign can assist event organisers planning for the new now. GCB’s campaign “Germany – at the Heart of Future Events” will run for four months.

Who would have thought when the European Association Summit came to an end in 2020 right before lockdown that the 2021 edition would be an exclusively virtual event? The ninth edition of the EAS was all about future-proofing European and international associations, and gathered the wider association community around four themes.

The Union of International Associations’ ninth Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific will take place as a hybrid event at the Congres Square Nihonbashi in Tokyo, Japan, on October 21st and 22nd. This will be the first time UIA will hold the Round Table in a hybrid format, giving associations around the globe an engaging and rewarding experience for both onsite and virtual delegates.

UIA has also launched a survey to examine the impact of COVID-19 on international association meetings. The survey is open to all international association event planners and can be completed in English, Spanish or French. The findings will be released on November 18th at the annual UIA Associate Members Meeting in Prague.

Construction on the Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre is well underway. The contours of the building are now clearly visible, and a tree has been placed atop the centre to celebrate topping-out. Completion is scheduled for the autumn of 2021 and the BMCC will be up and running by January 2022. A new video tour and website have been launched.

Delegates to Madrid’s first face-to-face business event since the pandemic started were handed FFP2 masks on arrival and required to take a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours before the event. The Meeting Incentive Summit took the form of a hybrid event with the first day consisting of face-to-face meetings between buyers and suppliers at the RIU Plaza España in Madrid. The second day was hosted online to engage an audience unable to attend in person.

The Catalunya Convention Bureau has released a new video to reactivate and promote international MICE events in Catalonia. With the motto “Catalonia, catalyst for meetings & events”, the promo piece highlights the region as a leading setting that has worked tirelessly to create the perfect match between sustainability, safety and innovation.

A major international congress on sleep medicine and research will convene in Rome for its first in person meeting since the pandemic. The World Sleep Society’s World Sleep Congress 2022 will be held at the Nuvola Convention Centre next March. The meeting will be hosted by the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine with assistance from Italy-based Ega Worldwide Meetings and Events.

More than 150 representatives from leading companies in the Greek and international tourism and business events industry participated at the seventh Travel Trade Athens, the capital’s signature B2B marketing event. The two-day virtual event in April promoted discussions between 81 businesses from Greece and 66 representatives from international markets. More than 1,200 online meetings were also completed.

Since May 21st, Washington, DC, has fully reopened for in person meetings, conventions, trade shows, groups and special events. Destination DC and Events DC are part of an industry-wide effort to support customers meeting in the nation’s capital. They can count on the Still Connected initiative, which focuses on health standards, as well as on DC’s exclusive benefits that facilitate commerce in the city.

The BASE (Business, Arts, Sports, and Entertainment) centre has opened at the Extraco Events Center, home of the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo in Waco, Texas. The $32 million, multipurpose facility was designed by architects Populous with the goal of bringing more business and tourism to Waco including meetings and tradeshows.

Zoom plans to break into the conferences and events industry with a new all-in-one platform. Zoom Events will combine the existing Zoom Meetings, Chat and Video Webinar features into one platform and enable organisers to produce ticketed, live events for audiences of any size. The platform is currently in Beta and known as OnZoom.

Twenty-six associations representing eleven industries have jointly conducted a survey of their prospective conference participants in collaboration with Bruce Rosenthal Associates LLC, HPN Global and Ricochet Advice. The report, called ‘The Conference roadmap to Recovery”, received responses from 8,525 individuals, 88 percent of them US-based.

According to a new white paper from marketing agency Derse, “hybrid” should be thought of as “an infinity loop”, not just a one-off mix of an in person event with a digital component. The white paper cites Event Marketer’s 2021 Experiential Marketing Forecast report in which 70 percent of brands plan to offer hybrid experiences in 2021.

Meeting professionals are enthusiastically embracing vaccination against COVID-19 according to research conducted by Global DMC Partners. But dealing with travel restrictions and the vaccine rollout, along with implementing new COVID-19-related health and sanitation protocols, were among the top headaches listed by survey respondents.

After its 2023 outing in Belfast above, the Palais des congrès de Montréal and Tourisme Montréal have announced the city will be hosting the One Young World Summit in May 2024. The event will draw some 2,500 inspiring young people from all over the world and generate an estimated $4.4 million in tourism revenues along with 7,000 hotel room nights.

Meeting planners have now access to virtual tools to aid the planning of future events in Ottawa. Virtually Ottawa has been designed as an interactive experience to inspire conference planners to consider Canada’s capital for their next meeting. The tool helps bridge the gap while in person site visits are not a possibility.

Quebec City Convention Centre‘s new broadcasting room has been designed for hosting hybrid and virtual events of all kinds. A partnership with Encore, a leader in audiovisual solutions and technologies, the space is located in one of the four sections of the Convention Centre’s 25,000 square feet Multipurpose Hall 2000. It is equipped with a huge stage, LED screen areas, and lighting and sound systems.

The South American MICE Alliance has presented the results of a reactivation survey called Towards the New Meetings Industry. The hybrid event took place in the Hilton hotels located in Quito, Lima, Bogota and Buenos Aires, with the hub at the Hilton Bogotá Corferias and with RLA LATAM as audiovisual sponsor. Sixty percent of the associations surveyed plan to organise at least three events during the next five years, which shows a sustained recovery of the meetings industry in the medium-term.

Taipei International Convention Center has inaugurated the TICC 103 iStudio, a digital studio designed to host virtual and hybrid meetings. This can be used to produce promotional videos, product presentations or pre-recorded seminars. A smart broadcasting station can also live stream to multiple platforms at the same time.

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre launched its latest engagement tool, an interactive virtual tour now available on the venue’s website. The feature offers an overview of the entire facility with the option to self-explore or be guided, including a deep-dive into each function space via 360-view.

The Seoul Convention Bureau announced measures designed to make the meetings industry recover as fast as possible. The aptly named Reassuring Package has been introduced as an effective safeguard for delegates, providing emergency medical insurance, plus language and general concierge services. There is also the new Virtual Seoul platform for which not only are 3D graphics are offered at no charge, but as much as KRW 10 million given as a stipend for operating expenses.

The International Conference on Thinking will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 4th to 8th. ICOT is a cross-disciplinary event that connects practitioners, researchers, academics and theorists to stimulate discussion and solve global challenges. One of the speakers is “godfather” of lateral thinking Edward de Bono.

Some of the world’s top brains in engineering, science and mathematics will convene in Brisbane for the Asia Pacific Congress on Computational Mechanics in 2025. The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre worked with the Queensland University of Technology, Tourism & Events Queensland and Brisbane Economic Development Agency to secure the event. QUT is a leader in computational mechanics research.

Business Events Perth is offering up to AU$25,000 to help event planners book “extraordinary keynote speakers” and boost delegate numbers. The fund is designed to help reboot events around Australia still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. The incentive is open to meetings taking place in Australia before December 31st that last three days or more and have at least 200 in person delegates. Applicants also have to book a further event in Western Australia within a year.

The International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases was held in Perth 50 years ago following ground-breaking research by Western Australian Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO, who showed that degenerated muscle could regenerate in quokkas, a marsupial only found in the region. Now five decades later, the congress is set to return to Perth in 2024. A combination of research legacy, an eager local organising committee, a competitive bid and the Business Events Australia Bid Fund Program saw Perth scoop the biennial congress.

Sydney is set to welcome the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s national conference Physiotherapy 2023, taking BESydney’s bid wins for the city to ten so far this year. The events are set to attract 14,450 delegates and generate an estimated AU$46 million in direct expenditure for the New South Wales economy. The national APA conference alone is expected to attract about 1,800 delegates over three days in October 2023 at ICC Sydney.

ICC Sydney now has its very own Media Studio, a dedicated permanent space with broadcast recording, live streaming and digital event solutions. Featuring green screen technology to visually integrate presenters into customisable backgrounds, the new facility’s services will be delivered by the venue’s audio visual and ICT teams who have managed over 200 broadcast and hybrid events in the last twelve months.

MEETINGS 2021 successfully connected the best of New Zealand’s business events industry with local and Australian event professionals in Auckland on June 2nd and 3rd. The event, hosted at the ASB Showgrounds and organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa, gathered 150 exhibitors from 18 regions.

Until the next time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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