Tokyo 2020: held one year delayed, masked and with no spectators.

So the flame of Tokyo 2020 is finally extinguished, after a Summer Olympic Games held one year delayed, masked and with no spectators. The latter cruel and late blow for organisers, barely disguised by random colouring of stadium seating, may in itself cost a further $800 million. How life has changed for organisers of all kinds of events over the past year, and how we all hope Japan will reap a belated, deserved tourism dividend when the pandemic is finally over.

In News this issue, how the sector is tackling recovery. Australian meetings industry leaders have just convened at a roundtable to thrash out their strategy for the future, settling on an AU$50 billion economic contribution target. The pandemic presents a chance for the global business events sector to reinvent itself. So says a white paper and recovery roadmap released by PCMA, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, the Singapore Tourism Board, plus Iceberg partner UFI. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is now Malaysia’s largest vaccination site. MyCEB, the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, has just launched the Business Events Stewards Programme. Backed also by MACEOS, the Malaysia Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, the initiative is organising volunteer venue staff at vaccination centres.

Meanwhile, the UK announced an insurance scheme for events, the government joining with Lloyd’s as a “reinsurer” to make sure commercial providers can offer products event planners require. The full report on the UK government’s Events Research Programme was finally published after mounting pressure from both the industry and MPs. Phase I recorded 28 COVID-19 cases across nine pilot events with 58,000 participants. This was within population averages, but before the Delta variant surge. Delegates attending an association conference in Europe may be required to produce a “COVID pass” as more governments impose restrictions on unvaccinated people meeting indoors. Mobile World Congress 2021 drew 20,000 on site delegates to Barcelona, with 100,000 taking part virtually. The show made news in February last year with a late call to cancel as the pandemic started to spread.

Also in News, some interesting contradictions. Many association event professionals accept the benefits of hybrid meetings but believe barriers are too high to run them well. A report from Eventsforce reveals that 49 percent are unsure if hybrid has much of a future. At the same time, Hopin has raised $450 million in Series D investment. Since February 2020, the virtual (and hybrid) meetings platform has raised over $1 billion in total. The new round values Hopin, founded in 2019, at $7.75 billion. Event sustainability group isla has launched proseed, billed as the first universal framework for delivering sustainable meetings. At the same time, it was revealed that COP26 President Alok Sharma has taken flights to 30 countries over the last seven months. Plus, with Expo 2020 Dubai opening in October, the emirate is poised to welcome major corporate and incentive groups intending to let delegates explore the show during their visit. The new Dubai Exhibition Centre within the Expo 2020 site is also hosting several important events, including the Dubai Association Conference.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Sherrif Karamat, the President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association, claims the pandemic is raising the need to focus now on why we meet. He also has interesting ideas about The Iceberg’s pet subject of legacy. Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve just returned from Lausanne where he attended the Annual Conference of Iceberg partner AIPC. He shares a few things he learned there. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were the most expensive to date, and too big to fail, despite pandemic challenges. Gary Grimmer, Executive Chairman of Iceberg partner GainingEdge, says they make a timely case study. Also, a recent gathering of the Membership Committee for the African Society of Association Executives, attended by Gary, saw a chance encounter develop into a legacy collaboration helping Girl Guides to learn about beekeeping. BestCities Global Alliance has just celebrated twenty-one years since its founding. Managing Director Lesley Williams reflects upon the Iceberg partner’s past and future. Plus, the major associations and the cities hosting their meetings have a relationship that is basically transactional in nature. How will things change in a landscape redrawn by COVID?

Also in Opinions, two articles about climate change. The event sector is being urged to take more and earlier action, in advance of this November’s COP26 conference at Glasgow’s SEC. Also, travelling to meetings is on paper less environmentally friendly than meeting virtually. But face-to-face adds value hard to quantify. To tackle climate change, we must surely solve problems in person as well as online. Meanwhile, the pandemic is the subject of four final opinions. As more meetings return in person or as hybrid events, there is the chance that after attending someone will test positive for COVID-19. Having a plan to deal with this is crucial. The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence in Great Britain’s new President, Chris Parnham, has urged UK event professionals to get fully COVID-19 vaccinated. In a call to echo across the globe, Parnham suggests eventprofs choose to help or hinder the recovery of the sector. The HIMSS21 conference just held used CLEAR Health Pass Validation and Safe Expo Vaccine Concierge Validation to verify status of its staff, vendors and attendees. Plus, when a US academic recently asked Twitter whether professional organisations should have vaccine and mask requirements at their on site meetings this autumn, the result was unexpectedly definitive. It also sets the stage for a few challenging months ahead.

In Features this issue, Quebec City Convention Centre has twenty-four national and international conferences on its books between 2022 and 2025 related to the life sciences and health technologies, a thriving sector in the Canadian city. Plus, Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory will host from 800 to 1,200 international delegates for the World Conference on Ecological Restoration in 2023. The meeting will leave an important legacy across the world’s damaged ecosystems.

In Research you will find added PCMA’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard for May and June. PCMA, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, Singapore Tourism Board, and Iceberg partner UFI have jointly posted Reimagining Business Events Through COVID-19 and Beyond. UFI is also behind Global Exhibition Barometer 27th Edition (June 2021) and the new Status of Sustainability in the Exhibition Industry (July 2021). Plus, there is essential reading in the form of the ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020, the Iceberg partner’s report reinvented for the pandemic.

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.

Across three days, the 2021 UFI LatAm Conference has just reconnected a pandemic-affected exhibition industry community across Latin America. The conference was attended by 200 exhibition industry leaders from 35 countries, and provided updates on the reopening of the region.

Registration is now open for the UFI Global Congress 2021. Taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from November 3rd to 6th 2021, regulations permitting, this is the “must-attend” annual event for the global exhibition industry. Alongside networking opportunities, attendees will have the chance to celebrate the recovery of the sector, exchange lessons learned and gain new insights and ideas.

Could successful vaccine rollouts in countries with strong domestic markets for trade shows and other events put a damper on the resumption of international events? UFI’s blog explains that while event executives are optimistic about a rebound in international travel, they also see factors favouring a greater shift toward local and regional events.

Many parts of the business events industry need to embrace the citizen-centred approach now adopted by many destinations in the wake of the pandemic. That’s according to friend of The Iceberg Professor Greg Clark who delivered a thought leadership session at the Virtual Advocacy Discussion hosted recently by the IMEX Group.

The excitement around the return of IMEX America continues to build with a wide range of exhibitors and buyers already confirmed, signalling a confident comeback for the business events community. The learning opportunities, a cornerstone of the Iceberg partner’s show, begin with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on November 8th. The full day of free education also includes a dedicated event for association leaders, the Association Leadership Forum, created by Iceberg partner ASAE.

ASAE has posted a sponsored article about the digital transition of its annual meeting and exposition, which in  2020 received the highest number of registrants in its century of history. So when it came time to plan for the August 2021 event, ASAE kept the digital format, and partner Intrado Digital Media.

ICCA has established a research partnership with research agency Explori. With this partnership, ICCA will help members and associations continue to benefit from exceptional educational content and world class events. Through the partnership ICCA will as well create insightful market intelligence reports.

ICCA has appointed five leading academics onto its new ICCASkills International Academic Advisory Committee. ICCA Skills is the certification programme for ICCA members and the industry. The committee will develop curriculum guidelines and content specifications for its two leading certification courses.

ICCA has announced a new strategic collaboration with Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. The venture will support ICCA members as they implement sustainability changes. One immediate benefit is that ICCA members can register for the GDS Academy, which launched in June, and earn the GDS – ICCA – ECM Certificate in Regenerative Destination Management. Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing has also posted about the academy.

ECM has also launched the 35th ECM Summer School, which will take place online from August 24th – 26th. Interactive discussions will focus on the themes of people (inclusivity, diversity, wellbeing), places (destination legislation, virtual and hybrid events, legacy, sustainability) and business (bidding, business plans for virtual events, data, keeping business during a pandemic, trade shows). ECM has also published a video with Pier Paolo Mariotti, Certified Meeting Manager at Eurac Research in Bolzano and Course Director of the Summer School.

More has been posted from the inaugural IBTM Wired. The Iceberg partner’s show included sessions from Virgin Galactic Commercial Director Stephen Attenborough, and Ben Goedegebuure, Global General Manager EMEA at Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events. The Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg, has posted a report from a panel it held at the event around the many practical issues associated with industry recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, Four themes emerged as being amongst the top priorities for consolidated industry action: confidence, collaboration, outreach and adaptation.

Hosted buyers can now register for the in person element of this year’s hybrid instalment of IBTM World, taking place at Fira, Barcelona, from November 30th to December 2nd 2021. The virtual element will follow from December 7th to 9th. IBTM World 2021 has the theme “New Business, New Tech, New World” with a focus on getting people to meet again in whatever format.

Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance, which represents some of the world’s leading meeting destinations, has opened registration for its Global Forum, taking place December 2nd to 5th 2021 in Madrid. Organisers have promised an immersive event focussing on meeting design, to provide delegates with in person engagement much-anticipated after 18 months of working from a laptop screen at home.

BestCities has also posted collected links to the COVID-19 safety management measures across all of the alliance’s destination cities.

In June, BestCities hosted its second online Community Café. Themed “When Communities Collide”, the collective insights of the four industry leaders taking part uncover several ways association organisers can establish strong and loyal communities.

Greg O’Dell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for Washington, DC, has been elected President of Iceberg partner AIPC (the International Association of Convention Centres) for the 2021-2023 term. New initiatives announced at AIPC’s General Assembly include the Future Shapers Program, a free, nine-month management program specifically designed for upcoming leaders in convention centres. Sandy Kennedy, CEO of the Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, was announced as a speaker for the initiative. The Future Shaper application process is now open, and AIPC has produced a launch video.

AIPC is holding 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.

AIPC has also announced that its 2023 Annual Congress will take place in Luxembourg from July 16th to 19th. The venue is the European Conference Center Luxembourg, centrally located in the Business district of Luxembourg City with easy access to the city centre and airport.

The shortlist for this year’s glitzy M&IT Awards taking place at Battersea Evolution on Friday October 8th has been revealed. The awards will celebrate the best, most dedicated and innovative members of the ever-evolving and truly tenacious meetings and events industry.

Mash Media’s Exhibition News (EN) Awards brought together in London more than 600 industry players for an evening of celebration. The ceremony, hosted by UK comedian Tom Allen, recognised those who had made an impact over the pandemic as well as those making a difference in how the industry operates.

Mash Media has confirmed that the UK events industry’s flagship show, International Confex, will move to September 1st and 2nd 2021. The event’s organising team decided to delay the event by a few weeks more “as we cannot guarantee the event the exhibitors deserve and that all the visitors from the entire MICE industry wants”.

Boardroom has published two new MiniCourses, including one sponsored by Destination DC and introduced by its CEO Elliott Ferguson. In it Robert J. Bies, Ph.D Professor of Management at the McDonough School of Business within Georgetown University, explains how you need to think and act like a startup if you want to to be creative and innovative in the 21st century. In the other, sponsored by Provence Côte d’Azur Events, Jean-Baptiste Geissler, Director of the Aix-Marseille French-Tech, shares what startups can teach associations as far as innovation is concerned.

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, Issue #15, Issue #16 and Issue #17.

Iceberg partner Talley Management Group has appointed Sehba Khan, MBA, as its Director of Business Development. Prior to joining TMG, Sehba worked with varying companies, including nonprofits, startups and global businesses.

Registration remains open for Positive Impact’s Explore#5: International Day of Peace on Tuesday 21st September. The Iceberg partner is encouraging SMEs within the event sector to take action on a net zero commitment before COP26. The new video is here as well. You can also join Positive Impact’s community of 1,400 ambassadors and / or purchase its EDUCATE product.

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).

In efforts to end human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, the Event Industry Council has joined The Code. The Code is a voluntary set of six criteria to keep children safe. The Code is supported by ECPAT, a worldwide network of organisations working to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world.

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 “Keeping Your Members and Attendees In Mind”. Imagine a dartboard with your customer in the bullseye. That is the picture you need to see as you design multichannel events amidst continued uncertainty.

PCMA has also posted two great stories from its own events. The Greater Philadelphia chapter found a novel way to bring industry pros together and give supplier members exposure to planners while keeping everyone safe. They staged a tailgate trade show. Meanwhile, PCMA EduCon in Phoenix left an invaluable community legacy. Attendees took part in a “wheelchair build”, donating the end results to the Arizona chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Florence Chua has replaced Karen Bolinger as Managing Director APAC of PCMA as part of the association’s efforts to establish dedicated leadership in regional markets. Bolinger had been employed on a short term, part-time contract. Under her leadership, PCMA launched its inaugural Convening APAC and and held Convening Leaders in Singapore for the first time.

The Hybrid City Alliance has launched a white paper entitled Your Ultimate Guide to Multi-City Hybrid Events. This explores the design, sustainability and risks of hybrid and multi-hub hybrid events. The Alliance also announced the addition of five new members bringing the total membership to seventeen cities from twelve countries.

Mike Morrissey, CEO of the European Cancer Organisation, was elected President of the European Society of Association Executives (ESAE) at the group’s general assembly. He replaces Giuseppe Marletta, Executive Director of the Association of Corporate Counsel. During Marletta’s tenure, membership grew by 150 percent, the organisation rebranded, a leadership circle was created, a new event programme established, and followers on social media increased by 750 percent.

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive of the UK’s Association of Event Organisers and Treasurer of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, has been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List, receiving an OBE for services to the events industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Longhurst is set to step down in December after sixteen years as Chief Executive of the Meetings Industry Association. During her time Longhurst helped grow the association from 300 members to over 800 and has worked throughout the pandemic to provide the MIA community with the information and support it needed.

Sophie Beasor has been appointed as the new general manager at the Event Marketing Association, taking over from Priya Narain. The EMA is a UK industry association for the in-house corporate event professional with over 1,200 members. Beasor will be taking over from Narain in overseeing the day-to-day running of the association and supporting the council and committees to drive strategy forward over the coming year.

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has announced details of its upcoming Festival of Learning at its annual general meeting. The Festival, which will take place in December 2021, will be a hybrid event centred around how the needs of association event professionals have evolved.

Chris Parnham has taken on the presidency of SITE GB six months early following the departure of Elliott Grant. Grant sprung a surprise on the incentive industry by announcing a change of career to become a teacher. Board member Leigh Butterfield has stepped up as Vice President.

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.

New government guidance for events in England has been published. QR codes, COVID passes and codes of conduct for attendees are among the government’s additional guidance for event planners as England moved to Step 4 of its roadmap.

Vaccine passports will be compulsory to enter crowded venues from late September, the UK Prime Minister has announced. In an extraordinary U-turn, Boris Johnson said that from the autumn COVID vaccination certificates would be mandatory for crowded venues in England. Johnson made reference to nightclubs in his announcement, which also raises the question about large business events like conferences, trade shows and gala dinners.

Emma Little, Founder and CEO of venue finding agency ExecSpace, has launched a new full-service search, selection and talent acquisition business. ExecMove will recruit for the venue, events, hospitality and tourism sector and support industry recovery by directly addressing the talent and skills gap across these sectors after the pandemic.

Meanwhile, a new employment initiative from agency Associate Events is aiming to get quality staff back into venues. AE is offering a white label staffing service called “Associate Venues” across London and eventually the whole UK. Working on a retainer basis, AE will employ permanent events staff from its pool of professionals on behalf of the venue.

Specialist events agency Realise is starting a new cohort of event apprentices next month after an eighteen month gap. From September the new cohort will take candidates from leading event organisers, global luxury brands, venues and agencies on an 18 month journey of hands‐on work experience supplemented by education.

Hosted buyer registration is now open for The Meetings Show, which takes place live at London’s ExCeL as well as virtually on September 30th and October 1st. Hosted buyers attending the live show benefit from a dedicated appointment diary, as well as support with travel, accommodation and a whole host of other benefits. Visitor registration is also now open for The Meetings Show, which will bring together the events, meetings and incentives industry to source, learn and network. Plus, a constructive and comprehensive education programme for this year’s event has been unveiled. Curated by The Meetings Show’s new Conference and Content Manager Erica Oghoghorie, the sessions have been organised into five learning theatres: Innovation and Industry Trends, My Career and Personal Development, Event Marketing, Event Technology, and Meeting Design. Meanwhile, ten of the industry’s brightest stars have been named as the winners of The Meetings Show’s “Tomorrow’s Talent” initiative. Now in its third year, the scheme is designed to shine a light on the sector’s emerging talent.

Diversity and inclusivity are being celebrated in the events industry with the launch of Diversity Ally’s inaugural awards. The Diversity in Events Awards, taking place in April 2022, will celebrate organisations and leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to being diversity and inclusion change-makers and allies.

A competition giving exposure to young event professionals has been won by a concept designed to “transport people back to a simpler time”. Kymberley Charlett has been named the winner of micebook’s Disrupt the V Awards competition. Charlett recently graduated with an event management degree but has struggled to establish herself in the industry because of the ongoing pandemic. Her winning idea will be incorporated into the V Awards in September and more details will be released as the event nears.

Building confidence and getting people meeting again is at the top of the agenda for the inaugural CHS Birmingham show. Taking place at ICC Birmingham on October 26th 2021, the first event of its kind for the CHS Group will “inject confidence” into the industry after the pandemic. CHS Birmingham was set to have taken place last year but had to be postponed. CHS Group has also launched a celebratory week for event professionals, in partnership with the wider West Midlands meetings and events industry. This coincides with the show, and will be made up of satellite networking, educational and entertainment sessions across the region.

Promoting gender equity in sport and physical activity, the International Working Group on Women and Sport, established in Brighton in 1994, will return to the UK from October 2022 to September 2026. Hosting the IWG for this four-year period, the UK’s Sport and Recreation Alliance will receive the baton from the Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa, following the 8th conference there next year. The 9th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport will take place in Birmingham, adding to the city’s portfolio of global sports events.

Harrogate Convention Centre has hosted its first major meeting following its stint as a COVID Nightingale Hospital. The Home and Gift Buyers’ Festival and the Manchester Furniture Show attracted 10,000 visitors to the town, with an estimated economic impact of £750,000. The four-day event was a part of the government’s Events Research Programme.

Meanwhile, Professor Steve Reicher, a member of the SAGE group advising the UK during the pandemic, has called the government’s Events Research Programme “a scandalous misuse of science as a cover for political decisions”. Writing on Twitter, Professor Reicher said the research shouldn’t be relied on to show if events transmit the virus since the pilot events took place before the recent Delta variant spike. He highlighted the low rates of PCR tests returned (one in seven) as unrepresentative and atypically compliant. There was also no comparison control group of people not attending the events.

More than 2,000 delegates gathered online in July for the world’s largest medieval academic event, which had been scheduled to be held in Leeds. The International Medieval Congress’ theme for its 28th annual event was “Climates”. Global experts demonstrated the value of looking back into history to shed a light on present-day climate crisis.

The live events industry is getting stronger by the day as many event planners schedule face-to-face events for this year. In etc.venues’ latest survey of 405 event planners, 72 percent said they will hold their next face-to-face event this year. 39 percent will hold in person events in Q3 this year and 33 percent in Q4. 82 percent of respondents valued face-to-face events more now than before the pandemic.

Applications have opened for VisitBritain’s Domestic Support Fund, a new initiative to kickstart the recovery of UK business events. £100,000 is available for not-for-profit organisations and charities hosting meetings, conferences and events in the UK from June 21st to December 17th 2021, with up to £15,000 available for each meeting. Applicants have until November to apply, with both hybrid and live events eligible if they are hosting 100 to 500 delegates.

Creative communications agency DRPG says work has been completed on a new warehouse extension at its head office and studio complex in Worcestershire. The new facility is part of a £4 million investment carried out over the past twelve months, and will see capacity double for the technical team.

Meanwhile, DRPG announced with great sadness that Julie Davidson, Director of Strategy and Communications, passed away in her hometown of York at the age of 56 after a short illness. Julie worked closely with many well-known brands building the Creative Communications and Campaigns division of the group, and is lovingly remembered, by her husband Rob and daughter Christy.

A new white paper from Wimbledon-based events agency Sleek makes the argument for why events should remain a central part of marketing strategy. Rebuilding Your Events Calendar Into 2021 and Beyond is the first paper of its kind from the agency, offering practical tips and resources.

Following the success of the G7 Summit in Cornwall, Identity has been confirmed to deliver the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow later this year. The Eastbourne-based event management company will work with the UK Government to organise and produce COP16 at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow this November. Identity Director of Live Events Janet Dodd has been featured on M&IT’s Eventful Life podcast.

Meanwhile, with the countdown to COP26 underway, host venue SEC has revealed a sustainability-led food strategy, with a pledge to use 80 percent of Scottish-sourced produce. By 2023, SEC aims to only use packaging that is reusable or recyclable and by 2025 to reduce kitchen waste to less than one percent. In the meantime, food waste generated will be diverted from landfill to anaerobic digestion to create biogas or to help grow crops and feed animals.

The International Play Association, which aims to protect, preserve and promote children’s fundamental human right to play, has chosen Glasgow as the location of its 2023 World Congress. The event, which will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University, will attract up to 700 delegates from over 50 countries around the world.

Iceberg ambassador Aileen Crawford’s role has now been expanded to Head of both Tourism and Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, Glasgow Life has announced. Her new remit will include leading the delivery of Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 and beyond, working with the industry, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council. Glasgow had a firmly established tourism and conference sector pre-COVID, attracting over £774 million for the local economy through visitor spend, and supporting 32,000 jobs.

The World Endometriosis Society has chosen Edinburgh as host city for its 15th World Congress on Endometriosis in 2023. The congress at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is expected to attract 1,200 delegates and inject £3 million into the local economy, as well as advancing education, advocacy, clinical care and research in the condition.

Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group has warned that a failure to support a struggling industry would put the sector’s associated £6 billion visitor spend at risk in future. EIAG is seeking £40 million in financial support from the Scottish government. This fund would be in addition to the £31 million in direct grant support received by the Scottish events industry from the government since March 2020.

A new research study says that running virtual events is making data management more complicated for 50 percent of planners, most collecting more data now than ever before. 82 percent felt good data practice was critical in successful hybrid events. “The Changing Role of Event Data ‐ New Challenges and Opportunities” was conducted by Eventsforce in May and surveyed over 200 event professionals in the UK and US.

The Smart Cities and Sport Summit will be held in Copenhagen this November. Usually the event is only hosted in an Olympic host city or at the Olympic headquarters. The World Union of Olympic Cities has made an exception this time, Copenhagen having hosted the 2009 IOC congress.

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.

Registration has opened for the Union of International Associations’ 9th Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific, taking place as a hybrid event in Tokyo on October 21st and 22nd. Registration has also opened for UIA’s 14th Associations Round Table Europe, taking place as a hybrid event in Prague on November 18th and 19th.

A study by the German Convention Bureau found almost 50 percent of organisers planning regional or smaller events in 2021. But some people are still reluctant to travel at the moment. So if target groups cannot come to a central event, why not bring the brand to them instead? As a flexible format that can be scaled at will, hybrid roadshows can replace trade fairs, press events, central launch events, kick-off events or management conferences. Agency VOK DAMS has published a white paper called “Think Globally, Experience Locally”.

In the same vein, the German Convention Bureau has put together a helpful overview of the streaming studios that German destinations and venues have to offer for hosting hybrid and virtual events.

Austria lifted almost all restrictions on events at the start of July. The development follows the announcement in May of the Vienna Meeting Fund 2021 to 2023, a €4 million package of aid to event organisers hosting meetings in the city. One of the first major events taking place under these relaxed regulations was the European Congress of Radiology 2021 Summer Edition from July 1st to 3rd.

Vienna-based consultancy ENITED explores what business events mean for associations after COVID in a new white paper. According to ENITED, the future belongs to the SMART ones: Sustainable, Mindful, Agile, Reputable and Transformational organisations. ENITED’s Ivo Franschitz and Henrik von Arnold have also given an interview here.

The International Society of Travel Medicine will be holding its 18th Congress from May 21st to 25th 2023 in the Congress Center Basel. The event should attract 1,500 specialists from the travel medicine industry. The venue has posted an interview with Professor Christoph Hatz of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, who played a major role in bringing the event to Basel.

The European Corrosion Conference 2024 is to take place in Paris. The event, bringing together over a thousand international experts in the corrosion and protection of materials, will be held at the Palais des Congrès de Paris from September 1st to 5th. It is the first time the conference has been held in the French capital since the inaugural staging in 1956.

A combined effort of the local Geospatial community, universities and the Firenze Convention Bureau saw Florence win the bid to host the annual congress of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. The non-profit supports the development of free and open-source geographic technologies and data. The 16th edition of OSGeo will take place across multiple venues from August 22nd to 27th 2022. The event is usually attended by around 1,000 delegates each year.

The World Wind Energy Association has selected Palacongressi di Rimini to host the annual WWEC conference to be held from June 28th to 30th 2022. The event is heading for the first time to Italy thanks to the work of Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento (the Italian Wind Energy Association) and the leadership of Key Energy.

Congress organiser AIM Group International has released the results from a survey Events in-person, hybrid or digital? Trends and perspectives from the Sponsors, which polled 200 representatives from pharmaceutical and biopharma companies. The results revealed that half of the respondents are ready to sponsor in person events next autumn and only 16 percent exclude it as an option entirely.

Calgary, in the western Canadian province of Alberta, once credited oil for its rapid growth. Now, the city is soon to be the largest convention destination in western Canada once the $500 million renovation of BMO Centre at Stampede Park concludes in 2024. The expanded convention centre is just one part of the $1 billion plan underway to position the city as a year-round meeting destination.

The Virginia-based Incentive Research Foundation has published a case study into its own 2021 Education Invitational. From the very beginning of the planning process, health and safety protocols were driving every decision for this 500-person live event held in June.

IRF recently published a white paper summarising facilitated conversations between incentive travel professionals who met in April in The Palm Beaches. The conversations in IRF’s white paper Buyer Decision Drivers are in turn summarised here.

IRF also recently published a white paper called The Impact of Destination Choice on Motivation, to learn how participants feel about incentive travel awards after the pandemic and how destination preferences have changed. A reference deck and webinar is available alongside the study itself.

The Colombian Convention Bureaux Network has outlined its strategies for strengthening and promoting meetings in the country at a hybrid media conference attended by Deputy Tourism Minister Constanza Olaya. These included the unveiling of the Network’s new website, designed to support the reactivation efforts in Colombia and abroad of its eleven destinations.

The SA Events Council rotates its leadership every six months, so August sees Ellen Oosthuizen, Chair at the PCO Alliance, hand on the SAEC Chair to Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa Chair Gill Gibbs. Gibbs is well-known within the industry as a passionate leader excited by challenge and change. Raylene Johnson steps up as SAEC Vice Chair, taking over from Glenton De Kock, CEO of SAACI.

Enhancing partnerships, growth and opportunities for associations after the pandemic in Africa is the theme of this year’s African Association Summit. The AAS3, launched by the African Society of Association Executives in 2019, was due to be held at Rwanda’s Kigali Convention Centre but will go ahead on September 23rd and 24th as a hybrid event. The summit will bring together both African and international associations and not-for-profit executives to discuss the future of the sector.

The Africa MICE Summit2021 was formally launched on July 9th 2021 in a virtual event that brought together industry associations, venues and other stakeholders. The Summit, which will be held on September 8th to 10th, is a major platform for the business events industry in Africa, showcasing the sector and its investment and partnership opportunities.

Tourism stakeholders across Africa have the rest of August to get their entries in for the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards 2021, which for the first time has introduced regional awards, including Africa, India, Latin America and the rest of the world. Winners will be announced at WTM Virtual, taking place digitally on November 8th and 9th this year.

The African Energy Chamber’s African Energy Week 2021 is taking place in Cape Town on November 9th to 12th. Hosted at the V&A Waterfront and across multiple other venues. including museums, restaurants, the aquarium, a golf course, conference halls and art galleries, AEW 2021 will create economic impact across multiple sectors within the South African economy.

Johannesburg’s Ticketpro Dome has been sold by the owners, Sasol Pension Fund, to a third party which does not operate in the event space. The ban on public gatherings has meant that during 2020 and now 2021 the venue has been unable to operate. Over the years, the Dome has hosted top international music artists plus consumer and trade shows like Mediatech Africa and the Africa Automation Technology Fair.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre has further enhanced its digital and hybrid event solutions. Its CTICC Engage is powered by the hybrid and virtual conference service provider MyPlanner. The platform allows organisers to host seamless events where attendees can engage with in-platform interactive online meetings and live presentation sessions.

The next Dubai Association Conference will take place on February 21st. The association only event will be organised at the Dubai Exhibition Centre within the Expo 2020 Dubai site. Ahead of the main conference, a series of three interactive online sessions are being held through 2021. The first of these was on June 15th.

The Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau Business Events Team has released “Sustainability Experience in Tokyo”, which offers ideas to conference organisers aiming to make their events in Tokyo more sustainable. The guide, which includes eleven programs in total, also integrates perspectives on the UN SDGs.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has published a “Regenerating Legacies” Recovery Roadmap, a call to the global conventions industry to get ready for when international borders open fully. The Regenerating Legacies conversations aim to explore fundamental beliefs with association experts and industry partners.

As Thailand’s meetings industry recovers, the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre has posted details of its reopening health and safety operational guidelines. Areas in the centre are carefully managed to avoid the risk of infection and strict screening measures and systems give exhibitors and visitors the safest experience.

The biennial World Federation of Haemophilia World Congress is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2024 after coronavirus scuppered the 2020 meeting. The event, which typically attracts around 5,000 delegates, including patients, is dedicated to improving the lives of people with genetic bleeding disorders. Bangkok, Thailand, was the last Asian city to host the event in 2004. The 2022 event is in Montreal, Canada.

Business events leaders in Sarawak have slated a possible reopening of the industry in October after 2,000 industry professionals were fully COVID-19 vaccinated. Industry workers were jabbed during the final phase of the Industrial COVID-19 Vaccination Programme in July at the Association of Churches Sarawak, Kuching.

Strict safety measures were in place when Seoul hosted the 17th HETI International Congress, a meeting of experts in equine-assisted education and therapy. The mix of experts in the field were sanitised immediately upon entering the venue via the Quarantine Gate which sprayed disinfectant directly onto them. As part of the wider PLUS SEOUL programme, the venue also used thermographic cameras and infrared thermometers to monitor body temperature.

Constellar Holdings, the recent rebrand of SingEx-Sphere Holdings, has announced 21 job losses as it “rightsizes” due to the prolonged impact of COVID-19. The redundancies affect twelve percent of all employees in the Singapore headquarters and come just as new group CEO Jean-François Quentin takes up his post.

The Singapore Tourist Board has opened a new regional office in Brussels. The new branch’s mission is to lay the groundwork for a stronger recovery and to capitalise on growth opportunities across business events in Benelux, France and Switzerland.

Last year the 59th ICCA Congress took place in the Taiwanese harbour city of Kaohsiung. Its legacy was the Kaohsiung Protocol, a strategy framework for the sector. MEET TAIWAN has set itself a goal of promoting conferences that implement the spirit of the Kaohsiung Protocol. Recent examples include the 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Change and Green Technology (2021 ICSDGs) held in Dalin Township and TASS 2020 (Asia’s Sustainable Supply and Circular Economy Conference and Exhibition) in Kaohsiung.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre’s management company HML has introduced a lottery incentive prize to encourage Hong Kong residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Prizes valued at over $64,000 include year-round unlimited dinner buffets and dining vouchers at HKCEC’s restaurants. Participants must have completed their vaccination course on or before August 31st to be eligible to win.

Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center (Shenzhen World) has issued an update. The venue delivered eighteen exhibitions by June, including ChinaPlas, the biggest rubber and plastic exhibition in Asia, Gift Show Spring Edition, attended by over 200,000 buyers, and SIMM, the most influential manufacturing and equipment exhibition in Southern China. There will be 47 exhibitions in the second half of 2021.

Diane Chen, general manager of the Shenyang New World Expo has been awarded the designation of Certified Venue Executive from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). She joins only 310 other CVE’s who have received the certification since 1976 and is the first to do so in mainland China. Eight other venue managers have been awarded their CVE certification this year.

Tourism Australia has announced the departure of its executive general manager Penny Lion in a wider reshuffle that will see the agency focus its recovery efforts on the domestic market. Lion consolidated Tourism Australia’s approach to marketing the country as an international business events destination and managed the implementation of programmes like the Business Events Bid Fund and Business Events Boost.

Business event leaders in Melbourne hope a meeting of 5,000 psychologists will have a lasting positive impact on the city’s mental health strategy. The capital of Victoria is set to host the 2028 International Congress of Psychology, the world’s largest gathering of psychologists, after winning a competitive bid. Held every four years, the flagship conference is returning to Australasia for the first time in 40 years, and for only the second time in ICP’s 132-year history.

Extra funding has been pumped into Queensland’s business events industry to encourage more in person meetings. The subvention is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, following an earlier round of money in March that helped secure twenty business events with a total of 8,300 delegates and an expected value of AU$14 million.

Business Events Perth has announced a limited six-month extension of its Event Here Now fund, through which organisers planning a new business event in Western Australia can apply for sponsorship of AU$15 a delegate up to a maximum of AU$10,000. Sponsorship is valid only for new business event bookings to be held in Western Australia prior to December 31st, 2021.

Business Events Perth has unveiled digital tours of some of Western Australia’s most iconic and impressive conference venues. The 3D tours can be viewed on any device, providing a fully immersive experience of venues such as Crown Perth, the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Optus Stadium.

ICC Sydney adapted to changing restrictions to convert The Royal College of Pathologists Australasia Pathology Update 2021 from hybrid to fully virtual in just 48 hours. The aim was to make the event complete with keynote speakers, workshops, breakout sessions and exhibition content using ICC Sydney’s Connect platform.

ICC Sydney Connect, together with the venue’s new Media Studio, its approach to COVID safety and its legacy program, are all discussed in this Boardroom article. In an uncertain landscape, ICC Sydney has successfully and continuously adapted its services to support events going ahead under global and local health restrictions.

Business Events Industry Aotearoa has released its latest guide to New Zealand for event planners. The new-look 29th edition, was launched at MEETINGS 2021 and 2,500 copies have been distributed to business event organisers across Australia and New Zealand.

The 17th Congress of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association has been held, bringing together international experts and researchers to discuss the challenges in managing intestinal failure. Auckland Convention Bureau worked with Dr Helen Evans, Head of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, to secure rights to the event. Tourism New Zealand also provided support for the bid.

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

Partner Spotlight

Showing Partners

View all Partners


Showing Featured Newsletters

View all Newsletters