Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening ceremony in the Al Wasl Plaza dome.

Expo 2020 Dubai finally opened it doors, with a grand opening ceremony in the site’s remarkable Al Wasl Plaza dome. After spending $7 billion, how will Dubai get to reap the rewards given the current world situation and reluctance to travel? At least the emirate has one the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, somewhat higher than Japan for Tokyo 2020.

But the Iceberg‘s eyes are also currently on Glasgow and the imminent COP26. Our platform celebrates the legacies of business events. Has any business event yet held left as large a legacy as the potential impact of this meeting?

In News this issue, COP26 looms large. The global meetings industry is being urged to join together and make the historic pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg, launched Net Zero Carbon Events to connect the sector to the growing movement to radically reduce emissions. A first for Malaysia, Sarawak has now joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index. Liverpool as well has just become the first English city to sign up to the Iceberg partner. Glasgow Convention Bureau is to help planners to host more sustainable meetings with an interactive workshop. Go Greener in Glasgow comes as the city readies for COP26. Plus, read news of two venue revamps. Bangkok’s Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre will reopen in September 2022 with a capacity for 100,000 visitors per day. This comes after an investment of 15 billion Thai Baht ($455 million). Hungexpo Budapest has reopened after a €170 million refurbishment, and is now the largest facility of its type across Central Eastern Europe. A new entry lobby, two new exhibition halls and a new congress centre are part of the makeover.

Also in News, the latest UK Conference and Meeting Survey throws into stark relief the massive toll of the pandemic upon the industry. The 28th annual UKCAMS report shows a drop of 86 percent in 2020-held conferences and meetings compared with 2019. The estimated sector value fell from £17.6 billion to £1.7 billion. Business events companies in Italy could have some of their COVID-19 losses returned under a €520 million compensation scheme to which EU competition watchdogs have just given the nod. Association meeting planners are keen to return to in person events, says a recent report. The Business Events Consumer Demand Project by Tourism Australia found 45 percent of association respondents had held meetings over the past ten months, including those with delegates in person. You are far less likely to contract COVID-19 at a business event than you are carrying out everyday tasks like grocery shopping, according to a recent study. Infection rates across US meetings were as much as 95 percent lower than the national average. Vaccinated passengers will be able to travel from the EU and UK to the US from November 8th, marking the end of the eighteen-month blanket ban on travel. The news is a significant milestone in the recovery of international business events. “Incredible Impacts”, the joint initiative of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and BestCities Global Alliance, both of them Iceberg partners, has awarded three associations which have left lasting legacies of social advances. The European AIDS Clinical Society, The Garden of Hope Foundation, and Women Deliver are this year’s winners.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Two cover climate change. Journalist Holly Patrick’s recent fam trip to Madrid came with a large carbon dioxide footprint. So how did she offset her journey, and what options are available for event attendees with carbon on their conscience? Plus, the pandemic, climate change and increasing inequality are compelling associations to repurpose. This means commitments about sustainability, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) as well as the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Plus, nearly all healthcare practitioners say that “high-quality content” is the most important factor in deciding whether to attend virtual events. That’s according to an updated survey from Kenes Group. Also, the pandemic has given convention bureaux a fresh chance to partner with economic development agencies to benefit the destination over the short and long term. An exploration of how the COVID crisis has impacted the meetings industry, Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events’ five-part podcast “Events UnPaused”, presented by President David Peckinpaugh, is chock-full of insights.

Also in Opinions, the theme of associations continues in other articles. The Geneva International Association Forum was the first physical association event of the kind post-lockdown. The programme certainly did not disappoint. Michelle Mason heads up Iceberg partner ASAE as President and CEO. After she “stumbled into association management”, Mason has climbed the ranks, converting barriers into opportunities and using her platform to raise others who are underrepresented. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society held its Global Health Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas under a vaccine mandate. Here’s more on how HIMSS managed that decision. Plus, with ongoing cases of COVID-19, the Pfizer vaccine’s full federal approval, and new federal vaccine mandates covering workers, more associations are considering adding a vaccine mandate to their in person events. Associations Now tells us everything organisers need to know. Back in 2019, the scientific conference of the European Health Management Association. was being staged in Espoo, Finland. The organiser’s guiding Northern stars for the meeting’s three days and 350 delegates were legacy, community and impact. The 59th ICCA Congress last year established the Kaohsiung Protocol, a framework document for the industry. In 2021 the Iceberg partner’s 60th Congress will keep the collaborative approach to reinventing business operations in Cartagena. Also, in the launch of a series of quarterly summits, expert panellists discuss the questions most asked around the future of association meetings. AMI Editor James Lancaster hosts.

In Features this issue, more on the three associations just honoured by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance for their “Incredible Impacts”. An AMI Zoom panel also discusses legacy, with multiple Iceberg partners contributing including our own Founder James Latham. UFI, global association of the exhibition industry, has launched its Global Policy Leadership Series, a number of high-level ministerial conversations about economic plans and the role exhibitions play in stimulating economies. Plus, more on the historic industry pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Why not sign up to JMIC’s Net Zero Carbon Events yourself?

In Research you will find added Lime Venue Portfolio’s final instalment Beyond Food: The Future of Conference and Event Food. The DestinationNEXT 2021 Futures Study from Destination International contains a lot about the opportunities for destinations that business events enable. Read also Kenes Group’s Healthcare Professionals on Virtual Events 2021, Iceberg partner Positive impact Events’ United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Acceleration Action for the Event Industry, and The Business Visits and Events Partnership’s The Shape of Events. Similar to the latter in having a UK perspective and detailing the damage wrought on business events by the pandemic, there is also much encouragement for the future to be found in Cities Restart’s The Importance of International Conferences and Business Events to Restarting City Economies.

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.

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

A reopening roadmap for the region’s business events industry has been charted and reaffirmed by ASEAN leaders and Global Exhibitions Organisers, who met face-to-face at the Joint Leadership Summit (JLS) of AEO / SACEOS / SISO / UFI – Singapore at the Fullerton Hotel on October 5th to 7th. They discussed the critical need to reopen inter- and intra- regional travel routes while ensuring the health and safety of travellers as core policy measures. UFI President Anbu Varathan posted this message in September. UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf posted this message, also in September, plus one in October.

After being postponed from its original dates in January, the 46th edition of World of Concrete was the first show to use the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new $1 billion West Hall expansion. UFI and SISO (the Society of Independent Show Organizers) have now published a case study about the exhibition.

Visitors to the Las Vegas-based meetings trade show IMEX America will have to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 before gaining entry. The IMEX Group has published its full COVID safety plans and entry requirements for the 10th edition of the event, staged at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, from November 9th to 11th. IMEX will be using the well-known and commonly used CLEAR Health Pass app for all North American attendees. There will be a different process for use by international attendees. The free learning programme launches with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on November 8th and continues with a series of workshops, hot topic tables and seminars during the three days of the show. The education covered includes the power of storytelling, shared values and human nature, with journalist Sharad Kharé. Corporate connections have been expanded at IMEX America, with a new Corporate Focus event joining the Executive Meeting Forum to offer exclusive connections for corporate planners. Over 3,000 buyers have so far registered to attend IMEX America from across the planner community.

ICCA has announced its 60th Annual ICCA Congress will take place as a hybrid event. The global association meetings industry will head to Cartagena, Colombia, for October 24th to 27th under the theme “Forward to our Future”. Delegates can join the Congress at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Center, via three regional hubs or on ICCA’s virtual platform.

The 35th edition of the ECM Summer School took place from August 24th to 26th. Over 95 professionals, both students and faculty, attended the event. The three half-days programme included sessions focused on three pillars of the meetings industry: business, people and places. The ECM Summer School was moderated this year by Patrick Delaney, Managing Partner at SoolNua.

IBTM Americas concluded with close to 8,000 business meetings taking place over the two-day event, around $1 billion in business opportunities and an economic benefit of over 70 million Mexican pesos. More than 2,000 people participated in the event, and over 350 exhibitor and co-exhibitor companies, 400 buyers, sponsors and media reconnected face-to-face and sought new opportunities to develop business.

Under the theme of “New Business, New Tech, New World”, IBTM World Barcelona will focus on one-to-one meetings, educational content and networking opportunities. Visitor registration has opened for the show, which takes place from November 30th to December 2nd 2021. This year’s staging marks the return of the on-site event which was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Association Programme is scheduled for the first day of the event, the afternoon created with the support of four global organisations for association professionals. Organisers have also revealed the health and safety measures for the show’s return.

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 in Madrid. Organisers have promised an immersive event focussing on meeting design, to provide delegates with in person engagement much-anticipated after eighteen months of working from a laptop screen at home. BestCities has also posted this video about the meeting.

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

The Shaw Centre in Ottawa has been awarded the International Association of Conference Centres’ (AIPC) APEX award for the World’s Best Convention Centre. The Iceberg partner’s trophy is granted every two years in recognition of the highest rating on client surveys received by a convention centre. The award was presented at the recent AIPC annual conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the Shaw Centre was chosen from a group of eighteen convention centre finalists.

AIPC also announced the fifteen successful applicants into its inaugural Future Shapers programme, which kicked off on September 15th. The twelve month programme has been designed to support venue managers in developing high performers, accelerating their leadership skills and providing them with a platform to influence outcomes and improve the industry.

October 8th saw more than 550 event professionals gather at Battersea Evolution in London for the 34th annual M&IT Awards, where the winners across fourteen categories were announced. The black tie event, organised by Northstar Meetings Group, got underway with a champagne reception and entertainment from The British Imperial Military Band before a three-course gala dinner and awards ceremony hosted by television presenter Gethin Jones.

Mash Media’s International Confex, the meeting place for the UK events industry, opened with a big welcome back for the events community at the start of September. The 2020 event was one of the last exhibitions to run in the UK before the first pandemic lockdown. On Day 1, industry research specialists Explori’s associate research director, Guy Garside, shared a proven model for proving the impact of events on business objectives. Also under discussion, “The Rise of Intellectual Capitalism”, including the trend of destinations and associations aligning under key knowledge sectors plus the subject of legacy. Speakers included Iceberg Founder James Latham. Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference sales at SEC, and David Zolkwer, Project Director of COP26 at agency Identity, discussed the challenges of the event’s delivery. Mash Media editorial director Martin Fullard chaired a keynote session answering the big question “How could an £84 billion industry be overlooked in the pandemic?”.

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,, Building Confidence with Your Stakeholders and Destination Planning: Evolving the Role of CVBs, 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, Issue #17, Issue #18 and Issue #19.

The Iceberg partner Positive Impact is encouraging SMEs within the event sector to take action on a net zero commitment before COP26. The 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).

The Events Industry Council is asking event professionals to take part in the first phase of its newly-launched Equity Acceleration Plan as it looks to tackle discrimination and systemic racism in the sector. This first phase will focus on establishing a benchmark by which to measure progress for the industry through a survey to determine the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion within the workplace.

The PCMA Foundation has honoured some of the business events industry’s stars at its Visionary Awards ceremony, held at the Hilton Washington in Washington, DC. Nearly 550 business events leaders and their guests attended the black-tie affair, which included a red-carpet experience, an after party with band and the awards themselves. Among the winners was Iceberg ambassaodor Carina Bauer.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate should be used as a template by other countries to help speed up the resumption of international travel, according to a major travel association. The International Air Transport Association endorsed the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate and urged countries to use it as a standard for their own certificates. It shares travellers’ COVID-19 vaccination and testing status and has been implemented in the 27 member states of the European Union.

Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, has been named as the new chair of the Association of Event Organisers. The election, which took place at the AEO Council meeting and AGM on September 1st, also saw Julie Driscoll, Managing Director Retail, Fashion and Digital Marketing at Hyve Group, become Vice Chair. Former Chair Simon Parker will now assume the role of Past Chair for the forthcoming year.

The Meetings Industry Association has confirmed Kerrin MacPhie will be taking up the role of Chief Executive, replacing Jane Longhurst who retires this autumn. MacPhie will be building upon Longhurst’s legacy in championing the sector, and commences her new role on November 8th.

The Meetings Industry Association has updated its contract and cancellation guidance to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on future bookings and ensure all parties are protected. Working with legal experts Mishcon de Reya, the latest version of the guide details all actions venue operators should take.

Applications have closed for VisitBritain’s Domestic Support Fund, an initiative that was designed to help kickstart the recovery of the UK business events industry. Launched in June 2021, the funding initiative awarded a total of £200,000 to 29 UK events.

Three quarters of delegates are happy to attend in-person events if they are fully vaccinated, a new survey has found. The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers’ survey of 350 association conference attendees highlighted that networking, social interaction and meeting people is the key driver for attending in person.

The event industry body for sustainability, isla, has welcomed a new advisory board to guide its community for the next twelve months. Elected from the membership base, isla has appointed Carina Filek, Global Chief Operations Officer at Elevate, Saskya Liney, Account Director at emc3 and Charlie Hepburn, Client Strategy at Identity.

80 percent of event planners across the UK and Europe are currently sourcing in person events, according to the Cvent 2021 Planner Sourcing Report: Europe EditionOf those planners, 81 percent are sourcing for events to take place in 2021, and 63 percent are sourcing for events to take place in 2022. The results suggest strong industry momentum as planners become more confident about hosting in person events across the continent.

In a further reversal of position, vaccine passports will now form part of the UK government’s fallback Plan B for tackling COVID during autumn and winter in England. Plan A is based on vaccines and testing and will see millions receive booster jabs. But if the National Health Service comes under “unsustainable pressure”, Plan B could involve vaccine passports being made mandatory for mass events and other settings, mandatory face coverings in some places, the public being urged to act more cautiously and guidance to work from home. The government will give event professionals in England one week’s notice of plans to introduce vaccine passports as part of Plan B.

The UK Government has published an outline of the scheme rules for its Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, which was announced on August 4th. The £750 million scheme offers cost indemnification if an event has to be cancelled, postponed, relocated or abandoned due to new UK Civil Authority restrictions in response to COVID-19. It will run until September 30th 2022 with a review in Spring next year.

The All Secure Standard, a framework of guidance and risk assessment for planners to safely organise conferences and exhibitions, has been updated to reflect the UK moving to step four of the COVID roadmap. The updated version of the guidance is now publicly available and has received the seal of approval from the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The All Secure Standard was first launched in November 2020 by The Events Industry Alliance.

The Meetings Show 2021 marked the moment the UK event sector roared back into life after eighteen long months. In its first incarnation as a hybrid event, thousands of meetings took place between suppliers and buyers, both face-to-face and virtually. The Meetings Show also launched a new certification for event and meeting planners looking to drive their organisation’s sustainability strategy. The online six-week course is curated and delivered by isla’s Co-founder Anna Abdelnoor and other sustainability experts.

A new scholarship has launched to make the events industry more accessible to black, Asian, and minority ethnic talent. The REACH Events Scholarship will be available to BAME background students on Manchester Metropolitan University’s BA (Hons) Events Management degree programme from September 2022. Launched by an industry taskforce including The Hub, Diversity Ally and Event First Steps, it will provide £5,000 a year to support with living expenses. REACH is an acronym of race, ethnicity and cultural heritage.

A bid to host a global digital health conference in Manchester has been won by a British and Irish consortium. The International Medical Informatics Association Nursing Informatics International Conference will be held in the summer of 2024 in Manchester. The conference aims to showcase nursing and midwifery adoption, research and innovation, highlighting best practice, digital capabilities and future potential.

Leeds Beckett University’s UK Centre for Events Management has launched a new PhD impact bursary for event professionals. As part of UKCEM’s 25-year celebration and Leeds Beckett’s commitment to the industry’s future recovery, UKCEM is offering the bursary with a focus on innovation and new business models. Meeting Professionals International has also joined the effort.

The Delegate Wranglers has started a new campaign encouraging event professionals to attend various industry trade shows over the next few months. The campaign uses the hashtag #ShowUp, which is not meant in any way to criticize anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable or is not able to attend for any reason.

The Royal College of Nursing has moved its annual conference online to safeguard members in light of serious allegations of sexual harassment. After taking independent legal advice, elected members of the RCN Council decided the best way to safeguard members attending the conference was to move this year’s meeting to a fully virtual event. The RCN Congress was due to have taken place in Liverpool.

The largest gathering of optometrists and eyewear specialists in the UK will take place in person in January 2022 for the first time since the pandemic started. ExCeL London will host 100% Optical from January 22nd to 24th and show organisers have promised to deliver the most sustainable staging yet.

The TravelTech Show, which was virtually streamed this year, has announced its plans to return to an in person event in London on June 28th and 29th 2022. The virtual TravelTech Show 2021, held on September 14th and 15th, reported hosting 692 active participants, with 80 leading voices from the travel tech industry sharing insights and knowledge.

Event industry guru Julius Solaris, former Head of Engagement at Swapcard, has joined event technology platform Hopin as Vice-President of Marketing Strategy, Events. Hopin says Solaris will be focused on supporting the growth of its all-in-one event management platform and guiding core marketing strategies across its event solutions. Hopin also announced that Wei Gao has been appointed as the company’s first COO. Previously, Wei Gao was Worldwide Vice-President of Product, Technology and Supply Chain for Amazon Grocery and technical advisor to Jeff Bezos.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre has secured a string of UK and international conference wins for 2022 and 2023. The 6th International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease will take place in September 2022, with around 600 delegates expected. In October 2022, the Society for Melanoma Research International Annual Congress will be held at the venue with approximately 1,200 delegates due to attend.

Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus, host of this year’s COP26, has held its first conference since the start of the pandemic as the UK events industry gets back to business. The venue hosted the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), which was co-locating two events: Space, Satellites and Sustainability, and Photonex and Vacuum Technologies 2021.

UKinbound has announced that its 2022 Annual Convention has been awarded to Aberdeen. The winning bid was submitted by VisitAberdeenshire, with the convention set to take place on September 28th and 29th next year at the city’s P&J Live, the largest event complex in the north of Scotland. Over 200 businesses from across the UK’s diverse inbound tourism sector are expected to attend, including tour operators and trade buyers from across the UK’s key international visitor markets.

Despite a launch beset with technical problems, vaccine passports are now required for entry to many large events in Scotland. Everyone over the age of 18 will need to show proof that they have had both doses of the vaccine to gain entry to unseated indoor live events with over 500 people, unseated outdoor live events with over 4,000 people, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, and any event with over 10,000 people.

People in Wales now have to show an NHS COVID pass to attend many events, proving either that they have had vaccinations or a recent negative test. All over-18s need to have the pass to enter nightclubs, indoor unseated events for over 500 people like concerts or conventions, outdoor unseated events for over 4,000, or any setting or event with over 10,000 in attendance.

ICC Wales has announced its busiest month for new enquiries and confirmed business since opening in September 2019. The news came after the resumption of the business events sector in Wales and the UK. During August, Wales’ first purpose-built conference venue received 42 new enquiries worth a potential £1.4 million and confirmed 29 events worth £1.53 million, making it a record-breaking month for the team.

Northern Ireland’s Department for Economy has announced a £1 million conference support scheme to secure more business events in Belfast, Derry and the region. The scheme will provide conference organisers with £50 for each out-of-state delegate to bring their association conference to the region, with awards ranging between £5,000 and £100,000 for all eligible events. The support is open to not-for-profit associations and organisations bringing in at least 100 out-of-state delegates.

Wonderful Copenhagen, the destination’s official tourism organisation, says that a two-stringed engagement project, a strong national host group and an attractive host city were the three determining factors for the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology choosing the city for its annual congress in 2022. ESTRO’s engagement project will focus on two areas: showcasing and translating Danish experiences and expertise to members before, during and after the congress, plus using the event as a catalyst to improve radiotherapy in Denmark and the rest of Europe.

The Lviv Convention Bureau has made a series of announcements about events that have taken, and will take place within the western Ukrainian city. These include the news that in 2025 more than 700 scientists from around the world will come to Lviv for the International Crystallographic Congress.

The Slovenian Convention Bureau has announced Tadeja Pivc-Coudyser as its new Director. She has taken over the role from Miha Kovačič, who has led the bureau for sixteen years. Pivc-Coudyser is no stranger to the industry, having been in charge of International Sales at the Hague Convention Bureau from 2016. She also helped drive the Hybrid City Alliance project and has been ICCA France Benelux Chapter Chairperson.

With a 5,000 square metre extension, the Estrel Congress Center Berlin is setting new standards for events. The new auditorium opened on August 26th after two years of construction and offers tiered seating for 800 guests, a 48 square metre LED screen and specially designed acoustic walls. The new building is home to an additional ten event rooms for up to 240 people, as well as food and beverage service areas.

The Viszeralmedizin conference on the study of gastroenterology marked the restart of large events for the German city of Leipzig. The conference attracted 4,000 delegates and 100 exhibitors, the largest attendee numbers for a medical conference since the start of the pandemic. The congress was held at the Congress Center Leipzig.

Vienna’s reputation as a meetings powerhouse seems undimmed by the pandemic with the city playing host to four major medical conferences in quick succession. Indeed, the Austrian capital has just finished hosting the International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery World Congress, a hybrid event, at the Austria Center Vienna. Around 500 delegates from 81 countries took part.

An initiative by ASSOCIATIONWORLD, the first ever Brussels International Association Forum will take place at Tour and Taxis, Maison de la Poste, Brussels from December 6th to 7th 2021. Following the success of the Geneva International Association Forum, the event will bring together Brussels, Benelux, France and UK-based associations and not-for-profit organisations. Its primary mission is to provide knowledge transfer, enable peer-to-peer exchange, and share best practice.

The 2022 conference of Public Health Palliative Care International will be hosted at the brand-new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre. The event aims to put severe illnesses, voluntary healthcare, death and loss high on the agenda of policymakers.

Entitled “The Art of Reinventing”, and hosted by Visit Flanders together with the Belgian Limburg Convention Bureau, the ICCA France Benelux Chapter has staged its yearly summit in the beautiful city of Hasselt, Belgium. It was a chance for the members of the Chapter to network and learn, but also discover the Limburg province.

Madrid Convention Bureau has launched a new digital platform for social and environmental sustainability and legacy called PLUS (Platform for Legacy with us). It claims to be the first Spanish city to implement a comprehensive sustainability tool for meetings and events. The new service can generate specific reports for meetings in Madrid before they are held. In this way, their impact can be reduced from the initial planning stages and the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be implemented in real time.

Professional congress organiser AIM Group International has reported a spike in business activity during the final third of the year, with 35 events taking place involving 15,000 people. There has also been a “sharp reboot” with in person meetings, according to the Milan-based company, including international association conferences with large audiences. The European ESOT Congress in Milan, which brought together 1,200 delegates on site and 1,400 online, was the standout success so far.

Indeed, the 20th edition of the European Society for Organ Transplantation’s congress has been staged at the MiCo Convention Centre in Milan.  The biennial ESOT Congress is the largest gathering of the transplant community in Europe, bringing together clinicians, surgeons, physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers and patients to review the latest developments in the field.

Through the joint efforts of the Canadian Anaesthesiologists’ Society, Destination Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver has been selected to host the World Congress of Anaesthesiology in 2028. This annual conference will bring together 9,000 anaesthesia and perioperative care providers from over 130 countries to Canada’s west coast. The city hopes the Congress will be an opportunity for the promotion of science, education, training, networking and the exchange of experience across the field of anaesthesiology

The world’s largest gathering of experts on agro-geoinformatics will be held in Canada in 2022 for the first time in the conference’s history. The Quebec City Convention Centre will welcome around 300 leaders in the discipline, which collects and manages geospatial data, mines knowledge from that data, and applies that knowledge to solve management and decision-making issues in agriculture.

Ensuring the sustainability of events has risen to become the key challenge corporate organisers are looking to tackle between now and 2024, according to this year’s ICE Annual Benchmarking Research Report, sponsored by Cvent. The sustainable events objective was shared by 77 percent of the respondents of the annual survey and sat ahead of “the ability to deliver hybrid events” (73 percent) and “educating internal audiences on when live / hybrid formats should be adopted” (53 percent).

Invest in Bogotá has announced the creation of a new business unit to attract events to the city. The decision was taken after the dissolution of the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau and represents for the capital and region the chance to strengthen its investment and events attraction strategy into a single entity. The unit will be called the Bogotá Convention Bureau and start operation in November.

The inaugural TIA360 eThekwini Tourism Investment Symposium, which recently took place at the Durban ICC and online, has thrown a lifeline to distressed tourism businesses in South Africa, while also assisting viable tourism projects in Durban. The primary aim of the conference was to support and attract investment to KwaZulu Natal’s tourism industry.

Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos were the host cities for the inaugural Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit, held between September 19th and 21st. Centred on the theme of “Re-awakening Africa”, the Summit called on all tourism players throughout the continent and world to reflect, reimagine and reignite the sector in a world still impacted by COVID-19.

Over the past 17 months, The Cape Town International Convention Centre has secured fifteen international conferences and will welcome approximately 22,000 delegates to the city, bringing an estimated R594 million into the local economy over the next six years. One of the most notable conferences secured is Africa Oil Week, part of a three-year deal the Hyve Group has signed with the CTICC.

The UAE has announced the launch of the first edition of the Global Media Congress, to be held in Abu Dhabi from November 15th to 17th 2022. It will be organised by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in a strategic partnership with the Emirates News Agency. The event will be attended by a range of media and global influencers, in addition to academics and youth groups.

Venue and event management company ASM Global has been given a major role in Saudi Arabia’s plans to become a destination for international conferences. The Los Angeles-based company has been appointed as managing operators of the International Convention Centre Jeddah, set to open in December 2025. It will also manage the 20,000 seat Jeddah Arena. Both venues will form part of a new Airport City based on the outskirts of King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Japan National Tourism Organization and the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers have formed a partnership designed to put Japan on the map of prominent PCOs. For the next eighteen months, JNTO will participate in IAPCO’s network and actively engage with its member PCOs, to provide them with information about Japan as a conference destination, and the different options, facilities and services of the country’s many convention cities.

Yokohama has been chosen to host the 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Organised by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the event will return to Japan for the first time since 2009, this time in hybrid form. Organisers envisage there will be 20,000 attendees online and 5,000 people in person at the conference, 4,000 of those travelling from overseas.

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has unveiled a three-year roadmap for the country’s conventions industry. Covering 2021 to 2023, the roadmap has three key strategies: to upgrade Thailand’s conventions ecosystem, to upskill the industry with targeted development programmes, and to raise Thailand’s profile in the world conventions arena.

Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau has signed Memoranda of Understanding with TCEB on establishing an Asia Convention Alliance. The Thailand Incentive and Convention Association, Seoul Tourism Organisation and Taiwan External Trade Development Council are also part of the project. The alliance is a new initiative which aims to restore the region’s convention industry, strengthen relations and facilitate knowledge exchange between member countries.

An international meeting of wound care specialists being held in Malaysia will help spread important knowledge across multiple disciplines, it has been claimed. The Asian Wound Care Association and 3rd Global Wound Conference took place at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, from October 15th to 17th. Malaysia’s national convention bureau MyCEB and the Malaysian Society of Wound Care Professionals secured the conference.

Aloysius Arlando has stepped down from his role as Chief Executive (Venues) at Constellar Holdings, formerly SingEx, in pursuit of personal interests. Arlando, who is also president of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) and the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS), joined SingEx Holdings as CEO in April 2010.

The Associations Summit 9, presented virtually by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, is set to be held from November 24th to 25th with the support of the Tourism Promotions Board. Themed “Associations and the Pandemic: Lessons Learned and The Way Forward – A Conversation among Members and Stakeholders”, the Summit is expected to draw over 200 association leaders and professionals.

The 21st World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit, due to be held in the Philippines in October, has been postponed to the first quarter of 2022, WTTC has confirmed. Now the meeting is planned also as a hybrid event, for 650 delegates in person, with another 30,000 individuals joining via its digital platform. The postponement is a mutual decision between the WTTC and the host country, although senior politicians in the Philippines have expressed differing views on whether the event should go ahead at all.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Government has announced the extension of the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme for six months until December 31st 2022, in response to demand from the industry. Part of the Scheme’s funding will also be allocated to provide a one-off immediate relief measure to private organisers of exhibitions that have a clear track record of being held in Hong Kong, to assist with pandemic recovery.

Following the announcement of the return of RISE, one of Asia’s largest tech conferences, in March 2022, Hong Kong has secured two other major technology events for next year: the first Greater Bay Area Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Conference and the IEEE Region 10 Conference, which was last held in the city in 2006. The Hong Kong Convention Ambassador programme initiated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board played a major role in landing these and other large conferences for the territory.

An Australian virtual and hybrid event platform which claims to “seamlessly connect” in person and online delegates has raised AU$10 million in seed capital in its first ever funding round. Delegate Connect has seen rapid take up during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 4,000-delegate World Library and Information Congress, which was held virtually in August.

Meetings and Events Australia has postponed Evolve, its flagship conference for event professionals, until 2022. The decision to move the annual event, due to have taken place in Melbourne this September, was made due to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and came with cases climbing and lockdowns and curfews in place across Melbourne and Sydney.

Some of Melbourne’s most innovative landmarks will be showcased when the world’s leading engineers, architects, and builders meet in the city for an international conference. Melbourne Convention Bureau has secured the Symposium of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures for 2023, 25 years after Australia last hosted the meeting. Backed by the Victorian State Government and universities RMIT and Swinburne, the event is expected to attract over 500 delegates.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has announced the launch of a digital events platform intended to allow customers to deliver connected virtual and hybrid events live, online and on demand. The new platform is focused on encouraging collaboration, no matter where attendees are in the world. The lifespan of the event is also extended, with recordings available post-event.

Australia’s sporting and entertainment capital has announced the official launch of a new events and conference venue in Melbourne Park named CENTREPIECE. Building on the experience offered by events like the Australian Open, the venue has the capacity to host everything from large-scale conferences to awards nights. The venue features a 2,000 square metre pillarless grand hall which opens out to an 800 square metre pre-function space and outdoor terrace.

Brisbane, with its strong surveying background and currently home to the biggest concentration of major infrastructure development in Australia, has won the right to host the world’s pre-eminent global surveying conference. The International Federation of Surveyors’ prestigious Working Week, to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2025, is expected to attract 1,700 of the world’s leading surveyors and spatial experts.

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre has achieved the coveted EarthCheck Platinum Certification, the culmination of ten consecutive years of rigorously audited best practice in sustainability. The award recognises the venue’s strong leadership and innovation in several key areas of social and environmental actions.

The Cairns Convention Centre has become a mass vaccination hub, as the venue team does its bit to help the business events industry get back on its feet. 3,707 people were vaccinated over the first weekend in service. The Cairns Convention Centre is planning on hosting a variety of conferences in the coming years. There is a planned expansion to take place in 2023.

Western Australia has secured the world’s largest gathering of ultra-high frequency electronics specialists. Business Events Perth, the city’s convention bureau, won a bid to host the 49th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter and Terahertz Waves 2024 (IRMMW-THz 2024). More than 600 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the six-day conference, estimated to be worth over AU$3 million to the region.

ICC Sydney has launched “Events in Focus” a conversational webinar program with the first series of episodes showcasing insights into the planning and delivery of digital events. The first episodes focus on digital events through short and sharp thirty minute conversations with conference organisers.

Access to emergency medicine in remote and indigenous populations will be one of the themes of The DevelopingEM Conference, to be held in Darwin, Northern Territory, from September 26th to 30th 2022. The event is expected to attract 300 international delegates. Founded in 2011, DevelopingEM is a not-for-profit which holds regular regional conferences where emergency medicine and trauma care is evolving.

Due to the latest COVID-19 disruption, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is now aiming to hold its first events in the lead up to Christmas. The new building was on track to open in October, but will now be delayed as many of the specialists needed to complete the facility are unable to travel down from the North Island. John Bridgman, Chief Executive of Ōtākaro Limited, said: “While we are very keen to get the doors open as soon as possible, this will be a key city asset for decades to come.”.

Business Events Industry Aotearoa and Hawke’s Bay Tourism have announced the postponement of BEIA’s 45th Annual Conference in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand until 2022. Lisa Hopkins, BEIA Chief Executive and Hamish Saxton, Chief Executive of Tourism Hawke’s Bay, said the risks associated with COVID-19, the continued lockdowns in Auckland and Waikato and the uncertainty around travel restrictions have necessitated the decision.

The International Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ eGrid Conference has selected Auckland for its 22nd edition. The hybrid conference, set to be held in December 2022, will bring together world-leading energy experts from government, industry and academia to help solve the planet’s energy challenges. The bid is expected to attract over 200 delegates, with an estimated 60 to 70 percent international attendees.

Dunedin, New Zealand will host the prestigious 27th International Congress of History of Science and Technology in 2025. The congress, which takes place every four years, was first held in Paris in 1929 and is run by the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. The event will welcome up to around 900 specialist delegates to Dunedin, creating an estimated economic impact of $2 million.

Until the next time, after (let us hope) great legacies from COP26…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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