Net Zero Carbon Events at COP26 (Photo: Binit Bharadia / UK Government).

Despite the late finish, along with a few other hiccups, COP26 did finally conclude with 197 of the conferring parties inking the Glasgow Climate Pact. The meeting’s legacies might have seemed a bit more technical than tumultuous, but at least the industry itself was given a seat at the table, presenting the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge coordinated by the Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg. The session is well worth watching back.

In Features this issue, COP history, COP26, Glasgow’s role as COP26 host, the latest GDS-Index rankings, plus the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge itself, are all addressed with two compilations of video interviews. The former JMIC President and Managing Director / CEO at Iceberg partner UFI Kai Hattendorf (shown presenting the pledge at COP26 above), Programme Officer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Miguel Naranjo, Director of Conference Affairs at UNFCCC Laura Lopez, the Head of Tourism and Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau Aileen Crawford and Iceberg partner Global Destination Sustainability Movement’s Chief Changemaker Guy Bigwood, all contribute to our coverage of this historic and defining moment for the sector.

In News this issue, so many industry friends are making headlines. Again, Net Zero Carbon Events was presented at Glasgow’s COP26. At the time the pledge already had 109 signatories and 211 further supporters. Most DMOs (destination marketing organisations) are not measuring the environmental impact of business events, or even including meetings in their “climate strategy”, says an Iceberg partner report. The GDS-Index for 2021 found 86 percent of cities had a climate strategy, but only 36 percent included business events specifically in it. Iceberg partner Copenhagen Legacy Lab has won the GDS-Movement’s Innovation Award for 2021. The trophy was presented at the 60th ICCA Congress’ Paris hub and recognises CLL’s work to focus the industry on legacy. Associations and the meetings sector gathered across hub cities and via a virtual platform for that ICCA Congress. Around 1,200 delegates from 83 countries attended the Iceberg partner event to enjoy a hundred hours of live content. After skipping a year because of the pandemic, meetings trade show IMEX America was staged once again in Las Vegas. The tenth running of the Iceberg partner show drew 3,300 buyers and over 2,200 exhibiting companies. A gathering of association executives, of destination managers and of meeting industry thought leaders is now on site for the BestCities Global Forum. The Iceberg partner event in Madrid, Spain, is focusing on legacy and inclusivity, with delegates encouraged to commit to a more “sustainable and socially equitable future”.

Also in News, the third Global Recovery Insights 2021 report, conducted by Iceberg partner UFI with SISO (the Society for Independent Show Organisers), has just been released. The study found that demand has returned to pre-COVIID levels for both exhibitors and visitors, with no fundamental shift away from in person events. UFI’s 88th Global Congress held in Rotterdam saw the association itself back gathering face-to-face again. The event drew 350 participants from about 40 countries and regions. The Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company has announced a plan to expand its centres in Abu Dhabi and London. The NEC Group is to redevelop its Birmingham campus and create 14,000 square metres of new outdoor event space, to be run alongside its other venues on the site. More than 6,000 delegates from 110 nations gathered in Madrid for World Air Traffic Management Congress, with greener aviation high on the agenda. Finally, Business Events Sarawak has just launched a scheme to help congress organisers to leave positive legacies through meetings.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Two directly discuss legacy. During IMEX America in Las Vegas, Iceberg partners ICCA and the BestCities Global Alliance staged a workshop that explored “Legacy for Association Meetings”. With templates from the toolkit of Copenhagen Legacy Lab, also an Iceberg partner, the attendees developed tangible solutions for sector challenges. Geneviève Leclerc, Managing Director of the International Society of Limnology, tells AMI’s Deep Dive podcast about #MEET4IMPACT, the not-for-profit Iceberg partner she co-founded in 2019.

Also in Opinions, further legacies around climate change, sustainability and the recent COP26. It is hard to think of a conference with higher stakes than the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, and four editorials dissect what the meeting means for business events, along with the role played during it by JMIC’s Net Zero Carbon Events pledge and also the Iceberg partner Positive Impact Events. PCMA and Event MB, plus Exhibition News from Iceberg partner Mash Media and Association Meetings International from Iceberg partner Northstar, are equally essential reading.

Plus, what did it mean for Glasgow to deliver this global climate meeting? Voices telling us include Iceberg ambassador Aileen Crawford, the Glasgow Life Head of Tourism and Conventions. Just what was COP26, and why should it matter at all? Sustainability not-for-profit isla has a handy historical guide. The New York Times Climate Hub, a hybrid event held at the same time as COP26 in Glasgow, included The Think Tank, where artist Es Devlin created a temporary forest as the setting. In a M&IT webinar, a panel of experts joined editor Paul Harvey to see what sustainability will look like in “The Next Normal”. One way to take action on climate is to purchase carbon offsets. But not all carbon offset programs are equal. PCMA offers a helpful guide. Finally, another convention facility tries out rooftop agriculture. The Farm at Javits Center, managed by urban farming company Brooklyn Grange, will produce 40,000 pounds of produce annually at the New York venue.

In Research you will find added Global Destination Sustainability Index 2021 from GDS-Movement. UFI has posted The Trade Fair Industry in Asia – 17th Edition (October 2021). Plus, the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast is the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel.

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.

Around 350 UFI members from around 40 countries and regions attended the 88th UFI Global Congress, which took place in Rotterdam under the main theme “together again”. During it, Monica Lee-Müller assumed the UFI Presidency. Immediately prior to the Congress, the 2021 UFI General Assembly was held and reviewed twelve months of activity, highlighting advocacy efforts, events, education and research. During the Assembly, Las Vegas was selected as the destination for the 2023 UFI Global Congress.

The day is was presented at COP26, UFI announced that it had signed the Joint Meetings Industry Council’s Net Zero Carbon Events pledge. UFI CEO and Managing Director Kai Hattendorf is also former President of JMIC, and was presenting at COP in that capacity.

UFI has launched the 2022 UFI Awards, designed to acknowledge and honour best practice and outstanding activity across the industry. Participants are encouraged to enter across five categories: Marketing, Industry Partner, Digital Innovation, Operations and Services, and Sustainable Development.

UFI and SISO (the Society of Independent Show Organizers) have published a case study about how the GSM Association restarted the European exhibition industry with Mobile World Congress Barcelona this June. On February 12th 2020, GSMA announced the cancellation of MWC Barcelona just twelve days before its opening, and a full month before the US was shut down because of COVID-19.

Glenn Schoen, CEO of Boardroom@Crisis, had a front row seat last year watching Kai Hattendorf and UFI Programme Manager, Education and Working Groups, Angela Herberholz as they helped members cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. So, what is needed to properly map risks, to instruct, equip and lead a crisis team, and what pitfalls should you avoid when managing a crisis? These and other questions are at the core of UFI’s latest educational offering: a module on crisis management.

Kai Hattendorf posted this CEO message in November. Outgoing President Anbu Varathan posted a final message in October, and incoming President Monica Lee-Müller this first one in November.

As reported above, the global business events community has shown strength in numbers by gathering at IMEX America in Las Vegas for the first time in over two years. Over 3,300 global buyers and 2,250 exhibiting companies registered to attend the tenth edition of the show at its new home of Mandalay Bay. Activities included “a reunion of old friends”, the day of collaboration, connection and community called Smart Monday, powered by MPI. As part of Smart Monday, MGM Resorts hosted a tour for IMEX America attendees to their Mega Solar Array, a 640-acre site in the desert which powers their Las Vegas properties. The energy of Las Vegas also shone through the participants of the #IMEXrun, with over 250 energetic people from 27 countries running, jogging or walking along the iconic Las Vegas Strip. Plus, during the three days of the show, the KLH Group invited attendees to a Clubhouse Build, creating a special play space for Luna, a local child coping with cancer. Over a hundred IMEX America attendees rolled up their sleeves to help with the building effort.

During ICCA’s 60th Global Congress, the Hybrid City Alliance won Best Marketing Award. During a time of global turmoil, a number of international partner joined together to create this successful initiative for the benefit of all, making it a win for not one but 22 separate ICCA members. The award was received during further growth for the organisation, which now includes the Jeju Convention and Visitors Bureau in South Korea and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau.

Seoul successfully completed the hybrid program of the 60th ICCA Congress as a hub destination for the second year. It will also serve as a global hybrid meeting point for the World Congress of Neurology 2025 and the World Congress of Audiology 2026.

The 61st ICCA Congress, from November 6th to 9th 2022, will take members to Krakow in Poland, a place to explore centuries of history alongside jewels of modern architecture. The 2022 ICCA Congress will also coincide with the 10th anniversary of Krakow’s membership of ICCA. Krakow is also a member of Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing.

Seventeen lead urban destinations convened for the launch of Time for DMOcracy, a collaborative project across Europe and North America. European Cities Marketing is part of the initiative developed by Group NAO and launched in association with Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Movement, The Travel Foundation and TCI Research. Over the next twelve the destinations will deploy research, case studies, master classes, learnings labs, boot camps and conferences before delivering a white paper on public tourism engagement in the summer of 2022.

IBTM World Barcelona has concluded just as this issue of Business Events World is published, so there will be more next issue. In advance of the show, the Iceberg partner reported robust exhibitor sales, as well as a strong sign-up from hosted buyers. Organisers said there was a one to two ratio of international to European buyers with seventy percent from agencies, twenty percent from corporates and ten percent from associations. Hosted buyers attending the event in Barcelona received free medical insurance, providing an added layer of security to their experience.

IBTM has also announced details of its online event, IBTM World Online, which will take place from December 14th to 15th 2021 as an enhancement to the in person event in Barcelona. As well as pre-event matchmaking, one-to-one video meetings, enhanced exhibitor directories and an exhibitor zone, IBTM World Online will feature a full schedule of on demand educational content. This will include the complete IBTM World Barcelona Knowledge Programme of more than 65 sessions from leading industry experts.

Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance’s BestCities Global Forum is currently underway in Spain. The gathering is an opportunity for delegates to learn about inclusive meeting and event design, drawing insight from projects delivered on the ground in Madrid. BestCities has posted a news update for December, including announcing the departure of Director for Community Engagement Jane Cunningham, also an Iceberg ambassador. BestCities has also collected links to the COVID-19 safety management measures across all of its destination cities.

Sven Bossu, CEO of Iceberg partner the International Association of Convention Centres, has outlined AIPC’s plans to reach net zero carbon by 2050. During the AIPC Annual Conference mid-July, sustainability was high on the agenda, and plans then developed with UNFCCC, UFI and ICCA have emerged as the JMIC pledge presented at COP26. “These are very ambitious and much needed commitments”, Bossu wrote, “reflecting the very nature of the event industry: driving excellence by collaboration.”.

AIPC and the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers have signed a memorandum of understanding. The aim is to establish a strategic partnership around three axes: research, visibility and education. Every year the associations will produce a piece of joint research.

Iceberg partner AIME has announced CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park as the official venue for its 2022 Welcome Event on March 21st 2022. Located only minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, the new venue will receive domestic delegates with an experiential event designed to fuel meaningful connections and re-energise the business events and tourism industry.

One Day at Christmas, Mash Media’s annual charitable event for the elderly and those who might otherwise be alone over the festive period, will take place at ExCeL London on December 14th. The event aims to make Christmas a joyful season for elderly and lonely people. This year’s event is expected to welcome 300 guests and 50 volunteers. Attendees can expect a Christmas lunch, bingo, fun activities, music, dancing and more.

Boardroom has published four new MiniCourses by Nadia Rubtsova, founder of the Business and Events Academy, on sponsorship. When it comes to reaching a highly specialised target audience, nothing offers a better opportunity than professional associations and membership organisations. But while holding events does give you an opportunity to snag sponsorship dollars, you can also leverage your audience to get additional funding from brands eager to engage with it in many other ways.

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, Destination Planning: Evolving the Role of CVBs, and Legacies – the New Meetings Business Driver, 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, Issue #19, and Issue #20.

Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events and DRPG have forged a new partnership that aims to transform the way live experiences are designed, delivered, measured and valued. The collaboration, forming the “More Than Experience” alliance, aims to challenge the ways the sector has always done things and achieve not just a return on investment but also a return on experience.

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

ASM Global’s Group Director of Convention Centres for Asia Pacific and ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy, has been selected for induction into the Event Industry Council’s prestigious Hall of Leaders. Donaghy’s lifetime achievements in business events have been recognised by the global industry association which champions event professionals and sector excellence.

From October 17th to 19th, PCMA organised its first post-pandemic EMEA conference, known as the European Influencer Summit in the past. Hosted by the SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, the conference brought together some 300 professionals, primarily from North America and Europe, under the apt theme “simply reconnecting”.

The business events industry must be a driver for change, and PCMA has joined other organisations in signing the JMIC Net Zero Carbon Events pledge presented at COP26. President and CEO Sherrif Karamat has written an editorial about making the commitment and his organisation’s response: “Business Events and the Planet – The climate crisis must be addressed head-on by the business events industry”.

The International Association for Professional Congress Organisers has collected all the current COVID-related protocols and procedures in place within each of its Task Force Members’ destinations. In June 2020, IAPCO assembled a small group of national PCO associations from around the globe to address the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the meetings industry. This Task Force has since grown into a strategic global group of fourteen national PCO associations.

Guest editing Exhibition News for Iceberg partner Mash Media, Phil Soar published an article marking the centenary of the Association of Event Organisers, which started out as “The Trade Exhibition Organisers Association”. This includes not-to-be-missed film newsreel of the British Industries Fair in 1954. A centenary celebration of the AEO will be held at (and in conjunction with) the NEC on Friday December 10th.

Supply chain issues, increased operational costs and staff shortages are heavily impacting the business meetings and events sector, according to the Meetings Industry Association. Its latest survey of venues revealed that nine in ten currently have vacancies. On average, venues reported a loss of over a third of non-UK workers from the start of the pandemic, which has been led by challenges presented by Brexit and applications to the EU Settlement Scheme closing at the end of June.

The 10th miaList awards have been held at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank hotel, with more than 200 guests in the room to celebrate the best of the industry. Outgoing Chief Executive of the Meeting Industry Association Jane Longhurst opened the ceremony by recognising the challenges of the past 20 months. The 2020 miaList winners were also celebrated, given that they missed out on a physical awards ceremony last year.

HBAA, the trade association for the meetings, events and accommodation industry, has introduced its new identity, Beam. The new name is designed to begin a new chapter for the association based on the solid foundations of the last 24 years. Underpinned by the organisation’s four pillars of resilience, innovation, ethics and quality, it aims to make sure that the association remains relevant and sustainable for the future.

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers has published the shortlist for its 2021 Excellence Awards. The winners will be revealed on December 9th at ExCeL during an in person event that will mark the end of ABPCO’s week-long Festival of Learning. This year’s celebration includes the newly added Innovation and CSR Awards. The shortlist for the former will be announced at the ceremony, while the shortlist for the latter is already live, with P&J Live, Visit Belfast and EICC the finalists.

The sector needs to work together to provide data to demonstrate its true economic value, tourism minister Nigel Huddleston has said. Speaking at the mia’s Ignite conference, Huddleston said “We want to work closely with the sector to ensure it is set for the future. We want it to be ambitious in its sustainability, offering quality careers for young people across the country, as well as being a sector that makes data-driven decisions.”.

The UK Cabinet Office’s COVID-19 task force has reportedly published analysis suggesting that vaccine passports at mass events would reduce overall community transmission by just one to five percent. The report found that passports at mass events for the proposed five-month “Plan B” period until March 2022 would have minimal impact, because only two to thirteen percent of transmission takes place in venues they would cover. The report found that the introduction of vaccine passports would have a “high impact” on the economy and worsen the supply chain crisis.

The UK Government has updated its events guidance, emphasising the importance of improved ventilation during the winter months. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport says that event organisers should take steps to reduce the risk of transmission in addition to existing cleaning and hygiene procedures. The new guidance, which applies only in England, states that if a venue is hired for an event, organisers should discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator.

The UK Government has launched its new “Made in the UK, Sold to the World” plan, designed to help businesses across the UK double exports . The twelve-point strategy, published by the Department for International Trade, includes the launch of a new UK Trade Show Programme to help businesses to attend and promote their products. Exhibitions industry insiders have hailed the news as revolutionary recognition for the industry but said they were surprised not to have been involved in drawing up the strategy, and called for more detail on the support being offered. The DIT said businesses with turnovers between £250,000 and £5 million would be able to access support to attend a trade show (to decide whether to exhibit in the future), and support to exhibit.

UK tourism leaders have urged destination management organisations to work with government to ensure the recommendations of a major report are introduced as policy. The De Bois Review, an independent review of DMOs in England, was led by Nick de Bois and completed in August. The Chairman of the VisitEngland Advisory Board was himself speaking at the Tourism Management Institute Annual Convention in Coventry, together with the CEO of VisitBritain and VisitEngland Sally Balcombe, and Tourism Alliance’s Kurt Janson.

VisitBritain / VisitEngland has appointed Paul Black as its new head of business events. The former Head of Business Events at London & Partners, Black brings a wealth of experience with him as he takes over from Kerrin MacPhie who has taken the role as Chief Executive of the Meetings Industry Association. Black will be responsible for leading VisitBritain / VisitEngland’s business events team to win more international events for the UK.

VisitBritain has announced that registration is open for its free flagship business event, MeetGB Virtual 2022. Taking place from February 15th to 17th, the online tradeshow for the meetings industry will showcase the best of business events in the UK on a virtual stage. In partnership with MeetEngland, Business Events Scotland, Meet In Wales, Tourism Northern Ireland and London Convention Bureau, MeetGB Virtual will welcome international buyers to connect online with UK destinations, venues and suppliers.

Event sustainability industry body, isla, in partnership with its Print Working Group, has published “Better Buying for Print – An Event Planners Guide” a free resource available to help event planners make more sustainable printing choices. The Print Working Group, which launched in April, is specifically focused on solving the challenges of graphic and print impact on event footprint.

After a year in development, Conference Care has launched the Carbon Consultancy, with three aims: to enable event organisers to calculate emissions, to provide solutions that educate, change behaviour and reduce emissions, and to offer carbon offsetting programmes. Conference Care research indicated that sixty percent of an event’s carbon footprint is travel, twenty percent is venue energy consumption, fifteeen percent is food and beverage production and waste, and five percent is from ancillary services.

Easyfairs has announced a new look Packaging Innovations London show launching in 2022. The series of four focused events – Packaging Première, PCD, PLD and Food & Consumer Pack – will create London Packaging Week for the luxury, beauty, premium drinks, and fast-moving consumer goods markets. Taking place on September 21st and 22nd 2022 at Olympia London, the shows replace the current Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging London event. Meanwhile, Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging London 2021 will host the likes of Amazon, Coca-Cola, Marks & Spencer and Estée Lauder, demonstrating that big brands still value the power of live, face-to-face events.

As also reported above, ExCeL London has secured Newham Planning Committee approval to expand the venue, which will increase the building’s usable event space by 25,000 square metres. Construction is expected to start in 2022. ExCeL’s CEO Jeremy Rees said the decision is a “key moment” not just for ExCeL but for its customers and the entire UK events industry. ExCeL London has released a first look video of the venue’s expansion.

ExCeL London is returning to pre-pandemic business levels since reopening its doors earlier this year with a schedule of almost 60 events. The Royal Docks venue is seeing a faster than expected return in market confidence after reopening in July. A near-capacity 56 events are scheduled until the end of 2021 with eleven new and relocated shows running for the first time at ExCeL.

Women in Exhibitions has announced that ExCeL London has joined as its first UK venue corporate member. The network aims to encourage the advancement and continued professional development of women working in all areas of exhibitions, at all stages in their careers. Benefits include access to events (networking, educational and leadership seminars), mentorship opportunities, the Rego academy and career support.

The Meetings Show will return to ExCeL London on June 29th and 30th 2022 on the back of this year’s hugely successful event. Thousands of people attended the hybrid show on September 30th and October 1st, which was held as a live event at ExCeL London and virtually via Swapcard. Post-show feedback was hugely positive after a successful two days reconnecting with clients and seeing business plans take shape for the year ahead and beyond.

UV Expo 2022, a multi-city hybrid conference and exhibition for event organisers, will take place on January 12th 2022. Curated by Unique Venues of Great Britain, and supported by partners including World Span, Clear Agency and Selling Savvy, the event will be held simultaneously in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester, as well as online.

Event planning was already one of the five most-stressful occupations before the pandemic, Julius Solaris pointed out during EventMinded, a complimentary digital mental health summit for event professionals held in October. Now “we’re probably in the top three”, said Solaris, the Vice President of Marketing Strategy for online meeting platform Hopin, which hosted the event. EventMinded, which is free to attend, is available on demand.

Up to 400 disease specialists will attend the 13th International Meeting on Microbial Epidemiological Markers from September 14th to 17th 2022 at the Apex City of Bath Hotel. Better known as a leisure destination, the historic city of Bath in the South West of England is positioning itself as a conference destination linked by train to Bristol Airport.

The CEO of  NEC Group, Paul Thandi, has had his official investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Thandi was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List, but his CBE investiture had been postponed numerous times because of COVID-19. Presented with his medal by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Thandi was recognised for services to the economy through his fourteen-year leadership of the NEC Group.

The first conferences and exhibitions have been held in the newly refurbished lower halls at Coventry Building Society Arena. The refurbishment connects the lower halls with the rest of the venue and provides event organisers with an area of up to 7,750 square metres. The refurbishment work is part of the creation of the Commonwealth Convention Centre at the Arena.

Karen Brady, Director of Fundraising at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, is now Chair of the city’s conference ambassador programme Club Liverpool. She replaces Colin Sinclair, CEO of Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, who has stepped down after three years at the helm. Club Liverpool is a network of academics and industry leaders who help win international conferences for Liverpool. Under Sinclair’s stewardship, ambassadors helped secure 26 conferences worth £40 million.

Liverpool has become the first city to use a new multi-sensory platform by Hyybab. Liverpool Convention Bureau has embraced the technology, which offers “fully immersive” virtual tours of the city and key venues like the ACC Liverpool Group’s events campus. Event planners receive a specially curated selection of sensory experiences, including a fragrance created in honour of the Beatles’ 1967 hit “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

As mentioned in the editorial above about Net Zero Carbon Events by Sherrif Karamat, the PCMA President and CEO has contributed to a podcast by Head of Business Events at VisitScotland Neil Brownlee. The pair were joined by VisitScotland CEO Malcolm Roughead OBE to discuss the future of travel for the events industry and its compatibility with the changes needed to reduce carbon emissions.

In a bid to encourage delegates to step away from their computers, Glasgow Convention Bureau has launched a virtual walking challenge around the city. As part of the #VirtualGlasgow Toolkit, the CVB has laid out a route around the city that will take walkers past “sustainable superstars”, including the Zero Waste Market, Scottish Event Campus and Whitelee Windfarm.

Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring is to return in person at the SEC Centre in Glasgow from January 23rd to 25th 2022. Following the reintroduction of Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn in September, some 500 exhibitors will showcase their products from gifts to crafts and jewellery to textiles. Scotland’s Trade Fair Online has been busy throughout 2021, keeping 175 suppliers and over 2,000 retailers in touch.

Following the reopening of the business events sector in Wales and the UK,  ICC Wales announced its busiest month for new enquiries and confirmed business since opening in September 2019. During August, Wales’ first purpose-built conference venue received 42 new enquiries and confirmed 29 events. The confirmed events will bring an anticipated 27,000 attendees into the region. Combined with the new enquiries, they represent over 45,000 delegates with a potential economic benefit in excess of £40 million.

A new initiative has been launched to increase significantly the number of international business events hosted in Northern Ireland and help revive its economy. The Ambassador Circle replaces The Belfast Ambassador Programme, established twenty years ago, with a new region-wide scheme from Invest Northern Ireland, Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and Visit Derry. The new initiative will include five advisory panels focused on key knowledge sectors.

Goteborg & Co, which includes the Gothenburg Convention Bureau, has launched a three-step model to help meeting and event organisers plan and execute hybrid events. The Hybrid+ initiative will offer advice and support for meeting planners that show an interest in hosting a hybrid event in Gothenburg and help them to build a project plan for a successful meeting.

A thought leadership hub called “ACF – Audite, Cogitare, Facite” (Latin for “Hear, Think, Do”) has just seen the light of the day in Bratislava, Slovakia. An association of like-minded individuals, it aspires to advise and support public entities, private organisations and entire destinations to reach their potential by using business events as a tool for economic growth. The idea of creating it came when the city disclosed plans to get a brand new dedicated convention centre.

The Associations Round Table Europe event of the Union of International Associations was held in the Prague Congress Centre on November 18th and 19th. This 14th Round Table Europe, hosted by the Prague Convention Bureau, took place in a hybrid format. 131 delegates from 34 countries, representing 98 international organisations participated. 58 attendees were welcomed on-site in Prague.

Brussels will host the 58th ISOCARP World Planning Congress from October 3rd to 7th 2022, the event themed “from wealthy to healthy cities”. Founded in 1965, the International Society of City and Regional Planners boasts 700 members in 85 countries. Attended by some 350 to 500 delegates, ISOCARP Congresses are small enough for the personal interchange of ideas on a given theme, yet big enough to encompass a broad professional and international range.

Already well on its way back to organising significant events, Luxembourg has managed to secure F&L, the European Freight and Logistics Leaders’ Forum, one the foremost gatherings in the field. The conference, to be held at the Grand Duchy from May 11th to 13th 2022, will allow supply chain stakeholders to exchange thoughts, to discuss current and future challenges, and to network.

Stuttgart will host the Urban Future Conference, one of the most important and largest international events on urban transformation and development, in 2023. The meeting will have a specific emphasis on the fields of sustainability and climate protection, and its main themes will include energy, housing, mobility, water, recycling economy and urban society.

A €4 million subvention fund has been hailed a “huge success” after hundreds of event organisers took advantage of the scheme in the five months since its launch. So far 242 conferences have received preliminary funding, totalling €2.5 million, through the Vienna Meeting Fund, which is being administered by the Vienna Convention Bureau. According to projections, these events will add €371 million to city coffers by the end of 2023.

In mid-November, the Netherlands government imposed a three-week partial lockdown to combat a rise in coronavirus cases. The RAI Amsterdam Convention Center remains open and hosting events, although evening activities cannot take place. METSTRADE, the world’s largest trade exhibition of marine equipment, materials and systems, was held safely at the venue from November 16th to 18th, attracting 4,000 participants. But the International Broadcasting Convention confirmed plans to meet there in person, then cancelled.

An initiative by ASSOCIATIONWORLD, the launch of the first edition of the Brussels International Association Forum has been moved from December 6th and 7th 2021 to March 14th and 15th 2022. All delegates have been informed and have the option of either transferring their purchased BIAF ticket or receiving a full refund.

VisitFlanders Convention Bureau and Iceberg partner #Meet4Impact have launched  a partnership to take legacy and the measurement of positive impact to the next level. Together they will develop a “legacy pathway” methodology and measurement framework. The service is free of charge to conference and event organisers and included in the services of VisitFlanders Convention Bureau.

As part of a joint effort to curb carbon emissions, GL events will lease 8,000 square metres in Hall 8 at Viparis’s Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition complex. The space will be used to store equipment for building stands at the Première Vision Paris trade shows, a global event for fashion professionals. This environmental initiative will eliminate the need to dispatch more than 500 HGVs during the trade show’s two annual events.

Milan will be at the centre of the space industry universe as 6,000 delegates land in the city for the 75th edition of the International Astronautical Congress in 2024. The hosts have pledged to make the event as inclusive and diverse as possible to reflect the importance of space exploration for all humanity. Milan’s candidacy was strongly supported by the Italian Government. Congress organiser AIM Group International also took part in the bid.

The world’s largest consumer electronics show, CES, which was forced to go digital in 2021 due to COVID-19, is returning to Las Vegas for a hybrid event from January 5th to 8th 2022. It will require in person attendees to show proof of vaccination. Organisers the Consumer Technology Association have selected Web Summit as the digital platform provider for the event.

Since July 2021, the iconic Cape Town International Convention Centre has been home to one of the Western Cape’s largest vaccination centres, the Vaccination Centre of Hope. The centre is a partnership with the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Discovery Health, and the CTICC, to accelerate the vaccination programme within the Western Cape. Currently, close to 2,000 citizens are vaccinated each day at the centre.

Delegates from twelve countries united in Lomé, Togo for the 3rd Conference by the African Land Institutions Network for Community Rights. They highlighted successes and challenges from ongoing community land rights reforms in their countries, and charted a roadmap for the future. The conference, hosted by the Government of Togo, was initiated by the Rights and Resources Initiative and co-organised by International Land Coalition, Africa.

Expo 2020 Dubai has welcomed roughly 50,000 guests a day since its October 1st opening. The event is on track to host around nine million visitors over its six-month duration. Almost half hold a season pass, with more than 100,000 people visiting twice and over 35,000 coming three times during the first fifteen days. This highlights the number of attractions on offer at the largest event ever held in the Arab world.

Over 2,000 gender equality advocates have just gathered virtually for the announcement of the next Women Deliver Conference. WD2023, set to take place at Kigali in Rwanda and virtually from July 17th to 20th 2023, will be the world’s largest conference on the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century. WD2023 will convene thousands of decision-makers from diverse fields, including civil society, government, the private sector, and international agencies.

Tokyo has successfully hosted the Union of International Associations’s Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific. Overseas speakers and delegates attended online, but local association executives and industry partners participated in person. On October 21st and 22nd, more than 70 participants joined via a virtual conferencing platform, and over 40 gathered in person at the Congrès Square Nihonbashi.

The 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation will take place from May 13th to 17th 2024 at PACIFICO Yokohama. ICRA is held annually by the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society and is the world’s most comprehensive international congress in the field. IEEE ICRA 2024 will be hybrid with an anticipated 25,000 participants (5,000 in person including 4,000 from overseas, with 20,000 online).

The Seoul Convention Bureau has relaunched its 3D MICE event platform with multiple upgrades to help planners organise online events in the hybrid era. The Virtual Seoul 2.0. platform now features four new venues where planners can host online events, including Seoul’s unique venue in Hangang river, Nodeul Island, Seoul City Hall and Seoul Tourism Plaza.

Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore, has launched a fully customisable platform that allows event planners to build from scratch virtual venue sets to replicate real-life event spaces. Shifting the paradigm away from the traditional five-day-a-year in person event concept, the aim is to let organisers continuously engage and build communities all year long. The platform is a joint initiative by the award-winning venue and three other Singaporean organisations.

Perth’s convention bureau has secured 67 national and international business events as the Western Australian capital looks to delegate spend to aid its recovery efforts. Business Events Perth said the events, being held between 2022 and 2024, would inject direct expenditure of AU$54 million into the region’s economy, in addition to 190 local events in 2021.

The launch of the “COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan” by the New South Wales Government will play a significant role in rebuilding business confidence and incentivising event organisers to book in person meetings, according to global bidding specialists BESydney. The more than AU$530 million support package includes AU$6 million for business events, conferences and conventions across Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

The Committee for Sydney has published “Six actions to get Sydney’s events sector back on track”. In launching the paper, the organisation recognised that events are a huge drawcard for Sydney and that event organisers have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions. Six key recommendations are made to support reopening and recovery.

A new business event in New Zealand aiming to address the world’s agrifood climate challenge has drawn the support of key stakeholders in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific. The 2035 Oceania Summit was formally launched at this week’s APEC 2021 CEO Summit in Auckland. Its organiser says New Zealand’s reputation for research and innovation in the field, and its commitment to affecting resolution in climate change, makes it the perfect destination for the event.

New Zealand has built upon its earth science strengths to win the 22nd International Sedimentological Congress in 2026. The ISC is rarely held in the Southern Hemisphere, but in 2026 will be hosted by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand’s Sedimentology Special Interest Group. The congress is expected to attract up to 1,000 participants to Tākina, the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, and deliver an estimated NZ$3.4 million to the economy.

Until the next time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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