Not quite the usual crush under the CES arch, but still some sense of normality.

A belated Happy New Year! Happy birthday to The Iceberg, which has just marked five years of championing the legacies of business events! Plus, congratulations to the leaders and all colleagues behind the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge launched during COP26! The initiative won the PCMA Chair Award, which recognises unique achievements and contributions to the business events industry, during Convening Leaders 2022. Kai Hattendorf of UFI and JMIC, and Miguel Naranjo of the UNFCCC Secretariat and his colleagues, were specifically named. The pledge is being hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg.

Sadly, a further wave of the Omicron variant has risen and peaked, setting industry recovery back. This happened entirely in the liminal space since our last Business Events World issue. “Liminal” is my new favourite word for the transitional areas at business events that let the serendipitous meetings, and therefore the legacies, take place. See the word fully defined in Opinions below, then use it impress your friends and influence people (not while playing Wordle, since it has too many letters, just during the liminal space between each of your daily Wordle games).

So, News this issue is all rather omi-chronic. The variant’s rise caused havoc for meeting planners, with major events cancelled or postponed right across Europe. The World Economic Forum postponed its high profile meeting in Davos until the Summer. The trade fair ITB Berlin will not be taking place in March 2022 as planned due to Omicron, the third live ITB cancelled in a row. The wave impacted the 2021 edition of IBTM World, the first face-to-face event from Iceberg partner IBTM in two years, which drew 7,000 attendees to Barcelona. The dawn of 2022 saw organisers of large association meetings grappling with more restrictions as governments tried to stop the spread, tightening rules about who could travel and where people could meet. The Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2022 did run as a live show with over 45,000 attendees in person, alongside a virtual event. But several high profile participants, among them Amazon, Google and Microsoft, pulled out of the live element at the last minute. The IMEX Group posted postponed dates for IMEX in Frankfurt 2022. The Iceberg partner will now run the show from May 31st to June 2nd, to give the global meetings, incentive travel and events industry a further five weeks to prepare.

Also in News, some return to normality. Malaysia’s MyCEB, with help from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Economic Planning unit, will soon introduce a 3R (Reset, Restart and Responsible) recovery programme for business events. This will reduce travel costs to Malaysia for foreign delegates and provide COVID-19 insurance and PCR test costs (for the first 10,000 international delegates). Three German cities are among the top ten destinations chosen for big international meetings, according to new figures in Northstar Meetings Group’s Convention Cities Index. Frankfurt tops the list, with Cologne fifth and Hanover eighth. A report into the economic impact of business events to the UK’s West Midlands shows that delegates spent £2.3 billion in the region in 2019. West Midlands’ business tourism is supporting 65,000 full-time or equivalent posts. Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, whose ceremonial launch has now taken place, already has fifty “multi-day conferences” on the books, with exhibitions and smaller meetings also secured. In Malaysia, Business Events Sarawak revealed it has secured RM3 billion ($718 million) in business from conferences. Now marking its fifteenth anniversary, the convention bureau also intends deeper societal impact, with half of bid wins to be legacy-driven. London secured the biennial Ecocity World Summit for 2023, following support from the Mayor of London, London Councils, the UK Government and others. A legacy project will construct a brand new piece of green infrastructure for the capital, developed via a collaborative process.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Amy Hissrich, a staffer from Iceberg partner ASAE, reports from her trip to Colombia to attend the 60th global congress of Iceberg partner ICCA. It was both her first time on a plane in two years and also her first event in the same time. The bad experience of an Israeli minister, unable to enter a COP26 venue because she is a wheelchair user, reveals the journey planners still have to travel on accessibility and inclusivity. The UK events industry in total is a vastly fragmented animal, worth before the pandemic £84 billion every year to the country. A leader from Martin Fullard calls for the sector to be shown the respect it deserves. Elsewhere in Opinions, lots of legacy leaving. Jane Vong Holmes, Senior Manager Asia at Iceberg partner GainingEdge, examines the commitment to legacy of Business Events Sarawak on the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary. The Iceberg ambassador Jane Cunningham is leaving Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance after twelve years. The Iceberg pays its own tribute in Features below, but Jane has also given an interview to her own colleagues. Anna Abdelnoor, Co-founder of the event sustainability body Isla, took a different route to IBTM World in Barcelona this year, opting for rail over air. Fay Sharpe, Founder of the mentorship programme Fast Forward 15, was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year’s honours for services to mentoring women, gender equality and charitable fundraising. Sharpe has also been retracing her career path on the M&IT Talks podcast.

Also in Opinions, both in Europe and America our friends over at the Professional Convention Management Association have been very busy. PCMA Convening EMEA, which brought attendees from 29 nations together in Lausanne last October, started and ended on a sustainable note. Hospitality Helping Hands left a legacy advancing child literacy in Las Vegas during PCMA Convening Leaders 2022. Volunteers sorted and prepped 10,000 second-hand books for distribution to schools. Companies at Convening Leaders’ Tech Village at Caesars Forum have also been identifying what has changed about digital attendee experiences during 2021. PCMA Editor-in-Chief Michelle Russell drew our attention to an article about how the scientific conference model should be changing after the pandemic. This contains a fantastic example of serendipitous legacy, a chance meeting at a conference in Puerto Rico leading to a Nobel prize-winning collaboration over CRISPR gene editing. Plus, if attendees are missing the chance encounter at virtual events, the lack of any “liminal” space in the environment may be to blame. This can also be missing on site at events. In another PCMA article, Hopin’s Julius Solaris gives us a new concept for planned serendipity, “liminality”.

In Features this issue, Dubai is growing its knowledge-based, diversified economy almost as quickly as it grows its skyline. Aiding this ambition is Expo Dubai 2020, an “accelerator and amplifier” in attracting associations and their meetings. Meanwhile, the BestCities Global Forum explored how legacy-building with every conference can quickly lead to dramatic change. A trio of videos from the Iceberg partner event examines the ESTRO Madrid Project which yielded a €700 million legacy for cancer patients, the new Madrid PLUS tool for creating legacy, and the personal legacy of BestCities’ own Jane Cunningham.

In Research you will find added The Future Role and Purpose of Convention Bureaux from the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe, the IBTM Trends Watch Report 2022 just launched at the Iceberg partner’s show, Digital Events Insights from PCMA and AC Forum, Global Association Meetings Protocol – A Strategic Future for the Global Events Industry from the recent 60th Congress of Iceberg partner ICCA, and a welcome update from another partner, the UFI World Map of Exhibition Venues (2022 Edition).

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 website of Iceberg partner Global Association Hubs, including a Free Virtual Meetings Guide made available by Julius Solaris of, and COVID-19 advisories from the four GAH destinations: Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC.

UFI has appointed Adeline Vancauwelaert as its next Chief Operating Officer. Joining on February 22nd from global exhibition organiser Comexposium, where she held the role of Event Director, Vancauwelaert will be working with the team at UFI’s Paris headquarters. At Comexposium, Vancauwelaert had a leading role in strategic positioning, team management, and the international development of the SIAL show.

UFI has announced the location of its next European Conference, taking place from May 4th to 6th, as Poznań, Poland. The event will be held at the Poznań Congress Center, which is a key venue for host Grupa MTP, which is celebrating its centenary anniversary in 2022. Open to members and non-members, the conference is the leading international exhibition industry event in the region, and will build on the success of November’s UFI Global Congress in Rotterdam.

UFI’s Latin America Conference 2022 will be taking place in person on May 11th and 12th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event, open to UFI members and non-members, brings together industry professionals from across the region and beyond. This year marks the second time UFI has organised a physical event in Latin America, following on from its LATAM Conference 2018 in Mexico City, at which 125 industry professionals gathered.

The next UFI Exhibition Management School boasts a faculty comprised of global industry experts and takes place from February 14th to 24th. Kartina Lydiawati, MarComs Manager of PT Pamerindo Indonesia (Informa Markets), Indonesia has been explaining why she signed up for the UFI-EMS and what she hopes to learn there.

Cinzia Zanin and J. Alexis Zamudio, UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant winners from 2019 and 2020 respectively, have posted an UFI blog called The Next Generation to Do List for 2022.

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. The HR Award is not being organised in 2022. The deadline for entries is March 21st.

UFI President Monica Lee-Müller posted this message in December, and this one for February. UFI CEO and Managing Director Kai Hattendorf posted Five Trends to Watch in 2022 in December, then this message for February.

As mentioned above, the IMEX Group has secured new dates for IMEX in Frankfurt 2022. The change lets the team stage the 20th anniversary of its market-leading trade show from Tuesday 31st May to Thursday 2nd June, giving the global meetings, incentive travel and events industry an additional five weeks to prepare. With a wide range of exhibitors and buyers already confirmed from multiple sectors and markets, registration has now opened for IMEX in Frankfurt. The IMEX Group say this reflects steadily increasing demand for the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry to reset and get back to business. IMEX continues to build on its commitment to long-term sustainability with a series of announcements and new activities for 2022. The group will extend its existing partnership with sustainable event management agency, MeetGreen, to include detailed environmental impact analysis of IMEX in Frankfurt, starting in 2022. IMEX has also signed up to the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge, organised by the Joint Meetings Industry Council, which presents The Iceberg. Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, has posted Nature – We’re Giving You a Second Chance, committing to the IMEX talking point that could not be properly discussed during pandemic-cancelled events.

IMEX has published further analysis of IMEX America. The show, which took place from November 9th to 11th in Las Vegas, saw 8,600 industry professionals from 80 countries meet to network and kickstart business regeneration. Key Performance Indicators increased from 2019 and satisfaction scores placed the show ahead of the industry benchmark and in the top one percent of trade shows surveyed by attendee research company Explori.

The IMEX Group has extended its partnership with GES to 2026, building on a decade-long collaboration. GES, a global experiential marketing and logistics specialist, has been official service contractor for IMEX America since the launch of the first show in 2011.

ICCA has posted two association success stories. The Africa Tourism Association is a global trade oganisation promoting travel and tourism. The World Tourism Conference is ATA’s flagship event. After being forced to postpone the 2020 staging set to take place in Ghana, ATA created the Xchange platform in response to the exceptional circumstances. The International Society for Computational Biology is a global community of nearly 3,300 scientists. ISCB also hosts a flagship conference, Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology. ISCB had already transitioned its 2020 event into a fully virtual meeting. For the 2021 conference it had far more lead time to plan and restructure for a virtual audience.

Iceberg partner European Cities Marketing has launched a ground-breaking report Understanding the World of the Digital Nomad: How Can Cities Tap into New Sources of Travelling Global Talent? produced in partnership with placemaking and marketing agency Toposophy. The study contains a wide range of practical insights that define who digital nomads really are and what they seek from a place to live and work.

ECM has posted an infographic about what the association has in store for members this year. Tom Bellion, Director of the Luxembourg City Tourist Office, has been appointed the new Treasurer of ECM, taking over from Ignasi de Delàs, former International Director at Turisme de Barcelona, who retired in November.

ECM has announced you can now register for the upcoming ECM International Conference and General Assembly. The conference will take place from March 30th to April 2nd 2022 in Hamburg. and discuss how tourism can help fix the world, and how destination management organisations can be catalysts for change. The programme is available for download here.

As mentioned above, the first face-to-face event in the IBTM portfolio in two years, IBTM World Barcelona, has been hailed a huge success by organisers, closing with over 30,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one business meetings having taken place, and over 7,000 attendees joining in Barcelona. Over 1,200 exhibiting companies from 70 countries around the world attended the three-day event.

In December BestCities Global Alliance posted 2021 Awards: Celebrating Amazing Achievements in the Community. The roundup includes video from the virtual presentation of 2021’s Incredible Impacts awards for association legacy projects. BestCities has also posted What’s Happening this February?, including our own Iceberg video about Madrid Plus. BestCities has announced that Tia Daniels has accepted the position of Director, Business Development and Community Engagement. Tia brings to the role more than 25 years of experience in the meetings and events industry, with many of her previous positions stationed in the US and Denmark. Finally, BestCities has collected links to the COVID-19 safety management measures across all of its destination cities.

Buyers are gearing up to attend Iceberg partner AIME, being held from March 21st to 23rd in Melbourne. Virginia Loyola, Senior Business Development Manager at Arinex, and Karen Livermore, Executive Director of Sales at ID Events Australia, have been sharing their anticipation with AIME Insider. Almost all of Australia’s convention bureaux will also be participating at AIME. Seventeen are already confirmed, with their sights set on showcasing their destinations on the world stage and connecting with quality buyers and the AIME community to drive business for their regions.

The Meetings Show is calling for industry experts to submit content ideas for its 2022 education programme. While a large proportion is being curated by Conference and Content Manager Erica Oghoghorie, thought leaders and event professionals with a passion for sharing knowledge are also being invited to put forward proposals for sessions. The Meetings Show is returning to ExCeL London on June 29th and 30th 2022. The deadline for submissions is February 18th.

Voting is now open for the M&IT Awards 2022. There are a total of eighteen categories to choose from at this year’s awards, taking place at Evolution London on Friday September 9th, with the introduction of brand new categories including Best Incentive Provider and the Diversity and Inclusion Award. By voting you also could win a trip to Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, enjoying five nights at the five-star InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort and Spa. Voting closes on April 29th.

Rob Spalding, the former editor of Association Meetings International, has died following a stroke. He was 85. Spalding edited the magazine from 1989 to 2014, becoming a much loved and highly regarded figure in the international meetings industry and wider association community. He continued to work in a freelance capacity until 2019. Martin Lewis, Founder and Managing Editor of CAT Media, described Spalding as “loveable on a grand scale” and a “joy to be with”, sentiments that will be echoed throughout the industry.

Iceberg partner Mash Media’s International Confex has announced two new content streams for this year’s event: The Corporate Event Forum and the Sustainability Programme. The next edition of International Confex will take place at ExCeL London from March 8th to 9th. Registration for International Confex is now open. Mash Media has also announced a media partnership with Eventprofslive, a networking group for corporate event professionals. The collaboration will run across Mash Media’s publication Conference News and International Confex.

The Mash Media-led charity lunch “One Day at Christmas”, due to be held at ExCeL London on December 14th, was postponed. This event was expected to welcome 300 people guests and 50 volunteers from the Newham area. Due to surge in COVID-19 cases at the time, the decision was taken to postpone until next year.

Mash Media’s Digital Event News portfolio of magazine, website and awards programme has won “Launch of the Year” at the PPA Independent Publisher Conference and Awards. Digital Event News beat-off stiff competition from six other shortlisted finalists during the ceremony at 133 Houndsditch in London. Meanwhile, the Digital Event News Awards themselves, which recognise the transition to and subsequent excellence in virtual and hybrid event formats, will take place on March 31st 2022 at Hilton London Bankside.

Conference News’ 30underThirty winners have been celebrated at a Mash Media awards ceremony. The 2021 class was recognised and celebrated at ODEON Luxe in London’s West End on January 20th. Upon arrival the CN30 winners were treated to a networking reception before the awards ceremony, and heard from CN Editor, Martin Fullard and Felicia Asiedu, Marketing Manager at Cvent.

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 CVBsLegacies – the New Meetings Business Driver, and Building a Better Business Case, 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, Issue #20, and Issue #21.

Beijing North Star Convention and Exhibition Investment Company, the investor and developer of the China National Convention Centre (Phase Two) (CNCC-II), has “reached strategic cooperation” with GainingEdge. The international consulting company is responsible for the pre-opening operation and marketing of the venue from 2021 to 2025, an important move of CNCC-II into the international convention market.

Maritz Holdings has announced that Steve Maritz has moved to an Executive Chairman role following nearly 25 successful years of leading the company as CEO and Chairman. David Peckinpaugh, current President of Iceberg partner Maritz Global Events, one of Maritz Holdings’ core business units, has taken day-to-day management of Maritz Holdings over as President and CEO. This executive leadership change marks an important shift for Maritz from long-term family management to long-term family ownership, the natural evolution of many privately held businesses.

Maritz Global Events also recently announced BPA Worldwide’s iCompli Sustainability division is now a part of the company’s Wellbeing Network. In conversations with clients and internal staff at Maritz Global Events, Rachael Riggs, CMP, DES, the company’s Wellbeing Leader, found the need for a carbon footprint measurement tool kept being raised as a means of addressing the mark any event is leaving on the planet.

Iceberg partner MCI was recognised during the annual Excellence Awards at the Festival of Learning of the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers. MCI UK won “Best Conference by an Agency Organiser” for King’s Live 2020. Visit Belfast won the CSR award, and ICC Belfast and Edinburgh’s EICC won the innovation award.

Meanwhile, international communication, marketing and events agency MCI has expanded its technology solutions offering with the entry of the Dorier agency into the Brazilian market. Specialising in virtual events technology, digital experiences and 3D / AR modelling, Dorier Brazil will be led by Ney Neto.

Iceberg partner Talley Management Group (TMG) has welcomed four new client partners to its roster: True Source Honey, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association – Greater Philadelphia, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. TMG has also posted AMCs as a Strategic Partner for Associations and Nonprofits.

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. Positive Impact also held a 24 hour global event on January 13th called “Exploring the positive impact of your event”, tailored to young corporate event professionals who want to show leadership in sustainability.

There are extensive further COVID-19 resources at the Events Industry Council (EIC), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA)Meetings Mean Business and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Northstar Meetings Group updated its Pulse Survey in January 2022 (registration required).

The Events Industry Council has elected its 2022 Board of Directors, with Cathy Breden, Executive Vice-President and COO at the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research transitioning to Chair. Breden will support EIC’s CEO, Amy Calvert, and EIC’s standing committees and taskforces in creating new research and products to support the global events industry in its recovery.

Mark Cooper, past Chair of the EIC and CEO of the International Association of Conference Centres had previously given an interview to Association Meetings International’s Deep Dive podcast. Holly Patrick asked him whether association leaders should be taking calculated risks, and how important is it to surround yourself with a good team in a time of crisis.

PCMA will be holding its Convening EMEA summit in Vienna following a successful relaunch last year. The meeting, an “omnichannel event for business event leaders and creatives”, will be held at Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center from September 28th to 30th, 2022. Launched in 2017 as an invitation only event called the European Influencer Summit, it was rebranded as Convening EMEA last year for all business event professionals. Over 350 delegates from 29 countries attended the event in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Angie Ranalli, 2021 Chair of the PCMA Foundation Board, has been looking back on a year of challenges and successes, and the changes the pandemic has brought to the business events industry. Meanwhile, the 2022 chairman of the PCMA Board of Directors, Charles Starks, says PCMA and the business events industry must forge ahead with an eye to innovation, education and collaboration through growing relationships.

Sherrif Karamat, PCMA President and CEO, is among those encouraging donations to the Chris Wehking Education Scholarship Fund. As an executive in the medical meetings sector, 2014 Chairman of PCMA’s Board of Directors and 2019 PCMA Foundation Lifetime Achievement Honoree, mentorship and career development were core values for Wehking.

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence has postponed its January 2022 Global Conference in Dublin. The event was due to have taken place from January 27th to 31st 2022 at the Convention Centre Dublin, but planners cited “global restrictions and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant,” as the reason for postponement. January would have marked the return of the SITE Global Conference to Dublin for the first time since 1991, which saw 460 incentive travel professionals from 37 countries gather in the Irish city.

As mentioned above, Destinations International has snapped up Iceberg ambassador Jane Cunningham, who has joined the association as Director of European Engagement. The US-based trade association for convention bureaux and destination marketing organisations has made the appointment in a bid to woo more European members. Cunningham is highly regarded in the European meetings industry having spent twelve years as Community Engagement Director for Iceberg partner BestCities Global Alliance. She has also worked for Iceberg partner GainingEdge in a consultancy role.

Meeting Professionals International’s European Meetings and Events Conference is another victim of Omicron postponement. EMEC, which was due to have taken place in Brighton from February 27th to March 1st, has cited “travel restrictions and growing concerns about the Omicron variant” as the main factors behind the decision to postpone.

Martin Boyle, CEO of the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers, is another industry chief to give an interview to Association Meetings International’s Deep Dive podcast. Holly Patrick discussed with him the golden rules of being a strong leader, the need to start looking forward to exciting times ahead, and why is it absolutely necessary to take the time to understand what is important in life.

IAPCO has joined forces with the City of Athens through a new Destination Partnership announced at IBTM World 2021. As an official IAPCO Destination Partner, the City of Athens will strengthen relations with international PCOs through IAPCO’s highly accredited network of members. Athens has emerged during the last several years as a top-rated, socially-conscious and sustainable destination for meetings and events.

Outgoing President of Associations and Conference Forum Tracy Bury blogged about her two years in the post on her final day. AC Forum’s incoming President is Carola van der Hoeff, Chief Operating Officer and Congress Director at the International Pharmaceutical Federation. Alessandro Cortese, CEO of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, is now an AC Forum Board member.

The European Society of Association Executives has hosted a meeting called “The H Word – Hybrid Uncovered”, attended both in person and online by 70 participants from various associations and organisations. The event was an effort to dig deeper into what a successful hybrid event looks like and whether it is the right choice for every occasion.

The need to do things differently to before the pandemic was the main topic of conversation at the recent Event Supplier and Services Association annual conference and awards ceremony. Members of the UK’s ESSA met face-to-face for the first time in more than a year to discuss challenges still facing the events industry and to create solutions to overcome them. In a session titled ‘CTRL ALT DELETE’, CEO and Co-founder of Vixen Labs James Poulter said the industry had some “serious un-learning to do” and suggested it “hit delete and start again” to build back better.

ESSA has launched the ESSA Individual Induction, the first in a series of certificated training courses for its members with a focus on health and safety. The bite-sized induction courses cover a range of safety-related areas to provide understanding of different health and safety requirements when working at an exhibition or event.

The Association of Event Organisers Centenary Party and Awards saw UK event professionals flock to the Vox in Birmingham for a celebration of the sector’s great and good. The celebrations were split in two, starting with a throwback in history to when the AEO was formed coupled with 100 images of events over the years and a Pathe clip taking guests back in time. Philip Soar was named as the “Outstanding Contribution to the Industry” winner.

AEO will host its AEO Forum 2022 at the Business Design Centre London on February 11th 2022. Under this year’s Forum theme of “Reset: A New Chapter”, the event will outline what potential challenges lay ahead for event professionals as the industry emerges from the two-year pandemic. A keynote talk will be delivered by broadcaster and behaviourist Jez Rose.

The Business Visits & Events Partnership has elected Chris Skeith OBE as its new chair. Skeith is currently Director of the Events Industry Alliance, which represents AEO,AEV and ESSA. The appointment, which takes place with immediate effect, will see Skeith take up the role on a two-year term taking over from Simon Hughes, who moves into the role of Immediate Past Chair.

Jane Longhurst has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Meetings Industry Association and has also taken a position on the UK government’s Tourism Industry Council. Longhurst, formerly MIA Chief Executive for sixteen years, will continue to work for the association in the non-executive position to work toward a greater good for the business events industry. Her other role with the Tourism Industry Council will see Longhurst supporting ministers to make sure the visitor economy meets its full potential and the industry’s voice is represented.

Green Tourism and the Meetings Industry Association have signed a five-year exclusive partnership to drive standards for sustainable business meetings and events. Following the launch of Green Tourism’s “Green Meetings” standard in June 2021, the MIA has joined forces with the sustainability support programme which has been assessing and accrediting thousands of sustainable businesses for more than a quarter of a century.

2022 will be a year of reconstruction for the business events, accommodation, and meetings industry, according to the HBAA, now rebranded as Beam. Simon Richards, HBAA treasurer and MD of Convenus, said “2022 will be a period of rebuilding and recovery. We must learn from our experiences and take the positives forward to develop and enhance our industry, which is where Beam comes in to be a catalyst for the future.”.

More than 90 members and partners of Beam attended an online meeting to mark and celebrate the brand transition and to hear news from board members of major developments and initiatives. Julie Shorrock, Beam Membership Director, announced that the organisation would now welcome creative agencies, convention bureaux, tourist boards, destination management companies, production companies and representation companies as members, as well as the agencies and venues who were members of HBAA.

The Event Marketing Association is aiming to address the talent crisis in the sector by partnering with industry recruiter CastleBell and Times Ten Coaching to provide learning and development opportunities throughout 2022 for in-house eventprofs. Together these three organisations will help event professionals with workshops, webinars and networking meetings covering topics like recruitment, employee engagement, talent development and leadership.

As mentioned above, Fast Forward 15, the not-for-profit mentoring programme for women in the UK travel, events and hospitality industry is preparing for its 2022 programme. Applications are now open and the roster of mentors has been revealed. It includes Matin Fullard of Iceberg partner Mash Media. Fay Sharpe, founder of FF15, was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2022 Queen’s New Year Honours List for her commitment to female mentorship.

FF15 has announced the details of its 2022 charity event, The Bingo Ball. The evening will raise money for MindOut, a mental health charity that offers support for the LGBTQ community in the UK. The idea for The Bingo Ball was developed by the mentees involved in this year’s FF15 programme. Throughout the event there will be an opportunity for networking with industry peers.

Diversity Ally, a diversity and inclusion organisation for the events and hospitality industries, has announced three well-known industry figures as the judges for its inaugural Diversity in Events Awards. Fay Sharpe OBE, Ryan Curtis-Johnson and Amrita Devaiah will judge the awards taking place on April 26th 2022 at Cutty Sark in Greenwich. All three judges have worked to drive diversity through their roles within the industry.

Black UK event professionals are being invited to join a newly-launched association as it aims to “change the global event landscape”. Founded by Black eventprofs Nadu Placca, Nicole Wallace-White and Aaron Raybe, the Association of Black Event Professionals represents Black individuals, businesses and suppliers within the events industry. A spokesperson said: “Today, we are proud to announce we are launching the Association of Black Event Professionals (ABEP). Instead of asking for a seat at the table, we are building our own table. For us, by us.”.

The UK government tightened up travel restrictions for those arriving in the UK in response to the Omicron variant, with additional testing requirements, and countries in Africa, where the variant originated, added to the travel red list. As the government moved to “Plan B”, adults in England had to show COVID passes to enter large events, and the government published new guidance for planners and venues on how to comply with new rules. A survey revealed that 64 percent of UK respondents support the idea of showing proof of vaccination to attend large events. The Plan B measures introduced in December to combat the Omicron variant were abolished from January 26th, with England reverting to “Plan A”.

Festivals had the largest risk of COVID-19 transmission among attendees that took part in the government’s Events Research Programme. Phase II and III findings show little evidence for increased transmission by attendance at the indoor theatre events or outdoor seated events studied. But attendance at the mainly outdoor unseated events studied, including the Latitude and Tramlines festivals, was associated with a 1.7 fold increased risk of COVID-19 transmission among attendees.

Venues should be responsible for protecting visitors from terrorism, the UK Home Office has said. There is currently no legislative requirement for organisations or venues to consider or employ security measures at the vast majority of public places, but new rules could apply to any venue with a capacity of more than 100 people, the government has said.

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 body Isla is celebrating its hundredth member as it welcomes social media platform, Twitter to the sustainability party. Isla’s action-driven network is made up of event businesses from across the meetings industry and advocates for collaboration over competition, by engaging the supply chain. Twitter joins a membership of well-known brands including Channel 4, Westfield London, and CNN International.

Events held in person are increasingly the focus for event planners in 2022, research from etc.venues has revealed. Nine out of ten event professionals are “increasingly inclined to meet in person”, while almost a quarter (23 percent) of respondents plan to host live-only events in 2022. The value gained from in-person meetings was also highlighted in the survey responses, with 82 percent valuing them more now than they did before the pandemic.

Event First Steps has launched a second survey as part of its ongoing, sector wide research into racial diversity in the events industry. Event First Steps was founded by Elena Clowes, Caitlin Kobrak and Priya Narain and aims to help industry newcomers navigate and find their place within the events world. The event professionals initiated this diversity research project at the end of 2020.

The Meetings Show will return to ExCeL London from June 29th to 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.

Story Events, organiser of the annual London Summer Event Show, has postponed the exhibition for two months, in light of the restrictions and uncertainty around the Omicron variant. Now in its sixth edition and taking place at Banking Hall, the London Summer Event Show brings together over 150 venues and suppliers looking to gain inspiration. The event has moved from January 18th and 19th to March 15th and 16th 2022.

Central Hall Westminster, part of Central Hall Venues group, has launched a new partnership with in-house caterers, Green & Fortune, with a pledge to pay all current and future catering staff beyond the London Living Wage. From December 2021, the majority of employees at Green & Fortune will be earning over £12 per hour, more than the minimum wage and the London Living Wage.

Tourism leaders from across Coventry and Warwickshire have celebrated the official launch of the region’s new destination management organisation. Destination Coventry launched at an event at Coventry Building Society Arena, which saw around 100 leaders from the region’s tourism sector in attendance. The DMO will lead on marketing the city and the wider Warwickshire region as a visitor destination, nationally and internationally, to grow and support the visitor economy.

The ACC Liverpool Group has launched a “Social Impact Value Plan” aimed at creating positive social, economic and environmental legacy. The strategy focuses on key areas, and commitments include supporting the delivery of the government’s pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This the organisation has already initiated by signing the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge.

National Museums Liverpool has seen a return to major events following the G7 summit, which was hosted at the Museum of Liverpool. The facility was the main location for the 10th edition G7 Summit of Foreign and Development Ministers talks. This was the first major external client event NML has hosted since the start of the pandemic, with work happening behind the scenes to prepare for a series of other events scheduled for 2022.

Manchester Central said enquiries for 2022 events picked up at a “promising pace” in January, with interest levels back up to expected autumn 2021 levels. The exhibition and conference centre currently has more than 110 events, both new and established, booked into its 2022 calendar. Planned events for February include Built Environment’s Northern Powerhouse Economic Growth Conference.

A plan has been submitted to open a £67.5 million events arena that would host 5,000 people in North Yorkshire. The new venue, which could be ready to open in 2024, would host an all-year programme of entertainment, sporting, conference, exhibition and social events. It has been described by developers as a “major catalyst” for the regeneration of the area, and would sit on the former Redcar Bowl site which has stood empty for the past seven years.

More than £200 million is being invested across Coventry and Warwickshire to cement the region as a leading destination for national and international business tourism. Investment is being made in transport, the public realm and directly into conference and exhibition venues to improve the experience for organisers looking to bring their events to the region.

Kettering Conference Centre will be reopening in March 2022. Situated in Northamptonshire, the facility is one of the most centrally located in the UK and is managed by The Venues Collection, part of Compass Group UK and Ireland. Kettering Conference Centre can host up to 2,000 delegates and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Northamptonshire, available for meetings, training sessions, conferences, exhibitions and product launches.

Events R Talented, the talent-show initiative set up by event industry professionals to raise money for charities worldwide, has launched its 2022 competition. The scheme is searching the length and breadth of the UK for the finest talent in the industry, whether that’s singing, dancing, magic, comedy or flower arranging. The lucky winner will perform at the 2022 M&IT Awards on September 9th, and be invited onto a Sandals Resort Trip to the Caribbean with the opportunity to perform in the resort during 2023.

The International Convention Centre Wales has hosted its largest exhibition to date, as part of the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association Annual Conference 2021. The two-day ISBA Annual Conference in November brought over 1,000 attendees to the convention centre, with more than 170 exhibition stands and 400 delegates.

The Celtic Manor Resort and ICC Wales teamed up with The Salvation Army and other charities over Christmas to provide festive meals for the homeless and vulnerable people in South Wales. A team of eight chefs from Celtic Collection venues prepared over 900 turkey dinners and vegetarian alternatives for serving at charity centres and delivering to people in need.

ICC Wales has announced the appointment of Amy Phillips, the second sales manager to be recruited at the conference venue in the past two months. Phillips joins the team from Visit West, where she was Head of Business Events, managing the Meet Bristol and Bath Convention Bureau. Before this, Phillips was Senior Event Manager at Grosvenor House in London.

The International Convention Centre Belfast, together with its sister entertainment venue Waterfront Hall, has become the first meetings and events venue on the island of Ireland to receive the Green Meetings Silver Award. The accreditation, launched by Green Tourism in 2021, measures venues’ sustainability standards including energy, water and waste, as well as catering, communications and community involvement.

As part of its plans to grow its international business events footprint and support organisations in their post-pandemic recovery, Failte Ireland’s Meet in Ireland team has dramatically increased funding in the sector and is now offering up to €100,000 per international event, for applications received up until December 2022. The funding may be used to enhance programmes to make sure delegates have an unforgettable experience.

Helsingborg in southern Sweden is hosting the H22 City Expo, an international event with over 300 programme features showcasing the smart and sustainable city of the future. From May 30th to July 3rd 2022, the Expo brings together over 70 official partners, innovators, world-leading companies, researchers, city departments, sustainability heroes, associations and residents, to explore and develop how we live in the city of tomorrow.

Norway Trade Fairs has changed its name to NOVA Spektrum, to reflect its offering of a wide range of services, experiences and meeting places. The Norway Trade Fairs Foundation owns and operates NOVA Spektrum in Lillestrøm and Oslo Spektrum in Oslo. The foundation retains its name, but the exhibition centre in Lillestrøm will now be called NOVA Spektrum.

Prague will host the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress in a hybrid format from July 1st to 3rd 2022 at the O2 Universum. The Prague Convention Bureau and the Czech Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology won the bidding process after three years of effort. The EAACI flagship congress is attended each year by over 8,000 health care professionals and scientists including key opinion leaders from all over the world.

As mentioned last issue, a new date has been set for the inaugural Brussels International Association Forum. The event will take place at Maison de la Poste, Tour & Taxis Venues, Brussels, from March 14th to 15th 2022, having been scuppered by Omicron and renewed concern about the spread of coronavirus. Between now and the end of February, BIAF is running complementary online sessions to allow delegates to discuss topics and connect prior to the event.

The Zurich Convention Center has been thoroughly modernised to welcome all sorts of meetings in its central city location. After four years of work, the venue is promoting its large state-of-the-art auditorium (1,225 pax) and 20 rooms of different sizes. It is also connected to the famous Tonhalle, built in 1895 and ideal for concerts. Zurich Convention Center also has a brand new studio for virtual and hybrid events.

Located in the north of Germany, Hamburg attracted major conferences hosted at its historic conference centre for over forty years. When the pandemic hit, CCH – Congress Center Hamburg had already begun to modernise and remodel. The new venue recently reopened with Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress 2021. Hosted by the State and City of Hamburg, ERTICO – ITS Europe and the Federal Department of Transportation, the event was attended by over 13,000 delegates, around 4,000 visitors on Public Day, and 400 exhibitors.

After renovation of the danubeSAIL and the new Panorama Walk, Austria Center Vienna is now focusing on the modernisation of its landmark entrance hall. Scheduled for completion at the end of 2022, the hall will cover around 1,800 square metres. New digital branding spaces will be placed around it, with all media managed and monitored centrally for the first time, features that add to the venue’s sustainability goals.

The Hague will showcase numerical dexterity when it hosts 3,500 mathematicians, for the quadrennial International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, which is scheduled to be held from July 12th to 16th 2027. The Netherlands is a leader in the field of industrial mathematics, due to a significant number of research laboratories and international organisations spread across the country.

A major conference on challenges for future generations related to food, the JCI European Conference, is at Bruges in Belgium from June 8th to 11th 2022 under the theme “Food for Generations”. The City of Bruges, the Concertgebouw Brugge and the brand new Bruges, Meeting and Convention Centre are playing host to the event, expected to welcome over 2,000 participants from across Europe. Workshops, training and company visits will give educational and business opportunities to participants.

How the earth’s shape, gravitational field and orientation in space affect issues like climate change is to be discussed by scientists at a major conference in Italy. The quadrennial International Conference of the International Association of Geodesy will be held at the Palacongressi di Rimini, from September 1st to 5th 2025. More than 500 delegates are expected at the event, which this year took place in Beijing.

Global media company, Condé Nast, has announced that Patrick Garrigan has been appointed as its Senior Vice-President, Global Head of Events. He joins Condé Nast from Bloomberg, where he was Global Head of Events, Bloomberg Live. Prior to this, Garrigan worked at The Atlantic for five years as its Executive Director of Business Development.

Meetings, events and hospitality technology provider, Cvent and Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II have completed the business combination of Cvent and Dragoneer, approved by Dragoneer shareholders at a special meeting held on December 7th 2021. The common stock of Cvent began trading on The Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “CVT” on December 9th. Cvent founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal gave this interview about the benefits of going public and the future of the meetings industry.

US-based meeting technology companies MeetingPlay and Aventri have merged. The single entity, which will receive growth funding from Sunstone Partners and Camden Partners, will provide a full suite of products from registration to event apps, and from marketing to online and hybrid platforms, and comes as organisers grapple with a plethora of event software options. MeetingPlay CEO Eric Lochner has been named CEO of the company.

BroadcastMed, a provider of medical content with 1.7 million doctors on its database, has snapped up virtual and hybrid event tech company Digitell for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition is designed to help BroadcastMed increase its reach to a “vast array of healthcare professionals”. Established 27 years ago, BroadcastMed has a huge portfolio of live and on-demand content on its website. Digitell is behind a digital content management system that lets clients rapidly create, customise and launch projects.

A major international congress on biochemistry and molecular biology will see 1,500 field experts gather in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2027. The meeting will mark the first time the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Triennial International Congress has been held on the African Continent. Scheduled to take place from September 19th to 23rd 2027 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the congress will see cutting edge research in the field presented.

Registration is open for the 16th edition of Meetings Africa, set to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, from February 28th to March 2nd 2022. After an absence in 2021 due to the pandemic, Meetings Africa is set to reignite Africa’s business events industry, promising an array of exhibitors and buyers from across the continent and wider world an opportunity to partner and rebuild the sector.

World Travel Market Africa has chosen a hybrid format for its 2022 event, allowing exhibitors to meet with more buyers than ever before. WTM Africa will take place live and in person from April 11th to 13th 2022 in the host city of Cape Town, running alongside the International Luxury Travel Market Africa as part of Africa Travel Week. A virtual event will also take place on April 4th and 5th.

An impressive roster of international speakers has been lined up for the next Dubai Association Conference, which will explore the themes of resilience and reinvention. Michelle Mason, new CEO of Iceberg partner the American Society of Association Executives, will join Bo Kruger, owner of Moving Minds, and thinker Jason Thompson, on the list. The third edition of the event is scheduled to take place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre on February 21st, 2022.

Despite a difficult year due to the pandemic, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre managed to end 2021 on a strong note. The venue hosted over 300 national and regional business events, with more than 60 percent held in the last quarter of the year following the industry’s October reopening. The venue was also recognised as “Malaysia’s Best Convention Centre” and “Best MICE Event Venue – South East Asia” by the World Mice Awards 2022 and APAC Insider respectively.

Members of the Malaysian meetings industry have been developing their skills and knowledge in anticipation of a “much more challenging” market when the pandemic recedes. More than 100 delegates attended a workshop called “MyBE Knowledge: Innovative Bid 2021”, organised by The Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau. The virtual event, the seventh in the series, was aimed at those who are involved in securing business events through lead generation and bidding processes.

Malaysia will host a major conference on stoma care and diseases of the colon and rectum for the second time in six years. The 20th Congress of Asia Pacific Federation of Coloproctology and 14th Asian Society of Stoma Rehabilitation Congress will be held in Sabah in March 2025. The successful bid is being hailed as a ringing endorsement for Malaysia’s business events infrastructure, given that the event was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2019.

Seoul successfully attracted eighteen international conferences in 2021 including the World Congress of Neurology 2025 with 5,000 participants expected. The Seoul Convention Bureau has been offering customised consulting for each bid through its PLUS SEOUL programme designed to attract more international conferences to the city. After last year’s success, Seoul will welcome about 23,000 participants over the coming years.

One of the most distinguished figures in the field of vaccines and infectious diseases has been made an Honorary Ambassador for the meetings and events industry in Korea. American Jerome Kim, who has served as Director General of the International Vaccine Institute since 2015, was appointed during a ceremony at IVI headquarters in Seoul.

Melbourne has secured two of the world’s leading technology conferences that are set to attract 1,200 global blockchain gurus and technology players to the city over the next two years. The World Block Chain Summit 2022 and the ACM International Conference on Multimedia in 2024 are expected to deliver AU$5.2 million in economic contribution to Victoria. Both events will be hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Melbourne will also host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2023. The successful bid was led by Melbourne Convention Bureau and gives the state of Victoria an opportunity to showcase its thriving start-up community. Julia Swanson, MCB Chief Executive, said Melbourne has a track record in hosting world class business events and is renowned for its collaborative model. “In addition to delivering AU$12.9 million in economic contribution to our state, the GEC 2023 will advance Melbourne’s already thriving entrepreneurial sector”, she said.

Business Events Perth is set to receive AU$15 million in funding to attract meetings to Western Australia. The money was announced as part of a AU$185 million Reconnect WA financial package that targets tourists, skilled workers, international students and events, and aligns with WA’s Safe Transition Plan. Business Events Perth has said the funding boost would underpin a strong recovery for the sector.

Business Events Perth has announced that one of Australia’s top hydrogen conferences, the Australian Hydrogen Conference (West), is coming to the city in November 2022. The two-day event will welcome 440 delegates to discuss how they can create opportunities for sustainable energy and tackle existing obstacles.

The Committee for Sydney has welcomed details of New South Wales’ Event Saver financial support, which is for major events held between December 15th 2021 and December 31st 2022 that are cancelled or significantly disrupted as a direct result of Public Health Orders. Large events have been targeted for support due to the significant impact they have on driving tourism, as well as on the broader NSW economy.The maximum amount that can be paid per eligible event is capped at AU$10 million.

Auckland will host the next annual International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression in June 2022. A common objective of the NIME community is designing, building, performing with and evaluating new musical instruments and other types of musical interfaces. The 21st edition of NIME, set to attract about 200 delegates, will be hosted by The University of Auckland, which led the conference bid supported by Auckland Convention Bureau and Tourism New Zealand.

The New Zealand Game Developers Association has collaborated with Wellington in a multi-year partnership to increase investment and grow the talent pool in the creative digital content sector. The NZGDA will expand the remit of its annual conference to incorporate film, screen and interactive media alongside the event’s traditional gaming content. This will strengthen Wellington’s position as a world leader in these fields.

Until the liminal time before the next issue is over…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg


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