MONTHLY COMPILATION

The WTC Binh Duong New City Expo, launched on August 8th.

The day before I sit writing this, a “promising new exhibition facility” was launched in Vietnam. The WTC Binh Duong New City Expo opened up shop with a trade fair for the wood processing industry, and aims to address the country’s prior shortage of infrastructure for international business events. The Iceberg never tires of saluting each new vessel of meetings impact as it slides off the slipway. Safe travels, ship of legacy! May God bless her and all who make sales in her!

In News this issue, Iceberg partner the International Congress and Convention Association has been very busy, formalising a collaboration with BESarawak. The venture will see both working on the new International Journal of Business Events and Legacies. GainingEdge, another Iceberg partner, and The Iceberg itself will also lend support to the publication. The 2021 ICCA rankings just posted saw destination Vienna reclaim the top city spot worldwide for the first time since 2012. The United States performed better than any other nation in hosting international association meetings, with the country listings released alongside publication of the report’s public abstract. Over forty percent of associations will hold their largest meeting in person this year, according to a different ICCA survey. But only 35.6 percent said it was “very important” to “reduce the environmental impact of their event”. There is some welcome legacy just in from Berlin, the association of the German trade fair industry announcing that the sector will be fully supplied by green power by 2025 and climate neutral by 2040. AUMA says sustainability will form part of agreements with industry partners from 2023 onwards. Plus, read about some possible reverse legacy. The US Supreme Court ruling lifting constitutional protections for access to abortion services has now prompted calls for scientific events to boycott states that have banned or severely restricted services.

Also in News, any number of stories that paint a picture of the current state of the market. Event technology platform Bizzabo has laid off 120 staff, or thirty percent of its 400-strong workforce. AI and transcription unicorn Verbit laid off sixty employees, about ten percent of total. Hopin has laid off 29 percent of staff, merely four months after the virtual events startup let another twelve percent go. The need to meet in person is still compelling, but post-pandemic business travel has to be business critical to justify the financial and carbon cost. So says a new report from Accor, which suggests twenty percent of business meetings “may have gone forever”. On the positive side, there is nothing like a face-to-face gathering to conduct business, says an RX global study. Face-to-face remained a key priority for respondents, with 78 percent of businesses stating trade shows offer something unique that cannot be created elsewhere. Over 440,000 conferences and meetings worth £4.9 billion took place across the UK in 2021, after just 195,000 in 2020, new research has revealed. Finally, Iceberg partner UFI has posted a new edition of the iconic Global Exhibition Barometer. This shows the sector bouncing back quickly, with revenue for the first half of 2023 expected to reach 87 percent of comparable 2019 levels.

All twelve Opinions articles this issue are fresh. Three tackle sustainability. A large events industry coalition made a pledge at COP26 to reduce carbon emissions. Kai Hattendorf, President of Iceberg partner UFI and former Chair of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (which presents The Iceberg), helped put the group together, as a profile explains. Carina Bauer, CEO of Iceberg partner IMEX Group, has been talking about her organisation’s Green Squad and its sustainability impact. Five sustainability experts answer twenty fundamental questions to let associations begin their journey towards net zero. Included are views from Iceberg partners GDS-Index and Positive Impact. Plus, as the word recovers from the recent heatwave, CEO Liz Taylor from event management firm the Taylor Lynn Corporation has sweated over the perfect solutions to keep delegates cool. With the market now approaching pre-pandemic business levels, organisers are caught between a labour / skills crisis plus rocketing inflation. An editorial examines the road ahead. Northstar’s James Lancaster and Loren Edelstein also discuss how the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade could influence where international associations meet.

Also in Opinions, there are signs the event tech goldrush is already over. William Thomson, Founder of Gallus Events and Practically Perfect PA, examines how the sector is now facing something of a reckoning. As always, I offer you legacy stories as well! Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Creative Industries and Performing Arts, the Honourable Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, has been quizzed about the Malaysian state’s promotion of business event impact. Subjects covered include ventures with Iceberg partners GDS-Index and ICCA. Glasgow will stage seven neurology or neuroscience-related meetings during 2022. The many links of this Scottish city with neurology includes several landmarks in the field, as The Iceberg has covered before. Mash Media’s Martin Fullard has made a great video covering VisitScotland’s new and improved “Policy Driven Model”, its “Journey to Change” initiative, and how universities are helping to win business events. Jaimé Bennett, PCMA’s Regional Director of EMEA, went on a tour during her site visit to Vienna earlier this year. A café which helps older residents augment their pensions and social lives through baking is now part of Convening EMEA’s programme. Finally, Peter King has been looking back on highlights and challenges he faced during his time at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, as he gets ready to leave the venue’s CEO position.

In Features this issue, two great video stories. Rod Kamleshwaran at Iceberg partner GainingEdge discusses Beijing’s massive CNCC-II (China National Convention Center Phase 2), an Olympic legacy indeed. Plus, in an article which is itself a video double bill, The Iceberg hears once again from the great Iceberg ambassador and BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith, and also from Tourism Australia’s Robin Mack, about the role of meetings in diversifying destinations’ economies.

In Research you will find added IMEX Policy Forum 2022 – What Does Success Look Like?, which features highlights of the recent Iceberg partner event at which so many friends of this publication participated. Plus, UFI has released the Global Exhibition Barometer 29th Edition (June 2022), as mentioned above. A third Iceberg partner, ICCA, has posted the 2021 ICCA Ranking Public Abstract – Destination Performance Index (DPI), as also previously mentioned.

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 Conference & Meetings WorldConference NewsExhibition 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 eventmanagerblog.com, and COVID-19 advisories from the four GAH destinations: Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC.

Koelnmesse has won the 2022 UFI Operations and Services Award. The trophy honours and recognises outstanding initiatives in organisations that have successfully prepared for the restart. The jury awarded Koelnmesse’s B-SAFE 4business project as the winner of the award. IFEMA has won the UFI Industry Partners Award, for its “Success Stories – Alliances shaping the future of the exhibition industry” project. Jaarbeurs has won the UFI Sustainable Development Award. This recognition highlights Jaarbeurs’ innovative approach to food and food waste by switching to mostly vegetarian choices and forming innovative new partnerships. The winner of the UFI Marketing Award was the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau for the “Best marketing strategy in a changing exhibition industry”.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has recently signed collaboration agreements with EMECA, the European Major Exhibition Centres Association, and UFI. With these agreements, the EUIPO consolidates its connection with exhibition venues and event organisers across the entire value chain, reaching out to a wider audience that could benefit from the use of intellectual property and EUIPO initiatives.

Registrations are now open for the 89th UFI Global Congress 2022. Taking place in Muscat on November 14th to 17th, it is the “must-attend” annual event for the global exhibition industry. Hosted by Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, this year’s Congress is the first UFI Global Congress in ten years to take place in the Middle East.

UFI President Monica Lee-Müller posted this update in July. UFI CEO and Managing Director Kai Hattendorf posted this one, also for July.

IMEX Group has cut its previously ten-track education programme down to just four themes. Based on feedback from its recent IMEX in Frankfurt, the team behind the content sessions have announced the “Pathways to Clarity” education programme for IMEX America, taking place on October 11th to 13th 2022 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. The headline theme is a recognition of the confusion and complexity that has crept into daily work and personal life since the pandemic began in early 2020. Registration for the event is now open.

Recent record high temperatures, wildfires and flooding have delivered a stark reminder of the increasing impact of climate change. Each year IMEX America is improved by the findings and recommendations of an independently verified annual sustainability impact report, just released. The report makes public the show’s energy use, food and drink, materials consumption and reuse, community impact, and more.

The IMEX Group has won Best International Show Americas at the recent AEO Excellence Awards. The ceremony honoured IMEX America 2021 which took place in November last year, also at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

Iceberg partner City Destinations Alliance will contribute to the resilience of the meetings industry through its renowned ECM Summer School in Turin, from August 27th to 31st 2022. After two years of holding this flagship event online, CityDNA is launching a refreshed programme. Over fifteen experienced professionals will lead the newcomers and freshly-employed professionals of the sector, complimented by hands-on workshops. Registration for the event is now open.

BestCities Global Alliance has collected together the meeting planner guides that its partner cities have put together to help event organisers. BestCities has also posted What’s New this July? and What’s New this August?

Iceberg partner Destinations International, the US-based trade association for destination marketing organisations and convention bureaux, is continuing to build closer ties with Europe. It is inviting up to fifteen European destination leaders to form a special advisory group, which will help Destinations International understand the key issues facing destinations in Europe. The Destinations International Pathfinders Programme is scheduled to run for a year.

Sven Bossu, CEO of Iceberg partner the International Association of Convention Centres, has written an article for Iceberg partner Boardroom about adding value to make associations relevant and more competitive. Discussions at the recent Brussels International Associations Forum showed that the bar for delivering excellence is now set higher after the pandemic.

The AIPC Annual Conference held in Budapest in July was testament to how an association can involve younger members. Its so-called Future Shapers, divided into two teams of seven young professionals, pitched solutions to challenges faced by the convention centre management industry. Read about Team EventShaper and Team Optimum here.

Registration is open for the 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition of Iceberg partner ASAE. The event is where thousands of association professionals and industry partners gather to exchange resources, strategies, solutions and more. Over three days of learning, growing and finding inspiration, attendees gain a year’s worth of practical ideas and colleague support to fuel their work as leaders in the association industry.

Iceberg partner Mash Media’s Conference News has once again recognised the best agencies in the events industry. The Conference News Agency Awards were staged at East Wintergarden, the evening a hub for the best of the best in conferences, brought together to celebrate the agencies delivering innovative events in the market. Global Agency of the Year Award was won by emc3.

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 DriverBuilding a Better Business Case, and What Meeting Planners Are Looking For, 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. GainingEdge also posted GainingEdge’s Pick 5 Issue #1 and Pick 5 Issue #2.

Iceberg partner  Tally Management Group is rebranding as Talley, and is excited to share a new look across the organisation and on its website. Tally has also posted Bringing Your Nonprofit Into the Future With Digital Transformation.

Iceberg partner MCI Group has launched its 2021 Sustainability Annual Report. The report highlights the key positive impact of the past year and showcases some experiences from the group’s agencies and brands. In 2021, MCI group raised €857,000 for charity and organised 53 client projects about sustainability or with an integrated sustainability approach. Employees also volunteered 3,561 hours for community projects.

Financial and fashion capital and home to Italy’s only stock exchange, Milan is joining Iceberg partner the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). GDS-Index’s top 20 sustainable destinations in 2021 include Copenhagen, Brussels, Glasgow, and Melbourne. With a history of policy actions and initiatives since 2015 to achieve its environmental and socio-economic sustainability goals in line with EU and UN priorities, Milan is confident it will join the 2022 list.

Fiona Pelham, CEO of Iceberg partner Positive Impact, joined Iceberg Ambassador Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director of Business Development of Economic Sectors at Destination Canada Business Events, in contributing to an article by Mash Media’s Conference & Meetings World, Moving Beyond the Buzzwords – Sustainability and the Events Industry.

There are extensive further COVID-19 resources at the Events Industry Council (EIC), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Meetings Mean Business and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

The Events Industry Council’s Centre for Sustainability and Social Impact has launched an enhanced version of its Sustainable Event Standards, a set of eight standards designed to assess events and industry suppliers in terms of environmental and social responsibility. Originally created in 2019 to replace the APEX / ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, the Sustainable Event Standards provide guidance and metrics for event professionals at all stages of their sustainability journey.

The Professional Convention Management Association is bringing its European flagship meeting to “the world most liveable city”, Vienna. Convening EMEA will take place at the Messe Austria Exhibition and Congress Centre from September 8th to 30th 2022, under the banner “Together we move forward”. Seven specially curated city tours will provide participants insight into the diverse opportunities Vienna offers as a conference metropolis.

PCMA’s President and CEO Sherrif Karamat has posted the editorial Thrivers, Survivors, and Other Characteristics of Resilient Organisations.

Senior association executives and event specialists are to meet in Lisbon for the first in person edition of Associations World Congress in over three years. Compared to previous editions of the congress the number of tracks and sessions has been pared right back, allowing subjects to be explored in greater depth. The invitation-only event will include fourteen half-day sessions in three streams: Associations Strategy, Event Strategy and Executive Skills.

VisitBritain / VisitEngland has appointed Patricia Yates as its new CEO after a competitive external recruitment process. Previously Director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain, Yates was also Chair of the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group and Deputy CEO. Since April when Sally Balcombe stood down, Yates has been VisitBritain / VisitEngland’s interim CEO.

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers AGM saw Emma Duffy from the Stroke Association and Sarah Byrne from Mosaic Events begin a two-year tenure as joint Chairs. The online AGM was attended by over sixty ABPCO members, who heard details of the association’s recent successes as well as plans for the future.

The 2022 ABPCO Excellence Awards are set to take place at ICC Birmingham on December 9th. This year’s event will see an increase in categories as well as an opportunity for non-members to enter the awards for the first time. Prior to the ABPCO Excellence Awards, educational sessions will take place in the morning, as well as an evening networking event on December 8th.

The Association of Event Organisers annual conference is returning to Brighton from September 8th to 9th at Hilton Brighton Metropole. The event attracts around 250 senior industry professionals from the UK and abroad. In an ever-changing event landscape, following the disruption of a pandemic, this year’s theme is all about “thinking differently”.

The Event Supplier and Services Association has announced the launch of its free individual student membership. With the importance of attracting and retaining talent high on the agenda, this initiative is targeted at students who have a keen ambition to enter the world of events.

Andrew Harrison, Director of ESSA, has been featured on the M&IT Talks podcast with Meetings & Incentive Travel Editor Paul Harvey.

The Power of Events has launched the branding for its planned UK events industry communications hub. Evolving out of the pandemic response collaborative One Industry One Voice, The Power of Events was created in April 2022. The new splash page for the comms hub captures the work completed on developing a clear vision and mission, the new brand, key objectives and TPOE’s core pillars.

Isla, the sustainability body for the events industry, is seeking nominations to expand its advisory board, making sure it is as representative as possible of all industry stakeholder groups. The advisory board was created to help Isla’s primary aim of supporting the events sector’s transition to a more sustainable future.

Northstar Meetings Group’s M&IT Awards 2022 are taking place on September 9th at Evolution London. Tickets are now available.

The Meetings Show, the UK’s leading platform for the meetings and events community, is celebrating the success of its tenth edition after welcoming 4,554 verified attendees to ExCeL London on June 29th and 30th. Over 500 exhibitors took part in the show, twice the size of last year’s, with a particularly strong international contingent. As part of The Meetings Show pre-show conference, the first in person edition of the AMI Summit saw association professionals gather at ExCeL to discuss how to drive sustainability and make sure all organisations and their meetings are accessible and inclusive.

The Business of Events is to return in 2022 after an enforced two-year break, with a new series of gatherings, reports and activities and a refreshed brand identity. The 2022 programme kicks off with a new event, the UK Policy Forum, which is being held in partnership with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and VisitBritain. The forum, being held on November 2nd at the QEII Centre in Westminster, will see leading event destinations and venues from across the UK connect with representatives from government departments, public sector organisations and members of Parliament.

The Government is to reform England’s Destination Management Organisations with a new core funding package of £4 million. The new model will make it easier for both leisure tourist and business event organisers to find the right location and to learn more about an area through a new accreditation scheme. As a result, DMOs will be renamed Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs). The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said it wants a “simpler structure” where DMOs, often known as tourism boards, are a “one-stop shop”.

Though over four years late and £5 billion over budget, the London Underground’s new Elizabeth Line is finally open. It has been called a game changer for business events, since it shortens considerably the journey to London ExCeL. Meetings & Incentive Travel Editor Paul Harvey made his way to the venue on the new line, producing a film of his trip.

ExCeL London has taken a significant step on its journey to net zero by becoming carbon neutral certified. The Royal Docks venue has been awarded certification to PAS 2060, the only internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality. The venue also posted a video celebrating the milestone. ExCeL London offset all travel emissions generated by visitors attending The Meeting Show as part of its commitment to sustainability and London Climate Action Week. The ExCeL team also offset travel emissions from attending IMEX Frankfurt by investing in a school cookstoves project in Uganda, again via the Gold Standard carbon credits scheme.

London venue The QEII Centre has secured the World Adhesive and Sealant Conference in September 2026, as confidence returns to business meetings and events. Known as WAC, the three-day event takes place once every four years alternating between the United States, Europe and Asia. Over 1,250 international attendees will attend education sessions and keynote addresses as well as an EXPO trade show, networking events and workshops. WAC is hosted by FEICA, the Association of the European Adhesive and Sealant industry, and co-organised by the USA’s ASC (Adhesive and Sealant Council) and the ARAC (Asia Regional Adhesive Council).

Working towards low-carbon futures while understanding the societal challenges they bring was the theme of the third International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science 2022. The University of Manchester hosted 400 international delegates, made up of energy sector academics and other experts for the four-day conference. The aim of the event was to examine both the theory and practice of all aspects of energy from production to consumption, with topics including energy poverty, the role of gender, and just transitions, or making sure that workers in high-carbon industries are protected as we move towards low-carbon.

Manchester Central has announced the first two events which will be run through its Incubator scheme. The initiative, which called for submissions earlier this year, aims to support businesses looking to move into events with a package worth tens of thousands of pounds. The chosen events, presented to a panel of judges as part of the selection process, are: PlannerFest, submitted by Becki Cross of Events Northern, and Climate Positive, submitted by IIona Alcock of Elevate.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has recorded its best monthly result in six years amid increasing signs of recovery for the meetings and events industry in the UK’s North East. From April 2019 to April 2022, the convention bureau has facilitated a 73 percent increase in confirmed enquiries for meetings, events and conferences, with figures from May coming in at 87 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. An influx in event bookings for June 2022 resulted in a total of almost 1,000 city centre beds being filled by direct booking through the convention bureau over a two week period.

The historic university city of Cambridge is to welcome hundreds of international association delegates to multiple venues this summer. Meet Cambridge will host three conferences between August and September, predicted to contribute £720,000 to the local economy. First up is the 35th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences. Also taking place in August is the International Symposium on Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, originally scheduled for 2020 and expected to attract around 200 international delegates. Another conference postponed since 2020 is the 20th Biennial Congress of the European Psychiatric Association Section of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry, which is now taking place in September.

Center Parcs is set to open ‘The Venue’, its conference and events space, in September 2022 at two locations: Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Taking bookings for autumn 2022 onwards, the reopening of both locations comes after a period of closure due to the pandemic and an £2.5 million investment in upgrading and enhancing the facilities at Woburn Forest. Both locations offer dedicated conference and event spaces in the centre of woodland, providing an outside setting for event planners and delegates.

On its journey to change, VisitScotland Business Events has announced a new national initiative to maximise the impact of business events which come to the country. Facilitated by VisitScotland and its local partners, the Transformation Protocol will provide connection opportunities between conference delegates and national partners, including innovation and research centres, policy leads, industry bodies, social enterprises and business leaders. The Protocol includes support to organisations bidding for events.

The Scottish event technology conference Turing Fest has returned in person, bringing over 1,000 people from across the globe to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre this July. Established in 2016, Turing Fest gathers founders and leaders of start-ups and scale-ups together with their teams to support knowledge exchange across the industry. During the pandemic, CEO and Founder of Turing Fest Brian Corcoran spearheaded an open letter to the Scottish Government signed by fifty Scottish tech company CEOs. This was followed by the Scottish Government commissioning the Logan Report, conducted by a senior leader in the Internet technology start-up industry, signalling a renewed focus on the sector.

Delegates from over 110 countries have gathered in Edinburgh at an international meeting aimed at improving the lives of people with cleft lips and palates. Taking place in the UK for the first time, the 14th International Congress of Cleft Lip, Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies (Cleft 2022) was held in July at the EICC. Over 1,500 delegates participated, the highest number in the event’s history, as the strong bounce back for in person association events continued. The hybrid event included patient and parent involvement in scientific sessions, which agreed actions aimed at improving patient care over the next four years.

VisitScotland has announced that the nation will be hosting the World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma Summit and 2022 Executive Assembly. Taking place for the first time in Scotland, the events will be held on October 12th and 13th at P&J Live in Aberdeen. Experts from nearly 100 countries will gather to discuss practical actions to accelerate clean and just energy transitions in all global regions under the theme “transformational solutions in turbulent times”.

International Convention Centre Wales hosted a Protect Duty round table event in July to highlight the role that venues and organisers play in making sure events are as safe and secure as possible for attendees. Taking forward the industry-leading research of ICC Wales’ Protect Duty report published earlier this year, the round table was organised to galvanise the sector’s response to upcoming legislation. Protect Duty (also known as Martyn’s Law) is designed to improve safety and security at all publicly accessible locations and to mitigate the risk of future terrorist attack.

Convention centre ICC Belfast has improved accessibility after hosting a meeting on disability. The venue installed a special toilet for severely disabled people equipped with hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers. The Changing Places toilet was one of the legacies of the venue hosting the Harkin International Disability Employment Summit which attracted 500 people. Over 80 percent of ICC Belfast staff have been given JAM or Just a Minute training to support delegates who want to communicate accessibility needs discreetly.

After ten consecutive years in Sweden, the Nordic Life Science Days congress will move to Copenhagen in 2023. The congress is the largest partnering event in Scandinavia and is expected to attract more than 1,500 delegates from over 40 countries. The region is home to one of Europe’s strongest life science clusters that includes a string of well-renowned companies and cutting-edge projects such as ReproUnion and the Life Science Lighthouse.

Pre-pandemic event numbers are fast being reached in Finland with almost thirty international meetings, congresses and conference banquets booked into Little Finlandia this year. The 1,000-person recently-opened venue has taken the lead in hosting conferences while Helsinki’s key congress venue, Finlandia Hall, undergoes refurbishment over the next two years.

Investment and Tourism Agency Meet Riga has announced the launch of a new funding scheme to promote events in the Latvian capital. The scheme is intended to support conferences, congresses, training events and trade shows, of which at least twenty percent of participants come from outside Latvia. Event organisers from abroad can apply by partnering with a local industry representative or the Latvia Convention Bureau.

Azerbaijan and its capital Baku are increasingly attracting the attention of European and international associations, as the bid win to host the prestigious 74th International Astronautical Congress in 2023 shows. It it set to attract over 6,000 representatives of the space industry for the first time to the region. The event will take place at the Baku Convention Center, the largest conference venue in the Caucasus, which was conceived to complement the Heydar Aliyev Center next door.

Grimaldi Forum Monaco is to enlarge its capacity by fifty percent, creating 6,000 square metres of additional space by 2025. The Principality’s largest convention centre’s expansion is part of the government’s project to create an ecology district, as it strives to be carbon neutral by 2050. The venue’s extension includes the new Diaghilev Gallery, the Carré and the Patio Rooms, plus the Pinède Hall. The new Grimaldi Forum will take advantage of an additional 2,000 square metres of outdoor space.

Around 800 German and international representatives of the event sector and travel industry will be attending the Bestival, an innovative and festive event in Berlin, from August 25th to 26th. The Berlin Convention Office and the Market Management at VisitBerlin, as well as numerous partners in the Berlin event and tourism industry, sent out the invitations. The participants will be able to enjoy a comprehensive, two-day schedule with presentations, workshops, networking opportunities and site inspections.

Messe Frankfurt lost €103 million of business during 2021 but expects trade to return to normal this year. One of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers, the business lost a total of almost €582 million in sales over the course of the pandemic. However, it hopes to see the events business return to normal this year with sales reaching €400 million.

Conference organisers have taken full advantage of a €4 million funding scheme introduced in May last year to help restart Vienna’s meetings industry after the pandemic. All the money has now been allocated to a broad range of association congresses and corporate meetings that city leaders estimate will add €557 million to Vienna’s coffers. 392 congresses and corporate meetings scheduled to take place until 2023 have received the full or a preliminary funding commitment. To maintain momentum, the City of Vienna and the Vienna Convention Bureau at the Vienna Tourist Board have announced they are throwing another €4 million into the pot.

The royal and administrative capital of the Netherlands, The Hague, has thrown its hat into the ring to become the international centre for event design. Hague convention bureau is working with Event Design Collective and the Postillion Hotel and Convention Centre Den Haag to establish itself as a leader in the field. Through the partnership, organisers booking The Hague for conferences will have access to Event Design training and other support.

Did the pandemic change the way associations look at their tender process? Zeist-based conference match-making platform, Conferli is attempting to answer that very question via its latest survey: “A critical look at the conference tender process of associations”. As a product of the pandemic, rotation patterns have been disrupted and associations are searching for income and sponsorship streams.

Italian Exhibition Group (IEG) and Deutsche Messe (Hannover) have recently signed a memorandum of understanding that foresees a fifty percent acquisition on the part of IEG of Deutsche Messe’s companies in Mexico, Canada and the USA. The move is a powerful boost not only for the internationalisation of their respective trade show products, but also for launching new activities in economic sectors covered by both organisations.

Over 800 delegates are expected to attend The European Robotics Forum, one of the most important international robotics congresses, in Rimini from March 13th to 15th 2024. The team behind the bid included two professors from local universities, the congress organiser AIM Group International, the city, and the Palacongressi Rimini Conference Center. In recent years, ERF has been held in Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Romania, Spain and most recently in the Netherlands.

IFEMA Madrid reports that it has made a “strong comeback” following the peak of the pandemic. In the first six months of 2022, IFEMA says it accelerated its operations to pre-crisis levels. The institution’s income has already exceeded €115 million, thirty percent more than was foreseen in the budget. January’s FITUR show, an international tourism trade show organised by IFEMA Madrid, is credited with starting the venue’s recent incline.

Barcelona will host the Mobile World Congress for another eight years after signing a deal with organisers GSMA. Representatives from the association and the city extended their partnership until 2030. This has added €5.4 billion to Barcelona’s economy since 2006 and created 141,000 part-time jobs. Over the years, the event has got bigger and before the pandemic was welcoming around 110,000 delegates. This year’s event in March, the first in person since 2019, attracted 61,000 delegates and added €267 million to city coffers.

Junior Chamber International gathered 1,400 participants from across Europe to Bruges for the European Conference of JCI Worldwide. In cooperation with City of Bruges, Concertgebouw Brugge (Concert Hall) and the brand new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre, the event focused on sustainable food chains, nutrition, gastronomy and food heritage. The City of Bruges and its project partner in the EU project Food Wave offered  a sustainability audit, a separate programme on sustainable food and financial support.

The Visit Bruges Convention Bureau staged the 37th annual International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA) Congress from June 27th to July 1st. The Crowne Plaza Bruges Hotel hosted the five-day event, which focused on net zero carbon in the field of transport and logistics associated with international exhibitions and events.

Kenes Group, the Geneva-based professional congress organiser, has appointed Ori Lahav as CEO, only the third person to occupy the position in 57 years. Lahav succeeds Dan Rivlin, who became CEO in 1999, following in the footsteps of his father Gideon Rivlin who founded the company in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1965. Kenes Group employs 350 people worldwide and is one of the largest and best known PCOs in the meetings industry. It has over 100 clients.

Exhibition World Bahrain is the new venue in the Kingdom of Bahrain, set to open in late 2022. With 95,000 square metres of exhibition space, a Grand Hall seating from 400 to 4,000, 95 meeting rooms, fourteen organiser’s offices, three Majlis (council rooms), supported by 25 restaurants, cafés and retail outlets, Exhibition World Bahrain aims to create a legacy for the region.

Dubai Expo City will play host to the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28). 45,000 participants a day, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts and representatives of civil society organisations are expected to attend. The Emirates will get the opportunity to showcase advancements made in climate action, especially renewable energy investments and low-emission economic growth.

The 4th Annual Association Summit will take place on September 29th to 30th 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, organised by the African Society of Association Executives. The two-day event will build on the outcomes of the 2021 summit with the goal of encouraging African associations to create partnerships for long-lasting socio-economic reforms on the continent. Under the theme “Power of Associations: Connect. Collaborate. Change Africa.”, the summit will offer association executives education and motivational sessions.

GSMA, the international trade association behind Mobile World Congress, has announced more details of its inaugural North American edition, due to take place later this year. Manon Brouillette has chosen the first MWC Las Vegas to make her debut keynote speech as Executive VP and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group. The show is being hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall from September 28th to 30th, and is expected to attract thousands of international delegates.

Resorts World Las Vegas has unveiled its Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop passenger station, which uses Tesla electric cars to transport delegates underground to the Las Vegas Convention Centre. The resort hotel aims to connect to the Vegas Loop when the underground transportation system’s upcoming developments progress. With over 55 stops planned to create the Vegas Loop, the transportation system aims to transport passengers throughout the resort corridor once completed.

Ottawa’s rural communities and cultures, along with its modern event facilities, helped it to win the Associated Country Women of the World 2026 Conference. ACWW brings rural women and their organisations across 82 countries together to address the isolation of their communities, discrimination and lack of standing in political processes. The ACWW’s 31st Triennial Conference will be held at Ottawa’s Westin Hotel between April 24th and May 5th 2026, where resolutions focused on the empowerment of rural women in all their diversity will be made.

Panama’s recently launched brand platform, Live For More, makes the connection between environmental and social conservation and responsible event organisation. The country recently inaugurated the highly anticipated Panama Convention Center, located at the entrance of the Panama Canal in Panama City, and the largest venue in the region. Over ten hotels in proximity to the facility offer their own meeting spaces for up to 1,000 people, on top of flexible accommodation options.

Over 2,000 delegates are expected at the Union of International Architects’ International Forum, which is being held in Kuala Lumpur during November 2024. The Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau and the Malaysian Institute of Architects bid for the three-day event, themed “Diversecity – Humanity and Sustainable Growth”. Dato Sri Abdul Khani Daud, CEO of MyCEB, said “The legacy beyond the economic impact is what really matters.”.

The first major international conference that Thailand has hosted in two years has been carbon neutral. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Global Summit of Women drew 1,000 delegates from 60 countries to Bangkok between June 23rd and 25th. All event-related activities were monitored for their carbon footprint, including emissions from energy use, participant travel, catering and waste management. Emissions created from the summit will be offset with the purchase of carbon credits from the Project to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Thailand.

As mentioned above, the WTC Binh Duong New City Expo is a new venue for Southeast Asia’s largest trade shows, exhibitions and events. Launched on August 8th, the WTC Expo is at the core of Vietnam’s first World Trade Complex. Although Vietnam has high economic growth, it has to date lacked facilities for international events. Expo is expected to solve the shortage of exhibition facilities and drive a new leap forward in Vietnam’s meetings industry.

After four years of “intense effort”, the Malaysian state of Penang has won the bid to host the 45th edition of the International Advertising Association World Congress. IAA exists to champion commercial speech freedom, challenge unwarranted regulations, and create industry forums to tackle issues within the advertising, marketing and media industries. The congress will take place in 2024 and is expected to attract upwards of 2,000 delegates from 26 countries and contribute an estimated £2.3 million to the local economy.

Another six countries (Belize, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Republic of Palau, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) and one international organisation (the United Nations) have confirmed their participation in Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan, says an official announcement from the Japanese Government. 126 countries and regions and eight international organisations have so far confirmed their participation.

A convention centre in Singapore became the first in Asia to be given Healthy Venue Gold status after offering delegates a range of wellness and healthy eating options. Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands was given the nod of approval by the World Obesity Federation, which runs the Healthy Venues accreditation scheme. The venue has reduced by thirty percent the oil, sugar and salt content on its menus and introduced “standing conferences” and fitness and relaxation sessions, including yoga and cycling.

A lag in the return of international students could see Australian universities taking a greater interest in hosting meetings, according to the owner-manager of one of the country’s leading professional congress organisers. While the number of international students in Australia has steadily increased since borders opened to them in December last year, there are still 300,000 fewer than before the pandemic. That means less revenue for tertiary institutions. Emma Bowyer, Managing Director of ICMS Australasia, said the opportunities for them in the meetings and events sector were “almost limitless”.

Business Events Perth has announced winning the bid for the 15th annual ICEF Australia and New Zealand conference in 2023. In collaboration with Study Perth and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, the two-day conference is attracting over 300 top international student recruitment agents. For Perth and Western Australia, hosting an important conference on international education networking means progress for the sector in line with the Government of Western Australia’s “Diversify WA” economic framework.

Cairns Convention Centre has developed a suite of content including videos and factsheets featuring key industry sectors of the region, and launched an international digital campaign highlighting research projects, innovation and experts producing groundbreaking local work. The campaign focuses on agribusiness, tropical health, aviation, life sciences, renewable energy, education and tourism. The digital campaign is supported by Tourism Australia’s Advance Program Funding, which aims to increase the number and value of business events for Australia.

Destination Gold Coast has hosted eighty professional conference organisers, decision-makers and media representatives for the This is Gold Coast familiarisation trip. The three-day itinerary showcased the Gold Coast’s newest accommodation and event spaces, as well as fresh experiences and offerings. The eighty delegates represented key domestic and international markets. Destination Gold Coast has so far confirmed over seventy business events for 2022 to 2023, worth AU$95 million in economic value for the city.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has just welcomed the 31st Annual Neuroscience Meeting, worth an estimated AU$3 million in economic impact. With 300 attendees from across the globe, the meeting moves to a different location each year, this being the first time in 31 years it has been held outside Europe and the USA. The event, secured by Melbourne Convention Bureau with support from MCEC’s Club Melbourne Ambassador Professor Anthony Burkitt, saw some of the brightest minds in neuroscience technology gather at the venue.

The 151st International Air Transport Association Slot Conference is touching down at MCEC this November and will welcome over 1,000 aviation delegates. 230 airlines from across the globe will convene, delivering an estimated AU$4.7 million boost to Melbourne and Victoria’s economy. The bi-annual IATA conference will see airlines and airports negotiate global flight schedules and air traffic control management, but will also highlight Melbourne’s strengths as a business events and visitor destination.

Darwin has netted the 2023 World Aquaculture Conference, and is hoping the exposure will give its local industry a boost. The Northern Territory city will welcome over 1,000 international delegates to the four-day conference, supporting the state’s ambition to accelerate the industry. The government wants to boost agribusiness and aquaculture and grow a AU$40 billion economy by 2030. The Darwin Aquaculture Centre is being transformed into a centre of excellence in tropical aquaculture research.

Lithium battery experts from around the world have met in Sydney to explore the role the technology can play in mitigating climate change. Marking the first time the conference has been held in Australia, the 21st International Meeting on Lithium Batteries saw over 1,000 delegates meet at ICC Sydney between June 27th and July 1st to discuss how using Lithium technology can move society away from reliance on fossil fuels. Lithium batteries are a clean energy provider with the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

An international association is holding a pre-congress leadership summit 1,200 miles away from the main event following a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand. Sydney will host the 24th International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics from July 28th to August 3rd 2029. The quadrennial event, taking place at ICC Sydney and expected to attract 5,000 delegates, will be preceded by a leadership summit, taking place in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Set to open mid-2023, Wellington’s new purpose-built convention and exhibition centre Tākina is already busy with bookings. Over seventy events confirmed until 2026 will enjoy the sustainable building which is designed to reduce heat from the sun, reducing peak cooling requirements and associated energy. The meetings include the Congress of the International Association of Sedimentologists. The centre will offer close collaboration with the conference venue and national museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, located across the street.

The iPRES 21st International Conference on Digital Presentation will take place in 2025 at Tākina. iPRES is the oldest international conference focused on long-term digital preservation. The annual event brings hundreds of researchers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss the latest techniques for protecting and making accessible digital collections. The bid for the event was supported by Business Events Wellington and Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team.

Until the next time…

Robert Coren, Curator of The Iceberg

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