Current News

Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.

Current News

June 12, 2018
Meliá Hotels International to eliminate single-use plastics in all its hotels by the end of 2018

All single-use plastic products in Company hotels will be immediately replaced with alternate materials worldwide

Palma de Mallorca, June 08.- Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, has announced that Meliá Hotels International will eliminate all single-use plastics in all it’s hotels within the year. The move will see plastic bottles, cups, bags, straws and coasters immediately replaced by reusable items, with the elimination saving more than 15 tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by waste disposal per year.

Over 22 million plastic bottles were disposed of at Meliá Hotels International properties globally during 2017. The decision to eliminate these will significantly reduce plastic pollution from the Company, as well as serving to raise awareness of the issue among the 30 million customers who visit Meliá Hotels International properties each year. The Company has drawn up a roadmap to replace single-use plastics with biodegradable or environmentally-friendly alternatives before the end of 2018.

Meliá Hotels International has been named one of the world’s leading companies in combating climate change by the “Carbon Disclosure Project” index, due to the group’s exemplary drive toward reducing its impact on the planet. Meliá Hotels International acknowledges the pivotal role the tourism industry plays in the fight against climate change. According to the Global Risk Report, four of the five biggest risks to the tourism industry over the next 10 years are related to climate change, ranging from extreme weather to water shortages.

Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International firmly believes in the fundamental role that companies must play in contributing to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and affirmed that the business world, institutions and society in general has to get involved and work together in combatting climate change and tackling other major global challenges.

Mr Escarrer said of the decision: "Great customer experiences have to be compatible with respect for the planet. Plastic pollution is a global challenge which affects all destinations and tourism business depends on the sustainability of destinations, something of which we are very aware at Meliá Hotels International as an international leader in resort hotels. Combatting climate change and reducing emissions has been part of our strategy for years, with well-established energy efficiency programmes in hotels and agreements with suppliers regarding the exclusive use of renewable energy. The Company has also taken further steps toward combating climate change by assuming the commitments defined at the Paris Climate Summit."


For further press information or images please contact


June 12, 2018
IHG launches new upscale brand, voco™

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) has today launched voco™, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside announcing a first signing in Australia.

voco will focus primarily on conversion opportunities and will strengthen IHG’s offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025. Working with high-quality individual and locally-branded hotels, this distinctive brand will offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering a compelling guest experience and leveraging IHG’s powerful systems. This includes best-in-class revenue management and technology capabilities and IHG® Rewards Club, one of the world’s largest hotel loyalty programmes. 

voco, inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin, will combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand. 

The roll-out of voco will begin in IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with plans to take it to the Americas and Greater China over time. The new brand will drive significant incremental growth for IHG, with an expectation to open more than 200 voco hotels in attractive urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years. 

IHG announced plans last month to expand its luxury and upscale estate in the UK through a conditional agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions) to rebrand and operate 12 high quality open hotels and one pipeline hotel into its portfolio across the UK. This deal will establish an important presence for voco in the UK with a number of these properties converting to the new brand in the coming months. 

Today, IHG has confirmed the first signing for the voco brand outside of Europe will be the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The 388-room hotel is located at the heart of Surfers Paradise, a few steps away from the beach, and offers guests two swimming pools and 800sqm of meeting space. The property is shortly to be acquired by IHG’s long-standing partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia. The hotel is due to open under the voco flag in late 2018. 

Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, commented: “We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale and voco will help us deliver against this. We’ll work with owners of attractive properties, who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table. Guests will be able to enjoy the appeal of a more individual hotel, alongside the reassurance of a name above the door that they trust. The versatility of the brand, means a voco hotel can retain and celebrate all of the elements that make that existing hotel successful.

“With voco, the recent addition of Regent Hotels & Resorts in the luxury space, the launch of avid™ hotels in the Americas, and the work we’re doing to enhance our existing brand portfolio, we’re making great progress with our ambitious plans to accelerate growth.”

The voco brand promises guests an experience that is reliably different, brought to life through a bold, distinctive identity, informal service style and thoughtful touches along the guest journey. Three critical moments on the guest journey have been identified through deep customer insight where voco can create a compelling guest experience that will differentiate the brand and can be consistently applied across a broad range of individual properties. These moments are: 

Come on in – a signature welcome experience, swift and simple check-in with an unexpected, locally-influenced treat to kick-off a guest’s stay. 

Me time – encouraging guests to take a moment for themselves with extra cosy beds and bedding, quality bathroom amenities, rejuvenating aerated showers, a variety of viewing content on Smart TVs and excellent connectivity in every room. 

voco life – vibrant and sociable bar and lounge spaces that work for different moments of the day, so that guests always have space to relax and enjoy themselves – from offering a great coffee to start the day or shareable and classic dishes in the evening that provide something to talk about afterwards.

To learn more about voco, visit:

June 11, 2018
G7 Summit: Mission Accomplished For Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

LA MALBAIE (Québec), June 11, 2018 – After months filled with emotions and a preparation that bears no precedents, it is with great pride that Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu can claim ‘’mission accomplished’’ after having welcomed the most influent political men and women of our times as well as their entourage, and having showcased the beauty of the Charlevoix region, its hospitality and savoir-faire.

‘’I wanted the leaders and their teams to experience the legendary hospitality of the people of this region and that is exactly what I have seen in the last few days. Thank you to all the members of the community and the team at the Manoir Richelieu whom played a role in the Summit running well’’ concludes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his closing statement.

The success of the G7 Summit is the sum of a close collaboration with Global Affairs Canada since the announcement in June 2017 that Charlevoix and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu had been chosen as hosts of this high-profile, international gathering.

‘’We hope this event will help increase our notoriety beyond our immediate borders and that visitors from around the world will want to come discover our beautiful destination’’ declares Hotel General Manager, Jean-Jacques Etcheberrigaray.

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu is ready to welcome its first after G7 Summit guests as of June 13 and the entire team is excited to share these historical moments with the numerous visitors whom will visit us in the weeks and months to come.

For more information or to reserve, please visit or dial 1-866-540-4464.

About Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu welcomes its guests to experience unique gastronomy, spectacular views and the abundance of activities available in the picturesque region of Charlevoix. Located only 90 minutes from Quebec City, nestled between mountains, forest and the St-Lawrence river, our property, offering 405 rooms and 4 restaurants, is the ideal retreat whether you are in need of a peaceful break or an active getaway. Our team’s mission is to make you feel at home and we will ensure your leave with the fondest memories.

June 06, 2018
Cranberry begins exciting new phase with rebrand to Living Stone Resort

COLLINGWOOD, ON, June 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Living Water Resorts officially launched the rebrand of Cranberry Golf Resort to Living Stone Golf Resort on the afternoon of May 17. An esteemed group of attendees were present, including the Honourable Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper, local MP's, media and other special guests. The event was marked with cocktails, speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and an exterior sign unveiling.

The rebrand marks the completion of over $7 million worth of additions and major renovations. The resort has seen an additional 3 floors added which includes 30 new rooms featuring 1 & 2 Bedroom Condominiums, an updated lobby area, a complete reconstruction to the restaurant and lounge, elevator addition, and more.

The rebrand signifies the important role Living Stone Resort plays in the Living Water family, while remaining its own unique and distinct resort experience. It marks an exciting time for Living Water Resorts, as they strengthen their brand and cement their status as both Collingwood's largest employer and premier tourist destination.

"Together our work has proven that we can make a difference and help Collingwood remain the charismatic and inspiring place it is today," said Living Water Resorts owner Larry Law. "We love the Collingwood community and are excited to be such an integral part of it."

In 1992, Hong Kong émigré turned Canadian entrepreneur Larry Law purchased the former Cranberry Village, and expanded it from a 78-room hotel to about 400 rooms today. Cranberry also includes an 18-hole championship golf course, a 120-boat slip marina, an Aquapath spa, three restaurants, a waterfront banquet hall, a children's camp and over 1,000 homes.

In 2009, Law began to work on Living Water Resort. With Living Water's rapid expansion, it quickly became the "big sister" brand to Cranberry Golf Resort. Today, all of the properties operate under the Living Water Resorts umbrella.

Law and the team are confident the rebrand of the Cranberry Golf Resort to Living Stone Golf Resort will acknowledge both the incredible transformation Cranberry Golf Resort has undergone in the past two decades, as well as its important place within the Living Water Resorts family. Both Living Stone Resort and the Living Water Resorts family will continue to provide Collingwood with an excellent place to both work and vacation.

About Living Water Resorts
Located in Simcoe County at the southern tip of Lake Huron's Georgian Bay, Living Water Resorts is the only resort in the area situated right on the shores of Georgian Bay in the heart of Collingwood. With 370 luxurious one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites equipped with living/dining room and kitchen areas perfect for extended stays and a Premiere rating from Interval International, the interior of each unit reflects a combination of elegance and comfort. Each room and its accompanying amenities use the highest quality products with great care taken for personal space and well-being. Onsite amenities include full service spa featuring Ontario's first Aquapath treatment, an 18-hole championship golf course, marina with a wide array of water sports, and Collingwood's only waterfront restaurant. For further information, please call (705) 446-3282 or visit

SOURCE Living Water Resort

June 05, 2018
Meetings Mean Business Canada Continues its Outreach in Winnipeg

The Meetings Mean Business Canada Board is set to continue its mission to advocate for the power of face-to-face meetings by travelling across Canada to connect with Business Events Industry Leaders.

This past Monday, June 4th the 2018 MMB Canada Chair, Heidi Welker, and board members Clark Grue (Vice Chair) and Reggie Lang (Treasurer) travelled to the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg for a 2-hour meeting and collaborative discussion with more than 20 executives working in the Business Events Industry.
Speaking about the coalition meeting in Winnipeg, current chair Heidi Welker commented, “We had some great strategic discussions including how we can leverage Economic Development in our future stakeholder discussions".
Since the coalition relaunched its rebrand from BEICC to MMBC in January 2017. MMB Canada has raised over $100,000 of initial funding and counts over 130 industry executive leaders amongst its supporters to date.
The 2018 goals of MMB Canada include the following:

  • We want to be the advocacy voice/platform for the Business Events Industry in Canada;
  • We want to align our efforts and work in tandem with TIAC (our secretariat);
  • We want to continue growing our coalition through meetings like this. And then provide deliverable updates to all of you;
  • We have formed 4 committees to research and recommend:
    • A sustainable financial model
    • Curation of unified data for our industry
    • Executing a plan to tell our Story
    • Development and implementation of a Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) strategy that provides consistent and aligned messaging for the organizers of these events in all cities.
  • Lastly, we also need to have a board of directors’ succession plan that will include national representation.

To learn more about MMB Canada, view the current supporter list, and add your organization to this growing coalition, please visit our website here

June 01, 2018
C2 Montréal 2018: C2 Montréal boasts a wildly successful 7th edition

Montreal, Canada – May 31, 2018 – C2 Montréal, the three-day commerce and creativity conference, welcomed over 7,000 participants from over 60 countries at Montreal’s Arsenal last week. C2 Montreal is the only platform where speakers representing a diverse array of industries and wildly varied backgrounds share the stage. From cannabis entrepreneur Snoop Dogg and data and diversity expert Chelsea Manning to Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and innovative business figure Michael Sabia, C2 Montreal gives thought leaders and change agents an equal voice, and invites participants to imagine what the future could look like. 

It’s with that intention that C2 Montréal announced the driving theme for the 8th edition – Tomorrow – which will challenge participants to think about how they can shape the future of business and society. Participants will be compelled to make new discoveries, connect with fellow leaders, experience cutting edge design and technology, and rewrite the rules of the game.

The 7th edition of C2 Montréal explored the theme of Transformative Collisions and featured an impressive roster of 109 speakers, including Jim Coulter (TPG), Dan Ariely (BEWorks), Alex Bodman (Spotify), Arwa Mahdawi (Rent-a-Minority), Jessica Neal (Netflix), Michael Sabia (CDPQ) and 6 speakers under 16 years old.

Acting as an economic agent for Canada, Quebec, and the city of Montreal, the international conference enables approximately one in five companies to engage in new business activity as a result of their participation in the event.

In numbers:

● Over 7,000 participants from 61 countries and 34 different industries took part in the 3day event

● More than 73,500 connections were made through C2 Montreal’s Klik platform and smart badge 

● Collaborative experiences like workshops, masterclasses, labs and conversation markets are at the centre of every participant’s journey. Over the course of the 7th edition’s 3 days, more than 45,000 of these individual experiences took place. 

International Presence C2 Montréal welcomed one of the largest Australian delegations, hosted by the Governor of Victoria, The Honourable Linda Dessau. Delegates from the United Arab Emirates, France, Mexico, Brazil, Italy and Luxembourg were also present, including His Excellency Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates and Siim Sikkut, Government Chief Information Officer, Estonia.

Notable Canadian public figures were in attendance, including:

● Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada

● Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Gender Equality Activist

● The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada

● The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada

● Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec

● Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier of Quebec; Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation; Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

● Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal

Announcements On Thursday, May 24th, C2 International announced a partnership with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). This mutually beneficial alliance grants MCEC exclusive access to C2 International’s experiential design platform and signature “labs” while providing C2 International a powerful gateway from which to continue the conversation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Illumination Night The conference concluded with an unforgettable Illumination Night, which featured sets by DJ Snoopadelic, Coeur de Pirate, DJ Thomas H, Bambii and many more.

Next up, C2 Melbourne will take place this fall from October 17th to 19th, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

About C2 Montréal C2 Montreal is a 3-day transformative business conference that inspires 6,500 decision makers across continents and industries each year. A non-profit organization, C2 Montreal was imagined by creative agency Sid Lee in collaboration with founding partner Cirque du Soleil. In an immersive environment specifically designed to provoke collisions and spark new ideas, these three days of talks, workshops, extreme brainstorming sessions, meet ups, performances, challenges participant biases, shifts their perspective and allows them to explore completely new ways of doing business. C2 Montreal has been described as “challenging conventions” by The Economist, and “a business conference unlike any other” by Harvard Business Review. With the financial support of the government of Québec, C2 Montréal presented its 7th edition on May 23, 24 and 25, 2018, at Arsenal art gallery in Montréal, Canada.

May 28, 2018
MIET Raises over $16.5K for Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Thank you so much for your incredible support of the Meetings Industry Euchre Tournament (MIET) to benefit the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. With your help we are proud to announce that CanSPEP will be donating $16.5K to the Foundation with the knowledge that the funds will go towards finding a cure to conquer cancer in our lifetime. 

We had 140 attendees participate this year, with the breakdown as follows:

  • 46% planner/association executive attendance

  • 34% industry supplier/partner attendance

  • 20% non-industry guests

Suppliers/Partners were recognized throughout the event in digital format and also on our EventMobi App.

May 23, 2018
IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future Report 2018 Reveals Venue Operator and Supplier Perceptions of the Future of Global Meetings Industry

May 23, 2018: IACC today released the results of its annual ‘Meeting Room of the Future’. The paper reveals that, as the global meetings industry continues to develop at a rapid pace, venues must continue to adapt to meet planners’ and delegates’ expectations on food & beverage and internet infrastructure. A full copy is available for download here.

The report was conducted to gain insights from global venue operators, industry experts and suppliers, with the goal of understanding how they are responding to the changing expectations and needs of meeting planners, as identified in the 2017 survey of buyers. It brings together insights from over 50 venues across four continents, as well as suppliers including global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture manufacturers and nutrition experts.

“As the industry evolves and expands, just as meeting planners must continually evaluate all elements of the meeting experience, operators and suppliers must also ensure they are meeting and anticipating the changing needs of planners,” said IACC’s CEO, Mark Cooper. “The survey was designed to highlight these growing needs; we looked specifically at experience creation, meeting room space and design, technology and internet capabilities as well as culinary trends.”

Mark continues: “The report shows that high quality internet will be the most important meeting element in the coming years, and that the success of meetings today depends on the quality of a meeting venue’s internet infrastructure. Some of those surveyed reported to have created ‘internet disaster recovery plans’ in the event of internet outages mid-event, a sure sign that venues and planners understand the important role that internet plays in meeting collaboration and connectivity.”

Discussing the role that breaks play in meetings, Mark adds: “More operators are offering continuous refreshment breaks this year than previous years, however the report’s findings suggest that, while meeting planners agree that the format of breaks and meal times needs to evolve in the future, planners were divided on whether the trend should move towards short, more frequent breaks or longer breaks and meal times to allow in-depth networking”

Ellen Sinclair of Benchmark, a Global Hospitality Company, and chair of the project group comments: “Our industry experts provide compelling insight into meeting trends.  Their insights will help us understand the elements that shape collaborative and productive face to face meetings.”

Alex Cabañas, CEO of Benchmark, A Global Hospitality Company and IACC President comments; “Venue operators and suppliers are critical to the delivery of a meaningful and memorable meeting experience.  They are the true partner to the planner, focused on the goals of the meeting.  Hearing their voice in this research has been enlightening.”

The IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ is an initiative led by IACC, with the goal of sharing the association’s vision on what meeting spaces will look and function like in the future. The initiative brings together research, trends and innovations with the single goal of predicting, creating and shaping the future of meeting environments. The full report ‘A Survey of Meeting Venue Operators and Suppliers’ is here.

May 16, 2018
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau rebrands itself as New Orleans & Company

New Orleans & Company will continue to drive the economy, create thousands of jobs for everyone, be the city’s largest revenue generator and most important partner, and will expand its focus on cultural and human stewardship for all citizens

NEW ORLEANS – (May 16, 2018) – The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) has been rebranded and is now officially known as New Orleans & Company. The NOCVB has for 58 years been one of the largest drivers of the New Orleans economy, and over those six decades has produced millions of jobs, billions of dollars of city revenue, and sustained the creation of thousands of small businesses. The former CVB superbly served thousands of member and industry companies and a gigantic workforce, and led the development of the city’s multi-billion dollar convention and meetings business, grew the visitation of leisure visitors to unprecedented levels and played a key role in New Orleans’ ascendance as the world’s greatest sports championship destination. New Orleans & Company will focus in its new iteration not only on growing our cultural economy and hospitality enterprises, driving dynamic, sustainable business growth and career-oriented job creation, but will also focus on continuing its evolution as a thought leader, collaborative convener, and partner to our workforce, our local government and all of our citizens.

“We believe that our culture is our greatest strength and that the people of New Orleans create that culture. As New Orleans & Company, we are committed to our core mission of ensuring that we are a catalytic force for our industry and drive business growth for thousands of small business owners and significant business enterprises. But, we also have a new mission of connecting with the broader economy, partnering with government on finding solutions to move our city forward, and improving the lives of all of our workforce and all residents in every neighborhood of our city. We are committed to nourishing and sustaining the culture that attracts millions of visitors each year and in doing so improving the quality of life for all of us who call New Orleans home,” said Stephen Perry, president & CEO of New Orleans & Company.

“Our new name embodies the inclusiveness we value, with Company representing our many members and partners, the more than 100,000 employees directly employed in the tourism industry in New Orleans, the culture-bearers and creators who shape and carry on our traditions, and, of course, the visitors we welcome as our guests. The culture of hospitality, organic in every neighborhood, shapes who we are and how the world sees us” Perry continued.

Our company continually works to build and sustain networks and connections with our external partners that benefit our city’s residents and our industry’s stakeholders. We hold monthly job fairs in venues across the city to connect those seeking employment with career opportunities. We also seek out and foster workforce development initiatives, and countless other school-based programs. These are just a few examples of our outreach efforts that will continue, among other initiatives, to help provide more paths to prosperity within our community.

Our goal is to cultivate and maintain what we call a “virtuous cycle” between the businesses and attractions that make up the tourism industry, the visitors who invest in those business and attractions, and the city’s residents, all of whom benefit from tourism and our proudly large contributions to city revenue.

Tourism revenues generate 43% of the city’s operating budget though sales tax and property tax, not even counting the taxes paid by our tens of thousands of employees as their indirect spending ripples through every facet of the community. The ultimate result of this cycle is a quality of life for New Orleans’ residents funded by millions of visitors from around the globe who come to spend billions of dollars as they love, enjoy and share our culture. The money they spend is reinvested in the cultural ecology of our city, completing the cycle. Because of our 17 million visitors and their billions of dollars brought in each year, this small city of 375,000 people has the cultural assets, restaurants, museums, nightlife and overall quality of life of a city many, many times our size.

As we promote New Orleans to the world and the city’s offerings evolve, we will continue to support New Orleans’ culture by providing more good jobs and career opportunities than any other industry in the region and by generating revenues to fuel a vibrant economy in which all residents can find a path to prosperity.


“New Orleans is the most authentic city in the world because of our unique culture. That’s the reason why millions visit each year. It is our responsibility to make sure that our industry continues to attract visitors and their spending continues to add to our economy. Preserving and nourishing our culture is critical to our economy’s growth and our quality of life as New Orleanians. At New Orleans & Company, we are dedicated to ensuring that our local culture-bearers remain an essential part of the hospitality and tourism industry, because without these residents, the city loses its soul,” said Gregory Rusovich, CEO Transoceanic Development, 2018 Chairman of the Board, New Orleans & Company.

The launch of New Orleans & Company also includes the recent launch of a new New Orleans cultural economy and tourism website, , although we are hopeful it will also become a go-to resource for all locals as well. Our organization and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation recently combined resources to collapse both of their respective websites into one vastly improved website. This new site provides a better user experience and more comprehensive and visually compelling display of the city’s offerings. This is but one example of how New Orleans’ tourism industry is working more closely together than ever before to continue to evolve and maintain the promotion of New Orleans and fuel our economy.


New Orleans & Company is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. New Orleans & Company and its members and partners influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding, visitor services and local advocacy initiatives at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Chicago, Columbia, SC, Washington, D.C., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil and China. Consistently recognized as one of the top five destination marketing organizations in the country, New Orleans & Company celebrates its 58th anniversary in 2018. For more information, please visit:, and

May 16, 2018
IMEX Policy Forum brings the political world and meetings industry closer together

Globalisation, localisation, city resilience, sustainability and legacy were some of the biggest challenges facing the industry that were discussed at the IMEX Policy Forum, where ministers and political representatives from South Africa, the Netherlands, Argentina, Sweden and South Korea were among 30 national and regional politicians and government officials who engaged with 80 meetings industry leaders. 

‘The Legacy of Positive Policy Making’ was the theme of the event, formerly known as the IMEX Politicians Forum, when it took place at the InterContinental Hotel Frankfurt on Tuesday 15 May, the first day of IMEX in Frankfurt 2018. The theme is closely allied to the IMEX 2018 Talking Point of Legacy, with Political Legacy one of the five ‘lenses’ through which the Talking Point is being explored.

The Agenda had been specifically designed to explore how to bridge the ‘partnership gap’ that exists between governments, national and local, and the meetings industry. 

After a visit to the IMEX exhibition in the morning, the afternoon began with a private national government discussion in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) chaired by Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA).

Professor Greg Clark CBE, the world-renowned advisor on cities shared engaging insights and aroused keen discussions when he led a workshop specifically designed for local, municipal and regional policy makers and destination representatives. 

Exploring ’the evolution of cities in the meetings industry,’ Greg highlighted how every city went through a number of different cycles in the development of meetings business. These cycles were well illustrated by six engaging case studies from Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Barcelona which showed how these cycles were initiated by various factors such as airline and airport development, supportive mayors, building convention centres and hosting major international events.

Open debate on key issues at Open Forum
At the Open Forum, moderated by Michael Hirst OBE, Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) delivered the opening keynote address. She expressed clear views when examining the challenges facing all areas of the travel and tourism sector in fulfilling outstanding growth potential. Based on research among WTTC members, she said the top three challenges were security, crisis preparedness and management and sustainability and she highlighted the importance of wide ranging collaboration and partnerships between travel industry organisations. In particular, collaboration is important in engaging with governments on issues such as visa facilitation and reciprocity, and in progressing biometrics as a facilitator for security and efficiency.

Discussing sustainability, Gloria said “We must no longer think about PPP (Public Private Partnerships) but about PPC – Public, Private and Community,” because the industry needed to have the support of communities, and she highlighted the future of work as an important new consideration alongside destination and social responsibility, global climate action and tourism for tomorrow.

This keynote prefaced the Open Forum where the views of a panel of industry leaders along with Professor Greg Clark prompted debate on the key issues with the political and industry representatives contributing their valuable views.

Taking part in the day of activities and discussions provided revealing insights for the delegates. Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister of Tourism for South Africa, a first-time visitor said that the discussion in the Policy Forum had been good and helpful in learning what more South Africa can do to bring major events to the country. Her thought on Gloria Guevara Manzo’s speech was; “Wow!”

Justice Thomas Mihayo, Chairman of the Tanzania Tourist Board felt that “the discussions on many heavy topics were very good. I wish there had been more time to go further into them.” He thought the IMEX exhibition was “fantastic.”

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group commented; “The discussions were fascinating and showed the increasing engagement and understanding between the political world and the meetings industry. IMEX has been bringing the meetings world and public policy makers together for many years and has helped to develop real appreciation of how together they can drive economic growth. Over the years we have seen genuine progress and I’m confident that today’s IMEX Policy Forum took this collaboration further forward. That is our Political Legacy.” 

The IMEX Policy Forum’s advocacy partners are Association Internationale des Palais de Congres (AIPC), European Cities Marketing (ECM), ICCA, the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), The Iceberg and UNWTO. The Forum is sponsored by Business Events Australia, Business Events Sydney, German Convention Bureau, Geneva Convention Bureau, Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.  

For more details about the IMEX Policy Forum, please visit the website.