Next Stop for UITP: Melbourne

May 21, 2018

Next Stop for UITP: Melbourne

Boardroom received news from our partner Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General of the Union International des Transports Publics (UITP), announcing that the 2021 Global Public Transport Summit will be held in Melbourne, Australia between 6-9 June 2021 – the first time in more than 25 years that the event will make its way to the Southern Hemisphere.

Hosted by Public Transport Victoria, the four-day event will gather together all transport modes, industry, authorities and operators, as well as exhibitors from all over the world  at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). The Summit is dedicated to sustainable mobility and will provide opportunities for the 2,000 delegates to network, develop partnerships and establish new projects investment.

Melbourne is well placed to host such an event with the state currently transforming the city’s transport network and boasting the world’s largest tram network.

May 18, 2018

3 Questions to Tourism Australia’s Managing Director

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, joined the team in March 2014, coming from a professional background spanning across three key fields — sport, media, and events. During his first time at IMEX in Frankfurt this week, he sat down with Boardroom to talk about Australia’s competitive edge.

How do you position Australia in the world?

It really comes down to three key areas: our natural beauty, our food and wine, and our cosmopolitan cities. There’s no question that this is a great product to be able to market and sell internationally because we have, in abundance, the things that international visitors are looking for. As far business events are concerned, with Australia’s track record in delivering them and our winning combination of unique natural landscapes and friendly welcoming people we are clearly on the radar as the ideal business events destination.

Earlier this year, you’ve launched the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP). Has it garnered a lot of interest from planners already?

We have received a positive reaction from the international business events industry who agree the Bid Fund Program will ensure that Australia maintains a competitive edge against other international destinations. We have actually already got five applications in the two weeks since launching on 1 May. The BFP is designed to secure, among other events, new, high-value international association, meetings for Australia, and now adds financial support to the offering, making Australia even more attractive.

Are you seeing an increased awareness of Australia as a congress destination among international associations?

The recent win of the UITP Global Public Transport Summit  to be held in Melbourne in 2021 – a four-day event that will see 2,000 delegates from all over the world meet converge to Australia and deliver $9.4 million in economic contribution for Victoria – says it all. Australia as whole and Melbourne in particular have a global reputation for collaboration with federal, local and state governments, as well as city-wide partners working together to successfully secure and deliver conferences. Our Tourism 2020 strategy is definitley yielding fruit : we are an ambitious organisation. and we are delighted when yet another important business event recognizes this.

This interview was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve (








May 18, 2018

BestCities Take a Look at the Past and Plan the Future

BestCities Global Alliance announced earlier this week a joint study project with Rehabilitation International and GainingEdge with the goal of producing a reference for meetings organizers and the supplier community to remove barriers in meetings and conventions for delegates with special needs in a bid to make events more inclusive.

While the report is facilitated by GainingEdge, BestCities partners will be leaders in the project trailblazing the way for destinations around the world to make significant improvements in accessibility through knowledge sharing and robust case study examples on good practice on accessibility in the meetings industry. Rehabilitation International will also be used as a source of research, acting as the ‘sounding board’ or technical advisor.

What is more, associations from all over the world are to descend on Bogotá, Colombia, this December, for  the annual BestCities Global Forum. Held in collaboration with the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau (GBCB), this year’s theme will centre on The Power of People helping facilitate people to do more and addressing the ability for people to make change regardless of their surroundings.

ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance are also busy reviewing applications for grants awarded by their Incredible Impacts Programme, which aims to create a powerful platform to advocate on the positive societal impact of international association meetings. Incredible Impacts Grants are awarded to associations to encourage communication of the true value of their meetings. To apply for a grant, organisations must demonstrate a track-record in a “beyond tourism” or legacy programme or project related to their international meetings. They need to explain how they would use the grant to support, expand, extend or enhance their chosen programme or a future project.


May 17, 2018

Association Conference Managers Get Helped by the AAE

The Association of Association Executives (AAE) announced earlier this week the launch of its dedicated service for association conference and event managers across Europe. The service, which is the result of demand from AAE community members and in-depth interview research, includes education and information with online forums, networking events, seminars, masterclasses and conferences in Brussels, Geneva, Amsterdam and London and is complemented by dedicated streams at its Association Congress series.

Executive Director of AAE, Damian Hutt, says: “This service we are launching provides business-critical guidance, best practice and education that supports conference and event strategists and managers in Europe, to develop and manage their event programmes. The new service and content is created specifically for executives of associations, societies and federations in Europe.  Our service supports all associations, not just those with specific event-rotation and not just their annual congress – it’s about their whole events programme and we address many high-level issues not just venues and city selection.”

Any association executive of any role can take-up the service, which is important as events may be only one part of their responsibilities.  Services for other roles will be launched at AAE events in July, including for Membership, Marketing, Education and Leadership.


May 16, 2018

Water Issues Stream through Brisbane

The Australian Water Association’s Ozwater’18 Conference and Exhibition brought together some of the world’s leading experts on water earlier this month to discuss issues impacting the industry and the way we live today. Held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), this year’s conference attracted record delegate numbers with 1400 water professionals, including delegates from 16 different countries.

During the three day event, seven keynote speakers, 16 interactive workshops and panel sessions, 374 presenters and 225 exhibitors carried the main message of the conference theme of Evolution Revolution – the key to taking the industry into the future. The event’s agenda tackled issues head on, including guaranteeing sustainable water management, the impact of urban development and water – the essential element of the liveability of our cities and regions.

May 15, 2018

Paris Keeps Going Strong

According to the International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA) report published recently, Paris is the 2nd destination in the world for international congresses organised by international associations, remaining among the exclusive club of the top attractive destinations in the world, and announced a record year in 2017 in term of attendance.

In 2017, Paris hosted  190 congress matching the ICCA criteria with 112 000 delegates, versus 196 events and 74 586 delegates in 2016, holding systematically the first top 2 positions in the ICCA ranking since 2010. The city’s scientific program with strong contribution from leading French scientists, a long history of research and innovation in the specific field and support from the French government and Parisian institutions are all contributing factors to its success.

Proof of that are the various major conferences held in the region, some of which with up to 10.000 delegates. Examples are the MS Paris 2017, the 7th joint meeting of ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS which attracted over 10.000 delegates, the 21st ENT World Congress of the International Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Societies (IFOS) in Paris in 2017 with 8,500 delegates, the 9th IAS Conference on HIV in 2017 with 8.000 attendees and the International Liver Congress also gathering over 10.000 people. Later this year, over 22.000 delegates are expected to attend the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in September.

May 14, 2018

The Athens Roadshow Drives through Brussels

The City of Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency is intensifying its efforts to promote the Greek capital as a leisure and business destination.

In this context, the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a course of activities to reposition Athens in the Meetings Industry and promote the Greek capital as a world-class meeting and convention destination. Brussels is the second stop in a series of events powered by the city’s most important industry stakeholders, designed to demonstrate the destination’s competitive advantages and showcase the city’s convention infrastructure in a vibrant, interactive and lively manner.

The Athens Roadshow in Brussels took place on Tuesday May 8 at 17.30 at the Altiero Spinelli Building of the European Parliament in the heart of Brussels. Local senior associates of large associations attended along with local representatives from MICE media and trade associations.

Promoting conference tourism has long been a priority for the City of Athens, with the sector contributing substantially to local economy development. Athens, in recent years, has climbed among the top 26 most popular conference tourism destinations in the world, hosting 76 association conferences in 2017 (ICCA Statistics Report 2017).

May 13, 2018

A Resilient & Powerful City

‘How to change the perception of Jerusalem and how to showcase Jerusalem’s transition into the modern world’: this is the objective Mrs Ilanit Melchior, Director of the Jerusalem Development Authority, where she helped set up the Jerusalem Conventions & Visitors Bureau.

What’s better, then, than to invite international associations from all over the world and let them explore the city, along with Cécile Koch from Boardroom, meanwhile making sure that relationships with local academics and corporate people are closely tied up? As explained by Mrs Melchior during a business session with ambassadors from different Israeli corporations and academics, this is in line with the dynamic and strategic vision of Mayor Barkat, as the city has undertaken actions to become an international congress destination.

Mayor Barkat identified three pillars in his strategic plan: the renewal of urban life, the growth of creative industries, and the investing in Jerusalem-based clusters (Bio-Tech, Tourism and Film).

Five-year economic plan

After extensive research, Jerusalem’s government established a five-year economic plan to grow Israel’s capital city.“I believe that running a city is like running a corporation,”says Melchior, who came from a corporate background before working with Barkat to launch the CVB. “If you show the stakeholders you’re good enough, you can push whatever you want forward.”

Melchior admits that getting the word out about Jerusalem as a meetings destination is the CVB’s biggest challenge. “When I say ‘Jerusalem’ [to international planners], their eyes open,”says Melchior. “They dream about [meeting in Jerusalem], but for some reason, they don’t come here… My job is to make this vision come true.”

As the city wins more and more international events, planners are hearing the buzz about the modern Jerusalem and putting it on their radar. “It’s not about the 3,000 years of history. It’s about now, and the most important thing is it’s about the future,”says Melchior.

Some events that have recently taken place in Jerusalem include Wikimedia Hackathon, Forbes, or the OutCrowd Foundation which attracted this year over 10,000 people. “People think of Jerusalem as this historical place,”says Cathi Culbertson, vice president of event marketing and conferences at Forbes, “but it’s amazing how modern it is.”

Safety net

When it comes to safety –a subject that can be touchy for planners–Melchiar travels the world over to tell how Jerusalem deals with it.  “It is how you communicate, the tools you use to do so, in accordance to your target audience, and what actions you take”, she says very openly. Part of Jerusalem’s safety policy is to never cancel an event or campaign after an attack, and on the contrary show that all is under control, and return to normal life as quick as possible, within hours and not days.

This policy is definitely paying off, as the figures show: in 2016 Jerusalem had 32% more tourism and 10% more overnight stays of congress attendees than in 2015.

On top of that, the Ministry of Tourism has a ‘safety net’ procedure that will compensate international conferences for their marketing expenses, if the conference that was to be held in Israel is cancelled due to geopolitical events.Although this procedure is due to end in 2020, it will be renewed due to its great success.

Improved infrastructure

Continuous improvement of Jerusalem’s infrastructure is also a must for Barkat to reach the goal of 10 million annual tourists over the next several years. Developments driving Jerusalem’s increasing popularity as a meetings destination include a high-speed train connecting Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, expected to run by September 2018, and a new terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport, a 40-minute drive from the Holy City, also directly connected to the International Conference Centre by train.

ICC Jerusalem, the International Convention Centre, offers 12,000+ sqm of exhibition space and 27 conference halls and seminar rooms. As to accommodation, the city expects to add an estimated 4,000 hotel rooms to the current 15,500 within the next few years.

This article was written by Cécile Koch, Boardroom Managing Partner (



May 11, 2018

Ambassadors Drive Montréal’s Business Events Further

The Palais des congrès de Montréal has assembled a group of leaders representing eight of the city’s key economic sectors to form a new Multisector Strategic Taskforce. The role of these experienced ambassadors will be to develop and nurture ties with researchers, scientists and business executives who might be inclined to actively participate in the process of bringing large-scale international gatherings to Montréal. They will be able to mine their networks for topnotch collaborators and match them with specific conferences.

Recognised as a knowledge hub, Montréal works closely with its Ambassadors Club and partners to advocate for the major sectors driving the Montréal and Québec economy. During the course of the Club’s 33 years, its members have definitely made a difference, attracting 201 events that have drawn nearly 475,000 participants to the region.

Hany Moustapha, President of the Ambassadors Club, said: “Conventions represent a privileged opportunity to exchange with our peers from all over the world, and they help push the boundaries of knowledge for our industries. These intellectual benefits greatly contribute to Montréal’s international reputation,”.

May 10, 2018

Electrical and Electronics Engineers Wire Up Glasgow

Glasgow has been recognised as a go-to hub for electrical and electronics engineers after having hosted six relevant conferences since 2015 with a further six scheduled to take place through to 2022.

The 2020 World Congress on Computational Intelligence (IEEE WCCI), the largest technical event in the field of computational intelligence, has been set to take place in the city from 19 – 24 July 2020 along with the IEEE 5G Summit on 14 May 2018, the IEEE Cyber Science on 11 and 12 June 2018, the IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics on 19 – 21 September 2018 and the International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society from 11 – 15 July 2022 attracting 8,000 delegates to Glasgow.

Seven different venues across Glasgow have been chosen thus far to host these conferences, including the city’s universities; the University of Glasgow, home to the oldest School of Engineering in the UK, delivering engineering education for more than 150 years and the University of Strathclyde, one of the UK’s leading technological universities ranking high on research power.