Marseille to Host the 2020 IUCN World Conservation Congress

June 4, 2018

Marseille to Host the 2020 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, signed earlier this month an agreement to jointly organise the next IUCN World Conservation Congress, to be held from 11 to 19 June 2020 at Marseille’s Parc Chanot.

A presentation of a new biodiversity plan by the French Minister preceded the signing ceremony. New global targets to curb the escalating biodiversity crisis under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are to be set later in 2020. This is also the year when the Paris Agreement on climate change will formally come into effect and start being implemented, with countries submitting new or updated pledges.

Backing from all levels of the French authorities, from the municipal level to the national government, as well as France’s commitment to event sustainability and engagement from French IUCN Members are among the reasons behind France’s selection.

Held every four years, the IUCN Congress is the world’s largest conservation event. It brings together leaders from government, civil society, indigenous peoples’ organisations, business and academia to determine the world’s most pressing environmental and development challenges, and actions to address them. The 9 day conference will include the Nature World Forum with 5.000-7.000 participants and the General Assembly of IUCN gathering 1.200-1.800 participants.


June 1, 2018

Washington, DC:
A Value-Added Approach for Meetings and Conventions

Washington, DC is a leading destination for meetings and conventions of all sizes. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.5 billion in development, 19 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. Washington, DC’s appeal and ease of access are unparalleled, making it a hot spot for the international business community and specifically its top international meetings markets: UK, India, Japan and China.

According to the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report, Washington, DC is the #1 city in the USA for international association meetings. With 17 free-to-enter Smithsonian museums, historic landmarks, tech-friendly venues and artistically-appealing buildings, the city is one of the top destinations to host a meeting.

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing with new unique venues such as the popular innovative digital art gallery, Artechouse, and DC’s first winery, District Winery, a 17,000 sq. foot venue in Capitol Riverfront overlooking the Anacostia River. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center (pictured) will begin a fresh renovation this fall with capital improvements include new seating, enhanced digital signage, a streetscape plan and a “mamava pod” for nursing mothers.

New and upcoming developments that bring even more unique meeting and event space include:

  • + Eaton Workshop (Opening late summer 2018) 

A pilot project aimed at inspiring social change, the new global hotel brand will debut with a 209-room property downtown. Eaton Workshop boasts 10,000 sq. feet of event space, rotating art exhibits and a co-working club that can accommodate up to 370 members.

  • + The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Expansion (Opening spring 2019)

The world-renowned DC venue will add 2,500 sq. feet of new performance space, 7,500 sq. feet of pre-function and event space, new art installations and digital advancements. Outside, guests can utilize a new video wall, a terrace for up to 1,600 people and a scenic walkway to the Potomac River and nearby monuments and memorials.

  • + International Spy Museum (Opening spring 2019)

One of the city’s most popular museums will move from Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza, a short walk from the National Mall. The new location will be 140,000 sq. feet, more than double the original space, and will feature a lecture hall/theater and event space with great views.

  • + The Conrad Washington, DC (Opening winter 2019) 

A 360-room hotel from Hilton Worldwide adds more luxury to CityCenterDC. Features include two outdoor terraces, a rooftop bar, conference rooms and 30,000 sq. feet of luxury retail space.

  • + SLS Hotel (Opening late 2019) 

DC’s first SLS-branded property is expected to open at 5th and Eye Street NW. The design-focused 12-story building will house a 175-room property on floors 2-8. The mezzanine and cellar will include amenities and a 5,500 sq. foot ballroom.

The ease of travel continues to add to DC’s appeal for international business travelers. The city recently launched direct nonstop air service into Dulles International Airport from key international markets, including El Salvador via Volaris, which began in May 2018; Edinburgh, Scotland via United Airlines (seasonal, May 23 to Oct. 4, 2018); London Stansted Airport via Primera Air (August 2018) and Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (September 2018).

“We welcome more business and hope the new nonstop air service and hotel inventory will help make it easy to choose Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Business travelers can access industry thought leaders, meet in incredible venues and enjoy the city’s captivating free museums and Michelin-starred restaurant scene all year round.”

This article is powered by Destination DC. To learn more and submit an RFP, visit

June 1, 2018

Sustainable Building Drives Strasbourg’s Competitiveness Cluster

Recognising the need to stimulate growth and jobs in various sectors, Strasbourg established in 2015 the Fibres-Energivie Competitiveness Cluster with the merger of the Alsace-Energivie and Fibres Clusters. It is the only competitiveness cluster dedicated to materials for the construction industry. Focusing on the construction sector, it brings together all of the players in the value chain (from materials suppliers to integrators): chemical industry, materials, building design, constructive systems industry, energy facilities, building trades, building maintenance and property development promotion.

This unique positioning is able to make the most of the synergy effect to enhance the performance of each sector. In this way, the sustainable building is clearly identified as the driving force behind the development of innovative materials since it represents the biggest spender on materials in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Its challenges cover 3 fields of strategic action, i. e. sustainable fibres and materials, constructive processes and systems and energy, networks and flows.

By joining the Cluster, members enjoy resources to guarantee their projects the best chances of success and find funding. The members network is also one of the foundations of the Cluster. Boasting 270 members, the Cluster provides various tools and actions to facilitate the sharing of experience, contact, the spotting of opportunities and the visibility of its members, whether in France or overseas.


May 31, 2018

Copenhagen Wanders Beyond Legacy

During IMEX, Copenhagen presented us with the interesting notion of the image problem academic events are facing; the endless conference invitations and the talk around carbon footprint paired with the strained budgets at public research institutions result in the loss of academics as key meeting attendees. The meeting industry should be able to document value creation, to make an impact, and in Copenhagen they are trying to do just that; help academics evaluate their events.

The campaign for legacy is meant to highlight how the meeting industry contributes to a better world, however, according to Industrial PhD student, Thomas Trøst Hansen, this concept is not clear and the real challenge lies in developing evaluations of the existing value creation at academic events, e.g. inspiration, network development, community building and exchange of recognition. These are the reasons for having academic events and we have failed to demonstrate their importance.

Always according to Mr Hansen’s research, academics work and receive recognition through a value chain which is used as a basis for evaluating academic events. He has found remarkable differences in the outcomes between different types of events, including congresses, specialty conferences, symposia and practitioners’ meetings. By focusing on the academic sector and addressing the academic outcomes, the evaluation framework will be more engaging for the academic sector, including universities, funding bodies and scientific associations. The involvement of such actors in the evaluations of their own events is key to promoting the broader outcomes of the meetings industry.


May 31, 2018

The Secretary General’s Voice
– Making Associations Relevant

A member of Boardroom Advisory board, Mohamed Mezghani has been appointed Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in January. Boardroom has asked him to contribute a monthly column in which he explains all about the challenges of holding such a position. This is Mohamed’s fourth contribution, in which he reflects on how to stay relevant.

Two years ago, on the occasion of the European Association Summit, UITP was handed over a recognition as the oldest international association based in Belgium – it was created in 1885. Leading such an old organisation gives a feeling of pride but also a sense of responsibility. One important challenge is to keep the association relevant and with a state-of-the-art governance system. An association born in 19th century has to reinvent itself constantly. In this regard, some important elements have to be taken into consideration.

First, associations are affected by the trends impacting their market and the stakeholders they represent. Hence, it is important that association membership profiles and working topics reflect these trends to keep its legitimacy to speak on behalf of its sector. Monitoring the latest market developments is key to be able to anticipate those changes in time and make members aware of them. Its membership may also becoming more diverse and more global. We move from a mono-stakeholder category association to an organisation representing the whole ecosystem. This makes the association more credible as it enlarges its representativeness but poses challenges: how to find common policy positions with such a diversity of interests?

Secondly, the ways we work are evolving. Members are introducing modern technologies and tools into their own business and expect the same in their interaction with the association. They also expect to find, within the association, the needed resources and expertise to support activities in which they participate. The time when members used to produce themselves the association deliverables is over. They are ready to attend and contribute to meetings and give feedback on the produced work but their day-to-day business doesn’t leave them time to deliver the association work. Then, delivery timelines should be shortened to reflect the association agility and reactivity – this also has to be taken into account.

Thirdly, the association service portfolio has to evolve to reflect the changing expectations of members, as one witnesses the globalisation of its membership, the competition with other associations (at national or international level) or with third parties developing competing services for niche products (events, benchmarking clubs, training), the increasing online availability of free, good-quality information, and the growing digitalisation that is changing the way we communicate and engage with members and stakeholders. Associationsmust constantly question the relevance of their products by getting rid of some of them, innovating in others and creating new ones.

Last but not least, the public sphere is marked by a quest for transparency and accountability. As soon as we ask a financial contribution to our stakeholders (i.e. membership fee) we have to show them that this money is used ethically. Associations are no longer those ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ with an informal management based on personal relationships. Non-for-profit doesn’t mean improvisation but needs transparent decision-making processes. Association leaders are accountable before the members, the same way CEOs are before their shareholders. Their behaviour is scrutinized and might be questioned at any time – and they must lead by example.

The world of international associations is changing. Members expect associations to support them in developing their business and advocate their interest. They want value for money in a friendly environment that provides good networking opportunities. They expect efficiency and people-focused relationships. They share common priorities but expect personalised services. These are not contradictions but challenges that show the new dimension taken by associations and how essential they become. That’s what makes this job so exciting!

May 31, 2018

Promising Future for Melbourne

A partnership between Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and creative powerhouse C2 International was announced at the IMEX trade show in Frankfurt. A world first, this union signals a dramatic shift ahead for the future of business events. This alliance will be mutually beneficial as it grants MCEC exclusive access to C2’s experiential design platform and signature “labs” (challenging yet playful ideation sessions) while providing C2 a powerful gateway from which to continue the conversation in the Asia Pacific region.

For the first time, C2 International will hold its three-day flagship event outside Montreal, transforming Melbourne’s iconic MCEC between October 17-19 this year. MCEC customers will be able to access C2 labs and experiences from 1 July 2018.

But that is not all. Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s expansion site is under two months away from opening. Once completed, the new space will cement MCEC’s position as the largest convention and exhibition space in Australia, with 9,000 square metres of exhibition space plus additional flexible, multi-purpose event space, 1,000 seat plenary theatre, multiple meeting rooms and a banquet room.

Over 300 events have been confirmed or are being negotiated for the new expansion space, between July 2018 and the end of 2024. The 1st Malaria World Congress will be the first event held in Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s expansion space, between 1 – 5 July 2018. MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King said: “At present, there is no mechanism anywhere in the world for all stakeholders to share information and build a solid framework for collaborative action against malaria. The inaugural Malaria World Congress, initiated by Club Melbourne Ambassadors, Professor Alan Cowman and Professor Brendan Crabb aims to address this gap.”

May 30, 2018

A Sunny Rooftop for Grimaldi Forum Monaco

It’s been a few years now that Grimaldi Forum Monaco and the Monegasque Company of Electricity and Gas (SMEG) have partnered on a concrete commitment of actions in favour of energy transition. This partnership will continue with the installation in 2019 of a photovoltaic power station on the roof of the building. This project is testament to the true political will from the Princely Government, which gives financial incentives to those organisations with a corporate social responsibility, especially regarding the production – and the saving – of energy. The solar power station of Grimaldi Forum will be the largest in size and power of the Principality (2470 sqm, 490 kw, 600 MWh of annual production are the equivalent of the electricity consumed by a hundred houses), making the convention centre the first green energy producer in the Principality.

This operation is an anticipation of the integration of the Grimaldi Forum into an eco-district that is planned  to emerge from reclaimed land on the sea, an urban project that will make a new territory of 6 hectares. The project, due to be completed in 2025, will include housing, public parking and a wide range of facilities, a lively harbour with pedestrian quays, a green park, a coastal promenade, a shaded passage along the Japanese Garden as well as an extension to the Grimaldi Forum.

A major player in the meetings industry, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco will benefit from this ambitious urban achievement, allowing it to increase its exhibition capacity by 50%, with an additional surface of nearly 6,000 sqm. This new area will accommodate large shows, allow more events to be held simultaneously, and make its offering more flexible, with the possibility of original event formats.

May 30, 2018

New Zealand Promotes Hospitality Experience

The notion that a stranger can soon become a friend after a conversation and a meal is the concept behind Tourism New Zealand’s stand at the IMEX trade show in Frankfurt earlier this month. Convention planners could enjoy a kōrero (conversation) and kai (food) at a dining table intricately designed and carved from ancient reclaimed swamp kauri by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) to reflect Māori hospitality traditions that have shaped contemporary New Zealand culture.

The table has been made in two pieces. One part will remain in New Zealand and the other will travel around the world, both joined together in Frankfurt. “The kōrero and kai table is a powerful symbol of how New Zealand welcomes strangers and makes them feel at home. It also acts as an invitation to the world to come and experience New Zealand’s beauty and our warm hospitality for themselves,” says Lisa Gardiner, Manager of Business Events and Premium at Tourism New Zealand.

May 29, 2018

Mexico Launches Growth Plan for its German Market

Mexico inaugurated its stand at IMEX in Frankfurt showcasing the country’s strengths as a MICE destination with a wide range of natural, historical, cultural and culinary attractions and facilities, and why it is fast becoming one of Germany’s favourite destinations.

With the number of German tourists constantly increasing, Mexico Tourism Board recently launched strategic growth plan for the German market with the ultimate goal of making it one of Mexico’s top markets by 2021. The programme will focus on expanding connectivity, strengthening industry partnerships and co-marketing, expanding tourism products, and increasing consumer promotional actions.

In general, Mexico’s tourism industry had another record-breaking year in 2016, welcoming more than 35 million international visitors, up 8.9 percent from 2015. The economic impact was great; in 2013, Mexico ranked 15th most visited country in the world but three short years later hit the top ten and is currently the 8th most visited country. The country hosted 198 congresses last year also thanks to its 21 offices abroad working closely between them. But with 56 convention centres thought the country, Mexico is now trying to promote its strategy for attracting conferences to its smaller cities. The country’s accessibility has increased with new flight destinations towards Asia and a new airport expected for 2020.

May 28, 2018

Colombia Uses Music to Attract Conferences

Colombia, or the land of Sobrasura as its own people like to call it referring to their pleasant way of living, has become an important destination when it comes to international conferences. The country is promoting itself through a unique campaign based on music, as it is considered an international language conveying the region’s message of why associations should opt for Colombia. Thirteen musical videos have been produced each one showcasing the strengths of different cities throughout the entire country in order to attract international conferences to smaller destinations as well as the capital, Bogotá.

With good infrastructure for business events across the land, a strategic geographical position between the Americas, safer cities and the tourism, oil and gas industries being a priority, the 11 convention bureaux of Colombia can offer successful conferences. What is more, the country’s message concerning legacy explains that meetings organised there contribute to local peace as its people proudly team up to prepare their city for such an event.