Today’s Business Events Serve Tomorrow’s Generation

October 1, 2019

Today’s Business Events Serve Tomorrow’s Generation

What is the real power of association conferences? The hot topic has become part of the core of Business Events Sarawak or BESarawak (formerly Sarawak Convention Bureau) that is now looking beyond the narrow limits of business tourism financial benefits. Malaysia’s biggest state and second-tier conference destination with rapidly-increasing popularity has recently expanded its focus towards the social impact and remote legacy meetings can leave behind.

BESarawak’s Redefining Global Tribes (RGT) campaign began in 2017 and has received much praise among the meetings industry experts putting out tribal values of community, identity and unity. The innovative campaign has helped Sarawak win a place both in conference organizers and delegates’ hearts alike as the state has been moving up the rankings of the global market.

According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)’s global ranking report released in May, Malaysia is ranked 9thin the region with Sarawak being a huge contributor in the nation’s success, while Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, shot to #32 on the city rankings. Such great success means only the beginning of progressive ideas and values for the state, who is yet again rising to the challenge of a new era.

New year, new focus

The start of 2019 found the bureau with a new name, image and a diverse focal point which heightens the intangible payback of business events. Not so long ago business events were assessed merely by delegate expenditure on travelling, shopping, commuting, eating and sleeping. BESarawak’s contribution has reached over RM720 million in total since 2006.

The economic impact is only the facade of what business events can offer society. BESarawak is now eager to demonstrate that the power of knowledge and the power of associations and academia can advance research, science and innovation. Using the global network of an international association new talent will flood in the country creating clusters and higher standards for any industry.

Chief Operating Officer of BESarawak, Amelia Roziman, shares that “BESarawak’s focus this year is on advocating legacy impact in every business event held in this state. This means looking beyond the economic input and expanding our focus to the significance of conferences through the promotion and usage of knowledge exchanged to have a positive effect on various areas of sectors. Asides from sharing knowledge and expanding our education outcomes, we are also measuring business events’ capability to enhance future research capacities and fundraising opportunities, and whether it can reform public policies or even create new ones.”

 The visionary target will not be achieved without close collaboration and support. Business Events Sarawak and the Sarawak government have placed 7 Key Focus Areas (KFAs) as crucial factors, namely Urban Development & Redevelopment (inclusive of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), Social, Environmental and Agricultural Development plus Service Industry and Digital Economy. These distinctive elements of community growth are set to trigger a domino effect of impactful motions in their respective areas in favour of the state and the nation.

“Associations are vying for a bigger purpose that is closely linked to their objectives, hence government support is unquestionably vital,” Amelia emphasizes. “Regardless of which market we are aiming for (this year we have set our sights on ASEAN countries, Australia and Europe), the support that is received from the government such as local government agencies and industry partners is undivided.” This support is prominent in every step of the way, even before bidding begins, making the planning of a conference as smooth as it gets.

In fact, Sarawak is creating a win-win situation with its Legacy Impact Programme. Through helping associations fulfil their ‘bigger purpose’ and leave a legacy by leveraging from this support, the state reaps the benefits of economic growth and knowledge influx, which in turn leads to better standard of living for the future generations.

Four major pillars of legacy impacts laid out by BESarawak are meant to vest more power to business events in order to extract their full value and drive change. These pillars are identified as Advancing the Field, Economic Outcomes, Community Benefits and Public Policy. The first assigns the leading role to local associations and global networking, which will lead to wider trade opportunities and industrial development. Cultural, social and public welfare outcomes can be achieved for the community, which in turn can also benefit by policy changes.

The forward-looking mentality is already taking root in Malaysia. Conferences such as the 2019 Borneo Coffee Symposium and the 8thInternational Conference on Bioprocessing, both held recently in Sarawak, have had tangible effects in their respective sectors.

The 2019 Borneo Coffee Symposium

Business events had the sweet taste of coffee on 6 and 7 April this year during the very first Borneo Coffee Symposium, held at the Old Court House in Kuching. Over 250 renowned coffee scientists as well as experienced coffee farmers and estate owners gathered in East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, all sharing the same purpose: to show the world the potential of high-quality coffee cultivation in the area in a sustainable way.

Organized by Earthlings Coffee Workshop, the Symposium was the first of its kind to be held in Borneo and aimed to find the possibilities to produce a sustainable coffee cultivation model in rainforests. Particularly, to solve the lowland and warmer climate challenges by introducing the right species and varieties of coffee and introducing the knowledge of modern coffee cultivation to the Sarawak state.

Coffee cultivation in Sarawak has been growing rapidly, but the local tribes need the right guidance and knowledge in order to enter the global market successfully. The Symposium managed to do just that; well-known speakers and international coffee education systems such as “CoffeeCraftsman Education” from Germany, which was brought to Sarawak right after the Borneo Coffee Symposium, provided tailor-made support for local coffee growers.

Events like the “Liberica Coffee Roasting Competition” and “Cross-Species Coffee Cupping” that happened during the Symposium were also organized to support the direction of the right coffee species for the region. Dr. Kenny Lee Wee Ting, founder of Earthlings Coffee Workshop, believes that “with proper coffee education and the thorough understanding of the global coffee market, coffee is a type of environmentally-friendly crop that would benefit Sarawak not only financially, but also in terms of helping to protect our natural environment.”

The Symposium made great impact within the government. The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development has already increased financial investment for coffee planting and is now looking into socio-economic benefits for farmers in crop diversification, moving from subsistence to specialty production, recognition of farmer identity and their contribution to labour and identity of state too.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sarawak government represented by Department of Agriculture Sarawak (DOA) and Earthlings Coffee Workshop on the last day of the Symposium proves the point of collaboration and mutual benefit deriving from business events. Based on BESarawak’s drivers, the acquired knowledge and skills gained at the Symposium provides a platform for the formation of new associations in the industry with the goal to educate the younger generation and put Borneo on the world’s coffee map.

The immediate impact of the Symposium is indisputable as every coffee related business segments in Sarawak or even entire Malaysia will benefit from the rise of local grown coffee independent of brand identity or cost considerations. In the long run, such a knowledge intensive symposium will stir the waters for coffee players in Malaysia, forcing them to update their products and market knowledge in order to catch up with the international competition. According to Dr. Lee “this would lead to a healthier competition throughout the whole coffee industrial chain in Sarawak. If everyone in the industry demand better quality coffee and have the knowledge to produce it, they will surely work with the local farmers to reach the desired result.”

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom editor Vicky Koffa, is available in the September issue of Boardroom. The right to use this article, in part or in full, has to be granted by the Publisher.

October 1, 2019

Palais des Congrès de Montréal Creates CITE

The Palais des congrès de Montréal is introducing its CITE Event Innovation and Technology Centre, a new initiative which will enable organizers of events of all types and sizes to reinvent the level of experience they can offer participants thanks to the expertise of numerous local startups.

CITE will deliver affordable solutions that are also in line with the organizers’ current and future needs. There are presently a dozen firms that have joined or are in the process of joining CITE, and their services range from technology and food, to the arts and event logistics, all provided jointly with the Palais’ official providers. CITE will eventually house over 20 exciting firms offering innovative experiences. Ultimately, the convention centre will house a full scale coworking space populated by creatives who will transform the venue into a veritable laboratory of event innovation.

“CITE is akin to an innovation clinic, where our customers can find creative solutions for their needs,” explains Robert Mercure, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, adding that “today’s participants don’t just want to attend an event, they want to experience it, and CITE will enable us to help our customers make that happen by pairing them with creative entrepreneurs that elevate our city and will elevate their events.”

Photo : Palais des Congrès de Montréal

September 30, 2019

Athens Fosters Organ Transplantation

Athens has been chosen to host the Congress of the European Society for Organ Transplantation in September 2023. The announcement was made at the 2019 Congress held this month in Copenhagen. The selection of Athens proves the strength of the city’s convention industry and medical communities as highlighted in the successful cooperation between the Hellenic Transplant Society and This is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Congress of the European Society for Organ Transplantation is a prestigious event for the international scientific community that brings together top medical doctors and scientists from all over the world. The opportunity to host the conference in Athens will create a positive impact for the city while promoting the growing Greek life sciences industries, particularly the transplant sector.

“This is a great opportunity for Greece to become more active in organ donation and transplantation. In 2023, Athens will host more than 3,500 transplant experts from around the world, while an equal number of delegates are expected to attend the congress online,” said Professor John Fouzas, president of the Hellenic Society of Transplantation.

September 27, 2019

Reykjavík Honours Its Ambassadors

Earlier in September, Meet in Reykjavík – Reykjavík Convention Bureau, in partnership with the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, hosted an annual event for stakeholders in the Icelandic MICE industry. At the conference, which took place at the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica hotel, three of the Convention Bureau’s Ambassadors were honoured for their role in securing the arrival of important events to the Icelandic capital.

The 2019 honorary Ambassadors are Eliza Reid, historian and Iceland’s First Lady, for co-founding the Iceland Writers Retreat, Rósbjörg Jónsdóttir, founder of Cognitio & local partner for Social Progress Imperative in Iceland, for playing a pivotal role in organising multiple events in Reykjavík like the “What Works Summit” that was held in Harpa Concert Hall and Dr. Eyþór Ívar Jónsson, founder of “Vidskipta Akademian”, director of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Iceland and director of the A-Board at Copenhagen Business School who was the conference chair for EURAM (European Academy of Management) 2018.

September 26, 2019

Leadership Workshop by ASSOCIATIONWORLD

In collaboration with Boardroom, ASSOCIATIONWORLD’s upcoming workshops in Brussels and Geneva will take place on 4 and 11 October respectively from 9.00 t0 17.30 with special focus on ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP – Importance of organisational culture – Being successful together!

This professional leadership workshop helps experts and professionals to achieve greater organisational understanding and results through connecting culture to performance. Through short presentations, group exercises, discussions, templates and hands-on experiential learning, it offers a guide to better understand the factors that influence the organisational culture and possibly improve the ‘personality’ of your association, by examing the different ways of dealing with culture in the association world, and to provide examples for effective culture and performance management from different perspectives, by showing and exploring samples of how to build an organisational culture to improve association performance.

You can find the registration form here.

September 25, 2019

Medical Conference Complements NewcastleGateshead

The world’s largest and oldest complement conference will take place in NewcastleGateshead in September 2022. Hosted at Sage Gateshead, an international music, conference and event venue, the International Complement Workshop will attract over 500 experts, physicians and industry representatives from around the world.

The event promises an attractive programme of activity as well as several international guest speakers sharing best practice and pioneering research about the complement system, which is part of the immune system and important for health and disease. The local organising committee comprises of several researchers and experts from Newcastle University, and was key to attracting the conference to the city.

Paul Szomoru, director of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “The conference returning and taking place in NewcastleGateshead is testament to the world-leading status of complement research at Newcastle University, Newcastle Hospital Trust and our National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre.”

September 24, 2019

Adelaide Finishes 2019 Strong As Ever

The Adelaide Convention Bureau (ACB) has won 75 business events, attracting 28,500 delegates to South Australia by the end of 2019. The events include one of Adelaide’s largest international events, World Routesa global meeting for airlines, airports, destinations and other aviation stakeholders. It is the first time this event has been held in Australasia. It will discuss, develop and plan global network strategy and attract the most senior decision makers of the world’s leading aviation organisations.

The 75 business events will in total use 18 different venues and deliver 130,000 bed nights for the State’s hotels. The economic benefit is the equivalent of creating 1,250 jobs. The longer-term economic benefits include trade and investment opportunities, skilled migration potential, and the exploration and showcasing of SA’s expert capabilities across a range of fields.

27 of the events are related to medical health; built from an ACB focus on attracting health sciences events.  They include the Human Proteome Organisation World Congress 2019, the 2019 Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Annual Scientific Convention, the Clinical Oncology of Australia’s Scientific Meeting and the Leading Age Services Australia National Congress 2019.

September 23, 2019

New Brand, New Name for Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Convention Bureau has embraced a new name to resonate and engage more effectively and efficiently with the business events marketplace and will now be known as Northern Territory Business Events. Whilst the formal launch will take place at the 2020 Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in Melbourne in February, the new name will be rolled out progressively from mid-September onwards.

The new title comes as Tourism NT releases a new brand. The new tagline, ‘Different in every sense’, seeks to convey that the Northern Territory is unlike any other place on earth. The NT provides a multi-sensory experience for delegates encouraging the disconnection from hectic, every day routines and a renewed energy to achieve positive outcomes relevant to their business event.

As part of the re-branding process, the Tourism NT logo has undergone a refresh.

September 21, 2019

Strong Pipeline of Association Events in Rimini

With the recent win of the Annual ISPCAN (International Society For The Prevention Of Child Abuse And Neglect) European Conference – the latest addition to a series of four international and European events in 2020 – Palacongressi di Rimini (pictured), part of the Italian Exhibition Group, proves that it’s become a strong contender when it comes to hosting high-profile association conferences.

In June 2020, on the occasion of the Annual ISPCAN European Conference, more than 700 psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, nurses, representatives of NGOs and government institutions from all over Europe and further afield will flock to Italian Exhibition Group‘s Palacongressi di Rimini to discuss the most suitable solutions and prevention actions to combat child abuse and neglect.

The event will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in a global context with extremely worrying numbers: five children die every day due to abuse and over one billion are subjected to forms of violence.

This ISPCAN win is, in fact, another important one for Italian Exhibition Group. It brings to a total of 5 the number of international conferences already scheduled at the Palacongressi, between May and September 2020. These five events are set to attract a total of 4,400 participants for approximately 20,400 overnight stays.

Spring 2020 will kick off with the ISS International Strawberry Symposium, (May 2-5 and 1,000 participants), followed in June by the ISPCAN Conference and, from June 28 to July 1, the SWESD – Social Work Education and Social Development congress (1,500/1,800 participants). For those involved in in organic chemistry, the ICCC, International Conference on Coordination Chemistry will be held from 5 to 10 July (1,000 participants). From September 13 to 16, the venue will host professionals from the fields of medicine, physics, engineering and computer science, thanks to CinC – Computing in Cardiology Conference (400 participants), dedicated to the latest frontiers of bioengineering applied to clinical cardiology and cardiovascular physiology.

Highest standards

These events will all be hosted at the Palacongressi di Rimini, one of the largest and most innovative, stylish, environment-friendly venues in Europe. Designed to the highest standards of eco-compatibility, technological innovation and flexibility, fully wired and digitalized, it features 39 rooms from 20 to 4,700 seats (total capacity: 9,000 people) and 11,000 sqm of exhibit space. Its giant shell-shaped structure suspended on steel supports, which housed an amphitheatre of 1,540 seats, is one-of-a-kind.

Many factors contributed to the ISPCAN win. First and foremost the work by the Ambassador of the IEG Event & Conference Division, Tiziana Valer of AUSL Romagna, the regional representative of CISMAI – Italian Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect, member of ISPCAN, was essential in putting together a good bid. The destination itself also played an important role. Rimini, with its strong appeal as a business events destination, is steadily affirming itself as a metropolis capable of hosting international events which present opportunities to weave new relationships, do business, and promote knowledge exchange for a better world.

September 20, 2019

Incredible Impacts Third Year Winners

The Incredible Impacts Programme, now in its third year, run collaboratively by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, has selected three winning associations as leading examples of excellence within the global meetings industry. An independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts grant as the European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society, the International AIDS Society and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

The three associations from across the globe will each receive a grant worth US $7,500 towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events excelling in areas such as legacy development, diversity and accessibility.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “This year’s Incredible Impacts Programme submissions have been shining examples of innovative thinking and diversity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the impact and legacy we can leave behind us – particularly with the way each of them engaged with the younger generation.”