Taiwan’s Record for Innovation Attracts International Conferences

June 24, 2019

Taiwan’s Record for Innovation Attracts International Conferences

Year after year Taiwan proves its value both to expats who voted the island as the best place to live and to meeting planners who recognise its value when hosting international conferences.

Enjoying one of the best public healthcare systems, high safety numbers and cost-effectiveness, Taiwan has made great strides in accessibility as well as infrastructure. Direct flights from around the globe give way to local transportation, where the high-speed train comes into play, and technologically advanced convention centres cover the needs of any type of business meeting—all under the wide umbrella of MEET TAIWAN.

Strong Science & Technology Presence

What gives the country a competitive edge for receiving business events is that Taiwan is now one of the region’s most dynamic economies, with industry specialties in IT, communications, semiconductors and bicycles.

As a matter of fact, the island remains among the world’s leading producers of the ICT industry via policies prioritising promotion of the local smart technology sector and involvement in projects like the Asian Silicon Valley Development Plan. Heavy government-driven and foreign investment assists Taiwan firms with venturing into full-of-potential areas like artificial intelligence, blockchain, fifth-generation telecommunication technology, gaming, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality.

Bolstering such progress are the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, pictured) and the Institute for Information Industry (III). They provide platforms for digital transformation and have been integral during the establishment of several now internationally prominent companies, such as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp.

Taiwan’s major advantage are its three science-based industrial parks: the Hsinchu Science Park in northern Taiwan, Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, and Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. These represent an educational base of operations for the country’s high-tech industries.

From manufacturing to R&D facilities, and a strong talent pool from top universities, the science parks provide all-inclusive services for companies, hence fortify stronger industry clusters throughout Taiwan. While the tech hardware produced in all three parks is of a varied assortment, each park has its own areas of specialty. The Hsinchu Science Park focuses on semiconductors and optoelectronics, the Central Taiwan Science Park on precision machinery and optoelectronics, and the Southern Taiwan Science Park on medical devices and green energy.

An Appealing Destination for ICT Conferences

Resulting from such progressive projects, like-minded conferences pile up in the list of events organised in Taiwan. COMPUTEX TAIPEI, the leading global ICT and IoT show, took place earlier this month in Taipei, attracting 42,495 international buyers from 171 countries. The five-day tradeshow connects businesses along industry supply chains and opens up infinite possibilities in the tech ecosystem. Taiwan is the centre of innovative applications driven by advancements in AI, IoT, and 5G, plus the technologies that process a massive amount of data and high-performance computing which will drive global growth of the sector in the future.

Web Conference 2020 is planned for April 20–24, when more than 60% of the world’s population will be connected. To be held in the Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) with an estimated attendance of 1,500 people, the conference will be hosted by Academia Sinica. Three keynote speakers and various research tracks, workshops, tutorials, a Ph.D. consortium, as well as several theme-based tracks will be introduced, such as AIoT (AI+IoT+5G), History of Web, The Intelligent Web, The Web Renovation, and The Asia Silicon Valley Plan. The event will bring together some of the most prominent and influential researchers, developers, policymakers, and thinkers in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence, healthcare, computer science, computational social science, public policy, law, and human rights.

In the same light, and the same year, Taipei City’s advanced technological connectivity attracted the IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM) to be held this coming December 7–11. Expecting over 2,000 scientific researchers and their proposals for program sessions to be held at the annual conference, the three-day conference will feature an extensive exchange of knowledge to provide users with information regarding high-speed, seamless and cost-effective global telecommunications services.

More information: www.meettaiwan.com

Organized by Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA / Taiwan External Trade Development Council / Ad. by Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA

This article was written by Boardroom Digital Editor Vicky KoffaThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

June 21, 2019

Mentoring: Low Tech, High Return

Giuseppe Marletta joined the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in February this year. As a member of Boardroom Advisory Board, we have asked him to contribute a column on his experience as he goes about his new role. This is Giuseppe’s second contribution.

There is certainly no shortage of best practices for professionals these days, from adapting new technologies to managing stakeholders’ relationships. One, however, seems quaint: mentorship. Mentorship is the cultivation of a relationship, an extended conversation between two people. It requires no algorithms, complicated business plans, internal microsites, or considerations of spend.

But despite its low-tech status, mentorship is hugely important for an organisation’s health. Studies show that for instance lawyers who were guided in their career by a more experienced colleague are more self-sufficient, better versed in soft skills, and more likely to rise further in the ranks of the department. This is especially true for female and minority staff.

Mentors, in turn, not only have a better sense of their junior colleagues’ needs and strengths, but tend to operate in a much wider, cross-pollenating peer network.

Data and anecdotal evidence from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global association of over 45,000 in-house lawyers in 85 countries, point to an uptick in the number of lawyers interested in a mentorship relationship, within or outside their company. To that end, ACC began a partnership with a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship “matchmaking,” in December of 2018. According toone of the founders, “In-house lawyers are looking for opportunities to connect with their peers, to learn from more seasoned colleagues, and also to give back to up and coming generations of experts. It’s an exciting yet challenging time to be an in-house counsel. Departments insource more work, regulations change rapidly, and the profession is focusing much more on business strategy and leadership skills. Mentoring and networking help in-house counsel looking to grow in their careers and bring new ideas to their companies.”. And the same trend can be identified in a number of professions and associations which are adopting mentoring as one of the drivers for talent development.

Nor are the mentor-mentee roles fixed.. Senior staff increasingly report interest in being mentored by younger staff, especially as technology and social mores change.

But what does mentoring look like, and how can professionals best take advantage of it? Elizabeth Colombo, corporate counsel at Konica Minolta, distinguishes between mentorship, coaching, and sponsoring. Mentoring is a relationship in which an experienced person guides and encourages a less experienced colleague, in or out of their department or organization. Mentorship is broad in scope, and usually informal. Coaching is a more active relationship, based on specific advice and feedback for a definite task. One mentors a new rising star, but coaches them in how to deal with the C-suite, or how to manage their teams.

Sponsorship is the least interactive of the three. It entails advocating for a junior colleague, making them more visible to leadership. It takes the least commitment from either party, but can be particularly effective for female and minority staff, underrepresented and often invisible to leadership.  Indeed, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has identified mentoring as “instrumental in helping minority and women lawyers break through the glass ceiling.” It’s an important consideration for leadership, especially as companies begin to grapple with diversity.

Leaders set their organisation’s ethical tone, and not just through explicit policy decisions. It is the leaders’ reasonability to identify those staff who could benefit from mentorship; a formal program can be helpful, if not always practical for smaller groups. It is also the leaders’ duty to recognize these relationships as a crucial element of strategy – a tool for making an organisation more cohesive, better informed, and more diverse.

June 14, 2019

How to Appeal to the Next Generation

With Millennials entering the market and baby boomers exiting, it is more and more crucial for scientific associations to involve young physicians and facilitate an easy handover. Associations have to think about younger generations increasingly and to take action in a way that will deliver value to them. Association congresses are, for example, a great time to promote it.

But the increasing of the membership of young professionals is not enough, and should not be considered as an objective in itself. The challenge for associations is to engage the young generations as an active part of the association’s life, giving them direct responsibilities, creating volunteer opportunities, speaking their languages and answering their specific needs.

There are multiple ways of engaging the new generation, here are some best practices, taken from recent events.

The first example involves young physicians at the highest level, where decisions are made. For instance, you can create a “parallel young board” alongside the executive board, with a representative in the executive board and supporting the congress organisation with a focus on the needs of the younger generation.

Social Ambassadors & communication multipliers

Millennials were born with smartphones in their hands, so you can attract them if you are on social media and communicate with them consistently, with stories preferably. It is a great way for you to explain, for instance, why the association can be useful for their professional development.

Young delegates, in addition, can be involved as social ambassadors and contribute throughout the congress to post and share content and videos on social media. The young social media ambassadors can play a key role when it comes to finding the right action to engage younger generations… because they are perceived as spontaneous, trustworthy and eager to share their personal experience. The ambassadors do not use a standardised language, but they speak about an activity or event they attended, filtered by their own experience, adding a more tangible feature to the ‘content’ that is produced this way.

Also, the young professionals, who play the role of volunteer ambassadors during congresses or other initiatives, will consider the association as a body that takes them into consideration, thus develop a stronger sense of belonging and will easily become ambassadors of the association itself.

Dedicated sessions and networking

Meeting people, exchanging ideas, sharing opinions are always on top of the positive experiences people take home after a conference. Yes, it is important for everyone, but those who are younger are not always aware of that and they go to a conference or follow the association’s activities mainly to develop their own knowledge. That is, of course, one of the key objectives of the association, but networking is also important, and young delegates sometimes need help to network.

Dedicated sessions like speed-dating between young delegates and industry leaders, for example, are a powerful way to establish fruitful contacts. Or, since young physicians have their own specific needs and experiences to share, it is also useful to organise dedicated sessions for this age group. You can organise a “Young Evening” or provide dedicated masterclasses or practical courses where a senior expert is available to openly interact with a small group of young attendees. Or you can arrange parallel meetings giving the opportunity to have 15-minute informal chats with senior doctors in a lounge area for instance..

This article, whose full version will be available soon in the July issue of Boardroom, was provided by the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, author Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, Vice President, AIM Group International (www.aimgroupinternational.com). IAPCO represents today 133 companies comprised of over 9,100 professional congress organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 40 countries. info@iapco.org / www.iapco.org      

June 9, 2019

Geneva: Switzerland’s Space Centre

This September, around 2,000 participants from around the globe are anticipated to attend the European Science Planetary Congress (EPSC-DPS 2019), hosted at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG). Taking place every four years, the congress features oral and poster sessions, as well as workshops and panel discussions designed to facilitate interaction and discussion between participants on one broad theme: planetary science. Boardroom caught up with Stéphane Udry from the local organizing committee to hear why Geneva and the CICG (pictured) were selected and what they hope the event will achieve.

Why is Geneva an ideal host destination for the EPSC-DPS 2019?

The EPSC-DPS is organized jointly every four years by the European Society of Planetology (the “Europlanet Society,” which organizes the annual European Planetary Science Congress – EPSC) and the Planetary Science Division of the American Astronomical Society (DPS / AAS), and it alternates between the United States and Europe.

The 2019 congress is emblematic for Geneva and Switzerland for several reasons. First of all, Switzerland has made history in the realm of planetary sciences on several occasions. Two of the most remarkable instances relating to the congress are the Apollo 11 mission, which, in 1969, had been initiated by Professor Johannes Geiss of the University of Bern. The other took place in 1995 when Professor Michel Mayor and Dr. Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva detected a giant, gaseous planet that was the first extrasolar planet to be discovered around a star similar to the sun.

These two historical milestones have also marked the beginning of the current evolution of the field of planetary sciences, which aims to bring the exploratory activities of the solar system and the study of planetary (exo)systems closer together, especially when it comes to the potential to shelter life. We must take advantage of the detailed knowledge of the unique system in which we live, and of our new, more distant but statistical knowledge of other worlds out there. This is the goal of the National Research Center PlanetS, established by the Swiss government in 2014 (and co-directed by the universities of Berne and Geneva).

In terms of European infrastructures that support this kind of research, these activities are carried out within the framework of two major bodies related to astronomy: ESO (European Southern Observatory) for ground observation and ESA (European Space Agency) for space missions. In connection with these two organizations, Geneva occupies a preponderant place in the field of planetary sciences.

This is why the congress offers an excellent platform to showcase the scientific activities that are carried out in Switzerland and Geneva, particularly with the international organizations of the field. These organizations, both European (ESO, ESA) and American (NASA), support the congress and will actively participate in it.

Does CICG serve as an actual partner, as opposed to a service provider?

In order to organize a conference that brings together thousands of people, potentially from all over the world, it requires the implementation of a set of specific services and associated know-how. It’s not just about having rooms big enough to accommodate the participants—or enough of them to organize parallel sessions. It’s a delicate combination of logistical elements (security, AV, catering, etc.), access to public authorities, tourism professionals or the media, academic and educational features, etc. Often, the organizers are not professionals—this is definitely our case—and the intel and local help provided by the CICG are of paramount importance for the success of the event.

As a convention destination, what does Geneva offer associations?

Geneva is an internationally known city. Pair its global reputation with its attractive tourist attractions (such as the lake or mountains), and you’ll see why Geneva is so highly regarded around the world. The perception of Switzerland and Geneva of being clean, efficient and serious also instills confidence in the participants in terms of both safety and the quality of the congress.

For delegates like scientists, the presence of CERN in Geneva greatly increases the attractiveness of the city. I imagine it’s the same thing in the political field when it comes to the international organizations that are based here. Attendees come to Geneva for the congress, but they can take advantage of the trip by visiting institutions that are close to their own interests.

Last but not least, from a geographical point of view, the location of Geneva in the centre of Europe makes it easily accessible and encourages visits to neighbouring countries for delegates coming from far away. Another perk is how convenient transportation is to and from Geneva, whether you’re arriving by train or plane.

This interview was conducted by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More informationon CICG: f.dricourt@cicg.ch / www.cicg.ch ; on Switzerland as a convention destination: myriam.winnepenninckx@switzerland.com / www.MySwitzerland.com/meetings The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

June 7, 2019

Holland Blooms with Expertise

Holland may be a compact in size as a conference destination, but it packs a punch when it comes to its knowledge infrastructure and congress capabilities. Its four largest cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are as diverse as they are picturesque, each possessing their own pockets of expertise and innovation.

Meeting Professionals

The knowledge infrastructure in The Hague encompasses a wide variety of industries with more than 200 international organisations, knowledge institutions, startups and NGO’s operating from within the city, covering sectors such as cyber security, IT and tech, new energy and renewables, legal and finance, and oil and gas, making it a popular destination for associations to meet and add depth to the content of their programme. 

This broad range of knowledge is what attracted Meeting Professionals International (MPI) to host its European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC19) for the first time in the city in February 2019. The event welcomed 400 conference professionals from over 20 countries and took place in multiple locations, with the World Forum convention centre being used as a base. 

Working alongside The Hague Convention Bureau, MPI’s local Netherlands chapter organised several unique learning experiences involving local organisations. In addition to an engaging keynote, delegates were taken on ‘learning journeys’ around the city to learn from cross-industry innovations. They visited companies and organisations outside the meeting and event sector, such as research institute TNO, cress-food company Koppert Cress and Blijdorp Zoo to come up with new insights that could be applied within their sector. This not only provided knowledge and inspiration, but also offered the international guests a further introduction to the city.

For Bas Schot, head of congresses and events at The Hague Convention Bureau, the event was representative of how association event planners can really use the city’s assets to their advantage. “This is a great example of how we as a convention bureau can collaborate with conference organisers, associations and partners across the city to facilitate the organisation and really leverage The Hague’s pool of talent by taking the subject matter of the conference outside the walls of the convention centre,” he explains.

Urban Resilience

Rotterdam’s dominant knowledge hubs include medical and life sciences, food, maritime and cleantech. Since 2016 the city’s convention bureau, Rotterdam Partners, has been collaborating with local industry and academic ambassadors to proactively reach out to conferences which are linked to these economic sectors and themes. Rotterdam’s network of Knowledge Ambassadors now encompasses 87 academics, researchers and other experts connected to the Rotterdam region.

Arnoud Molenaar, Rotterdam’s chief resilience officer, became a Knowledge Ambassador in 2016 and has since helped secure several high-profile conferences, including Deltas in Times of Climate Change and Adaptation Futures. His latest win is the 2019 Urban Resilience Summit, which takes place in the city in July.

The event will bring together around 400 urban resilience practitioners from cities around the world to share best-in-class practices and innovations in helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21stcentury.

Given that 80% of Rotterdam is below sea level, it has centuries worth of experience when it comes to resilience, particularly on the topics of integrated water management and innovative climate adaptation. It was one of the first 30 cities to become a member of 100 Resilient Cities and released its Resilience Strategy in 2016. Molenaar says it is through events like the 2019 Urban Resilience Summit the city is able to tell its story: “We have become a city well-known for these topics and conferences like this provide us with an international showroom to demonstrate what we are capable of,” he says.

Science Park

Utrecht distinguishes itself as a specialist in healthy urban living, and the city and region has a large knowledge cluster with companies and institutions working on and contributing towards this shared goal.

The Utrecht Science Park, the largest knowledge centre in the Netherlands, is a key focal point. It is home to more than 100 renowned educational institutions, knowledge and research institutes, established companies and start-ups in the field of life sciences and health all working together to find new solutions for a longer and healthier life.

“Utrecht region appeals to regional and foreign companies because of the groundbreaking research done here and the unique collaboration between the various parties,” explains Monique André de la Porte, account manager at Utrecht Convention Bureau.

 The Princess Máxima Center is just one of the many research institutes within the park and counts itself the third largest centre for paediatric oncology in the world. It specialises in the treatment of children with cancer, working from bench to bedside (from basic research to the clinic). Another key player is the Hubrecht Institute, which focuses on development biology and stem cell research. Its expertise lies in pioneering fundamental research that can contribute to the treatment of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


Amsterdam regularly ranks among the world’s best conference destinations. It has established life sciences and health, AI, financial services, creative and tech clusters as well as a vibrant startup community – meaning there are plenty of options for adding impact and value to conference programmes.

 The city’s marketing bureau, amsterdam&partners, collaborates with a wide network of local partners and ambassadors – like physician-scientistPeter Reiss, who it partnered with to host the 22nd  International Aids Conference (AIDS 2018) from 23-27 July last year in Amsterdam (pictured).

A professor of medicine at the Amsterdam UMC and a former governingboard member of the International AIDS Society (IAS), Reiss has been working as a HIV researcher since the early 80s and is an advocate for HIV and AIDS education, prevention and treatment. As co-chair of the conference, he brought together the city’s key stakeholders to secure their support in raising as much awareness of the event as possible. “We needed to do this jointly, so we got a group of key NGO’s representatives of key ministries and affected patient communities together,”he explains. “Because we are a relatively small city the lines between people are short, and you can make a lot happen by getting the key people round a table.” 

This widespread involvement and support from the city were clear throughout the entire event. A visual ‘dressing’ campaign saw AIDS 2018 branded flags, banners, and posters positioned at the airport, in and around the city and at the RAI Convention Centre where 18,000 guests from around the world congregated to inform, share and learn. 

“Frankly, nobody in Amsterdam could have missed AIDS 2018,” says Claudia Wehmeijer, director meetings & conventions at amsterdam&partners. “This event has proven once again that we as a city are able to connect knowledge, people and strong ideas. It makes us proud that we were chosen to host such an important conference and to contribute to the success of AIDS 2018. It makes us feel strong. And it makes us eager to host again association conferences that matter,” she adds.

This article, whose full version is available here, was written by Boardroom editor Chantelle Dietz. More information on Holland as a conference destinatio: nebakermans@holland.com/ www.holland.com/global/meetings. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

June 5, 2019

Meet in the Nation’s Premier Public Transport Network

From easy-to-use public transportation and accessible airports to unparalleled walkability and innovative developments, the nation’s capital has one of the best public transportation networks in the U.S., ranking as the#1 city for public transport in 2018, according to SmartAsset and WalletHub.

It also happens to be a great place to host meetings without the use and added expense of a shuttle. With 40+ hotels within walking distance of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the ease of commuting within the city continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers.George Washington University’s research on walkability portrays DC as a model for other cities, with walkable urban places across all types of real estate development.In fact, 58 percent of commuter trips in DC are by bike, walking, or public transit (Buildings Magazine, 2017).

“For the American Geophysical Union’s 2018 Fall Meeting, we selected Washington, DC in large part because the city is so walkable and has excellent public transportation,” said Lauren Parr, vice president of meetings, American Geophysical Union (AGU). “AGU never shuttles for large meetings as it’s a carbon and financial expenditure that we don’t wish to incur, and we had excellent feedback from our attendees on what a great walking city DC is. DC was a great choice for AGU and it’s a great choice for any planner looking to leverage the local transportation options and eliminate shuttles.”

There are copious reasons why hosting your next meeting in DC will be valuable for your attendees and your organization. Here are just a few ways DC is a leading city in transformative public transportation initiatives:

  • A $122 million project for a new K Street Northwest Transit Way in 2020 will include a designated rapid bus lane.
  • A $16.1 million project provides free DC Circulator service indefinitely and will expand East of the River routes.
  • A $1 billion investment called “Project Journey” will add new security checkpoints and a 14-gate concourse to replace busing operations at Reagan National Airport by 2021.
  • The Metro’s silver line extension to Dulles International Airport is expected to be completed in 2020.

Washington, DC is where great minds gather for meetings in transportation, but also technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education and medical sectors. As the connected capital continues to expand its knowledge economy, those working sustainability and government advocacy have also taken notice. Meeting planners will find major sustainability advancements and access to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in DC, which benefit their attendees, sponsors and exhibitors alike.

“The 27th World Gas Conference hosted in DC this past June showcases just how connected our city is,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “The World Gas Union took advantage of DC’s access to thought leaders by having the Secretary of Energy for the United States as a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, bringing the highest level of U.S. leadership in energy to their attendees.”

Washington, DC’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 16 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works.

The ease of travel continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers. Dulles International Airport provides daily nonstop service from over 50 international destinations including two daily flights from Beijing, a nonstop flight from Delhi, a flight from Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific serving the Asia-Pacific region and the recently added air service from Tel Aviv on United Airlines, Rome on Alitalia and Cairo on EgyptAir. New nonstop air service launches from Lisbon on TAP Air starting June 16.

To learn more and submit an RFP, visit washington.org/meetings or write to melissa@washington.org.

May 30, 2019

‘We identify as an inclusive destination’

We met Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, at IMEX a few days ago, and talked connected capital, inclusion and positive impacts – themes that are dear to a lot of our association readers.

You’ve been focusing on DC/branded DC as a ‘connected capital’ since last year: how does that relate to meetings in general? 

The key thing is not to just look at how great our destination is, but at the resources it has, the type of businesses the city is going after to relocate or to expand in Washington and find ways to connect that to certain groups that can meet in DC.

Our ‘Connected Capital’ sales positioning, which helps us pitch to industry-specific meetings, is a way for us to say: Bring your meeting to Washington, and experience the influencers and industry assets in the pharmaceutical environment, for example, or some of the talent that may have worked in the federal government and has the potential to serve as speakers or play a huge role in your meeting, should we host it here.

It’s more than promoting the destination, it’s having a better understanding of the real businesses that are thriving in DC, such as the various startups creating a strong technology scene. For meeting planners, the Connected Capital positioning showcases to customers how they can utilize the resources we have right in our backyard.

You’ve been focusing on technology, biotech/pharma, medical and education and you have now expanded into sustainability, transportation and government advocacy industries. Why did you so?

Again, we look at what is happening in DC – for example, we focus on the associations that are headquartered here and that have a certain expertise. We want to study how groups can utilize this expertise and make planners understand how this can add value to their meetings.

A good example of that is the American Geophysical Union. We pitched for them to come to Washington, even though they had been meeting in San Francisco for 40 years. We showed them that if they came, they would benefit for peer-to-peer exchanges because there is a whole lot of DC-based experts who they had no idea about, even though they are headquartered here. We made them understand how their meeting can succeed in DC, with assets unlike any other destination

In this context, experiences, influencers and industry assets within each sector continue to bring in notable groups for future years. The International Society for Environmental Epidemiology’s 31st Annual Conference in August of 2020 is also a good example of that.

The legacy events can leave behind has been on top of the minds of association executives lately. How can DC help achieve those positive impacts?

As a non-government organization, we still respect and understand the efforts of our government. So everything from the school system to the advocacy programs that exist in Washington DC would like to have some sort of footprint. When Microsoft came, we connected them with the school system so they could leave education-based products.

In general, planners and delegates alike want to connect with the local communities and part of what we do as a convention bureau involves a lot of facilitation when it comes to servicing certain groups, particularly those that are underprivileged and that we feel we have a duty to help.

What are your views on inclusion in DC and how to implement this important aspect in the promotion of DC as one leading meeting destination?

The city houses ‘only’ about 700,000 people, so it’s small. But within that footprint we have 185 embassies and consulates, with a dynamic international culture. So you’re talking about cultural differences, those in the LGBTQ community, and all kinds of variables that make up Washington as a destination. A huge part of what we try to focus on is the diversity of DC and we identify as an inclusive destination that embraces differences. It’s not about segmenting and segregating, it’s about bringing people together… which, after all, is the essence of any meeting.

This interview was conducted by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.


May 29, 2019

Celebrating Creativity & Curiosity at IMEX America

Imagination is IMEX’s Talking Point for this year and the theme informs content throughout IMEX America, bringing with it a range of exciting new experiences, exhibitors and educational events.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “Imagination is the glue that holds our events together – sparking creativity throughout the planning process in order to attract attendees time and time again. By exploring various facets of imagination, we hope to open up ways for everyone in the global meetings and events industry to become more creative, to challenge assumptions in light of the period of change we’re currently living in and to make a more positive impact whenever they can.”

The IMEX team is focusing on three core aspects of imagination for its 2019 Talking Point:

  1. Transformation & collaboration

Partnerships can be truly powerful. IMEX is encouraging meeting and event professionals to consider how they can collaborate – not compete – with other organisations and the benefits this can bring. Within the event and incentive travel industry, airlines, hotel groups, designers, supply chain businesses, universities, software developers, architects…even whole countries and, especially, cities are all now forming alliances and in doing so they’re transforming business models, customer service and events experiences.

Collaboration is one of the watchwords at the forthcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, with the event’s agenda recognising that ‘addressing the biggest global challenges requires the collaborative efforts of business, government and civil society’.

  1. Diversity & Inclusion

As an international organisation with a mission to connect people across the world, IMEX celebrates diversity and, through its Talking Point, wants meeting planners to embrace inclusivity. IMEX’s sole aim is to unite and advance the meetings industry – connecting all kinds of people together in order to generate powerful relationships.

The time has come to eradicate bias – and the meeting and event industry is in a great position to lead by example. The Talking Point will prompt professionals to imagine a more inclusive event from the outset and keep diversity front of mind throughout the planning process.

  1. Sustainability

Sustainability continues to top the agenda as more and more companies recognise the importance of issues such as climate change, community development and dwindling natural resources. It’s an issue which has been firmly anchored in IMEX’s business strategy since the foundation of the company in 2003, with performance benchmarked against industry standards including the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards. IMEX is committed to implementing best practice in event sustainability and also offers education sessions at the shows designed to encourage exhibitors and buyers to reduce the environmental impact of their show participation.

Through this year’s Talking Point, the IMEX team seeks to prompt a fresh approach to greener meetings and events, encouraging planners to demand change. Green materials, food choices, suppliers and more are now not only viable but also distinctly desirable. The IMEX team believes that there really are no excuses anymore and younger generations in particular will vote with their feet, their attention and their money to prove how much they want to protect the planet.

Association Leadership Forum

While business forms the backbone of IMEX in Frankfurt, the show also offers plenty of experiential and learning opportunities for planners and exhibitors alike. This begins with Smart Monday, a dedicated day of education for planners from all sectors.

As part of Smart Monday, association planners can benefit from exclusive education and networking at the Association Leadership Forum, created by ASAE. Industry speakers will share their challenges and advice on how to thrive in the current disruptive business environment and achieve results in a competitive landscape. Expect engaging thought leaders, strategic conversations and collaborative peer learning.

IMEX America takes place September 10 – 12, 2019. Registration for the show is free of charge and open to all who work in the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.

May 27, 2019

3 Questions to Singapore Tourism Board’s Chief Executive

Keith Tan has been Singapore Tourism Board (STB)’s Chief Executive for about half a year now. Boardroom met him at IMEX last week to find out Singapore‘s plan to continue to attract international association and make the city-state a conference hub.

Tell us in what ways do you think Singapore is a leader when it comes to hosting association conferences?

Singapore is a “Global-Asia” hub that offers international businesses with easy access to fast- growing Asian markets. It has a stable and conducive business environment and a highly skilled multi-cultural workforce. Today, Singapore hosts about 37,000 international companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble and Apple. In recent years, leading Asian companies such as Rakuten, Sony Corporation and Grab have or will also set up regional HQs or research centres here. These companies complement Singapore’s own stable of homegrown globally-competitive companies, and collectively support a diverse range of economic and business activities.

With such a vibrant and innovative business environment, it is not surprising that Singapore stands out as a premier business events destination with a strong track record of delivering high-quality events. Other favourable factors include a pro-business environment, financial and legal predictability, excellent air and sea connectivity, and economic and political stability.

To further capitalise our strengths as a business events hub, the STB and relevant government agencies also work very closely to programme a strong suite of business events that amplify Singapore’s economic strengths, such as in Urban Solutions, Medical, FinTech, Advanced Manufacturing, Media & Digital services, Design, and Hospitality. Events in these fields ride on industry capabilities and expertise that the Singapore government and Singapore companies have built up over the years. These events also seek to attract international experts, as well as a mix of clients, buyers and ideas to Singapore, which may in turn catalyse further developments in these industries. Executives attending these events are also able to link up with businesses, experts and R&D institutes (where applicable) in Singapore. This whole-of- nation approach in planning and curating such events gives Singapore an added edge in attracting the right partners and players for greater impact.

Singapore is a hub of international and regional associations – how does Singapore cater to them? How do you meet their needs and challenges?

Collaboration with international industry partners builds upon our strong foundation to deliver fresh and forward-thinking association events. This includes successful partnerships between Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB), a group within STB that champions the business events industry in Singapore, and global alliances such as BestCities Global Alliance and Global Association Hubs, which create new possibilities for international meeting planners and raise awareness of Singapore as an attractive destination for meetings and conventions. The partnerships also strengthen our position as a regional node of the international associations industry and further catalyse the exchange of knowledge, ideas and insights. As a member of the alliances, Singapore is able to tap into a continuing conversation about global best practices, emerging trends and evolving needs of international meeting planners.

To remain attractive to event organisers and business travellers, we offer the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme (SMAP). SMAP, a partnership between the SECB, Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines Group, JetQuay and Grab, provides savings on air tickets, enhanced event planning and delegate experience, financial grants and discounts on advertising spaces in Changi Airport, among other benefits.

Developing capabilities across the industry is another key priority for us. One way STB does this is by partnering industry associations to use Singapore as a hub for their flagshipindustry events. Most recently, such events include 2018’s ACTE Global Summit and the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers’ (SACEOS) SMF2018 (Singapore MICE Forum), which drew record attendance numbers. We also work with SACEOS to roll out educational training and accreditation programmes, such as the Asia Pacific Executive Development Programme, as part of educating the next generation of business events professionals.

Any interesting infrastructure developments in the pipeline you’d like to share with our readers?

To ensure that Singapore maintains its competitive edge as a business events hub, we plan ahead to meet several challenges such as space limitations, evolving ways of organising events and intensifying regional competition. For example, we have recently announced expansion plans for Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, both of which will build more facilities. Changi Airport recently opened Jewel, a world-class lifestyle destination with retail, dining, accommodation and aviation facilities. SingEx Holdings, the operator of the Singapore Expo, has also committed to refreshing their venue offerings and strengthening their programming.

Other leisure developments in the pipeline include recently announced plans to transform Orchard Road into a lifestyle destination and to develop new leisure and lifestyle attractions along Pulau Brani, Sentosa and the waterfront along Tanjong Pagar, as well as a new integrated tourism development with attractions, hotel and complementary lifestyle offerings at Jurong Lake District and an upcoming integrated nature and wildlife destination in Mandai.

May 20, 2019

The Changing Face of Angers

If you haven’t been to Angers, the western gateway to the Loire Valley, in a few years, you would hardly recognize the city of 400,000—considered one of the greenest in France. The well-connected hub sits just an hour from the Nantes Airport and less than 90 minutes from Paris on the high-speed TGV. It’s the connectivity factor, coupled with a rapidly growing city centre and brand-new convention centre, that’s making it one of the more attractive locales for associations meeting in France.

In early May, Boardroom was invited to attend the inauguration of the completely reconstructed Angers Convention Centre (pictured), which can host up to 1,200 visitors and sits just a 15-minute stroll from the train station. By 2020, the new tram will connect the two making it even easier to reach the 18-room Centre, which was completed in a quick 18 months with a few features that put the top-ranked green city, or ville verte, on prime display for delegates.

In addition to a high-tech, 1,200-seat auditorium and amphitheatre accommodating up to 266 people (overlooking the gorgeous next-door neighbour, the botanical gardens), the Centre added a 400-sqm. panoramic terrace that extends over the garden, emphasizing the fact that you’re meeting in the heart of one of the city’s top selling factors: green space. “We’re at the crossroads of the west and in an interesting position geographically,” says Thierry Gintrand, CEO of Destination Angers. “We want to link events to our terroir, our surroundings, and improve our visibility on the French map.”

From the Centre’s opening to the end of 2019, it’s doing just that, with over 85 events already marked on the calendar. Three of the major international conventions coming up include the first Chenin Blanc International Congress (CBIC) in July, which will draw 500 delegates and highlight the surrounding wine-growing region, the third-largest in France; En Mode Senior in October, created by the newly formed Destination Angers as a way to generate innovation and solutions for better quality of life for the elderly; and the first double edition of the Global Forum and ICMASim 2019, the International Conference for Multi-Area Simulation, in October.

Around 650 experts and decision-makers in the fields of digital and stimulation are anticipated to attend the Global Forum(nicknamed the Davos for ICT) and “digital week,” which plays on the work of the region’s 40,000 students and 250 researchers, as well as Angers’ rapidly developing IoT sector and start-up ecosystem, which, in 2015, earned the city the French Tech Hub label.

When asked why the Global Forum decided to host the 28th edition in Angers over Aix-en-Provence or Paris, where it has formerly been held, vice president Sébastien Lévy simply responded: “connectivity.” He added that Angers’ horticulture, electronics and digital sectors (which count companies like Atos, Afone, Octave and Evolis as local residents), as well as the 200-member cluster of the West Electronic & Applications Network, are also draws for the high-profile policy makers and stakeholders attending the conference. “The ‘digital week’ in Angers is an opportunity to network and develop innovative solutions and partnerships in a stimulating and inspiring environment that brings together a diverse international audience,” he explains.

The city centre was a maze of construction when we arrived, but Gintrand assures that the projects underway will improve the quality of life for residents—and boost the experience for visitors. In addition to two new trams and a new four-star boutique hotel next, which will debut next to the recently opened Musée des Collectionneurs, the Maine riverbank is undergoing a rejuvenation that will have it looking just as pedestrian-friendly as Paris’s Seine. While each project is unfolding in piecemeal fashion, the city will look practically new (while still placing its heritage sites like the landmark château on prime display) by 2022, when Angers plays host to the 31st International Horticulture Congress (IHC2022), aka “the world Olympics of horticulture.”

This article was written by Boardroom editor Lane Nieset. More information on Angers as a conference destination here.