Legacies of Association Events: Two Case Studies

February 27, 2019

Legacies of Association Events: Two Case Studies

For this first collaboration with Boardroom, part of an exclusive partnership ESAE signed at the end of last year, Jenny Ennis, Meetings Manager, European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA), and Fanny Senez, Events Manager, International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) look at two examples of association conferences that have left positive legacies in their host cities.

Legacy is one of the many buzz words thrown around with increased frequency in today’s society, especially in the not-for-profit and associations sectors. But what does leaving a legacy really mean for the events industry? According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, there are many definitions and meanings. Legacy is something that is a part of history or that remains from an earlier time; it is something that is a result of past events; it might relate to money or even property. 

Speaking specifically about events, the first two definitions seem to be the most relevant. However, the economic legacy left by an event, such as the visitors it brings or the revenue accumulated for the host organization, must not be underestimated. The best way to examine the legacy question, of course, is to look at real examples.

Traumatology in Glasgow

An interesting case study is the ESSKA (European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy) biennial Congress held in Glasgow in 2018. The event attracted over 3,200 international delegates from 101 countries, contributing £5m in direct benefits to the city. This in itself can be considered a legacy to be proud of. However, for ESSKA, legacy was also about creating links to the local community and showcasing the appeal of Scotland as a destination of choice to a new, multi-national audience.

From the start of the bidding process in 2012, ESSKA leadership was impressed by Glasgow’s commitment to sustainability and legacy. Glasgow’s ethos is that events should always leave a positive footprint behind.

Like many associations, ESSKA organized numerous parallel activities during the congress that involved local communities—some of which even extended beyond Glasgow’s city limits.

For the first time, Glasgow Convention Bureau worked with the Glasgow Science Centre to host a special event for members of the public, featuring Professor C. Niek van Dijk, a world-renowned surgeon who has treated international dancers and athletes, such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Professor van Dijk shared stories and insight from his career in the hope of inspiring Glasgow’s next generation of medical minds.

Zhanna Kovalchuk, Executive Director of ESSKA,commented: “This was the first time that we have engaged with members of the general public during one of our congresses, which really helped to raise our profile within the city and open up our congress to new audiences. Given that it was Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People,’ we also hope this will have motivated those considering a career in medicine to find out more about our specialty.”

As the gateway to Scotland, 35 ESSKA delegates took advantage of Glasgow’s prime location by participating in a four-day cycling race to raise money to support research led by the ESSKA Foundation. The 377-km “Cycle for Science” challenge took delegates on a tour through the Scottish countryside before returning to the city just in time for the opening of the congress. It was an incredible experience for those involved — locals and visitors alike — and, at the same time, left a positive legacy for the Foundation.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “ESSKA is a great example of how we, along with our partners across the city, can work with conference organizers to take the subject matter of the conference outside the walls of the convention centre and into the local community.”

Following the success of this legacy left in Glasgow, ESSKA is now committed to ensuring that its future events will always leave a positive legacy, working closely with convention bureaux from conception right through to delivery of the project. ESSKA strives to create deep, sustainable relationships with academic, professional and other communities. It appoints local ambassadors to support them in creating and nurturing such networks, not just during events, but in the long term as well.

Mobile in Barcelona

Avoiding a negative legacy is just as important as creating a positive one. Environmental concern is one such issue that is increasingly taken into consideration by event organizers and associations, usually as part of sustainability programs.

Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) is known in association circles as one of the largest events of its kind, attracting more than 107,000 attendees and over 2,400 companies each year. For years now, event organizers have set up an ambitious Environmental Program where participants can directly contribute by offsetting their carbon footprint, recycling their badge, and minimizing the impact of their travel and on-site participation. The Congress has been certified carbon neutral from 2014 to 2018 and was recognized as “The World’s Largest Carbon Neutral Trade Show” by the Guinness World Records in 2015 and 2016.

On a larger scale, the carbon neutrality program aims to reduce the impact of business on the environment, including at the office. Again, these goals were achieved through strong local partnerships with the city authorities, such as Barcelona City Council, L’Hospitalet City Council and Fira Barcelona.

Meanwhile, an interesting initiative that provides tangible legacy impacts on local social and cultural entities is the MWC Donation Room, where all exhibitors can donate materials from their stands to local socially responsible organisations. In 2018, 31.5 tons of materials were collected and redistributed to 20 selected local organizations.

The Barcelona Mobile Congress is also an interesting case to look at from a population perspective. Not so long ago, legacy programs became a priority in the city following the negative press coverage of residents protesting against the increasing number of visitors that were not just as a result of tourism, but also due to large events.

Legacy may be realistically seen as a future ‘must’ for associations. But if organizers have the budget to lead the way, sometimes supported by consultancies, smaller associations can actually knock at the door of convention bureaux and local authorities to inquire what simple actions can be taken.

The millennial generation entering the association workforce may also play a strong role in the development of new kinds of ‘Association Social Responsibility’ policies. They will undoubtedly help organizations turn their vision and mission into a tangible reality.

Sources: www.mwcbarcelona.com/about/about-the-gsma/environmental-programme/ & dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/legacy

February 18, 2019

Designing Conferences with Lasting, Life-Changing Impact

Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO, PCMA, shares his insights on how conferences can leave positive legacies both for the host communities and the delegates they serve.

Business events, especially face-to-face meetings, are proven catalysts for economic and social progress. They provide positive outcomes for host communities and destinations in addition to event participants. The best business events are ones that ultimately drive business results while also providing inspiration to help improve the world.

Billie Jean King, tennis legend and equal rights activist, said it best during 2019 PCMA Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh: “When you wake up and have a fire in your belly, you can make a difference and change the world.”

The key is for business events professionals to help create the proverbial “fire in your belly.” Here are some ideas:

Inspirational content

Anthony Prusak has attended many business events in his decades-long hospitality sales and marketing career, but it was a 2019 presentation by Gen Z entrepreneur Nadya Okamoto that inspired him to act. Okamoto, who spoke about “Transforming Experiences Into a Positive Force for Change” during PCMA’s Convening Leaders January event, started the non-profit PERIOD as a teenager to provide feminine hygiene products to homeless women.

He returned home motivated by Okamoto’s passion and decided to help TSA agents at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The agents had been working without pay due to a partial U.S. government shutdown that began on 22 December 2018. Prusak launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,000 to provide lunches for one shift of 80 agents. He raised nearly $6,000 in 13 days, enough to provide lunch for all 240 TSA agents.

Prusak told PCMA’s Convene magazine he hopes what he did “will influence others and they will find some way to help someone. It’s a good feeling.”

On-site initiatives

CSR projects are not new to business events, the key is offering opportunities that allow participants to connect to the host community and inspire them to seek similar opportunities in their home communities.

Consider a celebratory event that benefits local charities. PCMA’s Party With a Purpose has raised more than $2.5 million in 26 years to support local charities, PCMA’s social impact initiatives in addition to scholarships, research and education programs. Our annual Hospitality Helping Hands event has both an education and social impact component. Participants gain hands-on learning experience on planning volunteer opportunities while supporting a local organization.

Melissa Johnson, meeting and special events planner at the Public Library Association, participated in her first Hospitality Helping Hands during the 2019 PCMA Convening Leaders event. She said the experience will help her understand the logistics of planning a similar event for her association’s next conference. “It’s really about trying to figure out to give back to the community, but also to leave a lasting impression on the host city,” Johnson said.


This can be a less visible, albeit important, component to business events — adopting sustainable measures that leave the community, and the world, in a better state. It can mean providing reusable water bottles and water fountains during events or smart boards and digital displays to eliminate disposable signage.

Wonderful Copenhagen, the city’s tourism and convention organization, even examined the CO2 calculations of food served a business events as food is often overlooked as a source of carbon emissions. That doesn’t mean business events have to stop serving meat, but planners can take into consideration choices than can have a better environmental impact. Participants may not notice the change, but the business event will leave its legacy.

February 11, 2019

Launch of the #Meet4impact Project

This is an ambitious project but a pioneering one, to which Boardroom is really proud to collaborate exclusively. Initiated by Caravelle Strategies and its founder Geneviève Leclerc, along with a coalition of partners, the #Meet4impact Project will create an impact framework that will offer a comprehensive process for generating, managing and measuring the positive societal impacts of association conferences.

In recent years, international associations have been facing growing pressure to attract and retain members, attendees and partners, which has prompted the majority of them to question themselves on how they can improve their value proposition. Efforts have been reported on how to develop their own niche which would allow them to set themselves apart from competitive offers, and how they have been progressively been buying into the idea that they could better leave behind a legacy through their events.

Much has been written about legacy, and this is the prevailing term used when discussing these efforts. Some have spoken in favour of using the term ‘impact’, and more specifically ‘societal impact’ to describe the kind of positive and lasting change that associations can foster in their communities through activities such as conferences. While legacy is perceived as something an organization leaves behind, the term impact is a more complex and transformative concept. We could define ‘impact’ as the sum of changes that are generated by an organization through its actions on the community or ecosystem.

Creating change

The key word here is CHANGE. This implies that there is a deliberate process through which one defines a clear intention of generating change and implements a course of action to achieve this objective. Furthermore, by adding the term ‘societal’ to “impact”, we weave into this narrative the broader idea that in our day and age, there is a growing expectation that organizations take responsibility for the impacts of their decisions and activities on society and the environment at large.

Additionally, when talking about social and societal1impact, we are closer to the redefined notion of sustainability that is carried by international bodies such as the United Nations through their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, rolled out in 2015 as part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seta roadmap for global action towards supporting the planet and its people in long-term prosperity and survival. More specifically, the 17 global goals include 169 targets answering needs at all levels and focusing on 5Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. All stakeholders – governments, civil society, the private sector – are expected to contribute to the realization of the new agenda.

Want to join #Meet4impact?

With different ways of being active in the project available, associations can participate by joining the community, sharing their experiencesand learning from others’ progress as they are rolled out. Destinations interested in developing this in their city can benefit from an early participation. Be on the lookout for progress being shared under the #Meet4impact project and share your stories by joining our #Association4impact community online.

Get in touch with us if you are interested in exploring becoming a Founding Partner, supporting our efforts or want to be kept informed of our progress: genevieve@Meet4impact.com / www.Meet4impact.global


Furthermore, when discussing legacy or impact, one is immediately faced with the prevailing discourse that there is an immediate need for measurement. But while impact measurement is necessary to communicate the value generated by one’s actions and justify ROI from partners (or members), it is mostly possible as a result of a well-planned and executed impact management strategy.

Where are we now?

We’ve been following the work being done on legacy and impact by pioneers such as BESydney, JMIC and the joint ICCA/BestCities Incredible Impacts program; several of these initiatives have been described in previous issues of this magazine. We have developed close relationships with the small group of associations that have started to communicate clearly the impact they are creating with their conference; the likes of World Confederation for Physical Therapy, World Parkinson Coalition, ESSKA, ISPCAN, and Disabilities International, to name only a few, are really inspiring.

University research commissioned by industry groups or destinations are now being published, outlining best practices and, for some, even identifying factors of success in generating societal impacts.Based on current literature and research, two strong narratives have emerged in the sector around this issue: one is focused on storytelling and the sharing of best practices from associations who are leading the trend. The second narrative revolves around the concept of measurement and converting the quantitative and qualitative data that does exist into numerical and economic performance indicators, fueling advocacy efforts on all parts.

However, both of these narratives tell only a part of the story of impact and legacy. Even if they are necessary, they are insufficient to scale up this trend to a real tidal wave. There appears to be an important gap in the conversation: there is currently a lack of action plans or frameworks supporting associations and destinations working together to replicate the success stories shared in the industry media. Associations are now at a point where they need tools and guidance on creating and implementing positive societal impacts. Meanwhile, host cities want to help them achieve this but they don’t quite know how.

In a context where an association wishes to leverage its conference to “do good” and create a positive change in the community that is hosting it, the possible synergies between the association and their counterparts in the host destination are obvious but perhaps difficult to operationalize. It requires a profound mind shift from the stakeholders in the destination, such as the convention bureau or, in some cases, the congress centre, who need to anchor themselves in the business sectors and knowledge clusters even more solidly than they have ever done before in order to be taken seriously as drivers of economic and social development.

The professionals in the convention bureaus, who have forged a close bond with the international associations, are growingly expected to take a leadership role in introducing the former to their various local ecosystems and they are perceived as the ones who can initiate the links needed in host communities. For an association to successfully generate tangible positive impact in a local community, there should be a close alignment between their intentions and the needs of the community they hope to engage with. A sustained and flourishing collaboration between these different groups will yield a wide stakeholder coalition that will amplify the potential of transformative impact.

But the association meetings sector has struggled with coming up with a concerted and impactful methodology for managing impact for several reasons: it lacks knowledge in the science of social impact assessment and so far, there have been no clear indicators for the sector. There are virtually no benchmarks serving as reference points, and we are still lacking frameworks and predictive models for use by the industry to help demonstrate the cause-to-effect relationships generating change.

A new initiative

The #Meet4impact Project is an initiative to create an impact framework that will offer a comprehensive process for generating, managing and measuring the positive societal impacts of conferences. It will propose a process enabling organizations to go from the initial intention (of impact) to implementation, to the measurement, and to generate a maximum of value out of their efforts. It will help to demonstrate the cause-to-effect relationship that allows an organization to claim accountability for the impact they are creating and to communicate this clearly.

Practically, the framework will be comprised of a methodology, a toolset, an online platform including a catalog of indicators and a progress dashboard, and the professional support to assist organizations in creating their own impact management program. It will also propose a pathway to link the different efforts that are being undertaken by industry groups and demonstrate how these initiatives can complement each other.

One of #Meet4impact’s key features is that it will propose a collaborative platform between the association, its local host member, the CVB and the local ecosystem which the association aims to engage through their impact program. Another unique component is that it is positioned as a social innovation initiative that responds to existing needs and challenges with new and different methods, calling on collective intelligence, and aiming to generate change at the systemic level (the association sector). Finally, on top of proposing industry-specific indicators of societal impacts, the platform will allow participating organisations to identify which UN SDGs their mission most aligns with and register their efforts towards the achievement of those goals.

Currently engaging organizations working on social impacts, university researchers, industry consultants, a technology company, IGOs and an international foundation, the #Meet4impact project is a growing coalition of partners deeply committed to supporting associations in their efforts to amplify the impact of their mission delivery. Over the coming months, the project will roll out a beta phase, where Founding Project Partners (consisting of an association coupled with a convention bureau in different cities of the world) will be embarking on a journey where they will test the methodology, working together and drawing on collective intelligence in a co-creation exercise akin to a “Living Lab”. Their constant feedback and that of other participating entities will allow the methodology to be iterated and refined from the initial process, which will give way to a truly powerful yet customizable model for associations to use in the future. It is an ambitious project that Boardroom will report on in each of its upcoming editions.


February 4, 2019

How Relationships Underpin Success

Legacy is cemented in relationships. The way we learn from each other, relate to different experiences and viewpoints and interchange our philosophies, form the basis of humanity. Our position in the world becomes defined by our association to others. To our ancestors, our present circle and our imagined future selves. These connections, and their power to shape who we are, leave a significant indent in our life’s course – in our legacies.

Relationships have always been an important focus in the business world – it is critical when it comes to success. Understanding what the client wants and how to best deliver, supporting other workers to produce their best work and collaborating as a team, even with dividing opinions, is crucial. A final product often extends back to several layers of input – it is rare to accomplish something completely alone.

Shifting our perspective of legacy from one that is tangible to intangible has become increasingly common. Measuring events by financial success no longer holds such weight within society. It instead has become centered on the immaterial actions of organizations which impact the world and people around them. Holding a lens to how we create meaning in business is particularly pertinent in our fast-paced technological era. Focusing on relationships – both positive and negative – produces greater transparency, accountability and long-term success. It is a defining factor in the creation of a business.

Inspiring transformation

Former CEO and now Executive Chairman of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, powerfully spoke to this idea. He emphasised how authenticity inspires transformation: “In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit.”

Examples of harnessing aspects of success outside financial liability are constant. McDonald’s, perhaps one of the biggest symbols for corporate greed in our Western world, has this year pledged to use renewable, recyclable or certified materials in all packaging worldwide by 2025. Last year, Google’s global operations became fully powered by renewable energy – and they became the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power. Tesla is skyrocketing in sales and support for their eco-friendly electric powered cars. Locally, the rise of companies like Keep Cup and Frank Green, which both sell reusable coffee cups, have risen based on our desire to help save the planet.

These decisions extend further than environmental impact as companies have long turned to making their products, and processes, ethical. Whilst the fashion industry is constantly gaining undesirable attention for its abuse of power when it comes to sustainability and ethical sourcing, global retailer H&M has redirected this negativity. They have committed to supply chain transparency by publishing an up-to-date list of suppliers’ names and addresses on their website each quarter.

Changing the legacy

Whilst these actions have been at the forefront of our decision making for a while now, it is still critical in highlighting the importance of relationships. Without hesitation it is easy to suggest that the purpose of business is financial success and stability. Turning focus towards aiding the environment and conducting ethical practice for example, despite its cost, thus becomes highly significant. Organizations are emphasising the connection they hold with their consumer, their partners and their global reach – and they are listening to how the world is changing. They are altering their course based on how we are responding. They are changing their legacy because of the intangible necessity relationships have towards their growth.

The full version of  this article,  provided by the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers, authors Ruby Kraner-Tucci and Sarah Markey-Hamm from ICMS Pty Ltd, Australia (www.icms.com.au), will be available in the upcoming edition of Boardroom. info@iapco.org / www.iapco.org      

January 23, 2019

Cape Town: MBA World Summit 2018

Conferences and exhibitions drive industries, propel business and contribute significantly to global GDP. In South Africa, they contribute over R115 billion to national GDP. They are a transformative strategy for countries looking to boost their knowledge and creative economies.

In March 2018, the MBA World Summit was held in Philippi, the largest township in Cape Town, South Africa, where local entrepreneurs were partnered with international MBA students to help them grow their businesses through skills transfer and knowledge sharing. The MBA World Summit is a perfect example of how business events are the catalyst for large-scale socio-economic impacts, not only on tourism, but also on deal making, business transactions, training, research, development and education.

Read The Iceberg’s case study here.

January 16, 2019

ICC Sydney’s Geoff Donaghy on CSR and Legacy

Boardroom receives some insights from ICC Sydney CEO and Director Convention Centres, AEG Ogden, Geoff Donaghy, as ICC Sydney prepares for its busiest year ever after a successful run of events of all kinds and formats in 2018.

In what ways is CSR embedded in your business model? How do your clients relate to that?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is deeply embedded in ICC Sydney’s philosophy, culture and business model. We consider CSR as both an obligation and opportunity. As we are managing a major piece of city infrastructure that involves very significant amounts of public and private investment, the obligation is to manage the venue as successfully as possible and create the maximum economic impact. The opportunity on the other hand, is to create a new paradigm in the way that venues, like ICC Sydney, operate and to deliver the maximum community impact by ensuring the flow of benefits from events reaches a broad cross section of the community.

You just launched the 5th stream of your Legacy Program: Creative Industries. Can you tell us about it? 

The Creative Industries stream has been curated to complement the Legacy Program’s four core streams – Innovators & Entrepreneurs, Generation Next, First Australians and Sustainable Events and to drive long-term social, economic and environment outcomes, which are both meaningful and measurable.

The program will actively work to cultivate a lasting legacy from fostering support for Sydney’s emerging and established artists through cultural institutions and colleges to engaging new talent for event performances from Talent Development Project and connecting with festival programs including VIVID and Sydney Festival. From a design perspective, ICC Sydney has partnered with Dinosaur Designs, maker of bold and instantly recognisable Australian homewares, to create bespoke Sydney gifts and handmade award trophies in their signature style.

What has been the feedback on the Program from your clients’ altogether?

Our Legacy Program is still in its early stages, as is ICC Sydney as we have just entered our third year of operation.

The feedback we have received from clients about the program has been overwhelmingly positive and we are now starting to see the benefits of the discussions that have taken place well before the event delivery. As events often go through a three to five year planning process, it’s important to discuss the opportunities through program at the stages of the planning phase.

You successfully hosted  SIBOS last year: how did you help them make an impact/leave a legacy?

The multi-faceted Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program executed at Sibos was designed by ICC Sydney’s dedicated CSR team in partnership with event organisers, SWIFT. The program focussed on reducing the ecological footprint of Sibos at all stages of event delivery as well as support community engagement. This included organic waste and recycling processing initiatives, minimisation of plastic water bottle consumption, excess food donations and the establishment of the first ICC Sydney Charity Market Day. Here, event exhibitors collectively donated 150 items to seven local charity organisations to be repurposed for their communities, from astro turf to umbrellas and potted plants.

In a record result for an event of its size and scale, a waste diversion rate of 62.5% was achieved, including 88% of materials being diverted from landfill during the event bump out and 15,200 plastic water bottles being saved.

ICC Sydney’s partnership with OzHarvest and Mathew Talbot hostel resulted in 855 kilograms of food being saved across a one-week period, representing the equivalent of 2,564 meals being donated to community members in need and 1,120 tonnes of fertilizer being produced from organic waste matter.

January 11, 2019

The Ultimate Legacy Ever in Adelaide?

Last month, the Premier of South Australia in a joint announcement with the Australian Prime Minister announced Adelaide would be the home of Australia’s new A$41m Space Agency and in doing so, created one of, if not the largest legacies of any Australian business event.

Held at Adelaide Convention Centre, the 2017 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) with 4500 delegates remains the largest business event won by the Adelaide Convention Bureau and Team Adelaide for South Australia.  From the outset of the  decade long process in bidding, losing, re-bidding and winning the highly prestigious event, the goal of the  local IAC committee members from the Space Industry Association of Australia was to utilise the event to ignite discussion and enthusiasm at a federal government level with the aim of creating an Australian Space Agency.  Their goal was realised on 25 September 2017 at the opening ceremony of the 5-day event with the announcement that the Government would indeed open a National Space Agency –  and thus began a fierce bidding process by most Australian states to house the agency’s permanent headquarters.

The Australian Space Agency location announcement is the pinnacle of a series of legacies eventuating from the IAC 2017.  It will be housed, along with similarly aligned businesses, innovators and organisations, in the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site (now known as Lot Fourteen Innovation Hub) in the eastern end of the CBD – just walking distance or a free tram ride from the Adelaide Convention Centre and the BioMed City including the new hospital all located the West End of the city.

Set to open in 2019, the Agency will employ 20 people and will regulate, licence and assess space-related activities conducted by private industry. It gives Australia a new seat at the table in the regulation of space under international law, will include a mission control centre and will be responsible for facilitating industry growth.  The Federal Government hopes that the agency will help coordinate Australia’s space industry to create 20,000 new jobs and triple its current A$4bn worth to A$12bn by 2030.

Damien Kitto, CEO Adelaide Convention Bureau, commented: “The Space Agency location announcement  truly is the ultimate legacy following the hosting the IAC and it presents a huge opportunity for the Adelaide Convention Bureau.  As with medical and health-based events following the massive investment in infrastructure in the BioMed City, this development has opened the doors to the Bureau now having a huge asset to utilise when seeking to attract space and related industry events to Adelaide.”

January 7, 2019

How to Keep Communities Consistently Engaged

In June 2016, the University of Edinburgh hosted the 13th World Congress (IAB2016) of the International Association of Bioethics (IAB). It is critical both to reflect on the event past and to consider how we might keep future events relevant and to adequately bridge the periods in-between. In other words, how do we generate and maintain legacy and help to keep communities consistently engaged over time? This brief article undertakes these functions by reflecting on some of the lessons learned from IAB2016 in the hope that it will prove useful to future IAB Congress organizers (and indeed other international conference organizers).

Read all about it here.

December 18, 2018

Major Conferences Leave Major Legacies in Glasgow

Throughout 2018 three major international medical conferences were hosted in Glasgow: the World Federation of Hemophilia World Congress; World Down Syndrome Congress and the International Symposium on ALS/MND.  Approximately 700 delegates, roughly 10% of those who attended these conferences were living with the conditions under discussion.

To ensure Glasgow gave the warmest and most appropriate welcome to all attendees, Glasgow Convention Bureau partnered with Glasgow Welcomes and VisitScotland to offer free educational sessions designed to help taxi drivers, staff at the transport hubs, Scottish Event Campus, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions better understand the requirements of delegates who would soon be arriving in Glasgow. These sessions were led by experts from each of the association alongside local people living with these conditions, to ensure customer facing staff across the city were fully prepared to give a warm, educated and appropriate welcome.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “Glasgow has been cited as one of the world’s friendliest cities and the People Make Glasgow Welcome initiative epitomises how Team Glasgow supports and works with our conference organisers to gain a fuller understanding of our delegates’ needs. The educational sessions ensured Glasgow was ready to welcome all delegates to these conferences and have left a lasting legacy on the city, benefiting both Glaswegians and future visitors living with these conditions.”

Glasgow was the first conference city in the world to create such a bespoke educational programme for their conference delegates. To support the associations as they move to their future conference locations, the Glasgow Convention Bureau presented each client with a video of their educational sessions to help them prepare the hospitality industry of their next host city.

Feedback from each of the associations following their partnership with Glasgow has been extremely positive.

Craig Stockton, CEO of MND Scotland, commented: “As well supporting people with MND, and funding research for a cure, we want everyone with MND to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The awareness sessions we ran for Glasgow’s hospitality industry gave people an understanding of what MND is, how it affects people, and how best to accommodate someone with the illness. These practical tips and advice can be used long after the symposium leaves Scotland.”

Pandora Summerfield, CEO of Down’s Syndrome Scotland said: “The awareness sessions allowed us to ensure Glasgow’s tourism and hospitality businesses have current and accurate knowledge about Down’s syndrome today and how to positively include and support people with the disability, whichever their area of business. This then meant they were prepared to welcome and support people who have Down’s syndrome from all over the world to have a wholly positive experience during their visit to Glasgow.

She added: “Two of our Lead Commissioners, Andrew Macintyre and Stuart Campbell also co-delivered the sessions and proved to the audience that having Down’s syndrome doesn’t stop you from doing things, they gave a clear message that having a disability doesn’t define who you are and to remember that anyone who has a disability is a person first.”

December 10, 2018

Copenhagen Creates ‘Tourism For Good’

As tourist numbers keep growing around the globe, tourism is seen as a problem since it poses a challenge to the planet’s sustainability. The city of Copenhagen has chosen to see tourism not as part of the problem but as part of the solution. Wonderful Copenhagen, the city’s official DMO, has, therefore, taken it upon itself to present a way towards responsible tourism by launching recently an ambitious strategy called ‘Tourism for Good’. The strategy views sustainability from an environmental, social and economic perspective while contributing to 8 out of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Wonderful Copenhagen’s ambition for 2030 is that tourism in the city and its surrounding areas positively impacts local and global sustainable development. This progressive strategy is aiming to do just that through four different focus areas. Broadening tourism to areas outside the city centre’s boundaries and, hence, offering tourists a much wider choice of activities and richer experiences is the first concern of the strategy. A second one will be to guide tourists towards responsible consumption and behaviour by promoting sustainable products and ways of transportation. Thirdly, as part of the strategy, partnerships are to be formed in order for information and measurements to get collected so that increased knowledge on sustainability is acquired and passed along. Finally, Wonderful Copenhagen has chosen to lead by example, taking the greatest possible sustainability considerations when it comes to its own operations.

‘Tourism for Good’ could not go unnoticed in the international scene. Secretary-General of UNTWO, Zurab Pololikashvili, praised the initiative when talking to Copenhagen’s Convention Bureau: “This strategy is designed to foster sustainability at local level, where both visitors and hosts can enjoy exploring, living and learning from each other. This is also one of the core objectives of UNWTO’s INSTO network. Through its strategic commitment to a holistic approach for destination sustainability, Copenhagen will contribute to realizing the potential of the Danish tourism sector as an agent of change.” Furthermore, the strategy received praise at the recent ICCA awards where Copenhagen won the Innovation Award. “The initiative marks a very positive approach to changing negative feelings surrounding the tourism industry and encouraging local communities to recognise the benefits of a thriving tourism scene,” said ICCA President James Rees.

Director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Megan Epler Wood, has worked in depth with sustainability in tourism and the effects of over-tourism and describes the strategy as “ahead of its time.” “The city has a grand plan that seeks to boldly expand tourism without harming their city’s culture or environment. Their effort will be facilitated through continuous consultation with locals and measurements of impacts via third party organizations. They seek to leapfrog over the problems of overtourism by emphasizing that a destination can and must be designed for visitors and locals alike.”