Winnipeg-based Chantal Sturk-Nadeau is the new head of Business Events Canada, the official organisation responsible for the promotion of the meetings industry in the country. Last week, during a road trip to Europe, she conversed with Cécile Koch and shared her vision. “The stars are aligned for Canada at the moment, and our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflects exactly what Canada is: progressive, open and welcoming differences.” she said.
Back in 2013 Business Events Canada (BEC) realised that meetings and events can create a lasting legacy. They indeed can be the first spark that ignites interest in doing business that leads to investment in the country as well as the exploration of the unique experiences that Canada offers international travellers. Over the last five years, Canada has invested in some major infrastructure development all over the country, attracting mega sports events such as the Olympics. This year, Canada also hosted INVICTUS and large congresses such as SIBOS and that of the International Union for Public Transport, to name just a few.
Business Events Canada has identified seven priority business sectors where Canada holds a competitive advantage. These priorities are in line with the areas in which Canada is internationally recognized as a centre of excellence. Special emphasis has thus been given to aerospace, agriculture and food, clean technology, infrastructure/engineering, ICT, life sciences, and natural resources.
But BEC has in fact already gone further than that. If they have set up strategic partnerships within the industry, with organisations such as ASAE and PCMA, they are now looking outside of their own box to establish relations with associations that have a global impact within their own field, with a particular focus on innovation and technology.
IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organisation for the advancement of technology, and CESSE, the Counsel of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, are two organisations with whom BEC have started to collaborate. The idea here is to have, for instance, Canadians participate in educational panels or be speakers at the many events those associations organize. In doing so, BEC hopes to get Canada even more recognized as a centre of excellence and, in turn, attract conferences in these sectors. To emphasize this, BEC will host a yearly event in these fields, similar to the C2Event (more on this in Boardroom September 2017, out now).
“Innovate Canada is the new BEC signature event which will be held every year and built around different vertical market segments. Next year, it will be held around Innovation/Technology and therefore we are aligning it with the C2 Conference in Montreal to take part of some of the conference there. We are looking at building it around Lifesciences in the following year (2019) and will be in another Canadian city with a centre of excellence in that particular sector.” Chantal Sturk-Nadeau says.
… It seems destination marketing has become so much more subtle and intelligent nowadays!