Destinations Look to Grow Meetings Sector in 2016



Industry panel discussion at the PCMA Dubai Meetings Forum

By: Michelle Krol

With 2016 rapidly approaching, global organizations around the world are looking to increase their presence throughout the meetings sector for both next year and beyond. Here are some of the latest happenings.


Qatar Convention Center

Qatar Business Events Unveiled at ibtm world

Following the international debut of the Qatar Destination Brand at the World Travel Market in London, Qatar Tourism Authority announced the launch of its new sub-brand, Qatar Business Events, on November 16.

The brand was unveiled during ibtm world, the most highly attended annual global meetings, incentives, conferences and events expo aimed at business trade, held in Barcelona, November 17-19, 2015.


Doha, Qatar/Photo by:

The brand aims to consolidate the image and promotional efforts of stakeholders in the country’s business events sector, and is supported by visuals highlighting business offerings in Qatar, focusing on its world-class facilities and attractions as a leading choice for business events.

With the creation of Qatar Business Events, Qatar Tourism Authority also hopes to diversify the country’s economy, as it currently relies heavily on hydrocarbon wealth.


TCEB Introduces Three Promotional Campaigns for EU MICE Travelers

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) released the latest developments of Thailand’s business events industry on November 17, announcing double-digit growth for both business events traveler numbers and earnings in 2015.

TCEB attributes the strong performance in the European MICE market as a major reason for the increase. In order to continue to build on the strong performance, TCEB introduced three new promotional packages for EU MICE travelers.

The Thailand Connect Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) Welcome Package provides recipients with exclusive hotel and retail discounts, along with added benefits in the heart of Bangkok’s vibrant downtown district.

In addition, the CONNECT Beyond The Capital Package allows international corporate clients the opportunity to discover the diversity of Thailand with promotions from domestic partner airlines.

Finally, the CONNECT Business Package offers exclusive promotions for trade visitors who achieve business matching at exhibitions in Thailand.

All three packages offer special privileges for overseas organizers and delegates, and will form a part of TCEB’s‘Thailand CONNECT…Our Heart, Your World’ brand communications umbrella campaign for 2016.

More details about TCEB’s involvement in ibtm world 2015 can be found at


Frankfurt, German/Photo by:

GCB Offers Predictions for 2016 Meetings

The German Convention Bureau (GCB) has released its predictions for what to expect in the meetings sector for 2016.

The GCB predicts a strong U.S. dollar will continue to fuel growth for U.S. meetings and incentives in Germany in 2016, as the USD-Euro exchange rate is currently close to its strongest value in 11 years.

The bureau also expects the rising demand and falling availability of hotel rooms in North America will continue to push room prices higher in the U.S. Additionally, because of an “ever-increasing eye” toward cost and in the interest from buyers to travel to new destinations, «second-tier» cities will continue to become increasingly attractive to planners. According to the GCB, places like Nuremberg, Leipzig and Stuttgart offer lower costs and ease of travel access, but also deliver “top-notch conference centers and venues, rich cultural scenes and deep expertise in key industries such as social justice & international law, R&D, pharma, automotive, innovation and more”.


Christmas Nuremberg Market/Photo by:

GCB says it predicts that, with the Millennial generation fueling the growth of the “Sharing Economy” (services like Airbnb, HomeAway, Uber and Lyft), hotels will continue to redesign properties over the next five to 10 years. This means emphasis on more welcoming communal areas, mobile-based concierge services and more unique guest experiences.

High-tech innovations such as Wi-Fi balloons that serve remote venues, fog projectors for presenting mid-air and meeting spaces on planes are all technologies GCB expects will transform the meeting sector next year as well. In 2015 the GCB, European Associations of Event Centers (EVVC), and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) joined forces to launch a new research project called the «Future Meeting Space”. By working with academics, business leaders and others, the project aims to capture what meetings could look, sound, feel, and work like in the years ahead.

Finally, GCB predicts compliance to be a hot topic again in 2016, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. New regulations such as the U.S. Sunshine Act (Open Payments Program) and EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) guidelines being implemented will lead to an increase in administrative work for meeting planners. Additionally, many German travel industry companies have well established codes of ethics which “provide employees with specific guidance for particularly sensitive issues related to conflicts of interest, gifts, and invitations.”

Steen Jakobsen_0

Steen Jakobsen, director, DBE

Dubai Meetings Forum Concludes With Positive Outlook

Dubai Business Events (DBE), Dubai’s official convention bureau, hosted 20 global members of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) at the PCMA Dubai Meetings Forum, which took place December 6-7.

The collaborative event, which was organized by DBE, Dubai Association Centre (DAC) and PCMA for leading international meeting professionals, aimed to combine site inspections, business networking opportunities and educational seminars into a series of panel discussions focused on the business of associations held at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

“We are proud that Dubai set the backdrop for this prestigious event and are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive outcome,” said Steen Jakobsen, director, DBE. “In January 2015, Dubai Business Events established a strategic partnership with PCMA and the Dubai Meetings Forum marked a key milestone as we continue to invest in education and connecting global industry leaders with our partners in Dubai, showcasing the city’s unique service offering for business events.”

A key topic discussed at the event was growth opportunities for associations in international markets, along with Dubai’s ambition to establish itself as an association hub. Jakobsen went on to say: “Together, we can attract leaders in all fields to Dubai, and make the Emirate a knowledge-based hub, where ideas are exchanged freely and inspirational intellectual property is brought to life. The forum has reinforced Dubai’s aspirations to grow from a regional business and events hub to an international one”.


Adelaide Convention Bureau/Photo by:

Adelaide Convention Bureau Seeks to Build Convention Capital

The Adelaide Convention Bureau, which reported a record year in 2014-15 after winning the right to host the 68th International Astronautical Congress in 2017, has released details about the ongoing expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The center’s first stage opened in March, with the second scheduled to be completed in mid-2017, in time for the IAC in September. The new building will replace the original Plenary Building with a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art facility with planery capacity of up to 3,500 seats.

Adelaide Convention Bureau CEO Damien Kitto said the IAC would be the largest international event of its kind ever held in South Australia and would inject $18 million into the state economy, going on to say winning large global conferences was a complicated process which took up to a decade and included forming a host bid committee, gaining the support of local, internationally respected industry leaders and winning the Australian bidding rights.

“More often than not with these bigger events you don’t win it first time round, it becomes a learning process … then hopefully you win it second time round,” Kitto said.

The 68th International Astronautical Congress in 2017 was among 119 future events secured by the Adelaide Convention Centre during 2014 and 2015, valued at $150.6 million.

Damien Kitton

Damien Kitton, CEO, Adelaide Convention Bureau

Events DC Partners With Gateway DC to Expand Venue Portfolio

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, recently announced a partnership with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).

Through the new partnership, both Events DC and DMPED aim to spur activity, growth and programming as part of larger redevelopment plans for the historic Congress Heights neighborhood.

Events DC will be responsible for managing Gateway DC, a covered and open-air pavilion adjacent to the R.I.S.E. Center along Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE. The organizations say that by joining forces, they can provide a unique special events and cultural arts venue which will present an opportunity to further attract, drive and execute local DC event programming, as well as community benefits for District residents.

Gateway DC is situated in Congress Heights in the District’s southeast quadrant, and comprises a sustainable, 400-foot-long facility with a 16,300 square-foot space large enough for 40 vendors, 3,100 square feet of enclosed civic space, a 21,000 square–foot vegetated green roof and a raised park for festivals, farmers’ markets, concerts and outdoor events.


The Walter E. Washington Convention Center/Photo by:

Gateway DC will become the eighth venue in the Events DC portfolio, which includes the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and the surrounding festival grounds, DC Armory, Maloof Skate Park and Nationals Park.

Events DC’s management of Gateway DC also hopes help drive economic impact through visitor spending and increase awareness of one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.

Source: International Meetings Review



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