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Associations Network launches Africa Associations Congress, 8-9 November 2016, Nairobi

Associations Network today announces the launch of a new event for the African association market. The Africa Associations Congress will take place 8-9 November at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Sponsored by the KICC, Hilton and IHG, the congress will cover all areas of member engagement, marketing, events and governance. Day one will feature a conference with breakouts and day two will be a full day of workshops. Other supporters of the event include the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Association Management.

The congress will attract heads of membership organisations from national and regional associations in Africa, pan-African associations and international associations from outside Africa, as well as heads of events, membership organisations, directors, VPs, heads of departments and managers from small to large organisations including professional bodies, trade associations, scientific societies, unions, user groups, forums and councils.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Jeffers Miruka, President of the Africa Society of Association Executives. Other speakers include Duncan Onyango, Director for the East Africa Venture Capital Association and Frederick Owiyo, General Manager of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Kenya.

Association Network’s Executive Director, Damian Hutt, says: “I'm very pleased to be bringing the Associations Congress series to Africa and our 3,400 members and subscribers of Associations Network. Partnering with the KICC in Nairobi as well as Hilton and IHG, the event is of strategic value to the city and African as a whole. We are pleased to be working with advisors and partners throughout Africa to be providing this critical educational event.

“It was the first conference I ever worked on in 1985 in Kenya, that gave me the events bug and 31 years later, after visiting Africa many times since, I am proud to bring this Associations Congress that I have developed to the continent.”

The investment plan for Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre: 320 million Euros.

The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre sees good scope for growth over the coming years and plans to increases its capacity to create new experiences for Gothenburg residents and out-of-town visitors. The investment plan totals at least 320 million euros up to 2025 and comprises two new towers along with improved entrances. The venture is then planned to continue through until 2030. A request for a formal decision regarding the first stages is to be submitted today to the City of Gothenburg.

“We want to take the next step and move up a gear with our attraction power to further develop the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and bring in more visitors to our venue and to Gothenburg,” says Carin Kindbom, President and CEO, Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. “Our vision is to create Europe’s most attractive meeting venue by offering the best total experience.”

The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre enjoys a city-centre location that helps it stand out amongst European competitors. December 2014 saw the inauguration of the biggest investment to date by the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. A total of 130 million euros was invested in the venue between 2011 and 2014, including a third hotel tower with 450 new rooms. In 2015, turnover increased by 30 million euros and visitor numbers by just over 20 per cent.

“With the level of interest and the growth rate we are seeing now and for the period ahead we find now to be a good timing for launching our future plans, a bit earlier than originally planned. We are now laying further foundations for continued expansion, all to take advantage of our unbeatable city-centre location,” says Roger Holtback, chairman of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre Foundation.

The improvements planned by the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre between 2016 and 2030 are as follows:

A. Development of the Liseberg entrance (entrance 2) and addition to the Arcade alongside Mölndalsån, riverside zone, opening up new areas for meetings, exhibitions and sports activities, for example.

B. A building facing the riverside zone with accommodation facilities, workplaces and public halls. This could be a tower of around 110 metres and 35 storeys.

C. Development of entrance 5 and a taller building facing Korsvägen. The building is intended to be roughly 18 storeys high, principally housing an augmented entrance function, hotel rooms and offices.

D. A substantial upgrade to the exhibition halls and addition of a third floor, with a permanent location for our show venue, The Theatre.

The request for a formal decision submitted to the City of Gothenburg covers stages A and B. The development of the entrance (A) must meet future needs for an increased number of visitors and create a new entrance for the venue, providing better visibility and being both protected from the elements and welcoming.

The high-rise building facing the riverside zone (B) is intended for the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre to contribute capacity for increased accommodation in the experience field. The accommodation building enjoys a fantastic location with views over the city and proximity to services, communications and events.

“Our mission is to promote trade and industry,” says Carin Kindbom. “We believe in our vision and want to accelerate our development in order to counter the ever tougher global competition. For every krona spent at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers, a further SEK 2.50 or so is spent in the city of Gothenburg. This is our way of contributing to the city’s hospitality industry and income.”

“The ambitious plans and visions now being presented by the foundation are a sign of our great belief in the future, but naturally it must be possible to adapt to the realities we may encounter en route to becoming Europe’s most attractive meeting venue,” says Roger Holtback.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ABOUT THE SWEDISH EXHIBITION & CONGRESS CENTRE FOUNDATION

The Svenska Mässan group is owned by the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre Foundation for the purpose of promoting trade and industry. The foundation is financially independent, which means that it has no other owners or investors. All investment is on its own merit and all surplus is reinvested in the business. The work of the foundation is characterised by short decision channels and a high level of commitment.

 

INVESTMENTS IMPLEMENTED 2011-2014

Between 2011 and 2014 the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre undertook its biggest investment ever. A total of 130 million euros was invested, and this included a third hotel tower with 450 new rooms at Gothia Towers, making it one of the ten largest in Europe with its total of 1.200 rooms. The investment also included a number of other initiatives such as a spa, restaurants, lounge areas, art and pop-up shops. This venture has yielded results and created greatly improved conditions for developing and attracting trade fair and conference business. In 2014, the group generated 250 million euros for the Gothenburg region in visitor industry revenues and the number of visitors to the venue increased to 1.4 million. The turnover today totals just over 110 million euros.

American Express reveals new functionalities för traveller care

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) today announced several new functionalities for its flagship traveller care solution EXPERT CARE. This innovative web based tracking solution locates all travellers worldwide, visualises which are closest to a potential travel disruption and enables travel and risk managers to not only locate impacted travellers but also communicate with them in real- time. In addition to email and SMS, GBT has now launched a new traveller-facing mobile application in Europe that provides an intuitive interface through which travellers can communicate with travel or security managers.

Another new enhancement to EXPERT CARE is the integration of near real-time flight status and tracking information, so travel managers can see flight delays and disruptions within the EXPERT CARE platform as they happen. By layering flight status and tracking information into the EXPERT CARE platform and integrating it with traveller itinerary data, travel managers now have the information at their fingertips to be truly proactive in managing disruptions. They can use EXPERT CARE to visualise all travellers on delayed or canceled flights, and communicate with impacted travellers over familiar channels with greater ease and speed than ever before.

In addition, GBT has introduced a new asset management feature for the product, which allows companies to quickly locate and communicate with employees at specific corporate locations when a disruption occurs. EXPERT CARE also incorporates American Express® Corporate Card transaction data, providing additional information to pinpoint a traveller’s location during an emergency. The functionalities enable travel managers to be armed with the tools they need to keep employees informed,wherever they are.

“As business becomes increasingly global and corporations make investments in corporate travel to drive growth, employee care continues to be a top priority for GBT customers worldwide,” said Philippe Chereque, Chief Commercial and Technology Officer, American Express Global Business Travel. “Our aim is to provide an end-to-end solution that makes fulfilling this duty of care obligation as simple as possible – regardless of whether employees are at the airport or in the office.”

GBT also announces an expanded partnership with iJET International (iJET®)., a leading provider of risk management solutions. Through this partnership, GBT customers using EXPERT CARE will be able to select from of a wide range of travel risk management and response capabilities iJET offers and benefit from fully-customised and flexible solutions designed specifically to address their company’s travel patterns and ensure safety throughout every stage of the traveller’s journey.

For instance, travel managers can now have access to dedicated hotline services 24/7, can take advantage of iJET’s security and medical response capabilities as unforseen events may arise, as well as benefit from iJET’s assessment evaluations and benchmarking tools to better understand situations and the risks associated with specific regions once travellers arrive back to their origins safely.

“American Express Global Business Travel is a well-respected leader and driving force in the travel management community,” said Theresa Thomas, Vice President Travel Partnerships, iJET International Inc. “We share GBT’s commitment to providing customers with the expertise, insight and flexibility to enhance their travellers’ experiences. We look forward to working closely with GBT to deliver integrated travel risk management services and enable continued growth for our customers as their needs evolve.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel enables corporations and empowers business travellers with insights, connections and exceptional customer service on a global scale. Through technology and information, American Express Global Business Travel provides leading travel solutions, integrated consulting services, proprietary research, and end-to-end meetings and events capabilities. These innovative offerings enable clients to optimise the return on their and meetings investments.

 

American Express Global Business Travel has operations and network partners in nearly 140 countries worldwide with approximately 12,000 employees. American Express Global Business Travel ranked first among corporate travel providers in the 2015 Corporate Travel 100 (“CT100”), an annual listing compiled by Business Travel News which ranks companies with the largest volume of U.S. air bookings. Learn more about how American Express Global Business Travel connects the world at www.amexglobalbusinesstravel.com and twitter.com/amexgbt.

American Express Global Business Travel (“GBT”) is a joint venture that is not wholly-owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (“American Express”). “American Express Global Business Travel”, “American Express” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express, and are used under limited license.

 

MCI Group has been awarded with the prestigious ‘Project ICARUS Sustainability Gold Medal’

The MCI Group has been awarded with the prestigious ‘Project ICARUS Sustainability Gold Medal’ by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

MCI received accolade for its commitment to make sustainability a core function within its business, integrating sustainability into supply chain and talent management, and for demonstrating thought leadership through its client consulting engagements. MCI’s community programme and sustainability reporting were also hailed for marking a strong social legacy and driving transparency.

“I’m immensely proud that MCI has been awarded with the Project ICARUS Gold Medal,” said Guy Bigwood, MCI Group Sustainability Director. “We have over 60 sustainability champions worldwide that are working incredibly hard to transform our processes, and engaging and enrolling their colleagues, peers and suppliers in our sustainability vision.

“This award recognises their great achievement and inspires us to improve further, while collaborating with our suppliers and industry partners to continue widening our scope to make a positive impact.”

MCI now joins an elite group of winners including the Intercontinental Hotels Group, United Airlines, Starwood, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and British Airways.

MCI has developed a growing expertise in the sustainability and energy sector, organising over 700 events since 2010 with organisations such as the United Nations, Global Reporting Initiative and Sustainable Business to lead events on diversity, water and conservation.

MCI also has a business unit devoted to supporting Business Travel and Events clients and suppliers, offering consultative services to destinations, venues, corporations and institutions on how to engage and activate their stakeholders on environmental, social and ethical issues.

“Responsible Business is one of the foundations of MCI’s brand and culture,” explained Sebastien Tondeur, MCI Chief Executive Officer. “Our talented team are catalysts for change and MCI has become part of the global sustainability movement. I’m proud that we are using our skills, voice and relationships to leave a positive legacy and reducing our environmental footprint around the world.”

MCI’s latest award achievement builds on its two ICARUS awards for its sustainability work, presented by the GBTA in 2015. This marks a total of 19 awards that MCI has won for its innovation, leadership and commitment to sustainable business.

Connections Meetings brings new event philosophy to MICE sector

Connections, a division of London-headquartered Travel Weekly Group, has launched Connections Meetings for the global MICE sector. The inaugural event takes place on December 9-12 in Portugal. Delegates begin their experience at the Hilton Doubletree in Lisbon before a private train transfer to the Conrad Algarve.

Connections Meetings brings together an exclusive invite-only group of senior MICE buyers, planners and suppliers from across the global sector. In keeping with the Connections philosophy, the meetings’ programmes are designed to create memorable shared experiences that lead to long-lasting business relationships.

Micaela Giacobbe, founder of Connections and director of commercial events, said: “All events organised under the Connections brand share one common goal: to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to bond with each other by participating in a range of shared activities and experiences.

“The Connections Meetings programme will be focused heavily on learning how to design and deliver the best possible meetings and events. We want our exclusive delegation to leave events equipped to implement change and improve the way they conduct business. And we will be leading by example.”

Alongside founder Giacobbe, a team of experienced MICE experts is driving the Connections Meetings series. Mike van der Vijver, a meeting designer, consultant, and facilitator, with some 25 years’ experience in the meeting industry, is a key figure in the event content development team. Meanwhile sector specialist Christina Petrova’s engagement with the global buyer community ensures the highest caliber buyer delegates are in attendance.

Van der Vijver said: “In line with proper design, we will enquire before the meeting about what our participants would prefer to learn. We will incorporate those outcomes in the programme. We will provide a double focus: on the one hand the helicopter view of how to improve meetings in general, and on the other practical solutions for the typical headaches facing all meeting owners, such as poor speakers. ”

Finally, head of business development for Connections Meetings is the highly experienced David Benitez. He said: “This is the next generation of human-to-human B2B events in the meetings industry. The whole programme is a networking exercise. The one-to-one experiences create strong emotional ties between participants will be exercised throughout the designed programme. From the lunches, the dinners, the group experiences, and learning experiences, everyone will be able to network with their relevant potential business partners.

For more information on Connections Meetings and to view the programme for the inaugural event in Portugal, please visit www.weareconncetions.com.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About Connections

Connections (www.weareconnections.com) organises events for the global luxury travel and global meetings, incentives, conferences and events (Mice) sectors. It is owned by the Travel Weekly Group and headquartered in London.

Connections Luxury is the global, senior and exclusive B2B event providing hand-picked luxury travel suppliers and buyers with memorable experiences that lead to meaningful and long-lasting business relationships. Each event welcomes just 80 delegates (30-40 top buyers, 30-40 selected luxury suppliers and sponsors). Buyers are selected through extensive research and recommendations together with existing partners and suppliers. They represent key and emerging luxury travel markets (including the US, China, Brazil etc) and are relevant to the destination in which an event takes place. Delegates are only drawn from the most prestigious global luxury travel companies, including airlines, accommodation providers, private jets, yacht charter, cruise lines and destinations.

Connections Meetings will be the global, senior, exclusive, focused event providing hand-picked MICE buyers and suppliers’ effective meeting design programmes and tailored memorable experiences that lead to long-lasting business relationships. Connections involves just 30-40 meeting owners and planners from key and growing markets across the globe and 30-40 selected suppliers.

The Connections team will be bringing a wide variety of MICE buyers together at the upcoming Meetings event. Some buyers will represent large corporates, eager to book their next international board meeting or global sales kick-offs. Others will be looking for partners to support their industry conventions or exhibitions. All will be focused on doing business in the MICE sector.

SAS launches flights to Tallinn

SAS will begin flying to Tallinn from Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen from next week.

Following Estonian Air’s announcement that they cease their operations, SAS has reacted and will begin flying between the three Scandinavian capitals and Tallinn. This means daily flights between the cities, ensuring that travelers in Scandinavia have continued good flight connections to Estonia. Thanks to SAS’s new direct routes Estonian travelers easily get access to Scandinavia and the rest of the world.

“Tallinn is a destination with a high proportion of frequent travelers and is also a popular holiday getaway. We therefore decided to act quickly, as Tallinn is a large and important destination in our region. Scandinavia also occupies a geographically advantageous location for shuttle services to and from Estonia,” says Eivind Roald, Executive Vice President Commercial at SAS.

 

SAS plans to fly:

Stockholm – Tallinn: 4 times per day in each direction

Copenhagen – Tallinn: 3 times per day in each direction

Oslo – Tallinn: 1 flight per day in each direction

Most of the new departures start next week. More information about start dates and departure times will be announced soon.