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ICCA and MCI Win UNWTO Award

The ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Index, an effective tool developed by ICCA and MCI to measure and drive progress on the industry-transforming Sustainable Scandinavian Meetings Region collaboration, has received the ‘Most Innovative Project Award’ at the 2nd United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Knowledge Network Global Forum.

Since 2010, visionary leaders from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the five countries of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Scandinavian Chapter, have been working with MCI to transform Scandinavia into the world’s first sustainable meetings region.

The ICCA Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index measures and compares the social and environmental sustainability commitment and performance of capital and regional cities in the five participating countries. Recognised by UNWTO as a pioneering project, the index was declared one of the three best submitted entries in the category ‘Innovation in Tourism: Bridging theory and practice.’

“The paper was outstanding for its contribution as an innovative tool to measure and share project progress in the Sustainable Scandinavian Meetings Region collaboration,” said Dr. Hazael Cerón M., Professor at the Facultad De Turismo Y Gastronomía, Universidad Anáhuac México Norte and part of the judging committee. “The paper was evaluated on several areas, including the significance of the discussion on innovation in tourism, validity of research methods used and overall structure.”

23 cities’ sustainability performances

The purpose of the index is to benchmark and share 23 cities’ sustainability performances, driving a significant shift in the development and implementation of each destination’s sustainability strategies, communication campaigns and certification initiatives. Improvements have been recorded year-on-year, including a 7% overall increase in destination performance in 2013 compared to 2012.

Representing one of the 23 participating cities, Jonas Wilstrup, Convention Director of Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau said, "This unique project has helped regional leaders from Scandinavia to develop a shared vision of a better, smarter and more sustainable future. Ultimately we believe this will create a more competitive and healthy meetings industry."

“By regularly sharing best practices and benchmarking data, each city and country is able to understand their current performance and set targets for improvement,” said Guy Bigwood, MCI Group Sustainability Director. “The project is now expanding into phase two, and has a vision and business plan to benchmark over 100 global cities by 2018.”

The ICCA Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index was commissioned by the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter, developed and conducted by MCI Sustainability Services and sponsored by MCI and VisitAarhus.

Photo: © ICCA Scandinavia

Uppsala Wins 3rd ICCA Client Supplier Workshop 2016

In 2013 Uppsala increased its number of international meetings by 50 percent and foreign congress participants doubled in comparison to 2012. The city is working hard to build continued strong growth for the coming years and has now won the 3rd ICCA Client Supplier Workshop 2016. This is one in a series of international initiatives that Uppsala Convention Bureau hopes will contribute to continued positive results for the city.

ICCA Client Supplier Workshop for smaller conferences is a workshop that has been conducted on two previous occasions, 2013 in Ghent and 2014 in Toulouse. In future, this European workshop will be organized every second year. Some fifteen of Europe's international organizations are invited and the participating guests decide where precisely their international conferences should be held. Participants are limited to 15 organizations and 15 convention bureaux (destinations).

“Uppsala has participated in the two previous conferences, and we are very pleased with the results. The destinations have been in dialogue with the organizations behind the congresses and have found reconciliation of both knowledge exchange and pure business benefits. It's a good opportunity, in a smaller context, to learn more about how associations think and what they expect of us as destinations in the future. It seemed obvious to apply for hosting this workshop,” said Anna Lindström, Manager, Uppsala Convention Bureau, Destination Uppsala.

“The first attempt to take home the meeting in Uppsala was made even before the 2014 arrangement, but at that time Uppsala lost against Toulouse. But dedication paid off in the end and the 3rd ICCA Client Supplier Workshop is now to be held in Uppsala, 18-20 February in 2016.

“We practice what we preach. To take on the hosting of meetings and workshops is obviously as great as when we ask our local meeting ambassadors to do the same. We see events like this as a great opportunity to showcase Uppsala for both potential clients and colleagues in the industry,” said Anna Lindström.

The criteria to participate in the upcoming workshop is that each destination brings a person involved in decision-making, from an organization whose Congress regularly rotates between at least three European countries, has up to 800 participants and is arranged for three or more days.

Top Speakers To Helm Educational Forums At IT&CM India 2014

Expert speakers, from various industries such as Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Indian Tea Association, International Congress and Convention (ICCA), Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts among others, will be presenting topics catered specifically for attending association executives and corporate travel professionals from India or with operations based in India.

Together, IT&CM India’s inaugural Association Day and Corporate Performance Forums will feature 7 topics and 13 senior industry speakers. More than 30 association delegates across India are expected to attend the inaugural event. Registrations received include All India Coordinating Committee (AICC RCOG), All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA), Indian Association for Social Psychiatry (IASP), Indian Public Health Association (IPHA) amongst others.

For registration enquiries, please contact KW Conferences at For more information, visit IT&CM India will take place from 19 to 21 August 2014.

Aleš Hozdecký Appointed New Managing Director of Prague Convention Bureau

Aleš Hozdecký has been appointed new managing director of Prague Convention Bureau. Three out of the eighteen candidates who applied for the position were shortlisted for the second round which took place on Thursday 31 July. PCB’s Board of Directors then elected Aleš Hozdecký as the most suitable candidate.

Aleš Hozdecký has extensive experience in the tourism sector. He previously worked, for example, as the Head of the Department of Tourism in Turnov, Chairman and Director of the Bohemian Paradise Association; he also participated in the management of the Association of Tourist Regions of the Czech Republic (ATUR). From August 2011 to March 2014, he was director of the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Regional Development.

Aleš Hozdecký will start his position with Prague Convention Bureau on 18 August, thus replacing current managing director Lenka Žlebková. She is leaving the association after four successful years when, due to Prague Convention Bureau’s activities, Prague as the congress destination again strengthened its position in the international market. Her work in PCB has been crowned by Prague’s successful candidacy for the ICCA Congress which will take place in 2017.

Lenka Žlebková continues to work in the field of tourism; from September she will start working in Hotel & Garden U Holubů in Čeladná, a popular recreation area in the foothills of Beskydy Mountains, North Moravia, which has recently experienced a big boom and is especially famous for its surroundings and one of the most beautiful golf courses in the Czech Republic. Her decision to return to her native region was driven by the need to fulfil her dream of running her own business and spend more time with her family.

Photo: Lenka Žlebková and Aleš Hozdecký

City Collaborations Reap Rewards for Edinburgh

Convention Edinburgh, the business tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh has announced the city’s strongest first quarter performance to date.

A combination of successful new bid wins, record delegate figures and a busy itinerary which saw the business tourism team attend conferences and events across the world, has resulted in Convention Edinburgh breaking all its previous records and targets.

41 future conferences and events were confirmed for Edinburgh during the first three months of the financial year, important bid wins included the Flora Malesiana Conference 2016 and the Association of Art Historians Conference 2016. As a result, over 16,100 delegates will visit Edinburgh in the coming months and years, generating an estimated £20.9 million for the local economy.

Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism at Convention Edinburgh said: “It’s an incredible start to the year and very much down to the hard work of Marketing Edinburgh’s Ambassadors, our members and the Convention Edinburgh team. As a business tourism destination, Edinburgh is competing in an incredibly competitive global marketplace to attract high profile, high value conventions to the city. Raising the Capital’s profile to international conference organisers and delegates is the absolute priority and there is always more work to be done. We’re constantly striving to give new and compelling reasons for event organisers to choose Edinburgh as the host city."

Latest innovation

The latest innovation introduced by Convention Edinburgh is the world’s first delegate reward card. Exclusively for business tourists visiting the Capital, the Edinburgh Rewards card is specially designed to encourage delegates to get out and explore all the city has to offer. Featuring 60 of Edinburgh’s most iconic venues and businesses, hand-picked by Marketing Edinburgh, reward partners include Harvey Nichols, Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, The Scottish Whisky Experience and The Witchery by the Castle.

From April to June 2014, Convention Edinburgh worked with its members to host 15,864 delegates across 56 events in and around Edinburgh, generating an additional £20.5million for the local economy.

Convention Edinburgh has also attended a number of high profile UK and international events with and of behalf of its members. This has included a profile raising awareness visit to Brussels in partnership with the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, along with attendance at The Meetings Show in London and IMEX Frankfurt. The latter resulting in around 50 new appointments with buyers and enquiries potentially worth over £22million to the local economy.

High profile associations

An Edinburgh delegation from Convention Edinburgh, Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa also travelled to Chicago in July. Meeting with event organisers from a number of high profile associations based in the USA’s third largest city, the team also attended Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Controlled Release Society (CRS) ahead of next year’s session in Edinburgh. 1,700 delegates are expected to travel to the Capital for the 2015 CRS Annual Meeting, with an estimated economic impact of £4.1 million.

Melissa Raffaelli, Director of Sales, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa said: “This is outstanding news for business tourism in Edinburgh and is testament to a positive, collaborative approach and a united presence at key global tourism events. The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is committed to working in partnership with Convention Edinburgh and its members to effectively promote our city and raise its profile at key UK and international events to secure long-term business for many years to come.”

Over 109 conferences and events are so far confirmed to take place in Edinburgh between 2014 and 2021, estimated to generate over £117 million for the local economy. This includes internationally respected conventions such as the European Aquaculture Society in 2016 and the Cleft Lip/Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies conference in 2021.

Edinburgh is the number one ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) conference destination in the UK outside of London and rated 21 in the top 50 European City ranking.

GainingEdge CEO Gary Grimmer Inducted Into DMAI's Hall of Fame

GainingEdge CEO Gary Grimmer was honoured by Destination Marketing  Association International (DMAI) as one of the first six inductees into its newly established Hall of Fame today.

Launched in 2014, on the occasion of DMAI’s centennial celebrations, the Hall of Fame Award was created to recognise individuals who have changed the future of Destination Marketing for the better, made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and shaped travel marketing and is regarded as the highest honor that DMAI can bestow.

Milton Carmichael, Peggy Flower, George D.Kirkland, Rossi Ralenkotter, Leonard Rolston and Grimmer are the inaugural inductees into the DMAI Hall of Fame.

Grimmer’s colleagues, clients and friends from Asia were quick to offer their congratulations to him. Etsuko Kawasaki, Director of Japan Convention Bureau said: “Gary is always professional and helpful to all those who need of his advice. I believe his knowledge and thoughtful expertise to convention bureaus contribute to the development of the Asian meeting business.”

Pursuit for excellence

Echoing her thoughts was Zulkefli Sharif CEO Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau: “This award truly recognizes his pursuit for excellence and contribution to the business events industry. Gary’s passion in the industry has driven us closer towards our vision to be Asia’s role model bureau.”

Tony Xu, Vice President of China National Convention Center in Beijing, and co-author of the upcoming “A Panorama of the Meeting Industry” were among others who sent their congratulatory messages immediately after the announcement: “Gary is definitely deserving of this honour.” Jason Yeh, CEO of GIS Group in Taipei and Chair of ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter added: “As my mentor, Gary has broadened my horizons, rendering tremendous insight and wisdom over many years of our friendship. He is always willing to share and help. He is also the respectable person you should consult and trust when you need to connect with certain key people.”

Rod Kamleshwaran, COO of GainingEdge said: “We are very proud of Gary's achievements and contributions to this industry. Especially his exemplary efforts in helping far and emerging markets. He never stops generating new thoughts and ideas. Gary is so humble that we often forget how privileged we are to have regular access to his amazing talent and wisdom.”