Meetings No 21
Gender Equality the New Growth Factor
Atti Soenarso on the silent knowledge women have built up.
Cover Story
Women Deliver
Focus on the Women Deliver Conference.
Women Leadership
Dubai Women Establishment
A champion for women’s participation.
IMEX Launch
The “She Means Business” event
The Future Disrupted
Rohit Talwar on shocks that could overturn our world.
A Life Remembered
Tim “Avicii” Bergling.
Young Leaders
Gaining Edge Scholars
Learning, contributing and building the future.
Smart Cities
How Does a City Become Smart?
Lessons from Tel Aviv.
Motivating Using the Right Mindset
Scientist Alva Appelgren on praise and learning.
Economic Impact
Regarding Rwanda
Becoming one of Africa’s leading business events destinations.
IMEX Frankfurt
Innovation and Inspiration.
MCI Experience
Kim Myhre: The power of brand experiences.
Johan Hagegård
“The future isn’t at all what it used to be.”
Habits to Build Your Empire
Robin Sharma: Resist the saboteur!
Collaboration is key in winning association meetings.
Brain Check
Cecilia Björkén-Nyberg
On reading printed books and listening to audiobooks.
Why Is It Taken for Granted That I’m the Boss?
Roger Kellerman: More Space to Women!
hotel news - New Hotels
150 new luxury hotels
opened in Greece in 2018.
New job
ICCA Board of Directors
selects Senthil Gopinath as incoming CEO.
business intelligence
Calgary’s BMO Convention and Trade Centre
set for expansion.
business intelligence
Berlin 2018 Event Impact Report:
Big benefits to host city.
Business Intelligence
Christian Mutschlechner
oins Congrex Switzerland’s Board of Directors.
Business Intelligence
QODE to crack innovation trends
in Queensland’s vibrant startup sectors.
Legacy Program
Why doing business in Asia
takes more than a single brush strategy.
new meetingplace
Board of Governors approves
Board of Governors approves
Hotel News - New Hotels
The Radisson Collection
Hotel & Suites Paris La Défense Announced.
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Iceland: Collaboration Is Key in Winning Association Meetings

Iceland is a country of fairy tales, breathtaking scenery, world famous music, impressive food and they are also number one in the world in organising international meetings – if we count meetings per capita. Iceland is number 55 in the world according ICCA statistics, with 40 international meetings – so that gives them one meeting per 8,500 inhabitants. 37 of the 40 meetings were held in Reykjavík.

Reykjavík was named the Best MICE Destination in Europe 2017 by Business Destinations Magazine. The Business Destinations Travel Awards, now in its sixth year, rewards businesses in a variety of categories for their exceptional contribution and excellence in services in the world of business and travel.

“It has been our goal since 2012 when Meet in Reykjavík was founded to become one of the leading meetings and event destinations in Europe,” says Thorsteinn Örn Gudmundsson, Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík, Reykjavík Convention Bureau.

Reykjavík has a high-tech infrastructure, security, short and frequent access by air from over 80 cities across Europe and North America. All this combined make Reykjavík one of the top destinations for international conferences worldwide.

In the beginning of April an agreement was signed between Meet in Reykjavík and the University of Iceland (HÍ), Reykjavík University (HR) and the Iceland University of the Arts (LHÍ). The object of the agreement is to increase the number of international academic meetings and conferences held by universities in Iceland.

The rectors of the three universities signed the agreement together with Thorsteinn Örn Gunnarsson, the Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík and Dagur B Eggertsson, the Mayor of Reykjavík.

It means that Meet in Reykjavík will assist the staff of the universities and their collaborators in preparations, information collection and contract preparations for international meetings and conferences, involving the universities in some respect. In addition, the convention bureau will provide information and hold presentations on the meeting and conference facilities of the universities for international associations and organisers of meetings and conferences.

Thorsteinn Örn Gudmundsson says that the agreement is an important step in strengthening Reykjavík as an international conference destination. “We have had good relations with the universities in recent years and are interested in expanding on our collaboration and making greater efforts to seek suitable projects for the destination and the university community here in Iceland.”

Dagur B Eggertsson, the Mayor, says that a dynamic meeting and conference service supports the goals of the city to provide a diverse and vibrant trade sector. “We wish to develop the city as a higher education city and as a knowledge-based community. An environment where enterprises are given excellent opportunities to grow and prosper. One can say, therefore, that many objectives coalesce in the agreement that has now been signed.”

Discussions following the signing of the agreement revealed that Iceland has been focusing on formulating policies on issues pertaining to equal rights, geothermal energy and the Arctic region. This, for example, has resulted in increased interest in holding meetings and conferences on these matters in Iceland.

The country is fully able to play an important part in a range of other issues and the agreement is a step toward such a role. Academic conferences are a significant way to attract attention to the research work carried out by the universities, to strengthen their reputation and to form relationships with overseas academics. In addition, academic conferences play an important part in determining the order in which universities are placed in international comparison lists.

The International Geothermal Association (IGA) has signed a contract with the three leading geothermal energy companies in Iceland: HS Orka, Landsvirkjun and Reykjavík Energy (OR). The agreement secures financial support for the World Geothermal Congress (WGC) in Reykjavík in 2020, which will be held in April that year in Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. The Iceland Geothermal Cluster will host the Congress in 2020.

The WGC is held every five years and will finally come to Reykjavík. Iceland has, for the past decades, been a strong example of how renewable energy can power a modern economy, and the Icelandic energy companies have played a vital role in the technological development of geothermal – concerning power generation, district heating, and other direct usages.

About 3,500 delegates are expected to come to Iceland for the congress and have the opportunity to see firsthand in some field trips how Iceland has become a leader in geothermal utilisation. Hopefully, the visit will help other countries take the next step towards implementing sustainable energy solutions based on their geothermal resources.

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS) 2017 measures sustainability among key destinations for conferences and meetings. The number of cities evaluated increases each year. This year, there were 38 cities from five continents. Reykjavík shared third place on the list with Copenhagen, as it did last year.

The objective of the index, the only one of its kind in the world, is to show potential customers the importance of sustainability at conferences and meetings held at the respective cities. The index explores the environmental policy of the cities themselves, as well as the environmental initiatives of companies that provide conference and meeting services. Reykjavík has been moving up the list year by year since 2013 and now fulfills 82 per cent of the set targets for a sustainable conference city.

Hildur Björg Bæringsdottir, director of Research and Lead Generation at Meet in Reykjavík, talks about the challenges the convention bureau must overcome to perform even better in the ICCA statistics. “The challenge has two sides of the coin. On one hand it is data collection and getting the information about what conferences are being hosted in Iceland. On the other hand, the challenge is convincing the right people to show their interest in offering to host the meeting in their area of expertise. We have an ambassador programme and that helps with spreading the word about our service to local academics and practitioners that are involved in international associations. With Nordic meetings, most of them have a rotation pattern including Iceland, so that every five years or every ten years the conference is in Iceland, and usually Reykjavík. With European and international meetings, the challenge is to convince the “few“ locals that work within a specific field (and usually host Nordic meetings) to also take on applying to host for the international meeting. According to an annual survey among Meet in Reykjavík associated partners, there were 218 meetings and 353 incentives (corporate events) in 2017.”

Hildur Björg Bæringsdottir also discusses how she expects the new agreement with universities will change the number of meetings in Reykjavík in the coming five to ten years. “The agreement gives us (Meet in Reykjavík) better access to the universities’ faculty. We will be available to them on their turf with regular meetings, presentations, and interviews. It allows us to present to key personnel the benefits of hosting an international meeting, conference or event and we hope that by explaining how Meet in Reykjavík and our associated partners can assist them if they want to pursue such opportunities, it will encourage them to do so.

“Collaboration is key in winning international association meetings. We have learned that in our work with bidding for conferences. We expect that we will have more local champions in our ambassador programme and together we will bid to host more meetings in the fields where Iceland has an advantage, e.g. gender equality, geothermal energy, genetic research, matters of the arctic region, to name a few.”