111 Boing 777 and A380s
Emirates announces aircraft upgrades
and more A380 resumptions.
119 membercountries
Dubai wins bid
to host ICOM General conference 2025.
developing the government
Dubai Economy, Dubai Tourism merge
to become ‘Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.
38 cities applied
Vilnius ranked 3rd
at the annual European Capital of Innovation Awards.
IBTM World
Event technology
trends to increase engagement and ROI.
big business
Booking Holdings Enters Into An Agreement
With CVC Capital Partners To Acquire Etraveli Group.
Focus on Impact
Union of International Associations
releases Survey on International Meetings Issues - 2021 Report.
9,000-plus members
GBTA Convention 2021
Sets The Pace For Business Travel’s Return.
17–20 July
Kigali, Rwanda to host Women Deliver 2023
WD2023 will be the world’s largest conference on gender equality in the 21st century.
Canary Islands Hosts 6th Edition of the Repeople Conference, Europe’s Largest Remote Work Conference
The only event in Europe addressing remote work from a wide perspective.
Emirates announces aircraft upgrades and more A380 resumptions

Emirates announced that it will retrofit 105 of its modern wide-body aircraft with its Premium Economy product, in addition to other cabin enhancements. The 18-month retrofit programme, scheduled to begin at the end of 2022, will be entirely conducted at Emirates’ state-of-the-art Engineering Centre in Dubai. It will see 52 Emirates A380s and 53 Boeing 777s fitted with a new cabin class – the airline’s highly lauded Premium Economy. The airline is also considering installing a brand new Business Class product on its Boeing 777 aircraft, with customised seats in a 1-2-1 layout.

At the end of the retrofit programme, Emirates will have a total of 111 Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft offering Premium Economy seats, including the 6 A380s that would have been delivered to the airline with four cabin classes by December 2021. By end of this year, Emirates’ A380s with Premium Economy will be operating on the airline’s flights to Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York JFK and Paris.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “Emirates is investing in this retrofit programme to ensure that we continue to serve our customers’ needs, and provide the best experiences in the sky. Since we introduced our Premium Economy seats a year back, we’ve received a hugely positive response. Customers have been amazed by the quality and comfort. As Emirates has done with our signature First, Business and full-service Economy travel experiences, we intend to further develop our Premium Economy into a distinctive Emirates experience that is unmatched in the industry. We are also considering a brand new Business Class product. More details will be revealed in due course.”


Photo: Emirates 777- 300.

Dubai wins bid to host ICOM General conference 2025

Dubai has won the bid to host the 27th International Council of Museums (ICOM) General Conference 2025 under the theme ’The Future of Museums in Rapidly Changing Communities’. The new global achievement is set to further strengthen the UAE’s leading position as the capital of creativity and innovation across various fields. The result of the vote in favour of the UAE’s bid, makes Dubai the first city in the Middle East and North Africa to organise this prestigious international conference since ICOM’s establishment in 1946.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted on his official account on Twitter, saying: Dubai’s victory to host the largest global conference on museums, ICOM 2025, with the attendance of 119 countries, covering 20,000 international museums, gives a strong impetus to the country’s cultural sector. Our international museums in our beloved emirate and our national museums throughout the country will lead the global debate on the future of museums at this huge international conference.

Founded in 1946 under the umbrella of the United Nations, ICOM is a global organisation specialised in the field of museums, their development and coordination. Its membership includes more than 50,000 specialists from nearly 120 countries, and nearly 20,000 museums around the world.

At the end of April 2021, the UAE chapter of ICOM (ICOM-UAE), in cooperation with Dubai Culture, Dubai Municipality, and Dubai Tourism, had submitted the UAE’s bid to host the ICOM General Conference 2025 in Dubai under the theme ’The Future of Museums in Rapidly Changing Communities.’ In appreciation of the UAE’s position and Dubai’s prominent role in the field of heritage preservation, and its advanced infrastructure in the field of designing and managing international museums, ICOM selected Dubai among the list of candidates to host the conference.


Photo: Museum of the Future in Dubai.


Dubai Economy, Dubai Tourism merge to become Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued a decision to merge Dubai Economy and Dubai Tourism into one entity under the name ‘Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism’.

His Highness also issued a decision appointing Helal Al Marri as Director General of the newly formed Department.

The move is part of a plan approved by His Highness that seeks to develop government work in Dubai and enhance its efficiency and resilience in order to keep pace with rapid changes, while ensuring the competitiveness of the business and tourism sectors in Dubai.

His Highness said: "The newly formed Department seeks to support the economic and tourism transformations taking place in the emirate. It will adopt the same competitiveness and efficiency of the private sector and work together with it on various development projects."

"Dubai’s economy has witnessed different phases of development throughout its history, which has helped shape the city’s current status as a model for economic development and a preferred destination for tourism. Today, our ambitions have grown bigger and our priorities have changed. Raising our global competitiveness requires new ways of thinking," His Highness added.

The Department is tasked with meeting seven targets to further strengthen Dubai’s leading position in tourism and economy and make it the world’s best city to live in and work, His Highness said. These include increasing the added value of the industrial sector by 150% in the next five years, expanding export markets for local products by 50% and increasing the number of tourists coming to Dubai by 40% to 25 million visitors by 2025.

The newly launched entity is also tasked with making Dubai one of the top five global cities in the main economic indicators, attracting 100,000 companies in three years as well as 400 global economic events annually by 2025. The new entity is also tasked with encouraging private and family-owned businesses to get listed on Dubai bourse.

"Our message to the Department’s team is that Dubai today is different than yesterday. The future of Dubai will depend on your performance, ideas and efforts," His Highness concluded.

The Department of Economy and Tourism will also work to promote Dubai’s competitiveness in attracting foreign investments, increase exports, support SMEs, and develop new plans for Dubai’s new economic sectors.

The new structure will support decision makers in developing policies and assessing the strategic performance of the economic sector. The ultimate goal of the restructuring is to achieve the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to create a government model that is flexible, efficient and rapid in taking decisions. The new structure will also help facilitate and reduce procedures related to the issuance of trade and tourism licenses to further promote Dubai’s competitiveness, and achieve the optimum usage of the human and financial capital.


Vilnius ranked 3rd at the annual European Capital of Innovation Awards.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, won the 3rd place at the annual European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) 2021. The city joined other finalists in The European Capital of Innovation category: Dortmund, Dublin, and Malaga. Apart from the prestigious recognition, the winner Dortmund received funding for other projects.

Held for the seventh time, the awards took place at the European Innovation Council Summit in Brussels and online on November 24-25, recognising European cities which implement and promote innovations. One of the main focuses of the awards are urban ecosystems that involve communities, the public sector, academia, and business, and boosts the wellbeing of the citizens through a range of novelties.

38 European cities applied for the awards this year. Aside from the European Capital of Innovation category, other selected finalists (Cascais, Trondheim, Vantaa) competed in the European Rising Innovative City. An independent committee of experts assessed the eligibility of the cities, having considered their efforts to develop local innovation systems, which would increase the welfare of the citizens the most. The cash prize for the most innovative capital amounted to €1M for first place and €100K for 2nd and 3rd places.

“We are very proud that Vilnius’ efforts have been recognised and that we can show an example to other European cities. In the past year, our ecosystem proved significant strength and resilience to cope with the global challenges by developing innovative solutions. Thanks to the academia, business representatives, legislators, and all the city residents who work tirelessly to improve our capital, each day Vilnius becomes a better, happier place to live,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.

Vilnius’ application to the awards included several key projects implemented last year: city’s digitization policy “Vilnius 2IN,” experimental cybersecurity initiative “Hack Me If You Can” “Intelligent Energy Lab” initiative, and other innovation development projects. The city also developed three data policies—Internet of Things, Data, and Open Data—which allowed it to carry out other innovative projects. It set the ground for the creation of three comprehensive digital maps of the city for the underground, city level, and air space.

Moreover, the city has been actively exploiting cutting edge technology such as drones since 2020. Special air routes have been mapped and an operational centre has been established to use drones for the benefit of the citizens, for instance, to observe public spaces and carry light-weight items during the pandemic.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About Go Vilnius

Go Vilnius is the official tourism and business development agency of the City of Vilnius. The agency provides visitors, meeting planners, investors, relocating talent, entrepreneurs, and businesses with all the essential information they need to know about the Lithuanian capital. Go Vilnius offers information on everything from real estate to leisure activities in Vilnius, simplifying the process of travelling, relocating to, or investing in Vilnius.

Event technology trends to increase engagement and ROI

THE THEME for this year’s IBTM World Barcelona is "New Business, New Tech, New World" and the event has been expertly designed to provide attendees with the insights and knowledge they need to recover and grow in 2022 and beyond.

We caught up with Matthew Allen, Managing Director, CrowdComms, a hybrid and virtual events platform, to learn about the latest event technology trends and planner behaviour in the marketplace ahead of his presentation at IBTM World in Barcelona.


Q1: What are the top three technology trends you’ve seen emerging in the last two years that are impacting the world of events today?

We’ve all experienced the shockwave that hit the industry over the last two years which resulted in the huge shift from in-person to virtual and hybrid events. Adaptable tech solutions have reshaped themselves to the changing event landscape and evolved into multi-faceted and flexible products.

Engaging and well-planned content has always been the backbone of successful events and is even more important now that we are seeing a high percentage of virtual attendees. Alongside that, security, sustainability, and scalability are the three top recent developments.

A fully online event holds much more content and delegate information, which needs to be protected. Understandably, clients want to be reassured that their chosen platform meets the top security requirements. Similarly, due to the increased volume of online content and the numbers of attendees needing access, being able to cope with demands of scale is a must. Finally, we’ve seen a recognition of the benefits of a virtual or hybrid model in terms of sustainability. Not only are event organisers able to choose how they wish to deliver events but they can start to take environmental impact into account.


Q2: What have been some of the more requested tools and services by event organisers, i.e., gamification, livestreaming, polling, etc.? Why do you think these have been in high demand in the post-pandemic world?

The emergence of chat to simulate more of what you would experience in a physical event capacity has been a high priority for attendees. In a remote scenario, people want to feel more connected and play a more active part in the streamed event, to make up for the lack of in-person interaction.

We all know the feeling of speaking to an audience in an online room and the hollow atmosphere that can arise through the absence of natural noise and feedback from attendees. A slick Q&A capability has become a core focus for all speakers, to allow dialogue to flow easily and create more of a buzz.

Networking has been one of the biggest challenges of virtual events. Thousands of attendees all attending alone. Lots of our clients have been looking to us to find a solution that can help them facilitate better networking and connection opportunities for attendees and sponsors. This has been an area of particular focus for our R&D team over the last 12 months and we’ll have some exciting news to share on this before the end of the year.


Q3: What are some of the tools/technologies you recommend to organisers when the goal is to increase pre, during and post event engagement?

Gamification has been a big focus across the lifecycle of virtual and hybrid events – we want to incentivise attendees to log in before the event, to complete their profiles, engage with sponsors, complete post-event surveys and more. The key is to ensure that gamification is closely tied to specific event objectives, ensuring every incentive has a purpose.

Pre-show, we advise sharing content ahead of the event, a video library for example. Give people teasers and a taste of what’s to come. It’s a great idea to open networking early and encourage people to start making connections.

During the event, the content must be at the forefront of everyone’s attention. It’s a balance between encouraging engagement and not letting it become a distraction.

Post-event tools are all about quantifying success. Using comprehensive analytics, speaker and attendee evaluations and surveys, you can gain the data needed to inform your next event. It’s always worthwhile to specify what you want the next action for your attendee to be; direct them towards on-demand content or get them excited about your next event. Whatever it may be, it needs to be purposeful and leave your attendees feeling included and valued.


To find out more about Matthew’s session, taking place on Wednesday, 1 December 2021, or to register, please click here.


CrowdComms is the official partner for this year’s IBTM World app, which attendees can download in advance to organise their diaries, navigate and curate their favourite education sessions, and get the most out of participating. Download the IBTM World 2021 app here:


Photo: Matthew Allen, Managing Director, CrowdComms.



Booking Holdings Enters Into An Agreement With CVC Capital Partners To Acquire Etraveli Group

BOOKING HOLDINGS INC. (NASDAQ: BKNG) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with funds managed by CVC Capital Partners ("CVC") to acquire global flight booking provider, Etraveli Group, for approximately €1.63 billion. Completion of the acquisition is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

Already a partner of - helping power its existing flight product - the acquisition of Etraveli Group will complement Booking Holdings’ ongoing work to build a frictionless global flights offering to deliver on the Company’s overall mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.

"As international air travel rebounds from the impact of the pandemic, we look forward to building upon our existing relationship with Etraveli Group to make the travel booking experience easier and more seamless to support our partners and customers," said Booking Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Fogel.

"Booking Holdings pioneered the travel space more than two decades ago and they continue to pave the path forward by developing solutions to create seamless travel experiences," said Mathias Hedlund, Etraveli Group’s Chief Executive Officer. "We have had a fantastic time together with our current owner CVC, establishing Etraveli Group as a global provider of attractive flight options at affordable prices. Today is a day of recognition, as well as marking a new phase in our relentless urge to improve further. We are thrilled to become a part of Booking Holdings, and we look forward to the next chapter of our own development as we continue to enhance the flight booking experience for our customers and partners worldwide."

"Mathias and his team have built a world-leading platform for selling flights. Joining the Booking Holdings family is a logical step in Etraveli’s journey. We wish them all the very best and bon voyage!" said Lorne Somerville, Chairman of Etraveli Group and a Managing Partner of CVC.

Etraveli Group will remain headquartered in Sweden and operate as an independent business under Booking Holdings, led by their current management team.


About Booking Holdings

Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG) is the world’s leading provider of online travel and related services, provided to consumers and local partners in more than 220 countries and territories through six primary consumer-facing brands:, Priceline, Agoda,, KAYAK and OpenTable. The mission of Booking Holdings is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @BookingHoldings.


About Etraveli Group

Etraveli Group was founded in 2000 and is a global technology provider for Flights focused on offering the best possible flight content delivered through flexible tech solutions to the consumer and any company facing the consumer. Through our own consumer brands like Gotogate, Mytrip, Flightnetwork and through our global partnerships with the likes of Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, and others we provide search, book and fulfilment services of Flights and related products. The Group also operates the airline integration company TripStack. The company has nearly 1000 employees and its headquarters are located in Sweden with offices also in Athens, Toronto and several cities in India.


About CVC Capital Partners

CVC is a leading private equity and investment advisory firm with a network of 25 offices throughout Europe, Asia and the US, with approximately US$125 billion of assets under management. Since its founding in 1981, CVC has secured commitments in excess of US$165 billion from some of the world’s leading institutional investors across its private equity and credit strategies. Funds managed or advised by CVC are invested in more than 100 companies worldwide, which have combined annual sales of over US$100 billion and employ more than 450,000 people. For further information about CVC please visit:


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SOURCE Booking Holdings Inc.


About Etraveli Group

Etraveli Group is a leading global technology provider for Flights focused on offering the best possible flight content delivered through flexible tech solutions to the consumer and any company facing the consumer. Through our own consumer brands like Gotogate, Mytrip, Flightnetwork and through our global partnerships with the likes of Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, and others we provide search, book and fulfilment services of Flights and related products. The Group also operates the airline integration company TripStack and the leading price comparison site in Sweden; The headquarters are located in Uppsala, and the group also has offices in Athens, Toronto, Stockholm, Gothenburg, several cities in India and Buenos Aires, as well as outsourced operations in India and China. Since 2017, private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners owns Etraveli Group.