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150 new luxury hotels
opened in Greece in 2018.
New job
ICCA Board of Directors
selects Senthil Gopinath as incoming CEO.
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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.
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Why doing business in Asia
takes more than a single brush strategy.
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Board of Governors approves
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150 new luxury hotels opened in Greece in 2018

International luxury chain or brand hotels expanded in Greece by 15 percent in 2018 in terms of rooms and 12.1 percent in terms of beds, according to an annual study by Horwath HTL titled "European Chains & Hotels Report 2019" released on March 4.

A total of 150 new luxury hotels opened in Greece in 2018, bringing the total of five-star hotels to 550 and of four-star hotels to 1,581. Both categories hold a 21.6 pct share in the hotel market of Greece, which was included in the report for the first time.

In addition, the report noted that Hotel Groups, Family Groups and Brands controlled an 8-pct share in the total Greek market and a 12-pct share in beds.

 

Photo: Thomas Cook has opened its new adults-only Sunprime Pearl Beach hotel on Kos.

 

ICCA Board of Directors selects Senthil Gopinath as incoming CEO

ICCA’s Board of Directors has selected Senthil Gopinath to serve as the organisation’s new CEO. As per ICCA by-laws, the Board made the selection in a closed-vote process, with Gopinath winning by majority vote. He will begin the new role in April 2019.

“Senthil brings the qualities that we most need in a leader at this juncture,” said James Rees, ICCA President and Executive Director of ExCeL London.

“Throughout his career, he has demonstrated not only that he can establish a vision, but also chart the tactical path to reach that vision, always working from a solid foundation of operational and financial expertise.”

Gopinath’s career in the meetings travel industry spans more than 20 years, with 18 years spent working within ICCA member organisations. He joined the ICCA team in 2016 as Regional Director of ICCA Middle East (ME). In that role, he has forged new relationships with regional governments and industry partners, and grown ICCA ME membership by more than 80 percent.

The Board noted several career accomplishments as key to their consideration of Gopinath during the candidate review process, including:

Dramatically elevating MICE operations for Emirates Group as its head of business development and operations, making the division one of the largest and most profitable in the region;

Re-structuring and re-strategising the business model of VFS Global a part of Kuoni Travel Group. As Vice president – South Asia of VFS Global, growing annual profits exponentially over 60% growth in two years;

Creating an innovative private-public partnership model for the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau as its general manager and CEO, increasing business tourism by 78 percent and driving a 64 percent increase in revenue;

Being named one of three finalists for the 2019 Business Event Strategist of the Year award from the Professional Convention Management Association, with the winner to be announced in May.

Gopinath’s selection marked the end of a process that began in October 2018 and drew more than 100 applicants for the position. Finalists were screened through extensive interviews as well as an objective, psychometric evaluation of work styles and strengths using a leading industry instrument. The Board was assisted in the search process by Brussels-based European Affairs Recruitment Specialists (EARS), which was retained for the task in October.

Gopinath’s immediate responsibilities will include developing and executing annual business plans, ensuring operational sustainability and careful financial controls, and building ICCA’s global membership and presence with a special focus on developing member services adapted to each of ICCA’s key regions. He will work from ICCA Head Office in Amsterdam and report to the President and Board of Directors.

Senthil Gopinath said: “I am truly honoured to be appointed for such a prestigious position in one of the global meetings industry’s leading organisations. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the President and Board of Directors of ICCA in placing their confidence in me. ICCA has been a family to me for over two decades. I have always cherished my involvement with ICCA and now being at the helm will enable me to listen more closely to our members and key stakeholders, and service them in a more enhanced manner, making ICCA more relevant to the global membership. Together with the ICCA team, we will work on the transformation of ICCA.”

ICCA President James Rees added: “I am delighted that ICCA is now in a position to move forward with its new CEO Senthil Gopinath. However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Interim CEO Dennis Speet for his incredible work over the past ten months to help the Board of Directors lay firm foundations for ICCA’s future growth.”

Photo: ICCA President James Rees and new ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath

Calgary’s BMO Convention and Trade Centre set for expansion

Funding has been approved for a $500 million expansion that will double the size of Calgary’s BMO Centre to almost one million square feet, transforming it into Canadas second-largest facility, creating new spaces for conferences, meetings, exhibitions and consumer shows, allowing BMO Centre to host larger conventions and events, boosting spin-off benefits for local businesses.

“Tourism and trade show facilities like the BMO Centre play a huge role in supporting our local economies,” said the Right Honourable François-Phillipe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “This project will create a landmark attraction that will attract tourists and strengthen Calgary’s economy for years to come.”

In a recent interview with the Calgary Herald, mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi noted that the city has had to turn away between 11 and 14 bid opportunities for Tier-1 size conferences each year. This expansion will provide the infrastructure the city needs to bid on those significant events, “The idea here now is that the Telus Convention Centre and this facility will be working in conjunction to attract bigger conventions, and that is a real important part of our economic development strategy and building our tourism business.”

With funding in place, construction on the BMO Centre expansion will begin almost immediately and will be phased in over the next five years.  The Government of Canada is contributing up to $166.6 million to this project through the New Building Canada Fund, while the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are each providing $166.6 million through the extension of the Calgary Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy. The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. has previously committed $3.9 million.

Once open, the expanded BMO Convention and Trade Centre is expected to generate an annual economic benefit of $267 million, which includes $223 million in Alberta.

“This is a significant investment that will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Nenshi. “An expanded convention centre is a key part of Calgarys plans for downtown. Not only will this investment in the BMO Centre create jobs, this project is an opportunity to boost Calgary’s travel and tourism sector and our overall economy.”

 

Berlin 2018 Event Impact Report: Big benefits to host city

A report analysing the event impact of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships which European Athletics commissioned the Swiss company Rütter Soceco AG and the University of Applied Sciences in Lucerne to conduct, has shown considerable benefits accrued by the German capital as a result of staging the championships.

The economic analysis shows that Berlin 2018 - co-host of the inaugural multi-sport European Championships in August last year - added €144 million in turnover to the German economy and these effects corresponded to creating 1000 additional full-time jobs in Berlin and more than 300 more elsewhere in Germany.

In addition, a tax income of approximately €11 million was gained by the public authorities in Germany.

Part of the revenue came from the fact that spectators and visitors had almost 270,000 overnight stays in hotels and other accommodation that were directly related to Berlin 2018.

The economic effects were also felt beyond the German borders. A total of 1359 hours of live, replay and highlight TV content was shown across Europe from a week before the event until two weeks after the event had ended on 12 August.

Berlin 2018 was the co-host of the European Championships with Scottish city Glasgow, which staged the six other sports between 2-12 August.

Considering other media formats as well, including newspapers, magazines, radio and online, the report concluded that Berlin 2018 generated an equivalent advertising value of approximately €91.5 million.

In addition to the immediate financial benefits from the championships, there are expected to be significant long-term returns.

The report shows that 98% of visitors to the German capital from outside Germany would recommend a trip to Berlin to their family and friends and spectator satisfaction for Berlin 2018 was rated at 97%: 72% very satisfied, 25% satisfied. Analysis of the athletes themselves and delegations from Member Federations also gave very high satisfaction ratings, above 95%, for almost every category of the championships.

In the five years leading up to Berlin 2018, youth athletics club memberships and associated registrations increased by 30%. The city of Berlin, in cooperation with regional athletics clubs and the organising committee, actively used the momentum of the event to increase athletics participation.

In the Berlin Olympic Stadium itself, European Athletics and local organisers’ sustainability aims were met. Although championships generated 35 tonnes of waste, 98% was converted to refuse-derived fuel.

“The details contained in this report come as no surprise because, I said at the time that it was the best European Athletics Championships ever. Nevertheless, it is gratifying to have the impression we had at European Athletics reinforced and see the numbers in front of our eyes,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.

“The economic impact, in particular, should encourage existing and future bidders for European Athletics competitions of the benefits that staging our events can bring to host cities. However, issues such as the social impact and sustainability are also very important in this report and are a blueprint for how other competitions can bring significant advantages to their surrounding communities.

“This very positive report comes in the wake of event impact reports of other recent European Athletics competitions, such as the one conducted after the Grosseto 2017 European Athletics U20 Championships.

“A host city for a European Athletics competition does not need to a major European capital such as Berlin, it can be a provincial town; but if the local organisers can deliver an event with efficiency and combine that with creativity and imagination – as Berlin did so well – then the benefits are there for all to see and enjoy.

“What this report also shows, even factoring in Berlin’s excellent organisation and delivery of a magnificent championships, is that athletics remains an attractive and exciting sport to a very wide audience,” added Hansen.

Christian Mutschlechner joins Congrex Switzerland’s Board of Directors

Congrex Switzerland extends its board of directors and welcomes Christian Mutschlechner, former director of the Vienna Convention Bureau, as their newest member of the governing board.

“We are extremely happy to have found the ideal person to extend our governing board with Christian Mutschlechner. He is one of the most well known persons with influence in our industry and his contribution to the meetings industry has been invaluable. We trust that his vast experience will help our company to continue our success story and to reach our ambitious goals”, says Julia Bicher, Managing Director.

 

Why did you decide to join Congrex Switzerland’s Board of Directors?

"When acting board members contacted me and asked if I would be willing to bring in my long-standing experience in the industry I immediately agreed for three reasons: One as a board member I am part of the overall strategic development of Congrex Switzerland and by that not involved in the day-to-day business but providing strategic thinking and help. Number two was more a sentimental one. I started my career in the meetings industry as a PCO and it is a nice moment to come back to my initial roots but on a different level. Finally, Congrex Switzerland is known for its high quality service level. This absolutely matches my personal attitude, because in a service industry the clients should be in the centre of attention."

 

What does your new role involve?

"First of all, I can help the other board members to better understand the meetings industry and how this business changes, basically every day. Secondly, do what a member of a board of directors needs to do, control, advise and sometimes help the leadership of the company."

Will you still have enough time to enjoy your retirement?

"Definitely, I will take the job as a board member seriously but it is not a salary based activity, so this gives me a lot of time helping friends in the industry but also to enjoy more free time now."

 

You have achieved nearly everything possible in the meetings industry; do you have any additional goals?

"What you achieve is the result of what you have done before. I was always fascinated how the meetings industry is changing every day – and that will not stop. Therefore, my intention is still being part of the change and wherever possible help and advise the players (clients or partner who deliver services) in order to create the best possible experience for the participants."

 

QODE to crack innovation trends

Some of the brightest minds in technology and innovation will soon come together in Brisbane for the inaugural two-day innovation conference – QODE.

Taking place from 2-3 April, QODE will form part of Curiocity Brisbane, a new event developed by Brisbane Marketing and Tourism and Events Queensland that also includes World Science Festival Brisbane and at trail of interactive, public art installations called Curiocities.

QODE’s program features presentations from more than 20 Australian and international experts – some appearing in Australia for the first time – on the technology trends sweeping the world.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn and Energy Queensland CEO David Smales will feature at the event with Queensland’s chief entrepreneur Leanne Kemp, Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer Cat Matson and renowned Israeli futurist Roey Tzezana.

 

QODE Day One:

• Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Smart Robotics: global experts will examine the impact and issues raised by the technology including the future of work and ethics.

• Spotlight on the Queensland AI/Smart Robotics startup ecosystem and a look at an industry set to be revolutionised by a convergence of new technologies: transport.

• Globally recognised researchers and futurists will unpack what humanity, society and global economy may look like, covering AI, quantum computing, biology and digital media.

 

QODE Day Two:

• Studies of emerging and established industries, and the opportunities, challenges and threats that new digital technologies are presenting.

• Spotlight on Queensland’s vibrant startup sectors: MedTech, Augmented/Virtual Reality, AgTech and Digital Travel/Tourism.

• Senior executives from established industries in Telecommunications, Energy, Mining and Financial services speak on how their companies and industries are introducing innovation to embrace opportunities and meet challenges.

 

View the full program here.

 

Delegate offer

Brisbane Marketing is pleased to extend a 15% discount on the following QODE tickets:

• A QODE Red gives access to the full two-day conference program, the exhibition floor with 150+ exhibitors and the workshop/ seminar program. Use the code QODEBM15 when booking online.

• A QODE Black give access to the exhibition floor and the workshop/seminar program. Use the code BMBLACK when booking online.

 

Learn more at: qodebrisbane.com/tickets/ qodebrisbane.com.