business intelligence
Europe’s urban tourism destinations
move to promote urban entrepreneurship.
– The Best Travel Management Company in the Nordics.
Nordic Choice Hotels
wins big in Helsinki.
business intelligence
Tourism Australia
announces multi-million dollar bid fund.
food and meetings
Heston Blumenthal
to open Dubai restaurant in 2019.
business intelligence
Intensifies Partnership At IT&CM China With 100% Pavilion Increase.
business intelligence
The Airbnb for creative meeting spaces
is coming to Sweden.
events creates meetings
CWT Meetings & Events
awarded World Figure Skating Championships 2018.
hotel News
Hilton returns to Copenhagen
with quayside location for new upscale hotel
Europe’s urban tourism destinations move to promote urban entrepreneurship

At the European Cities Marketing (ECM) Spring Meeting in Reykjavík, ECM followed the footsteps of the best of Jedi knights, looking towards the dark side to leverage and learn from a mindset that ignites innovation and disruption. Industry thought leaders challenged a record number of 179 delegates from European cities, while ideas and insights were shared on how DMOs all over Europe are morphing their business models, forming new partnerships out of the touristic marketing box and hacking innovative new solutions to problems which they all face.

"Even though there is not a fixed template for innovating the city, it is clear that many of Europes prominent urban destinations are looking beyond the bednights growths and working with new models of manifesting their cities with culture and urban entrepreneurships." said Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, European Cities Marketings President

London and Paris have set up incubator environments hosting a diverse range of start-ups and travel tech entrepreneurs to promote future job creation and growth. Also, the start-uppers are matched with more established players of the local travel economy for the ideation and projectizing of challenges and new ventures.

Mastercard is one of the big players in the urban travel industry, that sees the convergence of travel tech and financial tech, and benefits from a close cooperation with London Travel Tech Hub.

Cities such as Leeds and Gothenburg are working with broader cultural projects striving to leverage public co-creation in the citys cultural life and celebrations

Copenhagen and Berlin are engaging with hackathons and sprints as new methodologies useful for engaging with communities and partners over specific challenges such as how to spread tourism throughout the city.

Speaking about the meeting, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, European Cities Marketings President, said: "Many DMOs have already recognised the need to disrupt their classic role and function beyond their tasks of city marketing, the meetings industry or tourism. DMOs tend to be the cities official marketing agencies, emphasizing the need for the DMO to add the destination management function as a core task. Yet, more and more DMOs are looking beyond management to leadership, taking on a new mission of leading their destination towards urban innovation, facilitating change and expanding horizons towards new value creation for the city and the many stakeholders of the visitor economy. Thanks to the inspiring presentations and the exchanges between ECM members, we have been able to see how to drive the innovative change that is reshaping the future of travel and urban space."

The seminar was coordinated and moderated by Peter Rømer Hansen, Founder and CEO of Rømer Agency.

The next ECM meeting will for the first time be an International Conference, and will take place in Malmö, Sweden, on June 13-16, 2018. The general idea developed will be "dont ask what your city can do for tourism, but what tourism can do for your city!" More information and registration will be available soon on


Photo: Malmö Live, biggest congress and koncert hall in southern Sweden.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation improving the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of members from more than 100 major cities in 38 countries.


HRG – The Best Travel Management Company in the Nordics

HRG Nordic is the proud winner of the Best Travel Management Company in the Nordics during the Business Travel Awards Nordic.

During the NBTA Nordic Business Travel Awards 2018, March 15, in Helsinki, when the best travel suppliers in the Nordic region were announced, HRG won the title The Best Travel Management Company in the Nordics in competition with CWT and BCD who also were selected as two of the top three TMC’s in the region.

The survey on which the nominations were based was conducted by the Nordic Bench research institute in collaboration with the four Nordic Business Travel Associations (SBTA, FBTA, DBTA and NBTA), and the appointment is based on the Nordic largest companies, which are also members of the four Nordic business travel associations. This means that both clients and prospects have named HRG as the Best Travel Management Company in the Nordics.


Photo: This year the event took place at Clarion Hotel Helsinki. Lasse Kauppi, Senior Business Analyst, and Annikki Piispa, Head of Operations Finland, together with our New Sales Team and Client Management, were proud to accept the price on behalf of HRG.

Nordic Choice Hotels wins big in Helsinki

At last night’s Business Travel Awards in Helsinki, Nordic Choice Hotels won two of the most prestigious awards. Clarion Hotel was awarded Best Hotel Chain in the Nordics, and Nordic Choice Hotels won the prize for Best Sales Organization.

Last night, proud Nordic Choice Hotels employees entered the stage to receive awards for Best Hotel Chain in the Nordics and Best Sales Organization. The Business Travel Awards were handed out during the yearly Nordic Business Travel Summit.

"I am bursting with pride. I am proud of what we can offer our guests, and proud of our coworkers. At all times, we strive to take care of our guests and make sure that their stay with us exceeds their high expectations. The awards we received last night are evidence that we are doing something right. This will give us a huge boost that will motivate us to further develop our organization and continue to give our guests experiences that last long after they’ve checked out", says Petter A. Stordalen, founder of Nordic Choice Hotels.

In addition to representatives from the hotels, the sales department at Nordic Choice Hotels was also present in Helsinki.

"This is immensely important for my team and I. During the last few years, we have gone to great measures to bring our sales work closer to our customers and have focused on sustainability as our most important advantage. By all standards, we have amazing hotels that we are very proud of, but in our dialogue with the customer we want to especially highlight the positive work that we are doing on sustainability along with our guests. Every time you stay or go to a meeting at one of our hotels, you are actually contributing to make the world a little bit better. The victory in Helsinki is evidence that our strategy has been right", says Anant Vithlani, Vice President of Sales at Nordic Choice Hotels.

Nordic Business Travel Award is a cooperation between the four business traveller organizations DBTA, FBTA, NBTA and SBTA.

Tourism Australia announces multi-million dollar bid fund

Australia’s multi-billion dollar business events industry has received a huge boost with the creation of a national bid fund, making $12 million available over the next three years to support bids for new, high-value international incentive, association, and exhibition events.

Tourism Australia already supports the Australian business events industry through its marketing communications and distribution development activities, including the Advance Program which supports delegate acquisition activities for existing international business events taking place in Australia.

From 1 July 2018, Tourism Australia will extend its existing support of the Australian business events industry through the Business Events Bid Fund Program (BFP), which provides assistance to secure new international business events for Australia.

The establishment of the new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund Program was announced by the Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Steven Ciobo MP during a keynote address at this year’s Destination Australia Conference in Melbourne.

“The Turnbull Coalition Government is focused on growing the lucrative business events sector,” Minister Ciobo said

“Business events travellers are high yielding, spending on average twice as much as a leisure visitor, often extending their visit to regional parts of Australia and returning for a holiday in the future; making them crucial to the broader Australian economy.”

“In the increasingly competitive global world of business events, we recognise that more needs to be done to ensure that Australia maintains a competitive edge against other international destinations.

“Australia’s natural beauty, safety and stability and friendliness provides the perfect base to build a thriving business events sector.

“I am confident that this new bid fund will help ensure Australia remains top of the pack in terms of consideration for international incentive and association events,” Minister Ciobo said.

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director Tourism Australia said that being able to offer financial incentives to help convert bids of national significance into confirmed business would allow Australia to compete more aggressively with the many destinations that already operated national bid funds.

“More and more destinations across the world are operating national bid funds. Australia risks losing market share to our competitors if our business events industry is not able to compete on a level playing field. That’s why the new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund Program is a game-changer, allowing us to grow our competitive advantage in this critical and lucrative segment of the visitor economy,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Managed by Tourism Australia’s business events unit, Business Events Australia, the program is designed to increase conversion of business for Australia by offering financial support at the critical bidding stage of new international business events. Funds will only be provided for qualified international business events once the event is confirmed and contracted for Australia.

Penny Lion, Executive General Manager Events Tourism Australia said, “The Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund provides yet another reason for international business events decision makers to choose Australia. It will deliver increased consideration for our country and provide new opportunities for our industry.”

The new bid fund will support expenditure on goods & services that assist in the delivery of events, for example accommodation or venue hire costs.

A prospectus for the new bid program is available online at and outlines the mandatory eligibility criteria required to make a submission as well as a checklist and full terms and conditions.

Applications for the new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund can be submitted via from 1 May 2018, with access to the funds for successful applications available from 1 July 2018.


Photo: Sydney ICC - home of many meetings in Australia.

Heston Blumenthal to open Dubai restaurant in 2019

World-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal will open a restaurant in the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in 2019, it was announced on Monday, accordning to Arabian Business Newsletter.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is the first named restaurant to open within the property and will be the third outpost of the culinary concept developed by the Michelin-star chef after London and Melbourne.

The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will offer 231 luxury apartments comprised of two, three, four and five-bedroom residences including Skycourts, Penthouses and Garden Suites, ranging from 1,400 to 17,000 square feet as well as 795 rooms and suites.

Located on the crescent of The Palm next to the iconic Atlantis, The Palm resort, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will be located in the heart of the resort and will include a dedicated bar, two outside terraces and a private dining room.

The restaurant will offer contemporary dishes inspired by historic gastronomic recipes dating back to the 1300’s.

“I am truly excited about opening in this incredible location. It is not often that an opportunity in such a perfect space comes along. The backdrop is outstanding and the views of the Dubai skyline over the Gulf are quite unique," said Blumenthal.

He said the idea behind Dinner stems from his fascination with history and gastronomy, which was triggered in the late 90s after reading a 15-century manuscript known as The Vivendier.

Dinner, which offers highly modern dishes inspired by a gastronomic insight from Medieval to Victorian, won 2 Michelin stars in 2012.

Serge Zaalof, chief operating officer for Atlantis Resorts & Residences said: “Similar to Atlantis, The Palm, the superb culinary offering at The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will lie at the property’s heart. This is the first of many exciting culinary introductions and we look forward to wowing our guests and residents with what is sure to be one of the most talked about restaurants in the region.

"We look forward to working with Heston and the team on this exciting launch."¨

Photo: Heston Blumenthal and Ashley Palmer Watts, executive chef of Dinner by Heston.

Argentina Intensifies Partnership At IT&CM China 2018 With 100% Pavilion Increase

Destination Argentina, fronted by the National Institute of Tourism Promotion, Argentina (Inprotur), returns to IT&CM China 2018 for their 2nd consecutive year, determined to anchor their brand onto China’s map. Participating at twice the size plus an Associations Day Destination Presentation, Hosted Networking Dinner on 21 March, and a post-event FAM trip in September, Argentina is one of the destinations to look out for in this year’s exciting exhibitor line-up.

Elaborating on the importance of IT&CM China and the decision to return, Emora Franco, Meeting Industry Coordination, Inprotur, “China has been defined as one of the seventeen prioritised markets by our National Institute of Tourism Promotion. We were extremely well-received and had a very successful participation last year. We met more buyers and decision-makers than expected, prompting our renewed efforts to return with more destinations and companies in tow.”

Argentina will conduct a Destination Presentation on 21 March during the events’ dedicated 2-day Associations programme, showcasing meeting destinations and the subventions available for organisers. Their engagement efforts continue at the hosted buyer networking dinner on 21 March at the brand-new Courtyard Marriott Changfeng Park, and a Spring Fam trip for selected Chinese Mice buyers later in the year.

On taking on these platforms to elevate Brand Argentina at IT&CM China, Franco added, “Private events like our luncheon in 2017 have been a good way to establish meaningful relationships and make new contacts, getting to know what buyers really want while focused on our destination. We also believe that the best way to experience a far-away destination is by seeing it for yourself. Spring in September is a great time to discover the great variety of landscapes, climates and unique venues for events that Argentina has to offer.”

According to ICCA statistics, Argentina ranks as one of the top 20 most popular countries for association meetings with more than 180 international congresses under its belt. Its capital, Buenos Aires, commands the number one spot for a meetings destination in the Americas for eight consecutive years. The country has also been developing its tourism infrastructure exponentially, stimulating investment and massive potential in business and leisure travel.

Culturally diverse, Argentina has six tourism regions that combine Latin American spirit with European legacy, 48 destinations suitable for hosting international events, and over 30 Convention & Visitors Bureaux. It also receives more than 800 international flights weekly from 50 destinations across 5 continents.

Franco reinforced, “Argentina is a destination of excellence coupled with affordability within the Latin America region. For overseas tourists, we waive the 21% VAT usually charged on accommodation, breakfast included, if it is part of the cost of lodging. As of 2016, Chinese tourists are exempted from requiring visas to travel to Argentina if they hold valid visas for Europe or the United States of America, further boosting connectivity and breaking down barriers to entry. All the more reason to make Argentina the next destination of choice.”

This year, the city of Buenos Aires will be represented by the Tourism Board at IT&CM China 2018. Aerolíneas Argentinas, the destinations’ largest airline and national flag carrier, will also be joining the Argentinean entourage on the show floor.

A major commercial, financial & political centre in Latin America, Buenos Aires is an important business meeting point served by unique heritage, affordable yet modern world-class amenities and services, excellent global connections, and experience in hosting major events – seeing that a third of Argentina’s business conventions and exhibitions, fairs, and festivals are held in Buenos Aires. International events such as the G20 Summit, the WTTC Global Summit, the Youth Olympic Games, FDI World Dental Congress, and countless more, are slated to take place in Argentina this year.

IT&CM China 2018 will be held from 20 – 22 March in Shanghai. To explore how you can make the most out of the exhibition, sponsorship, and networking opportunities at IT&CM China, contact us at

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About Argentina - National Institute of Tourism Promotion

Inprotur belongs to the Argentina’s Ministry of Tourism and it is your first point of contact for planning your meeting in Argentina. Our 48 meeting destinations await you with cultural and natural diversity, outstanding landscapes, international flight connections, unique hospitality and professionals prepared to make your event a success.

Find us at


About IT&CMA China 2018

The Leading International MICE Event in China

IT&CM China 2018 will be held from March 20 to 22 at Shanghai Exhibition & Convention Center of International Sourcing. This is the 12th instalment of the international MICE event that seeks to “Promote China to the World and the World to China”. The 2018 event expects an attendance of 3,000 MICE professionals from sectors including DMCs, PCOs, corporate travel and associations, some 400 hosted delegates, over 14,000 business appointments as well as over 75 business, education and networking sessions.





It has the support of Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA), Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Industries Association (SCEIA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), China Business Event Federation (CBEF), International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), Korea MICE Association, Philippine Council of Association and Association Executives (PCAAE), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), and World PCO Alliance.


Co-located with CTW China as China’s Only Doublebill Event In MICE and Corporate Travel, IT&CM China is part of the IT&CM Events series by TTG Events, a business group of TTG Asia Media. This event is co-organised by CITS International M.I.C.E. - a wholly-owned subsidiary of CITS (China International Travel Service), and MP International.