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ECM Summer School 2018 graduated 62 students from 3 continents in Thessaloniki.

The second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki, hosted the 32nd edition of the ECM Summer School on August 25-29, 2018, providing evidence of the importance of education to face the continuing changes of the Meetings Industry.

Ongoing education in the Meetings Industry is success factor for future business

Its a vital task for top management in each organisation, whether it is a Convention Bureau (CVB), tourist board, congress centre, airline, hotel, DMC, PCO or meeting planner, to train every employee continuously.

"With the rapid pace at which the world is evolving, it is crucial that organizations provide ongoing training for employees and discuss initiatives and global issues that face our industry." said Jake Buchheit, Sales Coordinator at Visit KC (USA) and student during the last ECM Summer School.

"The ECM Summer School is the first step of this ongoing journey. This year, the 32nd edition continued to inspire 62 students from 18 countries on 3 continents lead by 15 Faculty members. The set-up of the event enabled once again maximum interaction between students and our experienced meetingsprofessionals, challenged in plenary sessions, group work, networking or socializing." said Pier Paolo Mariotti, Meeting Manager at EURAC Research, Course director of the ECM Summer School since 2011, and ECM Vice-President for the Meetings Industry.

The faculty are all members/partners of ECM and gave their time on a voluntary basis - a way of giving back to the meetings industry: Lone Alletorp Callard (Wonderful Copenhagen), Elif Balci Fisunoglu (ICCA), Nalan Emre (IMEX Group), Sam Johnston (Dublin Convention Bureau), Cain Leathem (GB Fitness), Nicola McGrane (IAPCO), Christian Mutschlechner (Vienna Convention Bureau), Miguel Neves (Social Media Chefs), Colleen Phalen (Destinations International), Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis (Aristotle UniversityThessaloniki), Mathias Sondermann (SAP), Anja Stas (FMCCA), Daniel Waigl (CIRSE) and Kerstin Wünsch (tagungswirtschaft) led by the course director Pier Paolo Mariotti, CMP CMM (EURAC Research).

New to the faculty this year were Elif Balci Fisunoglu, Regional Director for Europe at ICCA, whose role was to present the ICCA Association Database, Sam Johnston, Manager of Dublin Convention Bureau explained how to find clients and which tools help and the importance of fam trips and site inspections, and Mathias Sondermann, Senior Director Head of Technology & LoB Events at SAP who spoke about RFP and decision-making process of corporate clients.

"I learned a great deal about the MICE-sector and have now better insights on how to prepare for bids and RFPs. I had the opportunity to ask questions to experienced faculty and to peers. Discussing dilemmas and difficulties that we encounter during our daily job, sharing ideas and solutions. And most of all it was an amazing and valuable networking experience!" said Sophie Fransen, Project Assistant at Event Masters in Belgium and student during the ECM Summer School in Thessaloniki.

The ECM Summer School is extending its scope with students from 3 continents

As a result of the partnership with Destinations International (to develop joint opportunities to promote and deliver key research and educational resources to respective members), the ECM Summer School 2018 welcomed 5 students from ECMs American counterpart along with a faculty member [Colleen Phalen, Executive Vice President Programme & Management - Ed.].

This years ECM Summer School was also the occasion to welcome 5 students from South Africa following the successful ECM Academy held in Johannesburg in 2016.

"I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity. It gave me insight into best-practices shared amongst my European colleagues, allowed for the opportunity of networking and for the ability to put together the puzzle pieces being new to the industry. It was an excellent platform to learn about challenges faced (some which are not unique to our country), and to create contacts and share our stories. All part of the vision to #meet #share #grow. This experience was life impacting for someone like me coming from the Behavioural Sciences background. I now believe that the I have a bigger role to play by influencing the mindsets of people toward creating more awareness and inevitably increasing sales in the business events industry." said Veruschka Rugbeer, Sales Officer at South African Tourism and student during this years ECM Summer School.

"ECM Summer School is a one in a lifetime opportunity - not only to widen your knowledge but also to meet so many great people from the meetings industry all around the world. Everyone should take their chance and attend the next Summer School - you wont regret it!" said Rahel Bätschmann, Project Manager Convention Bureau at Zürich Tourism and student during the 32nd ECM Summer School.

Thessaloniki is one of the cities, globally, with the greatest potential for attracting conferences and international events. "The city has the holistic city marketing approach that maintains the balance between the three critical players: locals, leisure tourists and business travellers, as well as a strong focus on networking with other European cities." concluded Spiros Pengas, Deputy Mayor of Tourism & International Relations of the City of Thessaloniki.

The ECM Summer School qualifies for CMP certification and every student getting an ECM Summer School diploma also gets 17.75 Clock Hours for their overall CMP certification.

Registration for the 33rd ECM Summer School will open at the beginning of 2019.