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Milan wins 2019 Lions Convention, expecting 25,000 delegates
The Lions Clubs International, with its 1.3 million members, has decided to hold its annual convention in Italy. In its nearly 100 years as an organization, the Lions Club has chosen only 3 destinations in Europe for its Convention – Hamburg (Germany), Birmingham (UK) and Nice (France). This will be the first time to host the event in Italy. Last week in San Diego, the city of Milan was selected for the 2019 event over Boston (USA), Calgary (Canada), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Singapore.

From the very beginning, the work on the bid to host the Lions Club Convention, was a team effort involving Fiera Milano Congressi - the official bidder and manager of the convention centre MiCo, that will host the convention; Lions Club Italia - the organization’s local chapter in Italy; and AIM Group International - which will be the official PCO of the event, that gave technical advice and support in the design and presentation of the successful bid. The convention will be held in July 2019, bringing to Milan 25.000 people, including delegates and their guests, for 4 days. The Lions Club estimates that this convention will generate about 60 million euro revenue for the destination.

“We submitted a bid for the 2018 convention, but we lost to Las Vegas, which boasted a more competitive offer for hotel rates, but we never gave up!” says Marica Motta, Sales Operations Coordinator at AIM Group International. Marica Motta has worked on the project for two years. “For the Lions Club Convention, the bid had three main pillars: six thousand hotel rooms in the least possible number of hotels, with rates already agreed upon, plus transportation plan and additional destination support for 25.000 people visiting the city.”

To meet the accommodation needs, the Fiera Milano Congressi conducted discussions with hotelier associations, which have guaranteed an initial six thousand rooms in 45 hotels in three different categories. AIM Group International devised a transportation plan with a partner that can cover the complicated logistics and for the third point the Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, ensured the visiting delegation the availability of the historic centre for the Lions Club famous two Kilometer Parade and benefits for the participants, including public transportation and entrance to museums and other attractions in the city.

"Milan won for many reasons," said Henry Pons, President of the Italian Chapter of the Lions Club, “One large influence was the number of members in Italy, 44 thousand, as opposed to 9 thousand in Singapore. Milan also has a good accessibility by air and rail, and most importantly, the convention centre is almost in the centre of the city. The decisive factor was the intervention of Mayor Giuliano Pisapia, who welcomed with honours the inspection delegation, which spent three days in Milan looking at routes for the parade, visiting hotels, and reviewing sightseeing programs”.

“The candidacy of Singapore was very strong, because their local chapter offered a substantial economic support, but Milan acquired the event because the visiting delegation perceived the great team work done by the bid team and all the stakeholders involved " continues Marica Motta who, together with her team, went to the 2013 Lions Convention in Hamburg, to personally understand the characteristics and criteria of the event. “It was the personal relations created during the site inspection that was instrumental in building a feeling of trust.”

The 25.000 Lions will benefit directly from all the attractions Milan has to offer: shopping, restaurants, museums, and cultural life. Traditionally, additional tours to other Italian destinations will be organized for delegates and their guests after the convention, offering business to other parts of Italy.

Photo: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, iStockPhoto.