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MCI middle East and Zahara Tours
join forces to bring association events to Oman.
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ibtm world pre-matched appointments
reach new high ahead of 30th anniversary edition.
Meeting Industry
Convene Hosted Buyer Programme
Reaches All-Time High.
Award winner
Gothenburg ranks number one
among sustainable and innovative cities.
association meetings
Inaugural Winners
of Incredible Impacts Grants Announced.

Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde
dominate the West African hotel pipeline with 77% of the total planned hotel rooms.
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MCI middle East and Zahara Tours join forces to bring association events to Oman

MCI Middle East announces a new strategic partnership with Zahara Tours in the Sultanate of Oman and have now launched MCI Oman. The partnership reaffirms MCI’s strategy of growing the Middle East and driving the meetings industry forward in its emerging markets.

With 130+ associations based in Oman, the country has the opportunity to host large international conferences and conventions over the coming years. MCI’s goal is to support the market and assist with the development of the local meetings industry which in turn will attract regional and international meetings to the region.

With MCI’s global expertise and Zahara’s local knowledge, the partnership will design innovative programs and products to help enhance the experience of conducting meetings in Oman. The aim of the partnership is to support and be part of the fabric of Oman’s vision and goals and help drive strategic and economic benefits into the country. Co-creating and developing the meetings industry aligns with Vision 2040 of Oman.

Ajay Bhojwani, Managing Director MCI Middle East said: “Oman is one of the newest and most exciting markets in our region and it has all the hallmarks of being a great business meetings destination. Currently 8% percent of our events are held in Oman. Given the opportunity platform, this joint venture will help us consolidate our presence in the Middle East and also grow our presence and influence in the market. We are certain that our presence will help drive more events to Oman, elevate the level of the industry and generate the added interest from our international clients. MCI is proud to be the Meetings Partner of Zahara Tours.”

Khalid Bin Al Waleed Al Zidjali, Head of Oman Convention Bureau, said: “The ministry through Oman Convention Bureau, is making notable endeavors to develop the MICE sector in Oman and attract global investments. The launch of MCI in Oman is a fruitful result of enormous efforts made by MoT. MCI is one of the most prominent companies regionally and internationally, and we are sure that it will help attract many major events into Oman.”

Mr. Gautam Broota, CEO Zahara Tours, said: “We share the positive outlook of MCI with our partnership. We stay committed to Oman’s vision and looking forward to be a significant contributor to the business and association meetings Industry in Oman.”

Zahara Tours is one of the leading travel and tourism services specialist in Oman. They have been a strategic partner with MCI through its dedicated Destination Management service provider, Ovation Global DMC and has been delivering various services for MCI for more than ten years.

Over the last decade, Oman has invested in infrastructure, products and services that greatly support the exhibitions and meetings industry. With the opening of the Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre and the consolidation of the Convention Bureau in Oman, the country is proactively driving business tourism.

ibtm world pre-matched appointments reach new high ahead of 30th anniversary edition

ibtm world has announced it has scheduled the highest number of matched appointments in the last four years, with over 51,000 matched appointments set to take place at the 30th anniversary edition of the event, which takes place in Barcelona, from 28-30 November.

Appointment numbers are up 23% compared with 2016, with 36% of the appointments for this year’s show mutually matched - another increase on 2016’s figures. ibtm is also expecting an additional 20,000 plus appointments to be pre-scheduled before the event takes place later this month.

Also this year, following the introduction of an enhanced Hosted Buyer programme, the event has seen a 41% increase in planners from North America and an 18% increase in long haul buyers. 43% of Hosted Buyers have never attended an ibtm event before and there has been a 16% increase in corporate buyers from brands including L’Oreal Active Cosmetics, Montblanc, Mars Incorporated as well as from Associations including International Stereoscopic Union (Germany) and European Health Management Association (Belgium).

Marco Balia, head of Buyer Programmes, ibtm events, commented: “We’ve worked really hard this year to deliver an even more effective and beneficial diary of appointments, as well as to ensure we secure the very highest calibre of Hosted Buyers from around the globe. I’m thrilled that we’ve gone above and beyond for the 30th anniversary edition of the show, and doubled our target for the number of pre-scheduled appointments, creating more business opportunities for all our customers, and attracting top level decision makers from big name brands such as Gucci and Microsoft.

“Ultimately, our goal is to create the very best possible backdrop for doing business across the globe. With this in mind, it’s great to see that we are on track once again to deliver an outstanding event.

Geetha Arekal, Head of procurement for Mobility Services at Siemens Ltd., said: “ibtm world is an unmissable event in the industry calendar. We’ve been so impressed with the high standards met every year by the team, providing us with a calendar of appointments that puts us in a position to make great connections, resulting in very good business.”

As always, a huge part of the appeal of the event is the amazing breadth of exhibitors in attendance, with some 3,000 exhibiting companies representing over 150 countries expected at ibtm world 2017. New exhibitors confirmed to attend this year include Visit Wales, Synergy International Italy, Fiesta Hotel Group, Meet Puerto Rico, Titanic Hotels and many more.

ibtm world is the industry’s leading showcase of meetings, incentives, conferences and events and attracts over 15,000 elite international and domestic MICE delegates. Exhibitors range from destinations and conference centres to technology companies and suppliers from across the industry, and over 70,000 pre-scheduled meetings are set to take place over the three-day event.

For more information, please visit www.ibtmworld.com

Convene Hosted Buyer Programme Reaches All-Time High

With registration for the Convene Hosted Buyer programme well under way, the response so far suggests that the upcoming edition of the event will be the most valuable and diverse one yet. Demand for the programme is up by one-third compared to last year. There’s been a noticeable increase in applications submitted by European buyers with specific events they wish to host in the region as well as those representing long haul destinations, such as the US, India, and China. The event will take place on 14-15 February 2018 at the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre, Liteexpo, in Vilnius.

Hosted Buyers benefit from complimentary flights, transfers, accommodation, networking events, full daytime and evening refreshments and the opportunity to take part in one of a number of fam trips in the region’s destinations, which have been expanded to include Gdansk, Poland this year. Pre-scheduled appointments with choice Exhibitors afford buyers the flexibility and time needed to discover a range of suppliers from across the region while taking part in the highly-regarded Convene Education Sessions.

In response to the surge in applications to the Hosted Buyer programme, Convene Director Jolanta Beniulienė says, “We are continuing to see the impact Convene is having on our regional meetings and events industry. It’s no longer just about putting the Baltic Sea Region on the map across Europe, either; the increase of Hosted Buyers from long haul destinations is giving destinations across our region an important degree of global relevance. This will undoubtedly provide added benefits to everyone attending the show.”

Organised by the Vilnius Convention Bureau, Convene serves as a business marketplace with non-stop networking opportunities for meeting professionals. The event gathers the Baltic Sea meeting and events industry under one roof and encourages knowledge and best practice sharing by bringing Suppliers and Buyers together. Over 165 Hosted Buyers from Europe and beyond are expected to attend, with an estimated 3,500 pre-scheduled business meetings to be conducted with some 80 Exhibitors from the region during two-day event.

Hosted Buyers, as well as Exhibitors and Visitors, can register online now at www.convene.lt

 

Gothenburg ranks number one among sustainable and innovative cities.

For the second year in a row Gothenburg has taken the title of the most sustainable city in the world. This year Gothenburg also won the Innovation award. The news was announced on Wednesday with the results of Global Destination Sustainability Index 2017. The index provides a broad international ranking of the progress cities have made toward sustainability.

“This is great news for Gothenburg. The city and the visitor industry are strongly committed to sustainability. This is recognition that our efforts are proving successful,” says Camilla Nyman, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

With a score of 92 out of a possible 100 points, Gothenburg came top of the list of meeting and event cities in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI). Gothenburg also took first place last year with a score of 83 points.

This year, Gothenburg was also awarded the prize for best Innovation for the Got Event accessability app, developed for event visitors with vision or hearing defiencies.

GDSI was set up by the MCI Group in partnership with the International Congress and Convention Association, ICCA. Annika Hallman, Meetings Manager at Göteborg & Co, accepted the prize on behalf of Gothenburg at ICCA’s annual world congress in Prague on Wednesday:

“As a Gothenburger it makes me very proud to accept this in front of an audience from all over the world. It means a great deal to us when we come to persuade organisers to choose Gothenburg as a host city,” she said.

The index measures every aspect of sustainability: ecological, social and economic. But to gain a high ranking in the index it is not enough to show that you have the support of the visitor industry, facilities and hotels; the city as a whole must also be engaged in sustainability issues.

All the cities are assessed on the basis of around 30 criteria. These include the city’s performance in recycling, waste management, environmental certification of hotels and restaurants, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic conditions, bike rental system and whether municipal and private companies have sustainability strategies in place.

Gothenburg gained the highest scores in all areas. The average score of 92 also means that Gothenburg has improved on its results for the previous year.

Guy Bigwood, Director of the GDS-Index, commented "The judges and I were incredibly impressed at the remarkable efforts and consistent progress made by the Gothenburg team. They demonstrated that even as a leader there is significant opportunity to engage stakeholders and collaborate to create new solutions that accelerate environmental, social and economic development."

Scoring highly on sustainability gives Gothenburg a valuable advantage when it competes with other cities to attract large congresses, events and investment.

“The goal for Gothenburg is to be in the absolute top league. All the sustainability initiatives that the city takes in collaboration with local business contribute to this success. This is very much in line with our ambition to keep on pushing every aspect of sustainability,” says Camilla Nyman.

 

Photo: Annika Hallman, Gothenburg Convention Bureau (second left) recieved the prestigious leadership award from Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President ICCA. They are flanked by Aileen Crawford, Glasgow and Martin Sirk, Chief Executive Officer ICCA.

 

About the global destination sustainability index (gds-index)

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) is a prize-winning grassroots Scandinavian initiative that evolved into the first-ever sustainability ranking for event destinations worldwide. A collaborative partnership between ICCA, European Cities Marketing, IMEX and MCI Group, it aims to promote the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations, highlighting best practices and responsible business tourism. In a world increasingly focused on responsible business and addressing our environmental impact, the GDS-Index helps destinations to engage clients with sustainability, align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and drive the adoption, promotion and recognition of sustainable practices in their city. Find out more at www.gds-index.com.#mce_temp_url#

 

 

Inaugural Winners of Incredible Impacts Grants Announced

In its inaugural year, the Incredible Impacts Programme, collaboratively supported by ICCA and BestCities Global Alliance, has selected three winning associations as leading examples of excellence within the meeting industry. The winners were announced at the ICCA Congress in Prague, Czech Republic.

The three associations from across the globe will each receive US $7,500 towards future projects, in recognition of their hosted events going “beyond tourism” in areas such as legacy development, sustainability and accessibility.

After 20 impressive entries, an independent panel of industry experts selected the winners of this year’s Incredible Impacts Grant as:

• International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH): World Thrombosis Day Campaign

• World Parkinson Coalition (WPC): World Parkinson’s Congress

• World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)

 

Showcasing a diverse range of events, the successful associations demonstrated a unique and well-thought-out approach to ensure their events made a difference beyond what was happening within their venue walls. Thanks to the Incredible Impacts Grant Programme, it is hoped the winners’ good practice will be a source of reference and inspiration for other event planners worldwide.

Placing a global spotlight on the often overlooked and misunderstood condition of thrombosis, the ISTH’s World Thrombosis Day campaign organised more than 8,200 events across the globe in 2016. The team demonstrated creative thinking in a number of ways, reaching beyond tourism, with one standout example being their annual Twitter Chat digital event. By creating a platform for people to talk about the condition, sharing expert advice and insights, the project garnered an impressive 45 million impressions worldwide.

A unique global forum that opens dialogue on the latest scientific discoveries and medical pioneers relating to Parkinson’s Disease, the WPC describes their four-day congress as a ’Parkinson Festival’. Judges were particularly impressed with their “Patients Included” element of the programme, through which people with Parkinson’s become part of the discussion and decision-making process. From covering travel costs for attending patients to free webcasts of their educational programmes being made available to communities worldwide, judges commended WPC on their fresh approach to inclusivity and accessibility.

The final winner, WCPT is the largest global gathering of physical therapists where the latest research, practice, education and professional issues are shared in a bid to make positive change to global health. The association places a large focus on creating knowledge transfer opportunities with its attending and non-attending audiences, via their effective use of social media and by sharing outcomes from the congress proceedings free of charge post event. The legacy of WCPT’s conference is the result of a number of activities: public outreach activities, fund raising for pubic engagement in physical activity, a school competition getting pupils to create movement break videos and the “Gift of Congress”, supporting delegates from low resource countries.

In addition to the three main grants, a student bursary was also awarded to Tamirez Viera Marques from Brazil through the WYSE Travel Confederation Volunteer Award entry. She received a US J-1 trainee visa and an Australia working holiday visa and will receive airfare and a monthly stipend while participating in the programmes. Tamirez was selected for the Dr. Taleb Rifai Outstanding Volunteer Award due to her exceptional contributions as a volunteer for the 2017 World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Montreal. She plans to research and promote teacher exchange programmes in Australia and Canada.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “Given this is Year One of the Incredible Impacts Programme, the standard of entries truly surpassed our expectations. Our winning associations should be congratulated on not only winning the grants, but also being an advocate and leader in the meeting industry."

“We hope the Incredible Impacts Grant has helped shine a light on ways associations can incorporate innovative thinking and good practice into their future events, demonstrating the sometimes simple ways that this can be successfully achieved.

“I am particularly pleased to see a strong BestCities connection with our winners. The ISTH is hosting its next Congress in Melbourne in 2019 – one of our partner cities – and WCPT and WPC will both be attending the BestCities Global Forum in Tokyo this December.”

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA said: “This inaugural year generated a volume of interest from both associations and ICCA members that was beyond our expectations, and the winning projects are truly outstanding.”

“I’m sure this is the start of something really special, and Incredible Impacts will inspire many other associations to either share their great stories, or to initiate similar projects. We’ve always believed that the “beyond tourism” impact of international association meetings is far more valuable than the more easily understood delegate expenditure impact: now we are starting to accumulate the evidence that we’ve been searching for!”

“I’m really looking forward to an even larger number of inspirational entries next year, as news of this programme spreads across the association meetings community.”

Incredible Impact funds are held in trust and released directly to grant recipients by Meeting Escrow Inc., an independent provider of secure payment and escrow solutions for the meetings industry worldwide.

Grant Snider, Meeting Escrow President & CEO commented: “We are delighted to partner with ICCA and Best Cities on this important initiative as a supporting sponsor through 2019. Congratulations to all of this year’s grant winners!"

 

Photo: From left to right: Martin Sirk (ICCA), Tracy Bury (WCPT), Pat Davies (WPC) and Paul Vallee (BestCities)

www.iccaworld.org/incredibleimpacts

Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde dominate the West African hotel pipeline with 77% of the total planned hotel rooms

West Africa has been at the heart of the continent’s growth and economic transformation in recent years. Notwithstanding the sharp slowdown experienced in 2016 and 2017, the region’s economy is expected to rebound in 2017 onwards. Commodity-based economies, like Nigeria, are slowly recovering from the fall in oil prices and oil production, while countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal have shown economic resilience and sustained growth. As many of the countries continue to stabilize - politically and economically - the region will be better integrated from a local and international context. This increased integration raises the need for quality travel and accommodation infrastructure.

The growth of the hotel sector is an important indicator of how well a market is developing its travel infrastructure, and the indicators for West Africa are mixed. According to W Hospitality Group’s 2017 Hotel Chains Pipeline report, West Africa has a pipeline of 114 hotels and 20,790 rooms, accounting for 42% of the Sub-Saharan African hotel pipeline. However, of these hotel deals signed and planned, only approximately 9,875 rooms, or 48% have moved to construction. In addition, projects in the region have longer than average development periods at approximately six years, compared to the two- to three-year development program that is usually planned. Some of the reasons for these delays are high capital investment required, lack of access to adequate financing options, limited access to raw materials, high construction and material costs, a heavy reliance on importation, inadequate technical capacity to manage the development program, and other barriers to entry.

Of the hotel pipeline for West Africa, Nigeria contributes 49.6% or more than 10,000 hotel rooms (in 61 hotels). Nigeria is also the top market in Africa for planned rooms.

The other substantial markets in West Africa include Cape Verde with 11 hotels and 3,478 rooms, and Senegal with 14 hotels and 2,164 rooms. These three markets contribute a total of 15,955 hotel rooms, or 77% of the West African hotel pipeline.

Approximately 57% of the pipeline in these countries have moved to site, however some of these projects have been stalled for some time. In a country, like Nigeria, this can be significant. For instance, 40% of Nigeria’s pipeline was signed between 2009 and 2014, and as the chart above illustrates, a large portion of these projects is still in the "planning" phase. In Senegal only approximately 44% of the deals signed have moved to site.

Although the pipeline of hotels to the sub-region is encouraging and indicative of strong investor interest, the low completion rate of projects could be troubling for the development of the hotel sector. It is also difficult for the hotel chains whose expansion plans in these markets rely on partnerships with local and foreign investors to develop these hotels. All the major global hotel chains have strong expansion plans to increase their operating presence on the continent, and in West Africa.

The growth strategy for these hotel chains have traditionally relied on their development teams signing deals for new build hotels, primarily with their flagship brands, with local owners. However, more chains are adopting creative expansion strategies, such as conversions and rebranding of existing properties, acquisition of existing local hotel operators, effecting growth through the franchise model, or developing owned hotels first.

Senior representatives from major hotel groups such as Hilton, Carlson Rezidor and Mangalis, and other key hotel experts will be discussing growth strategies in the ever-changing West African economic environment at the upcoming West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) (http://APO.af/jyUvGs) Summit to held on November 28 & 29 at the Eko Hotel, Lagos Nigeria.

Hilton recently announced a plan to support the conversion and rebranding of 100 existing hotels through its Hilton Africa Growth Initiative, by committing US$ 50 million to supporting these conversions. Commenting ahead of the conference, Mike Collini, Vice President Development Sub-Saharan Africa, Hilton, remarked on the opportunities presented by the inadequate hotel supply. He said: “to overcome this we are looking at rolling our focused service brands in key markets with a focus on our Hilton Garden Inn product. We are also pioneering the use of modular construction with a new Hilton Garden Inn in Accra, which is a fast and cost-effective build model for owners and developers.”

Andrew McLachlan, Carlson Rezidor’s Senior Vice President Africa & Indian Ocean for Development, said in a direct comment to Estate Intel, “Today we have 17 hotels open or under development in the region and in our new 5-year development strategy we have identified five Tier 1 Cities in West Africa (Lagos, Abuja, Accra, Abidjan and Dakar) where we see scaled growth opportunities…across the luxury to midscale hotel segment.” McLachlan also commented on the model of conversion of existing hotels, saying that the group sees an opportunity to adopt this model to reposition the hotel under its management, particularly in cases where the existing hotel may not be performing to its full potential.

Newcomer and regional hotel chain, Mangalis Hospitality Group, intends to increase its presence in West Africa, in the next five years. Wessam Oshaka, in a statement to Estate Intel reiterated the group’s “ambition to operate at least 13 hotels by 2020 in West Africa.” The group had initially focused development on owned hotels in core markets such as Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, but the second phase of development will now focus on management agreements, resulting in a portfolio that will comprise 75% owned hotels and 25% managed hotels. Oshaka explains: “Africa as we know, suffers from a lack of properties responding to the needs of modern travelers. The region comes with its challenges especially in terms of financing, logistics and skilled workforce. Taking all these factors into account, we adopted the most suitable approach for a healthy growth plan.”

The hotel sector discussions at WAPI will expand on these topics, highlighting the success cases and the more challenging markets. The discussions will also center on key indicators of hotel performance in West African markets.