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BestCities Joins the Fight Against Diabetes

When the South African city of Cape Town hosted the 19th World Diabetes Congress in 2006, it became the first of three BestCities destinations to host this world-acclaimed medical meeting over a seven year period.

Dubai is next to host the Congress, as it goes biennial for the first time, from 4-8 December 2011, followed by Melbourne, Australia in 2013. As partners in the BestCities Global Alliance, all three cities are committed to deliver the highest levels of service; expertise and quality standards which comply with BestCities’ internationally recognised Quality Management System.

This guarantee of best practices greatly benefited the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) which has run the World Diabetes Congress since 1952. It is now one of the world’s largest health-related congresses, attracting over 12,000 delegates, including international researchers, medical practitioners and government policy experts, from more than 160 countries.

The IDF, which represents more than 200 national diabetes associations around the world, selects a different congress location every two years. Its seven key regions are Africa, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, North America, Southeast Asia, South and Central America and Western Pacific.

The 21st World Diabetes Congress, which is being held in Dubai this year, is the first to be organised in the Middle East and North Africa Region and, in an interview posted on the Congress website, IDF President, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, explains why the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was selected.

“Whilst the significance of diabetes to the UAE, the Gulf region and the Middle East and North African Region was the main reason Dubai was chosen to host the 2011 Congress, the city also had to accommodate the needs of more than 12,500 delegates,” Professor Mbanya said.

“Dubai meets the IDF’s requirements for a host city including safe, low-cost public transport and excellent international access, together with a range of accommodation facilities to suit all budgets.”

“The World Diabetes Congress is an important event to any destination that has the honour of hosting it,” said Jerad Bachar, Director of the Dubai Convention Bureau. “This Congress is a great example of how BestCities can continue to position all members for future bid success. By working together we can support each other to secure more business for our cities while enhancing our services and products for our customers.”

For Melbourne, winning the 22nd World Diabetes Congress for 2013 was a major coup as it is one of the largest medical business events ever secured for the city and will contribute more than US66.4million dollars to their state’s economy.

The Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau’s CEO, Karen Bolinger, attributes Melbourne’s successful bid to the city’s reputation for, and expertise in, hosting major medical and science business events, the capabilities of the city’s award-winning 5,000+ seat Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and support from industry partners and the State Government in hosting the Congress.

“As members of the BestCities Global Alliance, we were also able to speak with fellow partners, Cape Town and Dubai, who had both successfully bid for this Congress previously,” said Bolinger. “The knowledge they shared with us, including operational and staging information, greatly assisted us in preparing a creative, and ultimately, winning bid proposal.”

When more than 12,600 people and 400 speakers attended the 19th World Diabetes Congress in Cape Town in 2006, it was the largest conference ever held in Africa, and the first diabetes meeting of this magnitude to be organised outside Europe. By raising awareness in Africa and uniting the diabetes community, it paved the way for the Congress to grow and move internationally to meet the demand of what has become one of the most challenging health problems of the 21st century.

BestCities Global Alliance Managing Director, Jane Vong Holmes said: “The IDF has successfully achieved continuity with the World Diabetes Congress by both managing the congress in-house and choosing three BestCities destinations to host their meeting.”

“The requirements of a conference this size are complex, however in the sixty years the Congress has been running there has been a lot of history gathered by the IDF, the bureaux and the venues,” said Vong Holmes. “The unique knowledge exchange programme undertaken by BestCities partners meant that Cape Town, Dubai and Melbourne could share information and event research to assist them in preparing their individual bid proposals.

“The recent addition to the Alliance of preliminary members, Berlin and Houston, will further enrich the BestCities geographical network and provide even more exciting and diverse options for large conferences, such as the World Diabetes Congress, to take advantage of BestCities’ unique destinations and benefits.”