Globalization, localization, city resilience, sustainability and legacy were some of the biggest challenges facing the industry that were discussed at the IMEX Policy Forum, where ministers and political representatives from South Africa, the Netherlands, Argentina, Sweden and South Korea were among 30 national and regional politicians and government officials who engaged with 80 meetings industry leaders.
The Legacy of Positive Policy Making was the theme of the event, formerly known as the IMEX Politicians Forum, when it took place at the InterContinental Hotel Frankfurt on the first day of IMEX in Frankfurt 2018. The theme is closely allied to the IMEX 2018 Talking Point of Legacy, with Political Legacy one of the five ‘lenses’ through which the Talking Point is being explored. The Agenda had been specifically designed to explore how to bridge the partnership gap that exists between governments, national and local and the meetings industry.
After a visit to the IMEX exhibition in the morning, the afternoon began with a private national government discussion in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) chaired by Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA).
Professor Greg Clark CBE, the world-renowned advisor on cities shared engaging insights and aroused keen discussions when he led a workshop specifically designed for local, municipal and regional policy makers and destination representatives.
Exploring “the evolution of cities in the meetings industry,” Greg highlighted how every city went through a number of different cycles in the development of meetings business. These cycles were well illustrated by six engaging case studies from Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Barcelona which showed how these cycles were initiated by various factors such as airline and airport development, supportive mayors, building convention centers and hosting major international events.
At the Open Forum, moderated by Michael Hirst OBE, Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) delivered the opening keynote address. She expressed clear views when examining the challenges facing all areas of the travel and tourism sector in fulfilling outstanding growth potential. Based on research among WTTC members, she said the top three challenges were security, crisis preparedness and management and sustainability and she highlighted the importance of wide ranging collaboration and partnerships between travel industry organizations. In particular, collaboration is important in engaging with governments on issues such as visa facilitation and reciprocity, and in progressing biometrics as a facilitator for security and efficiency.
Discussing sustainability, Manzo highlighted the future of work as an important new consideration alongside destination and social responsibility, global climate action and tourism for tomorrow. This keynote prefaced the Open Forum where the views of a panel of industry leaders along with Professor Greg Clark prompted debate on the key issues with the political and industry representatives contributing their valuable views.
The IMEX Policy Forum’s advocacy partners are Association Internationale des Palais de Congres (AIPC), European Cities Marketing (ECM), ICCA, the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), The Iceberg and UNWTO. The Forum is sponsored by Business Events Australia, Business Events Sydney, German Convention Bureau, Geneva Convention Bureau, Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.
For more details about the IMEX Policy Forum, please visit the website.