Our new recent understanding with global travel and tourism bodies UNWTO and WTTC (although not always correctly understood) has a lot of implications – but many relate most directly to what we need to do better in our own backyards.
Inherent in the statement agreed at IMEX Frankfurt earlier this year is actually a recognition that the Meetings Industry’s “primary purpose is to contribute to economic, professional and academic advancement”. This means, as again acknowledged by the issued joint statement, that the Industry delivers “significant incremental benefits that support overall global economic and social advancement”.
This is powerful stuff! – but are we living up to it? The answer can be found in how well we are addressing and engaging with the economic, academic and professional groups in our own local communities.
In many cases, this is being done well: there is an ongoing interaction between these kinds of groups and local industry representatives including event organizers and suppliers like convention centres and similar venues. But often there remains a lot more to be done in order to ensure that our sector is seen to be a key element supporting overall business and professional development in our respective cities and countries.
For those who want to begin this process, there is one essential first step: to inventory the business, professional and academic attributes in your destination in the same way we have traditionally identified characteristics like accommodation, transportation and leisure activities that may contribute to an organizer’s or delegate’s experience. If we don’t know what these are, we won’t be able to make the links that will improve both the effectiveness of the event and our own role as agents of economic and community development.
That’s what some of the most enlightened members of our industry are now doing – and hopefully many more will follow!