The PCO - Issue #110 | Edition 1 (2024)

Page 1

IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2024: Ljubljana Special Issue No. 110 | Edition 1 (2024) Bi-monthly publication from the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers



We invite you to host your next event in Toronto. A place of diverse voices that always has room for more. Come and fill your event with new ideas, new thinking, and new perspectives.



Dear IAPCO Members and Friends,

Hello and welcome to this edition of The PCO which is a celebration of our Annual Meeting and General Assembly in Ljubljana.

Our hosts did a fantastic job in showing the IAPCO community what Ljubljana and Slovenia can offer as a Business Events destination. My biggest disappointment is that I didn’t have any additional leisure days to explore what I didn’t get to see. It is definitely a place I would like to return to!

In addition to our education component of the event, it is also the time where we as Council report back to our members the activities of the previous year and present the plans for the future. We have ambitious plans for 2024, and we look forward to sharing these with the wider Business Events community throughout 2024.

As I travelled home from Ljubljana following a very productive IAPCO Council Meeting and Annual Meeting and General Assembly, I reflected on the reason why we do what we do. The theme of our AM&GA this year was 'Be the Flow'. Quite simple words that have the power to carry significant impact.


This year, I had the privilege of acknowledging on behalf of our members the long standing contribution of our six Council members who have retired from Council this year. Their contribution to IAPCO is enormous, a total of forty-six years and over 5,000 hours of time. They have left IAPCO in a strong position that we have much to be grateful for.

In addition, we welcome five new Council members and our President-Elect, Sissi Lignou! More information regarding the changes in our Council is included in this edition, please take a moment to read about these incredible people who are the fabric of this organisation.

We look forward to connecting and collaborating with you in 2024!


In today’s world of performing simple tasks of liking and resharing content on social media and avoiding risk by simply ‘going with the flow’, one must appreciate and recognise those that set their own path for success.

152 IAPCO community members from thirty-six countries gathered together in Ljubljana for three days of intensive learning, networking and discussing ways to manage the pressures we find in business today. From the What Keeps You Up at Night Session to the Rapid-Fire presentations we learned how strong and professional our community is.

It also gives me a great sense of pride and gratitude to see the outcomes achieved by our IAPCO Council as we push our advocacy, digital transformation and community engagement strategies forward. Five new Council Members were elected to IAPCO Council at our General Assembly, along with the appointment of Sissi Lignou as our President-Elect and together with the existing Council Members, I am extremely confident that IAPCO can continue to go from strength to strength in the years ahead.



ON THE COVER: IAPCO AM&GA 2024 Ljubljana attendees at the entrance to Postojna Cave in Slovenia

Destination Partner - Toronto

Message from the President and CEO

Destination Partner - Melbourne

Destination Partner - Athens

IAPCO New Council Officers and President-Elect Announced at the IAPCO AM&GA

New IAPCO Training Academy Chair Appointment

Meet The New IAPCO Council

Thank You and Farewell to the Departing Council Members

IAPCO Bestows Honorary Membership upon Industry Leader Roslyn McLeod

2024 IAPCO Hero Award Winner Announced at the IAPCO AM&GA in Ljubljana

IAPCO Seminar Series Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence in Events Education

IAPCO EDGE Seminar Antwerp: A Legacy of Learning and Connection

Upcoming Education and Events

IAPCO Council Meeting in Bled, Slovenia

Triumph Group International joins IAPCO

Place Borneo joins IAPCO With a Mission to Deliver Impactful Events

IAPCO Deepens Frankfurt Commitment with New Destination Partnership

Destination Partner - Frankfurt

2024 IAPCO AM&GA - A Global Gathering Fostering Learning and Connection

AM&GA 2024 - Keynote Speeches and Thought Provoker Sessions summaries

AM&GA 2024 Social Programme summary

Don't Follow, Be the Flow - The Organiser’s Perspective

IAPCO Sets Sights on Taipei and Athens for Future AM&GAs

IAPCO Next Gen at AM&GA 2024

UN SDG Spotlight - Kerry: Pioneering Sustainable Events Tourism in Ireland

Destination Partner - Hong Kong

Member News

Partner News

IAPCO Partners

Feature in the Issue #111, Edition 2 (2024) of the PCO!

Theme: The Impact of AI on Events

Deadline for all contributions: 7 April 2024

The PCO: published by IAPCO





Read the full stories of our members' news on the IAPCO Knowledge Hub PARTNER NEWS

Read the full stories of our partners' news on the IAPCO Knowledge Hub

AI is revolutionising the events industry, transforming the way we plan, manage and experience events. AI is enhancing efficiency, optimising logistics and driving innovation. As AI continues to evolve, its impact on events will only grow more profound, shaping the future of the industry and creating transformative experiences that captivate audiences worldwide. The theme explores the growing use of artificial intelligence in the events industry and examines its potential benefits and challenges.

Whilst every care is taken in the preparation and publishing of The PCO, the views expressed are not necessarily those of IAPCO or its members and no responsibility can be taken for articles, errors or comment.

Editor: Nadeem Ahmad ( | Design: Eagle Design Ltd (

2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 33 34 38 39 42 44 45 50 52

The newly elected IAPCO Council Officers

L to R: Ajay Bhojwani (MCI Group UAE), Limor Cunia (Kenes Group), Jimena Ruiz (BTC Americas), Ellen Franck (Meetagain AB), Stephen Noble (The Conference Company)

New Council Officers and President-Elect announced at the IAPCO AM&GA

IAPCO announced the election of new Council Officers and President-Elect at the conclusion of the 2024 AM&GA in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The newly elected Council Officers and President-Elect bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their roles, ensuring the continued success and growth of the association.

Following a transparent election process, the following individuals were voted onto the Council by IAPCO member delegates:

1. Ajay Bhojwani – Regional Managing Director (Middle East and Africa), MCI Group (UAE); President, The Events Group (TEG); Ambassador, IAPCO and The Iceberg

2. Limor Cunia – Vice President, Clients and Operations, Kenes Group

3. Ellen Franck – Key Account Manager, Meetagain AB

4. Stephen Noble – Manager (APAC), The Conference Company

5. Jimena Ruiz – Chief of Staff, BTC Americas

In addition to the Council Officers, Sissi Lygnou, CEO of AFEA CONGRESS S.A. was announced as the President-Elect.

Sissi has served on the IAPCO Council since 2021 and was reelected at the 2023 AM&GA in Jerusalem. Sissi currently chairs the IAPCO Advocacy and Publications Committee and will

succeed current President Sarah Markey-Hamm at the 2025 AM&GA in Taipei, Taiwan.

"We are thrilled to welcome the new Council Officers and President-Elect to their respective positions," said Sarah MarkeyHamm. "Their extensive experience, diverse perspectives and dedication will be invaluable assets as we navigate the evolving landscape of the business events industry and help propel IAPCO forward in its mission to shape the future of the international meetings and events industry."

"I am honoured to be elected as President-Elect and look forward to working alongside the President and new Council Officers and the entire IAPCO team," commented Sissi, "Together, we will strive to further elevate the professional standards of the PCO industry and advocate for the vital role of PCOs in the global business events landscape."

The newly elected Council Officers will work closely with the President and IAPCO headquarters team to lead the association in achieving its strategic goals and serving the needs of its members.

Issue 110 7 IAPCO NEWS

The IAPCO AM&GA is a premier annual event bringing together leading PCOs and industry partners from around the world to discuss industry trends, share best practices and build valuable connections. This year's event in Ljubljana provided a platform

New IAPCO Training Academy Chair Appointment

The New IAPCO Council

L to R:

Nicola Testai (OIC Group), Ajay Bhojwani (MCI Group UAE), Limor Cunia (Kenes Group), Jimena Ruiz (BTC Americas), Sarah Markey-Hamm (ICMS) – IAPCO President, Sissi Lygnou (AFEA Congress) – IAPCO President-Elect, Ellen Franck (Meetagain AB), Stephen Noble (The Conference Company), Jason Yeh (GIS Group) – IAPCO Treasurer

for IAPCO to showcase the dynamism and innovation of the Slovenian meetings industry while facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange among its members and partners.

Stephen Noble, Manager (APAC) from The Conference Company, New Zealand and Australia has been appointed as Chair of the IAPCO Training Academy.

The IAPCO Training Academy provides continuous education and professional development within the global meetings industry.

The appointment follows the departure of Mathias Posch of ICS. The appointment follows the departure of Mathias Posch of ICS who has had oversight of IAPCO's education programmes since 2021, following his term as IAPCO President.

Stephen Noble has been involved in the Training Academy as a Regional Representative for APAC and is an experienced member of the IAPCO faculty with extensive involvement in delivering EDGE seminars in APAC.

His appointment comes at a pivotal moment in IAPCO history as 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of IAPCO education seminars.

8 Issue 110

Meet the New IAPCO Council

Sarah Markey-Hamm IAPCO President CEO, ICMS Pty Ltd Australia Limor Cunia IAPCO Council Vice President, Clients and Operations, Kenes Group Israel Sissi Lygnou President-Elect President and CEO, AFEA Congress Greece Ellen Franck IAPCO Council Partner, Meetagain Konferens AB Sweden Ajay Bhojwani IAPCO Council Regional Managing Director (MEA), MCI Group (UAE) Abu Dhabi Stephen Noble IAPCO Council, Chair of the IAPCO Training Academy Manager (APAC), The Conference Company New Zealand Jason Yeh IAPCO Treasurer CEO, GIS Grou Taiwan Jimena Ruiz IAPCO Council Chief of Staff, BTC Americas Mexico
Issue 110 9 IAPCO NEWS
Nicola Testai IAPCO Council CEO, OIC Group Italy

... and farewell to the departing Council Members

As we move forward with new leadership and exciting possibilities, we extend our heartfelt thanks to the following IAPCO Council officers who concluded their terms after the AM&GA in Ljubljana:

Your dedication, expertise and leadership have been invaluable to IAPCO and the PCO community over the years. You have played a pivotal role in shaping the association's direction, advocating for the industry and supporting the continued growth and success of our members.

We are incredibly grateful for your contributions and wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

Mathias Posch President, International Conference Services Ltd (2010–2024) Keith Burton Managing Director, K.I.T. Group - African Agenda (2015–2024) Ori Lahav CEO, Kenes Group (2017–2024) Monica Freire Director Congress Department, AIM Group International – Lisbon (2018–2024) Barbara Calderwood Divisional Director Associations and Communities, MCI UK (2018–2024)
10 Issue 110 IAPCO NEWS
Alejandro Ramirez Tabche CEO, Business Travel Consulting (2020–2024)

IAPCO Bestows Honorary Membership

Upon Industry Leader Roslyn McLeod

IAPCO announced the nomination of Arinex founder, Roslyn McLeod OAM, as an Honorary Member of IAPCO during the 2024 Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

IAPCO Honorary Membership is a lifetime honour and is open to those individuals whom the IAPCO General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Council, wishes to honour for their outstanding contribution to the work or reputation of the Association, or to the organisation of international congresses in general.

Roslyn started her career in the meetings and events industry with her specialist Japanese speaking tours and translation services over fifty-two years ago. Her company, Arinex, became one of the most successful PCO businesses in Australia and became a member of IAPCO in 1997. In 1999, Roslyn was awarded the Australian Commonwealth Government’s Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her outstanding contribution to the Australian tourism and meetings industry and retired in 2021, handing over the management of Arinex Group to Nicole Walker.

"When our President, Sarah Markey-Hamm, suggested IAPCO Council consider Roslyn for an Honorary Membership, I could

not have agreed more. Roslyn’s commitment to, and support of IAPCO since 1997 when Arinex Pty Ltd became an accredited IAPCO member has been unwavering and her contribution to the wider global meetings and events industry is nothing short of remarkable," said IAPCO CEO Martin Boyle. "While she could not join us in Ljubljana, our General Assembly unanimously approved her honorary membership, which she graciously accepted."

Roslyn expressed her heartfelt gratitude, stating, "To be an Honorary Member of IAPCO warms my heart. Over the years, to join my global PCO peers at our meetings and share in the active progress of the Association was an exhilarating experience. Without a doubt, the interaction with leaders of PCO companies from around the world was stimulating and exciting with lots of warmth and good times as we debated what was best for IAPCO and strove to set quality standards and share so much valuable intelligence with the industry at large. I valued my involvement, learned from my colleagues and gained memorable insights from our hosts in many destinations. Thank you for this honour. I am deeply appreciative."

Issue 110 11 IAPCO NEWS

2024 IAPCO Hero Award winner announced at the IAPCO AM&GA in Ljubljana

Ginevra De Bellis, Department Head of International Relations and Bid Management at OIC Group has been named the 2024 recipient of the prestigious International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Hero Award. The announcement was made on the final day of the Association’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA).

The IAPCO Hero Award, one of three unique Driving Excellence Awards presented by IAPCO annually, recognises individuals who exemplify excellence and dedication in the events management industry. Supported by IAPCO Destination Partners, the Hero Award acknowledges team members who demonstrate exceptional leadership, innovation and contribution within their organisations.

Ginevra was nominated by her team for her outstanding leadership and contributions to the success of OIC Group. As Department Head, she oversees the implementation and execution of bids, trains and onboards new team members and serves as the company's ambassador across the international associative sector.

Her exceptional leadership skills have created a positive and supportive working environment, fostering trust among staff and clients alike. Ginevra's commitment to quality and teamwork has made her an invaluable asset to OIC Group.

Upon receiving the award, Ginevra expressed her gratitude, stating, "Winning this award is something incredible and unexpected, it is the achievement of an important goal that confirms my passion and commitment to the industry and stimulates me to keep growing the dedication to my team and clients. I think there are no insurmountable barriers, I always try to be a catalyst for change, prioritising quality and teamwork."

"I would like to thank Nicola Testai and OIC Group for the opportunity to grow and learn in my role. To my team at OIC, my talented colleagues, I truly appreciate every one of you."

Ginevra, who holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology and a Master's in Business Administration, has consistently demonstrated exceptional talent in business development, public speaking, and project management since joining OIC Group in 2016.

Nicola Testai, CEO of OIC Group, commended Ginevra for her positive influence at the company saying, "Ginevra’s ability to facilitate discussions on industry trends and problem-solving highlights her role as an enabler, especially at events where she represents OIC, making her a central figure in identifying and navigating the currents of change in the meeting industry."

Commenting on Ginevra's achievements, IAPCO President Sarah Markey-Hamm said, "Ginevra exemplifies the spirit of excellence and dedication that defines the IAPCO Hero Award. Her passion and commitment to her work, along with her unwavering support for her team and clients, set a remarkable example for all professionals in our field."

As the recipient of the IAPCO Hero Award, Ginevra received the prestigious Hero Award trophy and an education bursary, which includes travel and accommodation to attend the IAPCO Annual Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan in February 2025.

The IAPCO Hero Award celebrates individuals nominated by colleagues, clients, or suppliers within an IAPCO PCO company. Nominations are sought annually from across the IAPCO member community.

12 Issue 110

IAPCO Seminar Series Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence in Event Education

The IAPCO Seminar Series, IAPCO’s premier educational and networking event for Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs) and meetings industry stakeholders, reached a monumental milestone this year, marking its 50th annual seminar.

Since its inception in 1975, the seminar has established itself as a cornerstone of the events industry, fostering excellence, igniting innovation and connecting generations of events professionals across the globe. Rebranded as IAPCO EDGE in 2016, the 2024 edition wrapped up in Antwerp on 18 January, proudly celebrating this remarkable milestone and its enduring impact on shaping the future of events.

"IAPCO Members and Council are extremely proud of the industry-led education programmes that have been delivered over the last fifty years,' stated Sarah Markey Hamm, President of IAPCO. "Attendance at an IAPCO education programme can be the first “touch point” that a member of the business events community has with IAPCO therefore it has been at the front of IAPCO’s Training Academy’s mind when developing education programmesfor our members and the wider community. None of this could have been achieved if it wasn’t for the unwavering support of our Training Academy Chairs and Faculty. On behalf of the IAPCO Community, thank you!"

The first IAPCO seminar was held in Aarhus, Denmark on 2–7 February 1975 and then moved to its longstanding base of Wolfsburg in 1976. Wolfsburg in Switzerland, at the Union Bank of Switzerland campus, remained the home of this seminar for thirty-eight years before moving away to various locations across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America reflecting on IAPCO’s commitment to broaden the reach and accessibility of quality education.

Over the decades, the seminars have evolved to reflect the ever-changing landscape of the events industry, ensuring that participants remain at the forefront of their field. From the early days focusing on practical skills and knowledge sharing, they have expanded to address critical issues like technology integration, sustainability and the human element of event

experiences. The diverse programmes feature engaging presentations, interactive workshops and panel discussions led by renowned industry experts and thought leaders. The IAPCO Seminars have been instrumental in shaping the careers of countless professionals, providing them with valuable insights, skills and networking opportunities.

This year's milestone anniversary edition brought together over sixty participants from twenty-four countries. Under the theme of ‘Legacy of Conferences,’ the event focused on generating a positive impact and increasing a sustainable outcome in the delivery of conferences.

To commemorate this golden milestone, IAPCO held a special celebration on 17 January during the EDGE Seminar in Antwerp.

As the IAPCO EDGE Seminar enters its next chapter, the association reaffirms its commitment to continuing it's legacy for generations of meeting professionals to come.

"We are thrilled to reach this significant milestone. Our commitment to delivering exceptional educational programmes and promoting best practices remains unwavering," commented IAPCO Training Academy Chair, Mathias Posch. "We look forward to continuing our mission of supporting the growth and development of the meetings and events sector by welcoming future generations of events professionals to build an even brighter future for the events industry in Europe."

For more information about the IAPCO EDGE Seminars, please visit

Issue 110 13 IAPCO NEWS

IAPCO EDGE Seminar Antwerp: A Legacy of Learning and Connection

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of IAPCO education seminars in Europe. This meant that there were plenty of reasons to celebrate during the seminar in Antwerp.

Antwerp’s compact size and rich blend of history, culture and architecture provided an ideal backdrop for three days of collaborative learning. Working closely with Visit Flanders and the Antwerp Convention Bureau, Luc Niville and the Semico team (IAPCO member since 2002) showcased six landmark venues, all within fifteen minutes walking distance of the central station.

PCOs, CVBs, Associations and Venues gathered to learn about the latest industry trends. Topics included client management, budgeting, wellbeing and sustainability as well as an interactive workshop on collaborative bidding led by Nicky McGrane (CPI), Mathias Posch (ICS) and Sissi Lygnou (AFEA),

Upon arrival, guests were invited to tour the world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum, followed by a warm welcome reception at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The first day of learning took place under the watchful eye of a full-size Baleen whale in the nineteenth-century Darwin Hall (A Room With A Zoo) followed by dinner with exotic fish and sharks in the Antwerp Aquarium.

Day 2 was held in the five-star Botanic Sanctuary Hotel. The monastic tranquillity of the twelth-century landmark provided an environment, conducive to learning. Tuya Buyers from Visit Flanders delivered a captivating session on Legacy to showcase their methodology to increase the sustainable handprint of congresses in Antwerp.

Sapphire House epitomises the Golden Age of Antwerp. It was the perfect meeting place for an elegant cocktail before heading next door to the breathtaking ‘Handelsbeurs’ for an evening of fine dining and dancing in the former sixteenth-century stock exchange. IAPCO CEO Martin Boyle gave a heartfelt speech marking the 50th anniversary and the significance of IAPCO’s mission to raise the standards of the meetings industry through education and interaction with other professionals.

The final day was held in the iconic Horta Art Nouveau Hall. The industrial feel of the iron girders and glass walls served as an inspiring location for guest speaker, Professor Alok Nandi, who spoke about innovation and design.

There is always something magical about an EDGE seminarpeople arrive as delegates and leave as friends. Thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly to showcase their city and to make EDGE Antwerp an unforgettable event.

Check out the snaPCO section on the next page for more images from the seminar.

14 Issue 110 IAPCO NEWS

As a first-time IAPCO EDGE seminar attendee, I was unsure of what to expect when attending the conference in Antwerp in January, but after three days of engaging with peers and industry experts in the beautiful city of Antwerp, I came away with a feeling of empowerment and excitement for the year ahead. At Abbey Conferences & Events, we are IAPCO members, and the team sees EDGE as a great opportunity for younger members of the team to engage with the industry and experience this mix of lectures and practical workshops.

Being a part of the Abbey team, we see networking and peerto-peer learning as hugely important and this was an excellent chance to do just that. Meeting and getting to know those working in other PCOs, Convention Bureaux and venues from around the world was insightful. Diverse expertise and backgrounds loaned itself to in-depth discussion and an "outside the box" knowledge exchange. A warm collaborative atmosphere was established from the beginning, which allowed us to speak freely and comfortably in our workshop groups and on stage.

I had the privilege to speak as part of a panel, with Milo Vergucht from Visit Flanders and Sissi Lygnou, one of the brilliant IAPCO Faculty members. We presented a case study around ICIC23, which alongside Visit Flanders Convention Bureau, saw Abbey win the IAPCO Collaboration Award 2023. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to present to an international audience and also to work hand-in-hand with the convention bureau once again, further strengthening our collaborative relationship.

Overall, I found the IAPCO EDGE seminar to be very beneficial, both personally and professionally. It offered a multitude of benefits such as insights into conference trends and the legacy of conferences, as well as permitting me to develop my interpersonal and client management skills. Above all, I am grateful for the connections I made with passionate and motivated individuals and the chance to learn from each other’s experiences.

These unsung heroes of the event industry face a multitude of challenges – tight deadlines, budget constraints, and the occasional seemingly impossible client wish. With intense competition, finding the right staff can be a hurdle, and dealing with late registrations can add to the complexity. It's a daily juggling act, requiring them to be versatile problem-solvers.

Enter the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) – the beacon of hope for PCOs worldwide. Recently, Leuven Convention Bureau had the privilege of attending the annual IAPCO Edge programme in the beautiful city of Antwerp. This program is a lifeline for both junior and senior PCO staff, offering an intensive, up-to-date training regimen. The programme was not just informative but also a great networking opportunity.

For a convention bureau like ours, staying attuned to the latest trends and challenges for PCOs is invaluable. It enables us to provide optimal support, ensuring their conferences reach the destination successfully and aiding in crafting creative programs that align with objectives, budget constraints and client wishes.

During the programme, we delved into some burning topics like the latest trends in the meeting industry, impactful bidding strategies, sustainability in meetings, the significance of budgeting in the pre-bidding phase, client and people management, the importance of preparation, and perhaps most importantly, maintaining mental resilience.

A standout session was delivered by Tourism Flanders on the concept of "congress legacy," shedding light on the lasting impact conferences can have.

"The IAPCO Edge seminar in Antwerp has been a great experience. I think its greatest aspect was networking, meeting with many fellow congress organisation aficionados was worth attending. I have also loved discovering wonderful Antwerp, and the stunning venues especially for the social events."

We left the event with a plethora of resolutions, fresh ideas and much food for thought.

Big thanks to the fantastic IAPCO Edge faculty, Tourism Flanders, Semico and the Antwerp Convention Bureau for setting up this phenomenal event. It's events like these that fuel our passion for the industry, connecting us with like-minded individuals and encouraging a community of motivated professionals.

Issue 110 15 IAPCO NEWS
Véronique Brassart Association Coordinator, European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI)

65 Participants from 24 Countries

49% PCOs

23% CVBs

20% Venues

8% Associations

Key Stats

Participants Transport

53% Train

45% Airplane

22% Car

8% Others

"What an incredible week at the EDGE seminar in Antwerp! Engaging sessions, rich networking, and inspiring conversations with over sixty-five delegates from twenty-four+ countries.

"Personal Insights from the seminar: Adapting swiftly to industry changes is vital nowadays. To do so, we need meticulous preparation–crafting event strategies based on a clear understanding of our WHY, detailed planning, building budgets that can easily be adapted when needed, knowing our teams, and harnessing each other's superpowers accordingly."

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the IAPCO EDGE seminar in Antwerp. As a newcomer in the dynamic meetings industry, this event proved to be a treasure trove of knowledge. From receiving a basic understanding of the industry to deep diving into the importance of sustainability, it unravelled the significance of budgeting and client and people management. Even emphasis on skills such as attentive listening and mental resilience offered a well-rounded foundation.

Networking was also the cornerstone of the IAPCO EDGE event. Engaging with professionals from various countries not only allowed me to exchange business cards but also fostered genuine connections, which led to a better understanding of the meetings industry. And it will also provide opportunities for collaboration. The diverse perspectives shared during the networking sessions opened my eyes to the vast possibilities within the industry.

Beyond being a participant, this event also marked my first step within the Antwerp Convention Bureau. Experiencing Antwerp as both a resident and a congress participant provided me with a fresh perspective on the city's potential as a premier destination for impactful and memorable events. It also showcased its unique and personal vibe. Antwerp, with its easy openness and adaptability, proved to be the perfect backdrop for my introduction to the meetings industry.

It was an invaluable opportunity and I express my appreciation to all the inspiring speakers and participants. The IAPCO EDGE seminar was not just an event; it was a gateway to a remarkable

16 Issue 110

"I participated in my first #IAPCOEdge seminar in the beautiful city of Antwerp. It was a great experience to attend this first-class education event tailor-made for PCO and industry professionals from all around the world. An amazing opportunity to network, learn from international key speakers and exchange with peers. It was also a great opportunity to discover the city of Antwerp as host of the event and its fantastic venues such as the Handelsbeurs and Room with a Zoo."

The next European EDGE seminar will take place in Porto, Portugal in January 2025.

Click the link or scan the QR code to register your interest:-

Issue 110 17 IAPCO NEWS

EDGE Antwerp

Click for more photos IAPCO NEWS

Upcoming Education and Events

May 2024

June 2024

Dates for your diary for education, networking and professional development provided and supported by IAPCO.

IMEX Frankfurt 2024

Messe Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany



IMEX Joint Association Partners Next Gen Workshop

Dive into the heart of the global meetings industry over three action-packed days at IMEX Frankfurt. IAPCO will be exhibiting and delivering education during the show.

Monday 13 May 2024, 13.00–17.00 at the Frankfurt Airport Sheraton Hotel

IAPCO is collaborating with AIPC, AMC Institute, and IFES to bring together ambitious young professionals from all four corners of the meetings industry.

We invite Next Gen Project Managers to pre-register for a unique opportunity to enhance their skills and foster collaboration in the meeting industry.

Panama Convention Center, Panama City, San Felipe, Panama

FIEXPO Latin America is the place of excellence where destinations and suppliers specialised in the Meetings, Events and Incentives Industry can connect with the most prominent buyers globally. IAPCO is an Industry Partner of FIEXPO Latin America.


Issue 110 19 IAPCO NEWS

25th IFES World Summit

Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga, Spain

Malaga’s Mediterranean charm and vibrant culture will provide the perfect backdrop for IFES members from across the globe to engage and forge new connections and share knowledge, ideas, and innovation in an environment where new perspectives are embraced. The 2024 Summit theme "Sailing the Seas of Innovation" is not only symbolic but a commitment to explore uncharted waters and steer our industry towards new horizons. IAPCO, as one of the Official Partner Associations of IFES, invites you to navigate new waters with colleagues, potential partners and friends.

IAPCO Council Meeting in Bled, Slovenia

IAPCO Council and CEO convened in the picturesque city of Bled, Slovenia, for a two and a half day meeting prior to the Annual Meeting and General Assembly, to continue their strategic work for the association and to put the final touches on the 2024 AM&GA programme.

Against the backdrop of the tranquil Lake Bled, Council members also met with the Mayor of Bled, Mr Anton Mežan, Executive Director at Bled Tourist Board, Mr Blaž Veber and Director of Sava Hoteli Bled, Mr Luka Stepančič for dinner at the iconic medieval Bled Castle. Discussions around the value of the global meetings industry and the important role that IAPCO members play in delivering successful and impactful outcomes for clients and destinations took centre stage and were mutually appreciated.

Our thanks go to the Convention Bureau Bled, Sava Hoteli Bled and Bled Tourist Board for providing IAPCO Council with the ideal venue for a productive meeting and a wonderful setting for a refreshing experience.

18–22 JUNE 20 Issue 110 READ MORE

Triumph Group International joins IAPCO: a step towards a more sustainable future for the industry

Joining the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) in December 2023 was a significant step for us, marking our commitment to the global community of PCOs and sustainable event management. We recognise the vast opportunities offered by a strong and structured international network like IAPCO. And, given our professional maturity, we also believe that IAPCO can benefit from our contributions.

We are dedicated to promoting sustainable event management, believing it is crucial for the long-term success of our industry. As a Benefit Corporation, aligned with our mission, we will collaborate with IAPCO to develop and implement sustainable practices that benefit our clients, the environment and ourselves.

Our membership in IAPCO is a double-pronged positive step for TGI. The association's resources and support will help us continue to grow and succeed, while our commitment to sustainability will contribute to making the event industry more sustainable for the future.

While our industry offers a wide range of meeting opportunities, working under the IAPCO banner is essential for creating international value. This leads us to consider IAPCO as a benchmark for joint planning. We think that associationism can reinforce and define the PCO world by organizing the expertise that stems from our dual mission, with a dedication to enabling PCO management through sustainability objectives.

Despite the similarities between PCOs and the services they provide, each IAPCO member PCO will be distinct, with unique projects to share and outstanding professionals to collaborate with, if people truly 'build' firms.

We recognise the vast opportunities offered by a strong and structured international network like IAPCO
IAPCO NEWS Issue 110 21

From Borneo to the World: Place Borneo Joins

IAPCO with a Mission to Deliver Impactful Events

Place Borneo is a PCO based in Kuching, Sarawak, and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – both on the island of Borneo. Our events are run throughout Malaysia but being in exotic Borneo obviously gives us an edge here when handling large-scale events especially where local connections and know-how are required (as with any exotic location).

We’re made up of twelve dynamic individuals from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, straight to trans and left-brainers to right-brainers – plus everything in between. Living in multi-racial Malaysia forces us (in a good way) to accept the differences we have between the different ethnic groups, different religions and social backgrounds. In the company, this diversity has served us well by giving us differing angles on ideas and problem-solving methods.

Place Borneo prides itself with Standard Operating Processes of international quality in managing its events – as verified by its accreditation by IAPCO. We are also constantly innovating with new-age methods demanded by the everchanging world of business events and the newer and younger attendees that expect differently from their predecessors.

Being a member of IAPCO has definitely been the cream on our cake after years of perfecting our craft – it will never be perfect but it’s the journey that matters. We are on a quest not for the biggest event but to deliver events with the biggest impacts on the local community.

We believe in equality at the grass roots level, where everyone gets an equal opportunity at life, even if it means our events have to do away with convenience (sticking with the familiar) or having to fork out slightly more (by not ordering online from off-shore wholesalers). There is absolutely no reason

for holding massive or multiple events, however perfectly organised, if only a select few benefit from them because of their capital superiority or their position in the market.

Our tagline is "Changing the World, One Event at a Time" and we truly believe in the life-changing impacts of business events especially on remote and indigenous communities in Borneo. Even animals benefit from business events as we witnessed the approval of a new animal shelter when we launched the Asia for Animals conference in Kuching, Sarawak.

We run our events passionately, with the knowledge that the depth of legacy impacts are dependent on how much the event touches the local communities and environment. Our membership in IAPCO helps bring much needed help to more local communities by bringing attention to Borneo through Place Borneo, and we look forward to a long and fulfilling journey with all the other members.

Changing the World, One Event at a Time

22 Issue 110

IAPCO Deepens Frankfurt Commitment with New Destination Partnership

At the start of this year, Frankfurt became an official destination partner of IAPCO. As the only German partner destination, Frankfurt is now one of the major focal points for international association conventions. This strategic collaboration enhances IAPCO's robust presence in Frankfurt, building upon an existing partnership with Messe Frankfurt, the renowned trade fair, congress and event organiser.

"We see our networking collaboration with international PCOs as a massive advantage in promoting our destination. What’s more, we are equally sure that all sides will profit from this partnership. Many international industry professionals are already aware of Frankfurt’s suitability as an event location, being the host city of IMEX while also offering event planners many important locational advantages, such as Frankfurt Airport. We want to show the world that there is a liveable and loveable city behind the business hub of Frankfurt, a city that is well worth discovering," stated Jutta Heinrich, head of the Frankfurt Convention Bureau. "Together with Messe Frankfurt, which became an IAPCO venue partner in 2023, we look forward to supporting all of the association’s members with professional assistance and advice whenever they require it."

Commenting on the new partnership, IAPCO President Sarah Markey-Hamm said, "We are excited to welcome Frankfurt Convention Bureau as a new IAPCO Destination Partner. Frankfurt's vibrant culture, cutting-edge infrastructure, welcoming business environment and commitment to sustainability make it a perfect destination for international conferences and events. This partnership will allow us to connect our members with this dynamic city and create exceptional event experiences for their clients."

IAPCO CEO Martin Boyle, responsible for managing the association’s relationship with destinations, noting the importance of Frankfurt joining the IAPCO Community said, "We recognise the vital role that destinations play in the success of business meetings and events. Expanding our partnership framework in Frankfurt, a global hub for events, is a strategic move for IAPCO. While Messe Frankfurt's expertise in trade fairs is invaluable, we're excited to formally partner with the Frankfurt

CVB, adding their deep destination understanding and support to our members' diverse needs."

Further information on the Frankfurt Convention Bureau is available at

About Frankfurt Convention Bureau

The Frankfurt Convention Bureau is a special business unit of the Frankfurt Tourist+Congress Board and a centre of competence for all matters relating to the planning and performance of congresses, conferences, events and incentives within Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region. Aside from being present at numerous national and international trade shows, the FCB also works to promote the positive image of Frankfurt as an international congress and conference destination. The FCB supports event organisers in submitting congress bids, finding optimal locations for special events, making hotel room reservations and securing special ticket allotments for the local public transport system.

Issue 110 23 IAPCO NEWS

Welcome to Frankfurt

Situated in the middle of the metropolitan region of Frankfurt Rhine-Main, the city of Frankfurt ranks amongst the leading congress destinations of both Germany and Europe. Our bustling metropolis is wonderfully diverse, colourfully cosmopolitan and highly dynamic.

With its ease of accessibility, attractive event venues, countless accommodation establishments and industry-relevant business networks, Frankfurt provides the ideal preconditions for congresses and conferences of every size and variety.

With Germany’s largest airport right in front of our doorstep, a well-developed public transport system, the country’s busiest train station and easy access to the national Autobahn network, the metropolis on the River Main is easy to reach from literally all across the globe.

The compact city centre is home to more than 250 hotels, most of which are only a short walk from Frankfurt’s premier event locations, sightseeing attractions and other recreational offerings. More than 12,000 hotel rooms are situated in immediate proximity to Messe Frankfurt alone.

The vast fairgrounds of Messe Frankfurt (the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre) are home to 11 exhibition halls and four multipurpose event locations. For congresses from 600 up to more than 10,000 participants, Messe Frankfurt offers event planners the highly sustainable "Kap Europa" congress centre as well as spatial combinations comprising the historical "Festhalle", the futuristic "Forum" and the multipurpose "Congress Center". The latter of these three is directly connected to the brand-new Exhibition Hall 5, opened in 2023 and featuring plenty of space for accompanying exhibitions and events.

Last year, a total of 106 congresses and conferences were held at Messe Frankfurt, including, for example, the 28th Annual Congress of the European Haematology Association, a hybrid event with more than 13,000 registered participants. What’s more, Frankfurt will have the pleasure of welcoming leading international congresses in the coming years as well. From 22 to 26 September 2024, the 50th European Conference on Optical Communication – one of the world’s largest and most renowned events representing this industry – will be coming to the metropolis on the River Main. And in 2025, Frankfurt will be hosting Sibos, a leading global financial services event, combining conference, exhibition and networking functions.

There are many other event locations in Frankfurt offering ideal conditions for medium- and large-scale congresses. Campus Westend, part of Frankfurt’s Goethe University, is able to comfortably accommodate events of up to 3,300 persons, for example. Alte Oper Frankfurt, the city’s time-honoured opera house, has ample space for 3,000 persons. Countless other congress centres with capacity for events of 3,000 to 12,500 persons are available within a radius of 35 kilometres.

Frankfurt also disposes over a broad range of event locations well suited for social events. The Frankfurt Convention Bureau (FCB) is happy to support PCOs in their search and in the organisation of site inspections. Event planners are certain to profit not only from the locational expertise of the FCB’s team of professionals, but also from its vast network of accommodation establishments, event venues, service providers and representatives from the fields of business and science. Providing tickets for sustainable travel with the local public transport system is as much a part of the Frankfurt Convention Bureau as the provision of sizeable hotel room allotments.

Further information is available at

24 Issue 110

2024 IAPCO AM&GA – A Global Gathering

Fostering Learning and Connection in the Green and Welcoming Ljubljana

IAPCO extends heartfelt gratitude to all attendees of the Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) held in Ljubljana from February 28th to March 2nd.

With representation from thirty-five countries, the event exemplified the diverse and unified spirit of the global IAPCO Community. Key opinion leaders shared invaluable insights, addressing pressing industry concerns openly. Engaging field trips and social activities fostered meaningful connections and rejuvenation for the year ahead.

Get a glimpse of the event in the IAPCO 2024 AM&GA Ljubljana highlights video:

More photos from the event can be found at the following link – IAPCO 2024 AM&GA Ljubljana Photos

The IAPCO Headquarters and Council extend appreciation to our host Cankarjev dom. Special thanks to the 2024 AM&GA

partners the Ljubljana Convention Bureau, Slovenia Tourism Board, and Slovenian Convention Bureau for their instrumental role in the event’s success.

The generous contributions and support from suppliers and partners, including Postonja Cave, the National Gallery and Castle, enhanced the event’s entertainment and cultural experience. Notably, heartfelt thanks go to Eurostars Grand Union Hotel, GoOpti and Jezersek Catering for their invaluable hospitality and contributions.

As the event concluded, anticipation for the next gathering in Taipei in 2025 is high, promising another enriching experience of collaboration and growth within the industry.

Issue 110 25 IAPCO NEWS

The theme for IAPCO's 2024 Annual Meeting and General Assembly in Ljubljana was a call to action – to inspire, innovate and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the events industry. It encapsulates the essence of momentum, collaboration and progress and was experienced through an exclusive programme of keynote lectures and thought provoker sessions delivered by industry pioneers from Slovenia.

Be inspired by the summaries kindly provided by our member delegates and get an insight into the latest trends and strategies to navigate the ever-evolving meetings and events industry.


Keynote 1: Ljubljana – Exceeding Expectations

Speaker: Professor Janez Koželj

Summary by: Elly Butler

Education Portfolio Manager, IAPCO

Keynote lectures and interactive sessions themes:


Ljubljana is the heart of Slovenia – a beautiful capital city, deserving of its green credentials (Planet Earth Friendly Municipality, Europe’s Green Capital and Global 100 Sustainable Destinations).

But Ljubljana wasn’t always this way. The man who had the vision to transform this carcongested city into a green capital is Janez Koželj, Professor of Urban Architectural Design and Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana. His plan to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists was achieved by re-routing cars, widening pavements, planting trees and creating seating areas where people would want to gather. He referred to the morphology of the city and showed before and after photos of the gaps in previously derelict urban areas and new city centre green spaces.

Events and festivals were organised to show people how to use the newly created spaces as they were initially reluctant to use them.

Now the city is a vibrant car-free place with parks, squares, restaurants along the embankment and weekly local markets.

As meeting planners, our job is to create opportunities for people to come together to share ideas. This session about ‘Exceeding Expectations’ opened my eyes to the possibilities of sustainable meeting design that prioritises people … AND the planet.

26 Issue 110

Keynote 2: Magnet Culture for Talent Retention


Sonja Šmuc

Summary by:

Yoke Cheong

Department Head for Projects & Operations Management, ICS (Singapore)

Thought Provoker 1:

Don’t Scare Your Muse


Jadran Lenarčič

Summary by:

Alexy Gargani

Business Manager, AOS Congresses and Events

The topic of staff retention has become increasingly challenging, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. The pandemic forced employees to adapt to new norms and acquire new skills to thrive in a changing work environment.

A couple of insights struck a chord with me – the importance of fostering a "Culture of Cooperation" and "Fun and Caring". Sonja emphasised how employees coming together for sports, activities and other engaging initiatives can contribute to a strong sense of belonging. This resonated deeply with me, as I believe that building a cooperative culture goes beyond monetary incentives and can significantly impact employee retention.

I asked Sonja about the effectiveness of these insights for remote workers. She acknowledged that these insights are more effective when employees are physically present. This made me reflect on my own experience managing a global team. Despite most of us working remotely and interacting primarily through online platforms, we have established meaningful connections and a sense of belonging. Whenever we meet in person, it feels like we have known each other forever.

Sonja has reinforced my belief that, with the right strategies and efforts, we can build strong connections and a sense of belonging among team members in any environment.

Attending the IAPCO conference in Ljubljana was a transformative journey guided by Jadran Lenarčič, a robotics professor and co-founder of the Engineering Academy of Slovenia. His insights sparked a reflection on inspiration and creativity, unveiling eleven principles resonating with my journey in event planning.

Lenarčič urged us to reconnect with our inner child, emphasising perpetual exploration and never stifling our imagination. Embracing failure as part of the creative process was underscored, encouraging experimentation and resilience. Remaining authentic and open to unexpected creativity emerged as crucial, alongside finding purpose and meaning in our work.

Diversity and openness were touted as catalysts for innovation, breaking free from comfort zones to cultivate bold ideas. Honouring roots and embracing inspiration's ebb and flow were highlighted, anchoring us in our creative pursuits.

The keynote session transcended dialogue, integrating inspiration with art. Lenarčič's ability to weave personal anecdotes with professional insights left an indelible impression on my approach to event planning. I fully embrace each principle presented as a guiding light towards boundless creativity.

AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL 27 Issue 110

Thought Provoker 2: Expecting Better – DEI Driving Change in the Meetings Industry


Barbara Zupančič

Summary by:

Jessica Herviou

Senior Project Manager, Publi Créations – Lena Group (Monaco)

Barbara Zupancic is the Director of Diversity Charter Slovenia. She is a psychologist specialising in the field of diversity management, unconscious bias and work integration of vulnerable groups.

Barbara led us to understand that diversity can be a real asset in a company, particularly in the events sector. With thousands of events taking place around the world each year, it takes a lot of individuals from diverse backgrounds working together to make these conferences a success.

With travel on the increase, the expansion of the European Union over the past decade and the ever-growing tendency to relocate to new countries, we are witnessing diversity thrive across all European countries, and therefore in the workplace. Barbara also explained that diversity comes in many different forms such as differences of ethnicity and race, generation, religion, sexual orientation or disability. She argued that just as gender balance has been proven to be essential in a team, leading to better results, diversity in general leads to improved outcomes.

Based on her studies and data, she concluded that homogeneous groups tend not to share as well as diverse ones. Indeed, Barbara has found that when developing ideas in a diverse setting, one tends to seek to convince others because they automatically feel that they won’t be listened to in the first place due to their difference.

Barbara stressed that companies must set diversity goals and promote these internally and externally, as when a CEO commits, it is very likely that the rest of the company will follow in the same direction.

If I had to summarise Barbara’s message in one sentence, I would use a quote from a video published on her programme’s website, "Diversity, when well managed, brings added value and competitive business advantages."


Keynote 3: Our Future Depends on Our Actions Now


Lučka Kajfež Bogataj

Summary by:

Elly Butler

Education Portfolio Manager, IAPCO

Lučka Kajfež Bogataj is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Ljubljana. As a corecipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (IPCC 2007), she is more than qualified to tell us the harsh realities of climate change and to prompt us to change our behaviours to make a difference.

Poor people cannot change, and the majority of rich people don’t want to. We consume three times as much energy as our grandparents. People used to buy what they need and now they buy what they want and then they throw it away.

We have only one place to live and our planet is reaching its limits. The Arctic is warming three times faster than the global average increase of 1.2 degrees. If we cross planetary boundaries, the earth will become inhospitable to human life. In 2022, we crossed the freshwater boundary. In 2023, we crossed six of the nine boundaries. Global consequences are already being felt in parts of the world that are not to blame.

Transport is the most important part of a sustainable conference. Choose locations with good transportation that are close to the audience and ensure those who travel far have a significant role. Inform attendees about their carbon footprint and facilitate booking train tickets with discount codes.

Issue 110 28 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL

Thought Provoker 3: World Class Quality and Sustainability Should Go Hand in Hand


Ana Roš

Summary by: Salma Darwiche Chief Business Development Officer, ICOM Group

Thought Provoker 5: The Issue with a Disease We Thought Was Gone


Tomo Križnar

Summary by:

Nicky McGrane

CEO, Conference Partners International

IAPCO's 54th Annual meeting featured a truly inspiring talk from Ana Roš. Her story, from waitressing to becoming a world-renowned chef, is a testament to passion, perseverance and a whole lot of cookbooks!

Taking over her husband's family restaurant with no formal training, Ana’s dedication to local ingredients and her own unique culinary vision has transformed Hiša Franko into a global destination.

From self-taught cook to Best Female Chef and now leading a three-Michelin-starred establishment, her journey is a masterclass in defying expectations and achieving culinary excellence. It was a privilege to hear her speak, and a powerful reminder that the greatest successes can often begin with a simple love of food and a willingness to learn.

Inherited privilege – my confession!

As a Professional Congress Organiser, I travel the world, I am surrounded by the best minds, and I stay in the nicest of places. I am safe compared to most. I am educated, I have a roof over my head, I have food on my table, and I have water in my taps. Some might consider these basic human needs and they are, but they are not available to everyone.

I am culpable of "Ostrich Thinking" and for sure my head is so deep in the sand about the severity of the health issues in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Tomo Kriznar, a hidden hero, spoke at the IAPCO Annual Meeting in Ljubljana. I can still hear his stories, I can still see the images of people dying of leprosy, and I can see the images of women rotting in their filth due to the lack of water. He used all our five senses to truly help us imagine what life would be like for us all.

I spoke to Tomo afterwards to hear more about his work in Sudan and to see how I can support him in a meaningful and purposeful way. He said quite simply, "Where there is water, there is leprosy because people with leprosy cannot walk to water, so they are by the water. Those who do not have leprosy live far from the water and this is our biggest problem." How do they get water to the healthy? They have one van, but this is not enough. I offered to purchase a second van as a small step in the right direction and the plan will be put in motion. A very short-term fix but it’s a step in the right direction.

Having spoken to Tomo, it is obvious that he just flew into Ljubljana for the conference, and he was certainly not staying for long. His heart and his life’s purpose are in Sudan and in his words, he has fallen in love with the people of the Nuba Mountains. I walked away from him, met my husband, and burst into tears. Quite honestly, those tears were of guilt, guilt for not doing enough. Sometimes, the problem seems so big, that we cannot support it. But by doing one small thing, by making one small step, we will continue to make one more step and make great strides in truly impacting the lives of those less privileged.

AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL 29 Issue 110

Thought Provoker 4: BEES the Flow The Importance of Bees to Humans


Peter Kozmus

Summary by:

Ben Stanley

Technology Account

Director, TFI Lodestar (UK)

Peter Kozmus, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers Association, and Vice President of APIMONDIA, continued the sobering but informative theme of the day with a talk about one of the vital components to our functioning life on earth – the bee, and how important they and other pollinators are to maintaining life across the world.

Slovenia is a vital honey producer, punching way above its size and providing a great case study for other countries – it produces 16kg of honey per person, it has an organised beekeeping tourism industry and production is on a local/cottage industry – it shows that companies and individuals do not need to have large amounts of space to keep bees, and everyone needs to get involved.

Peter then discussed some of the key facts about bees globally and their importance – in addition to providing food for the world and eliminating hunger, Peter outlined some interesting facts on the financial implications and health benefits/cost savings of bees and pollination:

• Bees provide food security and nutrition – up to 1,700,000 tonnes a year

• Bees pollinate 1/3 of food produced in the world

• 2 billion people globally depend on crops that require pollination

• Many people in developing countries depend on honey directly as a source of food as well as income

• Globally, the sale of honey alone is worth $3bn per year.

• Indirectly, the crops and other by-products of pollination are estimated to be worth $350bn per year

• Human health cost savings based on honey is estimated to be $735–811bn (which is 2.3% of global GDP)

Sadly, as we all know, there has been a marked decline in the global pollinator population –this is down to several factors:

• Intensive agriculture

• Monoculture / pesticides

• Reduced growing areas for pollinating plants (deforestation/urbanisation)

• Climate change

So, what can we do about it? On a global level, there are moves from some countries to reduce the use of pesticides and encourage the planting of honey plants and meadows with flowers – however, we all need to get involved and educate our generation and (crucially) the next generation. Peter outlined some of the initiatives happening in Slovenia:

• Annual "honey breakfast", which happens on the third Friday in November in Slovenian Schools – alongside providing free honey to children, there are other initiatives alongside this to raise awareness on the subject (including the "no bees, no life" booklet which was co-authored by Peter)

• World Bee Day, which was a Slovenian initiative and became a global event in 2017 that has become a focal point for education and advocacy.

• Slovenian beekeepers holding an annual open day.

In summary, although we are all aware of the plight of the bees, it was inspiring to hear Peter’s passion for the subject, the lead that Slovenia is taking, and his plea that we should all take action with our small steps … the future is in our own hands!

Issue 110 30 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL


Keynote 4: The Inevitable Future of Digital and AI

Speaker: Andraž Štalec

Summary by:

Chia Yeh Project Executive, GIS Group (Taipei, Taiwan)

Ever since Open AI has gone public, the world has been trying its best to utilise all the possibilities that it has opened for us. As we are all scratching our heads trying to figure out where and how to apply AI in our work, Andraž Štalec, CEO of Red Orbit, has offered his professional insight into possible AI applications in the PCO industry.

In the first half of the session, Andraž highlighted the primary concern regarding AI, emphasising the importance of privacy and security within the system, particularly in light of GDPR. He suggested two methods to comply with GDPR:

1. Opting for premium plans to shield specific data from public access.

2. Amending GDPR to ensure consent for personal data usage limited to analytical purposes.

In the second half, Andraž continued by emphasising the underutilisation of AI's potential, urging for its broader application beyond mere letter composition. He advocated for leveraging AI to analyse client types, trending topics, or even audience facial expressions at conferences, aiming to deepen client understanding. Thus, as a starting point, he proposed four transformative changes for firms to adopt:

1. Shift focus away from advertising. Instead, understand existing customers and their behaviours.

2. Establish owned channels instead of relying solely on external platforms like Facebook, fostering direct client connections.

3. Enhance data collection and processing capabilities.

4. Create cohesive omni-channel experiences across different platforms.

Last but most importantly, what struck me the deepest was that Andraž underscored the importance of the human touch, which so far AI has not been able to demonstrate. I truly believe that in the case of curating a bespoke event, it is the resonance between the audience and the event that truly affects their thoughts, not perfect grammar or flawless operation.

Christina Gregory Director of Operations, The Arinex Group (Australia)

Andraž Štalec's presentation likened the impact of AI to an asteroid collision with Earth, portraying the imminent shifts in data-driven technology. He underscored two major global transformations: shifts in human behaviour and the advent of technology.

The essence of AI lies in data, which Andraž prompted a need for a re-evaluation of data collection and management methods with a human-centric approach in mind. As privacy regulations evolve and cookie usage diminishes, the necessity of robust data platforms and ethical AI implementation becomes apparent. Developing proprietary data channels and fostering omnichannel experiences emerged as vital strategies during his presentation.

Andraž emphasised that AI tools like chat GPT merely scratch the surface, advocating instead to use this for deeper audience segmentation to optimise campaign budgets and improve ROI. Creativity and understanding consumer behaviour were highlighted as core principles for value creation. One of my key takeaways was the imperative to move from traditional advertising to customer-centric approaches, with AI as a key enabler for trend analysis and personalised event experiences. An example of this included taking your historic attendance data and allowing AI to analyse the trends in registration and identification of why and when delegates are engaged (ensuring you prompt the tool to not release your data to the public –a crucial step in this industry).

Key takeaways included the need to challenge established processes and embrace AI as well as the importance of prioritising data acquisition and utilisation in driving future strategies.

AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL 31 Issue 110

Keynote 5: How our clients move forward:

The cutting edgeA synergy of modern surgical techniques, science and innovation improves patient wellbeing

Speaker: Uroš Ahčan

Summary by: Katrin Kruger Senior Conference Manager, Copernicus Meetings

A highly inspiring keynote about the complexity of plastic surgery, drawing parallels with meeting planning, and a participant's thoughts on choosing the right events for their needs.

Uroš Ahčan started the presentation with insights into the job of a high-level plastic surgeon. Some pictures were not for the faint-hearted. Why was this shown to meeting planners? Are there parallels between plastic surgery and conference organising? YES! Uroš showed us the complexity that plastic surgery has. Good surgeons always check for improvements, using a combination of new and established techniques and the use of modern technology. They connect with other surgeons, discuss their difficult cases, and learn from each other. Aren’t we doing the same? The goal of both is happy clients. Uroš always tries to achieve the best result for the patient. We always try to achieve the best experience for our participants. A memorable quote from this keynote is definitely, "Innovation is crucial for continuing success!" We always have to move, always have to learn and improve.

Uroš also gave us an insight into the decision to attend or not attend a meeting. Is it important to have many sponsors, a shiny venue, low registration fees and a lot of promises? No, Uroš prefers memorable conferences based on interactive activities, suitable venues, perfect technical support and good food. It is now up to us to create new event formats which include the participants and enable them to learn from and connect to other experts.

Issue 110 32 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL

The Social Programme at AM&GA 2024 in Ljubljana

It was my first time attending the IAPCO Annual meeting and what a great first time it was. Slovenia has so much to offer and the venues we visited were spectacular. It was great to be able to experience the Slovenian culture and rich flavours for three days. The team from Cankarjev dom organised an amazing meeting, made us all feel welcome and showcased the best of what Ljubljana has to offer.

The social highlights started with a welcome reception at Cankarjev dom which is Slovenia's main cultural congress centre. It is the pioneer of Slovenian urban beekeeping having had the first four beehives installed on its rooftop terrace in 2011. We were treated to excellent entertainment, food and wine on the stage of the main auditorium. My favourite was the beef tartare with truffle oil.

On Thursday evening we enjoyed a traditional dinner at the National Gallery of Slovenia with a surprise opera performance from disguised waiters and photographers.

On Friday we were treated to an unforgettable trip to the magnificent Postojna Caves. We went deep into the caves with the underground train to experience the towering mountains, murmuring rivers and vast subterranean halls. Mystical performers, music and special lighting made it a truly unique and amazing experience.

After the caves, we went to Ljubljana Castle for a great casual dinner with Slovenian specialities and a live band that got everyone up and dancing into the night.

Attending IAPCO 2024 was a memorable experience, and it was great to meet old industry colleagues and make new friends and connections. The 2024 AM&GA slogan, 'Be The Flow' (aware, responsible, smart) was surely expressed in the great vigour invested into organising every single one of the events.

Be sure to attend IAPCO 2025 AM&GA in Taipei to experience the IAPCO community spirit.

AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL 33 Issue 110

Don't Follow, Be the Flow!

The Organiser's Perspective

Hosting the Annual Meeting and General Assembly of IAPCO is a remarkable event, brimming with opportunities for local hosts, yet simultaneously posing a challenge. It is both a great honour and responsibility to host an event attended by professional colleagues and members of organisations such as IAPCO, which sets global standards in event organisation.

In 2024, Cankarjev dom, a member of IAPCO since 1980, based in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, embraced such a challenge. Hand in hand with the leadership of IAPCO, it successfully executed the 54th annual meeting followed by the general assembly. IAPCO AM&GA 2024: Ljubljana Special attracted over 150 members from thirty-five countries, marking it as a significant success.

The theme of this year's event, "Be the Flow," called for action and innovation in the rapidly evolving meetings industry towards sustainability. IAPCO Ljubljana 2024 focused on reducing the impact of meetings on the environment and promoting sustainability, aligning with IAPCO's goal to make meetings more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and aligned with sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In Ljubljana, we are committed to achieving the goals of sustainable development:

• Eradicating hunger

• Ensuring health and wellbeing

• Providing quality education and lifelong learning

• Promoting gender equality

• Ensuring clean water and sanitation

• Promoting decent work and economic growth

• Fostering industry, innovation and infrastructure

• Reducing inequalities

• Building sustainable cities and communities

• Taking climate action

• Protecting life below water

• Preserving life on land

Cankarjev dom focused on acting responsibly towards IAPCO, event participants, and society organised the fifty-forth IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly following the principles of sustainable event organisation by adopting the Planet Positive Event methodology and adhering to the guidelines outlined our sustainability policy encompassed in the Green Pledge. Thus, Cankarjev dom ensured the event was holistically and sustainably organised on all levels, including processes involving stakeholders, partners, suppliers and employees.

Based on collected on-site data, Cankarjev dom will measure the carbon footprint of IAPCO 2024 in Ljubljana, the results will be available in May 2024.

Local Expertise

Organised thematically into three sections (Big Expectations, Sustainability and How to Move Forward), the programme of IAPCO 2024 was devised in its entirety by Cankarjev dom, which also transferred the principles of sustainability to this area. The local organiser aimed to transfer local knowledge by involving local experts.

Issue 110 34 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL

The speakers (Uroš Ahčan, Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Peter Kozmus, Janez Koželj, Tomo Križnar, Jadran Lenarčič, Ana Roš, Sonja Šmuc, Andraž Štalec and Barbara Zupančič) were distinguished by their exceptional expertise. Cankarjev dom invited them to collaborate based on their achievements in the fields they research or speak about at global conferences. This may have been a novelty compared to previous IAPCO meetings, as they were not merely motivational speakers but exceptional and creative scientists who shared their intimate insights and the world that enables them to be so successful in their professional field.

Supporters and Project Partners

IAPCO 2024 was supported by the President of the State, Mrs Nataša Pirc Musar, the Minister of Economy, Mr Matjaž Han, the Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr Zoran Janković, the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Ljubljana Tourism, the Ljubljana Convention Bureau, Jezeršek Catering, Postojna Cave, Sava Hotels Bled and Tourism Bled, Goopti, the Magical Serpentes Theater, Hurikan and numerous partners who enabled an outstanding social programme.

Opportunity for Networking

IAPCO participants had the opportunity to explore both externally and internally the Secessionist conference hotel Grand Hotel Union Eurostars, the city's landmarks and picturesque corners, from architecture to gastronomy, suitable locations for social events (the Ljubljana Castle, the beautiful National Gallery and Cankarjev dom, the country’s main cultural and congress centre), as well as the mysterious world of Slovenia's most visited karst cave – Postojna Cave. Informal networking and exchange of daily impressions took place after the formal sessions, fostering dialogue and interaction among colleagues. In addition to Ljubljana and Postojna, the precouncil meeting also hosted Bled, the Slovenian alpine jewel,

which graces numerous covers of tourist media, highlighting Slovenia as an interesting congress and tourist destination.

Opportunity for Development

Jezeršek Catering, a renowned catering company in Slovenia and Europe responsible for gastronomic delights at IAPCO 2024 venues outside Grand Union Eurostars hotel, has embraced innovative measures to effectively tackle food waste. With over forty years of experience and more than 2,500 events annually, Jezeršek Catering is committed to sustainability and has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) into its operations to optimise resource management and reduce waste.

Through the implementation of smart scales and AI-based photo analysis, Jezeršek Catering monitors and segments food waste more efficiently. This technological integration allows for precise measurement of discarded food quantities and types, enabling targeted efforts to minimise waste production.

"Cankarjev dom stresses the importance of sustainability and the promotion of inclusive and green meetings. This is in keeping with our long-standing mission dating back to 2011 when we pioneered Slovenian urban beekeeping. Our efforts help preserve the environment and bring a great gift – honey grown in a non-intensive farming area.

For over forty-four years, we have been a member of the IAPCO family, which is present on all continents and professionally organises events defined by creativity, innovation, new technologies and learning about diversity at all levels, setting standards in the meetings industry."

AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL 35 Issue 110



IAPCO AM&GA 2024: Ljubljana
Click for more photos Click for more photos Issue 110 36 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL



Click for more photos Click for more photos 37 | Issue 110 AM&GA 2024 SPECIAL

IAPCO Sets Sights on Taipei and Athens for Future AM&GAs

The IAPCO AM&GA flag has been passed from our host in Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom to the host PCOs for the 2025 edition, GIS Group and Elite PCO, based in Taipei, Taiwan, marking the symbolic transition of the event’s hosting responsibilities.

As the curtains closed on the 54th edition of this prestigious event, the anticipation for the 55th IAPCO AM&GA in Taipei, scheduled for 20–23 February 2025, has heightened. The Taiwanese hosts left a lasting impression with a captivating presentation that seamlessly blended the meditative poetry narrated by GIS Group’s CEO, Jason Yeh, with the mesmerising soundscape of Taiwan playing in the background. The accompanying animation on the big screen further amplified the immersive experience, offering a tantalising glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry that awaits attendees in Taipei.

As the IAPCO community bid farewell to Ljubljana and turned its attention to Taipei, a glimpse into the future was unveiled with the announcement of the 2026 host destination. The 2026 AM&GA will take place in the historic city of Athens, Greece, hosted in partnership by esteemed Greek PCOs AFEA Congress, ERA Congresses & Events, ERASMUS Conferences & Events S.A., and CONVIN S.A.

As the IAPCO AM&GA bandwagon embarks on its journey from one captivating destination to another, the association remains committed to bringing the global community together, fostering connections and elevating the meetings and events industry to new heights. Join us in Taipei, Athens and beyond for these must-attend industry events.

IAPCO’s AM&GA serves as a global gathering for the association’s members and partners, fostering networking, idea exchange, knowledge sharing and a celebration of the incredible IAPCO community. To continue this tradition, IAPCO invites member PCOs to submit Expressions of Interest (EoI) to host the 2027 edition, with a submission deadline of 31 May 2024. Interested parties are encouraged to email IAPCO CEO Martin Boyle at to receive the Bid Guidelines.

38 Issue 110 IAPCO NEWS

The Next Generation made its mark at this year’s AM&GA Meeting and is here to stay!

As the lights turned on the grand stage in Ljubljana of the recent IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly, it was my honour to stand before a room of accomplished professionals to represent the Next Gen. Ever since I got appointed the Next Gen Chair in April of last year, it has been a moment of pride to highlight all the great achievements the next generation of leaders has made since then.

Over the past year, the Next Gen Committee has experienced remarkable growth, welcoming five new members into our group. For me, it has been important to amplify the voices of emerging leaders, ensuring they are valued and heard. This expansion is proof of the engagement we have successfully created among younger professionals within the association.

Another significant achievement is our contributions to the PCO magazine. With over 3,000 words submitted from a Next Gen perspective, we've sought to inspire like-minded

individuals and advocate for the needs and aspirations within IAPCO and beyond.

Looking ahead, we have our sights set on the upcoming Next Gen Workshop at IMEX. It is important for me that the committee is actively involved in shaping the programme. This is our opportunity to ignite curiosity and drive among the next generation of leaders.

I must say that one of the most rewarding aspects of the IAPCO AM&GA meeting this year was the opportunity to connect with my Next Gen members and other young professionals in person. On Friday, we sat down for a nice lunch where we got to know each other better, discussing everything from the future of virtual events to how we all ended up here. After some reflection, I realised that many of the Next Gen attendees were not just industry newcomers but also family members of CEOs present at the meeting. This was my first encounter with an important insight I collected from these days about getting young people to choose this as their career choice.

During the Welcome Reception at Cankarjev dom, I had the privilege of speaking with a young professional from Taiwan, who had been in the industry for just two years. She confided

IAPCO NEXT GEN Issue 110 39

in me, contemplating a career change due to a negative work environment. This was not only my first encounter with a younger member who didn’t choose this career because of their parents but also my first realisation of how important representation and understanding of senior management is to them choosing our industry as their career path. It became evident to me that being visible and enthusiastic about our industry can inspire others to persevere and thrive.

In my address from the main stage, I told the members about the discussion I had the night before and emphasised the importance of representation for the next generation. If they can see me do this, it makes them believe they can too. This ethos will continue to guide my work as I step into a new role on the IAPCO Council.

Lastly, I want to take this moment to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for me to be on the Council and has supported me along the way with this responsibility. Not forgetting the members of the Next Gen committee, I can never say enough how proud I am of them for showing up to meetings on time and being engaged in conversations with their brilliant ideas. This would not have been possible without you. Together, let us continue the great work we have just started, and as we prepare to select a new Next Gen Chair this spring, let us reaffirm our commitment to making sure that the Next Generation is a part of a vibrant and inclusive future.

This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come!

40 Issue 110
Issue 110 41 IAPCO NEWS

Kerry: Pioneering Sustainable Events Tourism in Ireland

Ranked in the Top 20 of the Global Destination Sustainability Index, Kerry is not just Ireland’s leading sustainable tourism destination, but also a spectacular place to meet, inspire, engage and motivate.

As a dynamic hub for sustainable business events, the region combines breathtaking landscapes with diverse meeting and accommodation facilities. Set against the backdrop of one of only two UNESCO Biosphere reserves in Ireland and boasting the longest stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way, Kerry presents a unique opportunity for events to leave a lasting impact.

The destination’s approach to sustainable and regenerative tourism development is driven by Kerry Sustainable Tourism Group. This collaborative task force is led by Kerry Tourism Industry Federation, with the support of key partners including Kerry Convention Bureau (KCB) and Munster Technological University.

Working together, the group focuses on fostering sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that visitors experience the best of Kerry while protecting its natural beauty.

Central to these efforts, KCB, who is supported by Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland) and Kerry County Council, plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainability within the MICE industry. Its objective is to make holding eco-friendly events in Kerry easy.

A Destination Like Nowhere Else

Kerry is where nature, history and culture intertwine. It’s a place where local flavours and global insights merge, offering a unique, sustainable event experience. With easy access from international airports and carbon-offsetting opportunities to make travel greener, attendees can find themselves in a spectacular setting that inspires fresh thinking and promotes innovation.

Event planners can contribute to Kerry’s sustainable vision by adopting eco-friendly practices where possible. Opting for accredited venues, eliminating single-use plastics, promoting eco-friendly transportation, offering plant-based menus with local produce, and engaging in community-driven activities like beach clean-ups are just a few ways to make a big impact.

Leading the Way in Sustainable Impact

Since joining the GDS Index in 2018, Kerry has made significant strides in sustainable development by actively involving local businesses, the community, and government bodies. Excelling in all four GDS Index categories, Kerry’s commitment to sustainability is clear.

Key achievements include Kerry Convention Bureau attaining the Green Meetings Accreditation: Silver, highlighting its dedication to eco-friendly event planning. The Kerry Food Share initiative has been redistributing surplus food to over forty-five community groups, earning the Social Enterprise Mark for its efforts. And in collaboration with the Dingle Hub, the Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Project focuses on transitioning to renewable energy sources.

Additionally, a joint project with Munster Technological University and the Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance is advancing circular economy and regenerative tourism, promoting a sustainable economic model.

The Kerry Sustainable Tourism Group is also working on various initiatives, like innovative waste reduction programmes including wetsuit recycling, increasing EV charging points, and implementing carbon offsets and biodiversity credits. These initiatives, along with the Sustainability Dashboard Project, are all part of Kerry’s efforts to nurture a greener future.

Killarney Coffee Cup Project

Building on these initiatives, the Killarney Coffee Cup Project is a prime example of Kerry’s innovative approach to sustainability.


Nestled in the heart of Kerry, Killarney is globally recognised as a leading sustainable tourism destination and a premier hub for meetings and conferences in Ireland. Known for its unrivalled facilities in idyllic settings, Killarney is proactively embracing its environmental responsibility.

The town has successfully launched a targeted programme to address the growing litter issue caused by single-use coffee cups, a problem most noticeable at top attractions like Killarney National Park.

The Killarney Coffee Cup Project, an ambitious plan for Killarney to become the first town in Ireland to eliminate single-use coffee cups, recently won a major prize in the Best Environmental & Ecological category at the Local Authority Members’ Association (LAMA) All-Ireland Community and Council Awards.

This pioneering initiative, driven by the collective effort of more than twenty-five local coffee shops and twenty hotels, aims to eradicate over one million single-use coffee cups annually, reducing waste by 18.5 tonnes and positioning Killarney at the forefront of sustainable tourism in Ireland.

In addition to this, Killarney has added an educational component to the project. Local schools are involved in a programme that cleverly utilises the town’s leftover single-use cups for school activities, like planting seedlings and in art and science projects. This approach not only recycles waste but also helps instil environmental values in Killarney’s young minds, ensuring a lasting impact.

The town’s comprehensive strategy looks at both the shortterm effects of reducing waste and the long-term goal of making its residents and visitors more aware of environmental issues. Integrating seamlessly with national efforts like the impending ‘Latte Levy’ (a tax on disposable coffee cups), the

initiative ensures that sustainable practices don’t come at an extra cost to the customer. Instead, it promotes a shift in habits towards reusable cups, showing that being environmentally friendly can also be cost-effective.

Tourism and hospitality businesses participating in this initiative have embraced the change wholeheartedly, with plans to introduce a collective deposit system in partnership with 2GoCup. This system is particularly considerate of business tourists who might not have a reusable cup on hand. All customers, locals and visitors alike, can get a reusable cup for a small deposit, further encouraging sustainable practices even while traveling.

This approach isn’t just about reducing waste; it’s a holistic effort to preserve Killarney’s natural beauty. Serving as a model for other communities globally, Killarney, and indeed Kerry, show how collaborative action and creative thinking can drive significant environmental progress, especially in areas key to business tourism.

43 | Issue 110 UN SDG SPOTLIGHT

The Economist Impact

'The 4th Technology for Change Asia' in Hong Kong

The Economist Impact has picked Hong Kong as the strategic location to stage its flagship annual event, Technology for Change Asia, for three years. The first edition held in Hong Kong concluded on a high note.

Being one of the A-list conventions supported by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the government, Technology for Change Asia focuses on exploring the latest innovations in artificial intelligence, Web3, DeFi and crypto, and the role of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) in applying technology for impact.

The 4th edition of the event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on 27–28 February 2024, brought together over 450 government officials, technology chiefs, innovators, investors, scientists and senior business representatives. Keynote speakers included Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, and Michio Kaku, a renowned physicist and science writer.

Robust discussions were mixed with networking, business and enjoyment, highlighting Hong Kong's position as a hub for technology and innovation. Ahead of their busy schedules, the HKTB invited Wales, Kaku and other summit guests to cruise on the iconic Aqua Luna, taking in the city's renowned harbour views at night.

"The connectivity of Hong Kong with its convenient traffic network makes the city a great leisure and business travel destination in Asia. Hong Kong is one of the most important cities in the world and it’s open, easily accessible and very central to Asia. We hosted our annual meeting, the Wikimania conference, here in Hong Kong almost ten years ago, and I believe it's time for us to return. It's a great place to conduct business and meet people."


AFEA Congress

A new era for AFEA Congress

AFEA turns the page, opening a new chapter in the company's long history. Recently, its corporate transformation was completed, through which two new corporate entities were established.

As a result of the above structural changes, the establishment "AFEA CONGRESS SOCIETE ANONYME COMMERCIAL HOTEL TOURISM AND CONFERENCE COMPANY" ("AFEA CONGRESS",, will continue its operation as a development force of the Meetings industry in Greece. The following sectors contributed to AFEA Congress are a) Congress – Professional Congress Organiser/Event Planner/Association Management; and b) Groups & Incentives. The sectors remaining under AFEA TRAVEL S.A. are a) Travel and Corporate Travel Services; and b) Destination Management Company (DMC) – Luxury Travel.



45 MEMBER NEWS | June 2023
AFEA Congress strive to #InspireInclusion every day, integrating it into their work culture practices. Join AFEA in commitment to embracing inclusivity for women in every aspect of the workplace.

AIM Communication completes 100% acquisition and incorporates GAS Communication & Partners

The communications company part of AIM Group is growing through the merger by incorporation with the PR agency specialising in the healthcare sector.

AIM Communication, AIM Group International’s dedicated communication agency, successfully acquired the remaining 49% shareholding in GAS Communication & Partners, having previously held a 51% stake in the company since 2020. In addition, thanks to a merger by incorporation, the PR agency specialising in healthcare, pharma and social communications will be fully integrated into AIM Communication, forming a single entity from a corporate and tax perspective from January 2024.

Congrès Inc

Japan – ASEAN Cooperation’s 50th Anniversary – Congrès Inc. operated Commemorative Summit

Japan hosted the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation from December 16–18 December 2023. The Commemorative Summit and various related events were convened in Tokyo, co-chaired by Japan’s Prime Minister Mr KISHIDA Fumio and President Joko WIDODO of Indonesia, which holds ASEAN Chairmanship for 2023. The Joint Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and its Implementation Plan were adopted as the Commemorative Summit’s outcome.

Congrés Inc., IAPCO’s Japan member, was appointed to manage the venue set-up and overall operations of the Summit.

AIM Group
46 | Issue 110 MEMBER NEWS

DIS Joins Green Tourism Organisation to Boost Sustainability Efforts

DIS is proud to announce its official certification by the Green Tourism Organisation (GTO). This prestigious distinction underscores DIS's commitment to environmental responsibility and positions the company to offer clients a comprehensive suite of sustainable event solutions.

The GTO certification recognises DIS's dedication to implementing best practices across its operations, minimising environmental impact and fostering responsible tourism practices. This aligns with the company's core values and contributes to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

TFI Lodestar appoints Gema Rodriguez as MD

Live events and communications agency TFI Lodestar has appointed Gema Rodriguez as Managing Director, marking the company’s progression from its recent integration phase and in preparation to build on two years’ rapid development.

Rodriguez, previously TFI Lodestar’s Group Account Director, played a key role in merging the company’s business functions and re-launching in 2021, and has since helped to lead the business through a period of strong growth, broadening its client base and increasing revenues. TFI Lodestar ended 2023 by winning Best Event by an Agency PCO at the ABPCO Excellence Awards.

DIS Congress Service
47 | Issue 110 MEMBER NEWS

Kenes Group Summit 2024 arrives in Athens

The traditional Kenes Summit brings together the leading management of the Group to kick off the year with an in-person meeting, on this occasion, in the vibrant capital of Greece.

For two days, twenty-three leaders of the global Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), and Association Management Company (AMC), Kenes Group were immersed in educational activities, discussions, and creative sessions, hosted by the city of Athens.

"We want to thank the Athens Convention Bureau for their wonderful hospitality! At this pivotal time, more than ever, it is crucial that our international management team meets in person when it comes to laying down the best possible future for the company," said Kenes Group CEO Ori Lahav. He added: "Athens is certainly an inspiring city and the solid business relationship that we have with this destination allows us to feel at home and focused on developing the strategy of our organisation."

Kenes Group VP Clients & Operations Elected as Council Member at IAPCO's General Assembly

The appointment, made during the recent IAPCO 2024 Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, highlights Kenes Group's ongoing commitment to excellence and leadership within the global meetings and events industry.

Limor Cunia, Vice President of Clients and Operations at Kenes Group, expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm for the new role, stating:

"This nomination marks a significant milestone in my career and I appreciate IAPCO members for putting their trust in me. My commitment as a Council Member will be with all IAPCO members and partners, and I am looking forward to being a key player in shaping the future of the industry, driving innovation, and fostering collaboration among industry professionals worldwide".

48 | Issue 110 MEMBER NEWS
The Kenes Group

OIC Group obtains ISO 20121 Certification and advances in the global sustainability journey

As a carbon-neutral company, the strategy begins from within, influencing the MICE industry with an integrated vision of environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

OIC Group, the International Professional Congress Organiser operating in the healthcare sector, announces the achievement of ISO 20121 certification as an integral part of a broader and more ambitious strategy to attain 360-degree sustainability. This milestone marks a crucial chapter in OIC Group's established history, as a company that has consistently demonstrated a profound commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability in the Replace with organisation of its events.

OIC Group 49 | Issue 110 MEMBER NEWS

IFES and .fwd: Announce New ISO 20121 Training Convoy for Members

In response to the escalating demand for sustainable practices within the Exhibition and Events industry, the International Federation of Exhibition and Events Services (IFES) and the Federal Association of the Event Industry (fwd:) have announced the launch of a 3rd ISO 20121 Training Convoy, an extension of their convoy-consulting concept for ISO 20121 released in 2022.

The newly launched ISO 20121 Training Programme 3 was crafted by IFES and fwd: in-house in collaboration with GUTcert from the AFNOR Group and the consultants from 2bdifferent. Training is led by ISO 20121 Internal Auditors and sustainability advocates, Dominique Bohler (IFES)(pictured) and Marko Roscher (fwd:), providing a comprehensive understanding of the ISO 20121 process and close guidance across the implementation phases.

IFES Education Committee Leads the Charge in Cultivating International Exhibition Excellence with MasterClass 2024 – North America

The International Federation of Exhibition Services (IFES) is dedicated to advancing excellence and innovation in the exhibition industry through a series of educational initiatives. Under the leadership of the IFES Education Committee, these initiatives aim to empower members with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the global marketplace.

Following the resounding success of MasterClass 23 –Frankfurt: "Futureproof your career in Exhibitions" in November 2023, MasterClass 24 - North America, "Invest in International Exhibition Excellence," is set to take place on 16–17 May 2024, in partnership with The Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA).


Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt Locations Talk Dives Deep into Event Sustainability

Messe Frankfurt Locations hosted their latest online event, "Deep Dive: Sustainability at Events," on 1 February, offering valuable insights for event organisers.

Key questions addressed:

• Integrating a sustainability strategy within your company.

• The added value of sustainable events.

• Future goals beyond climate neutrality.


MCB launches First Peoples Engagement Guide

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has launched a First Peoples Engagement Guide, aimed at assisting event planners in creating culturally enriched business events and fostering positive social impact.

Tailored specifically to the business events industry, the valuable resource includes practical information about when and how to organise a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country, a curated Indigenous Business Events Supplier Guide and useful tips on how to put the guide into practice.

MCB Chief Executive Julia Swanson acknowledged the rising demand for experiences that recognise and celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Victoria's First Peoples.

PARTNER NEWS 51 | Issue 110
& Affiliations
Destinations Convention Centres Council & Annual Meeting Hosts Service Providers
52 | Issue 110 IAPCO PARTNERS
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.