The PCO - Issue #111 | Edition 2 (2024)

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The Impact of AI on Events

Bi-monthly publication from the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers ISSUE #111 | EDITION 2 (2024)

Where History Meets Innovation:

Castles and Conventions on Japan Study Tour 2023

“I always love coming to Japan but this study trip showed me even more and it was all incredible. The history and culture and your wonderful hospitality, just top notch. ”This is a quote from one of the attendees on the JNTO Japan Study Tour 2023.

This past December, JNTO held “JNTO Japan Study Tour 2023”, inviting international meeting professionals and organisers from the IAPCO Core PCOs. We will now highlight Himeji in Hyogo prefecture, one of the cities visited during this tour, we will highlight the city of Himeji in Hyogo prefecture, which received particularly high praise and has a great marriage of new facilities, culture and history.

Himeji, the second largest city in Hyogo, is easily accessible from cities with major international airports, roughly three hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train). The city is most known for being home to one of Japan's most beautiful landmarks, Himeji Castle, built in 1609 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aside from being a great location for sightseeing, it also offers a unique venue space where participants can dine and enjoy drinks in front of the castle. The participants were led on a journey through the castle, with a special opportunity to inspect the venue’s night-time light-up event, and warmly looked after by the staff's hospitality.

Another highlight of Himeji is Arcrea HIMEJI, the city’s new, state-of-the-art facility, opened in September 2021 and which will host the “Understanding Risk Global Forum 2024 (UR2024)”. Located just a 10-minute walk from Himeji Station, Arcrea HIMEJI stands out through its use of green spaces, such as the roofed walk-through on the venue’s western side, showcasing sustainability in

modern venue design. The participants were impressed by the sophisticated, highly modern, and environmentally conscious planning and infrastructure of the facility.

In this way, Himeji seamlessly blends modernity with Japan's rich cultural heritage, offering conference delegates a unique experience combining a new convention facility with the historical charm of a Japanese castle.

The Study Tour also included several cultural experiences like a sake brewery tour, appreciated by participants for its blend of innovation and tradition. We encourage you to consider Himeji or other cities in Japan, where history, culture, and innovation come together, as potential locations for your conferences.

JNTO is going to host Japan Study Tour again this December. Please look forward to it.


AI Meets Events: Exploring the possibilities and challenges

Dear members and friends of IAPCO,

AI has been impacting our events before it became ubiquitous in our vocabulary, we just didn’t know it!

There are practical AI applications that we now use as part of our daily work, but what excites and concerns me at the same time is the future applications of AI and our events. Some of the developments that I have learnt about recently about the use of AI and the Metaverse can create a unique experience for each delegate, and subsequently, any partner that would like to tailor their advertising to each delegate (compliance issues notwithstanding!).

Recently, I was talking with a client regarding the compilation of data from a previous event’s feedback surveys. Demonstrating how efficient it was to put all the free text responses into an AI platform and have it collate and summarise the responses in minutes still excites and amazes me! However, the other applications seem only as limiting as your imagination.

Understanding how various AI tools can assist in the delivery of your events to your clients and delegates is a non-negotiable insofar as a new hire.

In summary, AI to this generation of PCOs is the online registration of the last generation (my generation), I wonder what the next big thing will be for the next.

Where does one start to begin to understand and appreciate the value that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring to not-forprofit associations?

We can consider implementing AI tools to help us manage and analyse data from marketing and communication campaigns or we can use it to target specific audiences with specific communication to meet their interests.

For some not-for-profits, AI can help to drive fundraising activities by identifying potential donors and free up staff to focus on relationship-building and initiatives. It can also help to streamline some day-to-day operational functions of an association such as membership renewals, and data processing.

Here at IAPCO, we are currently driving a digital transformation throughout our own association which will ensure we, as an HQ team with limited resources, can provide added value to our members and community. This involves not only what we communicate, but how we communicate across the many diverse stakeholder groups we serve. Measuring, evaluating and reporting on the impact that our members generate through the clients’ events, creating opportunities for them to exchange knowledge, develop their skills and leverage insights will enable us and them to make more informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve.

Empowering our members to engage more with our HQ team through real-time interactive technologies in specific areas of importance to them, by making it simpler for them to access content and receive feedback via AI tools, will be of huge importance and value to them as we continue to develop and deliver our services throughout our global community.

3 IAPCO NEWS | ISSUE #111 EDITION 2 (2024)
MEMBER NEWS Member News 36 Update from the IAPCO Member Community IAPCO PARTNERS ON-POINT ARTICLES Messe Frankfurt 16 Sustainability Milestones Japan 02 Where History Meets Innovation Artificial Intelligence 25 How AI can shape Event Personalisation Rwanda 23 How can AI Benefit the Event Industry The Rise of The Machines 27 How AI is Revolutionising Events Dubai 43 Leading the way on Artificial Intelligence The Dawn of a New Era 31 Generative AI Revolutionising the Meetings Industry PARTNER NEWS Partner News 40 Update from the IAPCO Partner Community The PCO: Published by IAPCO 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.
CONTENTS ON THE COVER: Stock Photo: Embracing AI Tools 34 A Paradigm Shift in Event Organisation



This edition explores cutting-edge approaches, imaginative designs and inventive technologies shaping the future of events. From immersive experiences to sustainable practices, the theme celebrates the fusion of innovation and creativity to inspire fresh thinking, providing insights into trends, case studies and expert perspectives. It also, examines the role of creativity in event planning, including the importance of storytelling and the use of art and design to create a compelling event experience.

We welcome submissions from all our members from around the world.

Editorial support is provided to non-English speakers.

Send your contributions for the next edition to

IAPCO NEWS Message from the President 03 and CEO Exploring Possibilities and Challenges
Announces 06 New Destination Partner
Boston joins
IAPCO IAPCO Membership Annual Survey
08 2024
Events Industry Upcoming Education and Events 14 Dates for Your Diary for Education, Networking and Professional Development provided and supported by IAPCO. Next Gen Voice 17 Driving Change on the IAPCO Council Get to know the 18 New IAPCO Council Images from the IAPCO 42 Community Feature in the Issue #112, Edition 3 (2024) of the PCO! Theme: Innovation and Creativity in Events Deadline
IAPCO Members report
Stellar Year IAPCO Innovation Award
Innovative Solutions in the
for all contributions: 9 June 2024
Shannon Region 44 A Leader In Sustainable Tourism

IAPCO Announces New Destination Partnership with Meet Boston

The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) is delighted to announce its new destination partnership with Meet Boston, the premier marketing and visitor services organisation for the Greater Boston region. This strategic collaboration marks IAPCO's expansion in North America, with Boston becoming the association's sole Destination Partner in the United States.

Meet Boston, formerly known as The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, is the primary private-sector marketing and visitor services organisation responsible for developing meetings, conventions and tourism-related business. With a mission to enhance the economy of Boston, Cambridge, and the metropolitan area, Meet Boston is dedicated to showcasing the vibrancy and diversity of the destination to a global audience.

"We are thrilled to welcome Meet Boston as our newest Destination Partner," said Nicola Testai, Chair of the IAPCO Commercial and Strategic Partnership Committee. "Boston's rich history, world-class facilities and vibrant cultural scene make it an ideal location for international meetings and events. This partnership aligns with our mission to provide our members with access to top-tier destinations worldwide."

As IAPCO's Destination Partner, Meet Boston will look to engage with the association's members to promote Boston as a premier destination for conferences, conventions

and corporate events. The partnership will leverage Meet Boston's extensive expertise in marketing, visitor services and destination management to ensure IAPCO members and their clients receive unparalleled support and experience when hosting events in the region.

"Being a part of IAPCO provides Meet Boston with the opportunity to have brand exposure and engagement with members and the wider global meetings industry community," said Martha J Sheridan, President and CEO of Meet Boston. "This partnership will provide us with business development opportunities from the international meetings market – which is so important to our destination with our sixty non-stop international routes coming into Boston from around the globe. We’re looking forward to engaging with IAPCO and its members."

The partnership with Meet Boston complements IAPCO's existing destination partnership in North America with Toronto, further strengthening the association's presence on the continent. IAPCO members can now benefit from enhanced resources, insights and support when planning events in two of North America's most dynamic and sought-after destinations.

For more information about IAPCO's Destination Partners, please visit

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IAPCO Membership Reports Another Stellar Year in 2023

IAPCO published the 2023 statistics from their Annual Member Survey on 11 April 2024, marking the Global Meetings Industry Day. Based on annual return data provided by IAPCO members, the survey results report that its members delivered over €14.2 billion euros of economic impact into destinations around the globe in 2023.

around the globe, show an increase in the majority of areas including number of events delivered, number of meeting professionals employed and, importantly, the Economic Impact of the events delivered throughout the year."

In addition to all of this, membership of the association grew by 5% from 2022 and interest in new membership applications for 2024 is far exceeding expectations.

The IAPCO Annual Member Survey compiles data from the IAPCO membership to gain valuable insight into its community over the previous year and to get an outlook for the coming years. This data enables IAPCO to understand its members’ impact on the industry through their performance and focus on future activities.

IAPCO and its members continue to report growth yearon-year with the latest 2023 figures now available. Martin Boyle, CEO of IAPCO shared: "Our annual reporting figures, based on data collected from all IAPCO members

Economic Impact has risen from €13.48 billion in 2022 to €14.2 billion in 2023, the number of events from 16,359 in 2022 to 17,044 in 2023 and the number of meeting professionals employed within the IAPCO membership has risen from 8,457 in 2022 to 9,248 in 2023.

Martin continued, "Although these results are just a snapshot of of the past year, the growth trend over the past several years is very encouraging for IAPCO, our members and our global meetings industry as a whole. When assessed, together with all other indicators, the impact that IAPCO members continue to bring to both our industry and cities within which their client events are delivered is extremely positive, attractive and proof of the value of business events around the globe."


IAPCO Innovation Award 2024

Recognising Innovative Solutions in the Meetings and Events Industry

Supported by:

In an ever-evolving meetings industry, innovation is the driving force that propels us forward. The 2024 IAPCO Innovation Award celebrates the visionaries who are pushing boundaries, raising the bar for professionalism, and reshaping the landscape of events worldwide.

On Wednesday 15 May 2024, IAPCO will announce the winner of the prestigious 2024 Innovation Award at the IMEX Frankfurt Gala Dinner. This esteemed individual will not only bask in the limelight of their achievement but will also be featured in the June edition of the PCO, sharing their inspiring story with the global meetings community.

As we countdown to this highly anticipated announcement, we are thrilled to introduce the nominees – a group of visionaries whose innovative ideas have already left an indelible mark on the industry. Their contributions deserve recognition, for they are the catalysts driving the meetings world towards new heights of excellence and pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

In the following pages, in their own words, you will read about their challenges and the solutions they crafted, witnessing first hand the power of innovation to overcome obstacles and reshape the industry's landscape.

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Nomination #1

Name of Candidate: Ahmed Magdy

Candidate Job Title: Senior Front-End Developer

Company: ICOM Group

Country: Egypt


Event Managers face a significant challenge: printed materials with QR codes linked to event programmes became outdated when programme changes were required. This necessitated costly reprints and created an inconvenience for attendees, who might have outdated information.

Approach and Solution:

Our team devised a novel approach to address this issue. Ahmed, a Senior Front-End Developer, onceptualized the idea of the QR-Genie.

He proposed embedding the event program within a web page and generating a QR code for the web page itself. This ingenious solution allowed for dynamic updates to the programme without needing to reprint the QR code, ensuring attendees always accessed the latest information.

To transform this concept into a practical tool, Ali Abdel Salam, a skilled Back-end Developer, played a pivotal role. He developed the Back-end infrastructure for the QR-Genie, including a robust and scalable system architecture with a database and serverside logic.

This enabled the tool to handle multiple events and updates efficiently. Moreover, Ali integrated Ahmed's manual steps into a user-friendly dashboard, empowering project managers to generate and update QR codes for various event components such as programmes, medical resources and mobile apps.

Recognising the importance of user experience and aesthetics, Jailan Ibrahim, Web Team Manager, and Nuran Abdou, Senior UI/UX Designer, collaborated to create an intuitive and visually appealing user interface. This ensured that QR-Genie was not only functional but also enjoyable to use, further encouraging its adoption among project managers.


QR-Genie has revolutionised event management at ICOM Group, resulting in several positive outcomes.

• Project managers can now make real-time updates to event information, providing attendees with the most current programme, resources and mobile app links.

• This streamlined process has significantly improved efficiency and flexibility while minimising printing costs and the environmental impact associated with outdated materials.

• Furthermore, the user-friendly interface, designed by Jailan and Nuran, has contributed to the tool's widespread adoption across various events, leading to positive feedback from project managers and a notable improvement in the programme management process.

• A new way of event manager interaction with the QR codes, opened new possibilities for creating landing pages with required content on the spot and making QR codes simultaneously.

QR-Genie, this user-friendly tool exemplifies our commitment to innovation, environment and problem-solving within the events industry. This dynamic solution demonstrates the value of collaboration, creativity and user-centric design in addressing realworld challenges and enhancing the overall event experience.

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Nomination #2

Name of Candidate: LIU, Hong (Leon Liu)

Candidate Job Title: DCO (Digital Solution for Conference) Manager

Company: East Star Event Management Co., Ltd

Country: China


International events face challenges such as promoting teamwork with multiple hosts and PCOs, engaging with participants and elevating logistics.

Approach and Solution:

To address these challenges for the "World Conference on China Studies Shanghai Forum," East Star developed and utilised its digital tools, the X platform and system. This solution included the following features:

• Marketing Channel: Event content could be linked, shared and liked through popular social apps like WeChat (the most popular app in China) and others. It provided both Chinese and English language options and separate spaces for Chinese and international participants.

• One-Key Share: Easy sharing of conference content and information.

• Integrated Features: A combination of "Photo Album on Cloud," "Live Stream," "Location Navigation" and more.

• Event Team Structure: Allowed multi-working teams to update, sync, release, upload/download information and tasks. Different levels of authority ensured data security and isolation, as the platform was certified by the state cyber security department.

• Participant Experience: Participants could create accounts, register for the event, make payments through local and international financial channels, access their itinerary (flights, ground transport, hotel check-in/out, forums, meals), and sync relevant information with authorised staff teams like drivers, guides, hotel staff and secretariat.

• Sustainability: Implemented a "non and less paper event policy," using renewable and reusable materials, collected and recycled plastic water bottles to obtain Carbon Emission Credits (exchanged for school uniforms donated to schools in poor areas) and provided digital meeting materials to reduce printing.


East Star's X platform and system provided a one-station event management experience with a focus on sustainable development, enhancing the value of MICE management for the future.

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Nomination #3

Name of Candidate: Cheryl Welburn

Candidate Job Title: Project Manager for Incentives and Special Events

Company: Arinex Pty Ltd

Country: Australia


Contrary to popular belief, there are no venues in Sydney CBD that can accommodate a 3,000 pax sit-down Gala Dinner. As a result, Cheryl was tasked with the challenge of delivering a standup event worthy of a Gala title.

Departing from the conventional sit-down gala dinner, Arinex partnered with SafeWork NSW to conceptualise an innovative, progressive Australian Night celebratory event showcasing the country’s iconic cultural attractions. Arinex Project Manager, Cheryl Welburn was tasked with bringing this exciting new concept to life.

Approach and Solution:

Cheryl reimagined the traditional gala dinner format into a culturally immersive celebration at the coveted three-story WatersEdge at Campbell’s Stores, overlooking Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Being the venue’s first event of this scale and concept, it was integral that Cheryl guided the venue throughout. With only five months to execute, Cheryl navigated stakeholder relations, collaborating with the venue team, tourism bodies and eighteen suppliers to secure optimal theming, technology, food, beverages, entertainment and activations. Her thorough preparation ensured cohesive execution with all stakeholders.

Cheryl transformed the three-level venue into an immersive wonderland showcasing Australia's diverse landscapes and culture.

The ground floor, themed "Beach and Bush", featured Indigenous bushtucker tasting, a beach-themed photo booth and a gelato cart featuring unique Australian flavours.

Level one, themed "Reef and Rainforest", offered a native floral station, rainforest-themed photo booth, virtual reality station with 360° Australian reef and rainforest videos, and an Aussie Rules Football activation.

The top level, themed "Dreamtime and Outback", featured an Indigenous gallery with artist meet-and-greet, virtual reality Outback experience, 360° photo booth and local wine tasting, capping the evening off with an after-party band and dancing.

A Culinary Exploration

Departing from the sit-down dinner format, Cheryl collaborated with the venue and local suppliers to arrange diverse food stations throughout the venue, offering an array of culinary options from Australian barbeque to seafood, pasta and antipasto. A dedicated area provided inclusive catering for dietary needs like kosher, ensuring an experience for all guests.

Entertainment Extravaganza

Under Cheryl's management, festivities featured three diverse live music acts and a spectacular fireworks finale over Sydney Harbour, leaving attendees with a lasting impression. Guest's ferry transfers to and from accommodation provided a different perspective of the beautiful harbour city.


Cheryl's exceptional leadership, innovative solutions through strategic collaborations, creative design and effective stakeholder management overcame challenges in delivering this new gala experience. Her approach serves as a scalable model to elevate events across contexts and industries. Attendees departed with a positive impression of Australia as an event and tourism destination, as evidenced by their enthusiastic feedback*:

• "The gala night was spectacular. Easily the best conference dinner/social function I've ever been to – congratulations."

• "The gala night was a great showcase of Australia."

• "It was sensational! It greatly surpassed my expectations."

*Source: Post-Congress delegate survey.

Cheryl's innovative approach orchestrated an event generating an estimated AU$ 1.4 million in revenue for local businesses and suppliers, exemplifying how innovation can elevate events into extraordinary experiences.

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Nomination #4

Name of Candidate: Claire Smyth

Candidate Job Title: Director of Sales and Marketing

Company: Conference Partners International Country: Ireland


'Connecting City and Conference'

In 2023, One Young World, a forum for the leaders of tomorrow, came to Belfast City. Part of the motivation for coming to Belfast was to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement that marked the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. One of the five key Summit topics was Peace and Reconciliation, and it was anticipated that Belfast would be the ideal platform to show what a successful peace process can deliver. CPI wanted to ensure that there was a connection between Belfast and the Summit. Delegates were going to hear about the Good Friday Agreement and Peace within the Convention Centre, but we also wanted to create a way to bring the City into the ICC Belfast.

Approach and Solution:

The city is synonymous with street murals and artwork. Throughout the Troubles and in modern Belfast, art has been utilised to showcase the heartbeat of the city. Claire who lives in nearby Derry, passes these murals daily and felt we could utilise street art to create that connection between the Forum and City. CPI engaged with both our Exhibitors and local Street Artists within Belfast to create bespoke artwork that created a connection between our Commercial Exhibitors, The Summit and The Community.

• Every exhibitor hung a bespoke piece of artwork created for the event.

• Each piece identified a key theme around modern Belfast and the role of Peace and Reconciliation.

To reinforce that connection with the City, CPI also created a Community Dine Around, which enabled delegates to go out into communities affected by the Troubles and see how peace had a practical real life impact.


The impact was felt on multiple fronts:

• Delegates had additional reasons to engage with OYW’s Exhibitors, which helped foster conversation around the

potential of the Young Leaders to impact change. This in essence was the core goal of the Summit.

• Delegates got a greater connection to Belfast City.

• Local Artists and the Local Community got to impact an event that came into their City.

Conor Houston, the Ambassador for One Young World in Belfast, who is a leading politician in Belfast summed up the impact of the initiatives and the event in general: “For Belfast as the Host City, the legacy of One Young World 2023 will extend far beyond the immediate economic impact.”

This was a showcase of what modern Belfast looks like, and the innovative use of artwork as a storytelling mechanism helped reinforce that key message.

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Nomination #5

Name of Candidate: Uzi Drori

Candidate Job Title: Chief Information Officer

Company: Kenes Group

Country: Israel


The Kenes IT team faced the formidable challenge of streamlining the manual process of preparing the native congress app. Previously reliant on CSV files or manual data entry, this approach was time-consuming and prone to errors.

Handling large amounts of data, and customised updates in realtime prior to and during the events into a single mobile-friendly and paperless solution was a priority.

This information is handled by several teams (registrations, exhibitions, scientific programme coordinators, marketing, onsite managers, and more) on different platforms.

The challenge then, was how to effectively streamline all of this data into one single digital product that met the needs of participants and supported the tasks of every team at Kenes Group.

Approach and Solution:

The solution revolutionised event management by automating processes, reducing weeks of work to mere seconds. Through API integration and real-time updates, we synchronized data from eight - ten operational systems, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

In a record time of four weeks, the IT team enabled interactive features, seamless integration with virtual platforms, and personalised attendee experiences through the full automation and integration of registration, abstracts, accommodation, speakers, exhibitors and all relevant information into the Kenes App.


The automation of the Kenes App yielded remarkable outcomes, significantly enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. By reducing manual efforts, the team saved weeks of work per congress, allowing resources to be allocated more strategically.

Attendees benefited from seamless registration processes, realtime updates, and personalised features, resulting in a superior event experience. With over 40,000 attendees managed annually and more than thirty events served only in 2023, the app became an indispensable tool in event management.

API integration of our virtual platform, allow for participants to watch live streams of sessions directly from the app, as well as to use interactive features such as Q&A, polls, quizzes, voting, networking and more. Glowing testimonials, such as those from ADPD committee members, underscored its success, affirming Kenes' position as a leader in innovative event solutions.

Currently, the team is working on gamification and augmented reality features to be included in the app.

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Upcoming Education and Events

May 2024

13–16 MAY

13 MAY

14-16 MAY

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

15 MAY

3.30pm—4.15pm CEST

IMEX Frankfurt 2024

Messe Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany

Dive into the heart of the global meetings industry over three actionpacked days at IMEX Frankfurt. IAPCO will be exhibiting at IMEX Frankfurt on stand E780 in Hall 8 and has a series of following education sessions planned.


Connect with the IAPCO Profile at the link: or scan the QR Code:

Joint Association Partners'


11am—11.20am CEST READ MORE

Pop-Up Education

Hall 8, IAPCO Stand (E780)

to Get a Seat at the Table” Workshop

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Center Hugo-Eckener-Ring 15, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

IAPCO is collaborating with AIPC, AMC Institute and IFES to bring together and create a collaborative network for ambitious young professionals from all four corners of the meetings industry. We invite Project Managers to our workshop at IMEX Frankfurt for a unique opportunity to enhance their skills and foster collaboration in the meeting industry.

A forum to discuss ideas/solutions on a chosen topic with industry peers.

Tuesday 14th May – New Competitive Environment PCOs Wednesday 15th May – Defining the value of PCO consultancy Thursday 16th May – Managing Short Lead Times

Paving the way for the Next Generation of Industry Leaders

Hall 9, IMEX Canyon, Inspiration Hub, Stand 9004

Uncover fresh perspectives on leading the meetings industry. CEOs share talent development strategies while rising stars discuss career aspirations. Discover key takeaways for fostering a thriving future workforce.




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.

IAPCO CEO, Martin Boyle, will raise the voice for the IAPCO community in the Politicians' Forum and will be supporting other industry leaders for the CVB Challenge Programme.

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.

38th CityDNA Summer School 2024

Orea Congress Hotel Brno Křížkovského 458, 603 73 Brno, Brno, Brno-střed, Czech Republic

The 38th CityDNA Summer School provides great insights into the structure and functioning of the Meetings Industry. The programme, filled with up-to-date and cutting-edge examples of European best practices, lays out a comprehensive framework to build your expertise in one of the tourism industry’s most lucrative sectors. The IAPCO education sessions at the CityDNA Summer School will be presented by Stéphane Talboom, V.P. Sales and Marketing at K.I.T. Group and includes topics of ‘Storytelling: Destination Magic’, ‘PCOs: The Power of Partnership’ and World Cafe, Navigating Key Challenges in the Meetings Industry.

15 IAPCO NEWS | ISSUE #111 EDITION 2 (2024) June 2024 August 2024
27–31 August
10–13 JUNE

Messe Frankfurt Sustainability Milestones

Messe Frankfurt has continued to position sustainability at the forefront of its activities and expanded its role as industry leader in the last twelve months.

In May 2023, Messe Frankfurt set its main rules and principles of business practices and the expectations that it has of its own business partners down in its Code of Conduct.

In November 2023, Messe Frankfurt successfully completed the mandatory audit at its home venue concluding its EMAS certification process and so is one of the first trade fair companies to decide on their own accord to introduce the system. The certification applies for Messe Frankfurt GmbH including all Frankfurt-based subsidiaries. With the EMAS validation, Messe Frankfurt also received ISO 14001 norm. An environmental assessment was held, in which all environmental aspects were recorded and assessed to determine the main ones as part of the EMAS process. Specific environmental targets for the upcoming three years were formulated.

Also, in Autumn 2023, the re-certification process for the previously obtained Bronze ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating was initiated. Within the same time frame, an organiser's and exhibitor´s sustainability guide, that provides internal and external stakeholders with valuable insights and information was launched.

The various solutions and ideas that Messe Frankfurt and its partners are developing and implementing for

sustainability at events are also an important topic at this year's IMEX stand. ‘Meet our Sustainability Experts’ is the name of the new format where IMEX visitors can talk to sustainability experts from the Messe Frankfurt team at stand F030.

For the future, Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt. formulates clear goals: “Messe Frankfurt’s binding ecological target is to be climate-neutral at its Frankfurt base by 2040 at the latest.

We see this as attaining greenhouse gas neutrality and establishing a sustainable water management system.“


Driving Change as a Next Gen Voice on the IAPCO Council

Once I read that future generations will not judge us by what we say, but by what we do. This is what inspired me, as a Next Gen representative myself, to go beyond my actual job and decide to take a step further in my day-to-day commitment. It’s easy to say that there are things we’d do better or differently – not so easy is finding a way to change habits and drive a change! I am a firm believer in the transformative power of creative dialogue, particularly when it bridges generational gaps. This is one of the reasons why I decided to stand for a position as a Co-Opted member on the IAPCO Council.

As a matter of fact, I have been actively involved in IAPCO’s initiatives for 6—7 years – I have been an EDGEneer, while also working on the IAPCO WebEDGE content and winning the very first IAPCO Hero Award in 2020. Today I am part of the Next Gen Committee and I will soon become the appointed Chair of this incredible group of passionate future leaders from all over the globe: Amy Bartlett (Conference Partners International, Ireland), Gaetano Dieni (Ega Worldwide, Italy), Takao Fujitani (Japan Convention Services, Japan), Alexy Gargani (AOS, France), Alexandros Terzis (ERA Congresses & Events, Greece), Estefania Zarate Angarita (Kenes Group, Colombia).

For the benefit of all, at AIM Group International, I am committed to crafting the most efficient strategies for association clients and corporations to make an impact on their internal and external target groups both with meeting design solutions as well as with marketing and communication initiatives. On a side note, I have also served two years as a Board Member for PCMA EMEA and dedicated some fruitful time to collaborate as a guest lecturer at universities and education institutions to further transmit my passion to students in event management and similar courses (Master of Pharma, Biomed and Healthcare Management by RCS Academy business school, as well as at IULM University and Bicocca University in Milan and La Sapienza in Rome).

What shall I do as a Next Gen Co-Opted Member on the IAPCO Council? Well, I am passionate about sharing my perspective on the evolution of PCOs. I envision a future ripe with potential for agencies that prioritise custom content, sentiment analysis and predictive participation as key client offerings. Data, digital services and creative education are our tools for making impactful strides in this area, and IAPCO has consistently led the charge in empowering agencies to expand and refine their services and solutions.

IAPCO stands as the ideal platform to dissect, study, and provide its members with cutting-edge solutions to stay ahead of trends, conquer challenges and continuously set higher standards.

Let’s make this possible together!

Data, digital services, and creative education are our tools for making impactful strides in this area, and IAPCO has consistently led the charge in empowering agencies to expand and refine their services and solutions.


Get to know the New IAPCO Council

As the meetings industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, IAPCO stands as a beacon of excellence, constantly pushing boundaries and setting new standards. At the heart of this transformation lies a dynamic team of visionary leaders, each bringing their unique perspectives, experiences and aspirations to the table.

Earlier this year, at our Annual Meeting and General Assembly in Ljubljana, the IAPCO Council welcomed a new wave of industry leaders, each bringing a unique blend of experience and vision to the table.

From the next-generation leaders redefining the industry's landscape to seasoned veterans whose wisdom and expertise have paved the way for countless success stories, each IAPCO Council member brings a distinct voice and unwavering commitment to excellence. Their stories are a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity and a shared vision for a more connected, sustainable and impactful meetings and events world.

In this section, we get an insight into these dynamic individuals about their committee roles with IAPCO, the inspirations that fuel their passion and the exciting opportunities they see on the horizon for the IAPCO community.

Let's meet the team shaping the future of IAPCO and professional congress organisers.

Sarah commenced working for ICMS in 1993 but could say she has been a PCO in training since birth! ICMS became an IAPCO member in 2003, and ICMS hosted the Annual Meeting and General Assembly in 2014. This is her second tenure on the IAPCO Council, being elected in 2018 in Tokyo.

Before her two children's births, Sarah was an active member of Meetings Events Australia, becoming Chair of the Victoria Branch 1999–2001. She has also chaired the ICCA Australia Committee and served on the Business Events Council of Australia Board. This enabled her to focus on the business and her family until her children were older.

Sarah was born and bred in Melbourne and is a passionate Australian Rules fan supporting the Western Bulldogs. She is also a prolific baker spending weekends baking treats for her family.

As Sarah enters the final phase of her Presidency, she sees her role as a collaborator and conductor acting on behalf of members to ensure IAPCO is on a sustainable path, advocating for them globally — a great honour she doesn't take lightly.

Sarah views the business events sector's development as fluid, needing rapid response and leading change. However, growth won't happen unless the next generation of professionals is cultivated to be future leaders. The industry is on a precipice with current leadership retiring, taking hundreds of years of experience that needs seamless replacement, ensuring customers don't notice the change.

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AFEA Congress, Greece President-Elect

Sissi has more than 20 years of experience in the Meetings Industry. Born in Athens, Greece, Sissi is the CEO and President of the Board of AFEA Congress, a long-standing PCO in Greece.

Her passion for the industry led her to the decision to voluntarily support it early on in her career. She has served on the Council of Greece’s National Association of PCOs (HAPCO & DES) since 2007, first as Secretary General and then as the elected President for a 3-year mandate (2022-2025).

Since AFEA became an IAPCO Member in 2009, Sissi has been actively involved in representing the Association, in various positions and committees as well as a Faculty Member and member of IAPCO’s Training Academy.

In 2021, Sissi was elected to the IAPCO Council for a 2-year mandate and reelected in February 2023 with her major project focusing on one of IAPCO’s key strategic priorities, Advocacy. In February 2024, Sissi was nominated and elected IAPCO President-Elect and will be taking over the role of the IAPCO President in 2025.

Sissi is the driving force behind the new IAPCO Advocacy Committee’s strategy which will drive increased engagement with associations, PCOs and influencers moving forward.

Sissi has been married to Jiannis since 2008 and together they have a beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Alexandra. Away from work, she follows her passion for dancing that she picked up as a child, nowadays practicing contemporary dance as well as Latin competitive dancing.


An Indian by origin, Ajay has called the Middle East home for over thirty years, dedicating nearly two decades to the dynamic world of meetings and events. Armed with a background in commerce and marketing, his journey began in research organisations, exploring economic trends and consumer behaviour before venturing into the oil and gas events sector at Informa PLC.

For the past sixteen years, Ajay has been instrumental in building and growing MCI's presence in the Middle East and Africa region. As Regional Managing Director, he oversees an operation of approximately 100 talents across five offices, delivering over 250 events annually across twenty countries. Beyond his professional pursuits, Ajay is an avid sports enthusiast with a passion for football and Formula 1, stemming from his days as a kart racer while at university.

Ajay's dedication to the industry extends beyond his full-time role at MCI. He currently serves as the president of The Events Group (TEG) and is an ambassador for The Iceberg, part of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC). His commitment to fostering excellence and professional development is also a driving force behind his association with IAPCO as a council member.

Looking ahead, in an era of rapid change, Ajay sees a growing demand for learning, collaboration and driving change – all core to IAPCO's mission. He believes strengthening existing strategic partnerships and embracing new ones will lead to more opportunities, innovative event formats and industry advocacy. Ajay is driven by the combination of creativity, impact, teamwork, and adaptability – all aimed at creating exceptional experiences and leaving a legacy.

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Limor’s professional journey in the events industry began in 2006 at Kenes Group in Geneva as an Association Manager, transitioning to Senior Account Manager focusing on Client Management. In 2022, Limor was promoted to Vice President, Clients and Operations, and appointed to Kenes Group Management.

As a pivotal player in the events industry, Limor’s motivation comes from empowering knowledge by delivering successful events that satisfy clients and drive professional growth. The opportunity to make a positive impact through creativity and innovation fuels her passion.

As Chair of Compliance at IAPCO, Limor represents IAPCO’s members and their objectives in front of the industry compliance association, mainly IPCAA. Though compliance restrictions are toughening, Limor thinks there are opportunities to develop ethical policies like guidelines for healthcare professional interactions, financial disclosure, and conflict management –without compromising needed financial support.

From an educational point of view, Limor believes it’s essential to implement quality assurance processes, such as peer review of scientific content, accreditation of educational activities, and evaluation of attendee feedback.

In her new role, Limor will also promote professional development and training programmes so we can all address complex compliance needs in healthcare. These may cover topics like regulatory compliance, ethics, risk management, and more for congress organisers.

Finally, Limor is thrilled to have the chance to join the IAPCO Council as a member, and no doubt will work hard to represent the voices and interests of the members of the council.

As the former Chair of the Next Gen Committee, Ellen sees a lot of opportunity in being a part of redefining the PCO profession for upcoming generations. In a world constantly changing at a rapid speed, Ellen believes the demand for meaningful connections is crucial for people to stay in this profession, as we continue to navigate the post-pandemic world. She thinks IAPCO is uniquely positioned to become the epicentre for nurturing these connections and advancing industry education. According to Ellen, our community's potential lies in transforming the perception of PCO roles, making them more appealing and relevant to younger professionals who are eager to engage with dynamic and evolving career paths.

Professionally, Ellen is excited by the challenge of innovative thinking. The opportunity to constantly develop new processes that enhance efficiency and effectiveness fuels her passion. She believes challenging conventional ways of thinking and adapting to the ever-changing business environment not only drives progress but also instils a profound sense of purpose in her work. Being involved with IAPCO and serving on its council allows her to contribute meaningfully to shaping the future of our profession. She finds it exhilarating to know that the work we do today will have a lasting impact, ensuring that the PCO profession remains at the forefront of global business practices. This blend of innovation, adaptation, and impactful contribution is what truly energises her in her professional journey.

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Stephen has over twenty years of experience in the events industry, spanning planning, strategy, project management, financial stewardship, marketing and sponsorship activations. He has a hands-on philosophy to share enthusiasm for technology, DEI and other evolving aspects of meeting design that make today's events more engaging, enriching and accessible.

IAPCO's training programmes are constantly evolving, built on the latest best practices. Stephen aims to have plenty of conversations, listen intently and maintain a constant focus on relevance and quality.

Diversity and inclusion remain top priorities at IAPCO. As topics in education programmes, they are becoming more authentic in some parts of the world, while in others, the conversation is just starting. Earlier this year in Tokyo, one of the first presentations dedicated to DEI at a Hosted EDGE was met with enthusiasm and appreciation.

Global challenges facing the industry include the pandemic's aftermath, sustainability efforts to minimise carbon footprints (contrary to knowledge exchange through in-person events), and an evolving generation with altered work styles and purpose articulation to attract future leaders. Stephen is driven to address the health of event professionals, a topic gaining more attention.

IAPCO offers a range of training activities, including webEDGE (an online education library), EDGE seminars (covering various levels up to advanced), CEO Meet-Ups (focusing on strategic topics), and AM&GA (investigating global trends and their impact on the meetings industry). IAPCO ensures space for knowledge sharing among members and industry professionals at events like the Annual Meeting.

Jimena has been part of BTC for over seventeen years and in 2024 was appointed as Chief of Staff, jointly responsible for the organisation's leadership and strategic direction.

Her expertise has championed aligning priorities and fostering crossfunctional collaboration across departments and teams to ensure seamless integration and coordination on key company initiatives. With an unwavering belief in professional development, networking and leadership, she actively contributes to the industry's mission, particularly in fostering collaboration, reliance and engagement across teams.

While serving on various committees and contributing to national task forces and Latin American Women Groups, her priority has been leadership abilities and collaborative skills.

Within IAPCO's Advocacy and Sustainability Committees, the primary objective is to further the association's social and environmental consciousness, commitmen, and initiatives promotion within the IAPCO community. The continued goal is to influence decision-making, educate, mobilise support and direct stakeholder engagement while collaborating with like-minded individuals, organisations and communities, forming coalitions that amplify their collective voices.

With a central goal of empowering Next Gen communities and driving positive societal change, nurturing these inspirational sources, providing support and guidance and empowering them to become leaders, innovators and changemakers who shape this outstanding industry is paramount. Bringing people together, fostering collaboration and designing meaningful experiences that leave a lasting impact on attendees, facilitate connections and motivate each of us to create one single voice is key.

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In 2013, Nicola joined OIC Group, an Italian PCO founded in 1975, as Managing Director after managerial roles in the textile sector.

Since joining, Nicola's vision has been to 'believe in a world where every organisation can grow, share and connect in a limitless environment'. His predisposition to create 'connections' has been fundamental in making a constructive contribution to the association world as a board member of the Destination Florence Convention and Visitor Bureau or as head of the PCO category and Vice-President of Federcongressi&Eventi in Italy.

In 2023, he was elected as an IAPCO Council member and became the key reference point for IAPCO's Commercial and Strategic Partners. He is currently an active member of ASCONET, ICCA and PCMA.

On partnerships, Nicola says, "As PCOs, we work globally and need to collaborate with various destinations, CVBs and suppliers. IAPCO's strategic and commercial partnerships allow us to develop mutually beneficial relationships built on trust over time. There's tranquillity in knowing Partners will collaborate with professional IAPCO members adhering to quality standards.

"Partners need quality certified PCOs, and PCOs need trustworthy destinations. The fact that relationships and trust develop over the years makes it special and unique – a win-win for both! The Partners appreciate that specific standards will be met for upcoming events."

Away from work, Nicola is a family man, with a passion for sport, wine and cooking.

Jason Yeh is the founder and CEO of GIS Group, a current IAPCO Council Member, the Honorary President of the Taiwan Convention & Exhibition Association and the previous ICCA 2nd Vice President. A pioneer in Taiwan’s meeting and event landscape, also author and a lecturer, his mission has always been to drive positive changes within the industry and elevate Taiwan as a prime international meeting destination. He was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings in 2017 for his work. Since 1991, under his leadership, GIS Group has been providing the highest level of service to international clients and its professionalism is certified by many international affiliations (ICCA, IAPCO, and Bosch CRN).

Ever since the pandemic, the traditional service industry model has been challenged, and PCOs have been diversifying their service offers to adapt to those industry-wide transformational changes. Companies have branched out of the traditional definition of what a PCO is, dabbing into media, or launching their events and congresses. While for some this could be considered a crisis, there is an opportunity for IAPCO to examine and redefine what is at the core of the PCO business, the basis on which to build the future of the industry.

Additionally, a rising number of clients have created their event planning teams, acting as internal PCOs within their companies. As events have become an essential part of any industry, PCOs need to shape a relationship with those new stakeholders, either as competition or as an opportunity for collaboration.

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presents a plethora of opportunities to enhance and streamline operations within the event industry, making it more efficient, engaging, and ultimately successful. One key advantage lies in AI’s ability to harness vast amounts of data to provide invaluable insights.

AI algorithms can predict trends and preferences by analysing past event data and attendee behaviour patterns, enabling event planners to tailor their offerings accordingly. This not only maximizes attendee satisfaction but also optimizes resource allocation and scheduling, ensuring a seamless event experience.

AI-powered chatbots have become indispensable tools for event organisers, serving as virtual assistants that can handle a wide range of tasks. From answering attendee queries to providing real-time updates on schedules and logistics, chatbots enhance communication and customer service while reducing the burden on human staff. Attendees benefit from instant access to information and support, improving their overall experience.

In the realm of marketing, AI-driven content creation tools are revolution-

ising promotional efforts. These tools analyse data on audience demographics, interests and engagement metrics to generate personalised marketing materials that resonate with target audiences. Whether it’s crafting social media posts, email campaigns or promotional videos, AI empowers event organisers to deliver highly targeted and compelling content that drives attendance and engagement.

The upcoming inaugural High-Level Summit on AI in Africa, hosted by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda in partnership with the World Economic Forum, is a prime example of the industry’s embrace of AI’s potential. This landmark event, to be hosted in October 2024 in Kigali, will bring together thought leaders, innovators and policymakers to explore the transformative impact of AI across various sectors, including events. By showcasing cutting-edge AI technologies and strategies, the summit will educate attendees and inspire the adoption of AI-driven solutions within the event industry in Africa and beyond.

The convergence of AI and events promises to drive innovation, efficiency and growth, profoundly shaping the industry’s future.

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How AI Can Shape Event Personalisation?

In the ever-evolving landscape of event management, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a game-changer, offering endless possibilities for personalisation and engagement.

AI-Powered Personalisation

Consider the myriad touchpoints at an event – from the initial website visit to registration and the moment a delegate enters the venue and dons their name badge. Through advancements in AI, these seemingly small interactions are opportunities to tailor the event experience to individual preferences.

In essence, AI's capacity to rapidly process vast amounts of data is ushering in a new era of personalisation. At Arinex, as we continue to explore and integrate new capabilities into our suite of event technology products, we envision a future where, for example, website landing pages dynamically adjust to reflect past delegate preferences. This concept mirrors the algorithms driving supermarket reward apps, analysing every aspect of a customer's visit – from the day and time to convert purchases – to facilitate targeted promotions and offers.

Utilising data gathered from past attendance, session choices and industry experience, the algorithms suggest schedules tailored to each delegate's interests and objectives. This ensures that every session attended contributes meaningfully to their professional growth, thereby fostering an enriching event experience.

Although this form of AI-generated personalisation has yet to be fully developed or realised within our industry, it is certainly within the realm of imagination. Consider how quickly technology is already evolving and changing different parts of events. For example, digital posters that conference attendees can access online or through on-site terminals allow them to engage interactively with multimedia content, download information, contact authors, add a star rating and share via social media. This provides event organisers with valuable insights into attendee engagement that are not possible with traditional printed posters.


AI-Driven Marketing Campaigns

In the lead-up to an event, AI holds untapped potential for coordinating marketing that saves resources while producing more targeted results. Imagine algorithms analysing past attendee behaviour, preferences and engagement patterns to customise pre-event marketing campaigns.

At Arinex, we are excited about harnessing AI to empower our clients in crafting personalised email campaigns, social media content and targeted advertisements. By delving into individual preferences, AI can ensure that each promotional piece effectively resonates with the audience to foster anticipation for the event.

AI also offers the opportunity for greater scalability and efficiency. Event organisers can automate the process of segmenting their audience and delivering tailored content to each subgroup. The data is then analysed to identify trends and patterns to inform future marketing efforts.

Elevating Attendee Engagement

Imagine an onsite registration process guided by an AI avatar. During registration, this virtual assistant conducts a short interview to understand their preferences. It then navigates them through the schedule and recommends sessions to attend, areas of the event to explore and exhibitors they may find beneficial to engage with.

This scenario may not be far off. In late 2023, OpenAI, the developer behind ChatGPT, introduced a new version capable of understanding spoken language and providing voice responses. Facilitating real-time dialogue like this can enhance the immersive and engaging nature of the event.

Further examples of AI-powered audience engagement include live polls and Q&A sessions, empowering speakers and moderators to adjust content based on delegate feedback, ensuring sessions remain relevant and engaging.

Additionally, imagine utilising AI to assess delegate profiles, backgrounds and interests to identify networking matches, facilitating connections that may pave the way for valuable industry collaborations.

Post-Event Engagement

After the event, AI can continue to play a crucial role in maintaining connections. For instance, personalised followup emails generated by AI can offer delegates relevant resources, session highlights or videos capturing sessions they may have missed, along with upcoming event announcements.

When the post-event analysis phase begins, AI could offer insights that go beyond traditional post-event surveys. Advanced analytics could break down attendee interactions, session preferences and engagement levels, providing a comprehensive overview of the event's success.

Arinex aims to leverage AI for in-depth post-event reports, providing an understanding of attendee engagement. This valuable data guides future event strategies, from personalised email campaigns tailored to past attendee preferences to pre-event promotions based on social media sentiments.

Navigating AI and Ethics

Of course, in our pursuit of innovation, ethical considerations must guide us through the evolving landscape of AI. The darker side of AI was highlighted in a recent CMW article where a tech conference organiser was revealed to have used AI-generated speakers to artificially boost diversity and in turn, attract real-life, high-profile speakers.

The partnership between AI capabilities and human insight presents significant opportunities. However, it is crucial to engage with AI ethically, ensuring its implementation aligns with our industry, clients and organisational values.

At Arinex, our goal is to create personalised experiences where each delegate forms an inspiring connection with the event – before, during and after. As we navigate this exciting new era, let us embrace AI’s potential to elevate our industry.


The Rise of The Machines: How AI is Revolutionising Events

The world of events is experiencing a seismic shift. Artificial Intelligence (AI), once relegated to science fiction, is rapidly transforming every aspect of the industry, from meticulous planning to the attendee experience itself. Gone are the days of rote logistics and generic experiences. AI is ushering in an era of hyper-personalisation, streamlined operations and innovation that has the potential to captivate audiences on a global scale.

This blog dives deep into the ever-growing influence of AI on Events Management, exploring its transformative potential and the challenges that lie ahead. We'll also hear from ICOM Group Chairman, CEO, and Software Development Manager, offering valuable insights on how AI is shaping the future of events.


AI's impact on events is multifaceted, encompassing everything from the initial planning stages to attendee engagement and post-event analysis. Here's a closer look at some of the key areas where AI is making a significant difference:

• Enhanced Planning and Logistics: AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data, including past event performance (a recent study by EventMB found that analysing past data can improve event ROI by 25%), industry trends, and venue logistics. This allows event planners to make datadriven decisions, optimising everything from budgeting and staffing (which a report by McKinsey & Company suggests AI can automate by 20%) to speaker selection and venue layout.

• Personalised Experiences: AI can personalise the event experience for each attendee. By analysing registration data, social media preferences and past behaviour, AI can recommend relevant sessions (with a potential to increase session attendance by 15% according to Marketo, suggest networking opportunities with like-minded individuals and even curate content specific to their interests).

• Streamlined Operations: Repetitive tasks like registration processing, scheduling conflicts and travel arrangements can be automated using AI, freeing up event planners to focus on the creative aspects and providing real-time support to attendees. A survey by Technavio indicates that AI-powered automation can streamline event operations by up to 70%.

• Real-time Analytics and Reporting: AI can capture valuable data throughout the event, providing insights into attendee behavior, session engagement and overall event sentiment. This real-time feedback allows organisers to make adjustments on the fly and gather valuable data for future events.

• Improved Security and Risk Management: AI-powered security systems can analyse facial recognition and crowd patterns, potentially identifying security threats and helping to ensure a safe and secure environment for all attendees.

The Future of Events: A Symbiotic Relationship Between Humans and AI

As AI technology continues to evolve, its influence on events will only become more profound. We can expect to see the emergence of intelligent chatbots that answer attendee queries with a 90% accuracy rate (as predicted by Gartner), AI-powered virtual reality experiences that enhance engagement, and even dynamic event layouts that adapt to attendee flow in real-time.

However, it's important to remember that AI is not here to replace event planners. Instead, AI is a powerful tool that can augment human capabilities, allowing planners to focus on the strategic aspects and deliver truly exceptional experiences.

To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of AI on events, we spoke with Dr Ahmed El Chal, Chairman of ICOM Group, “AI is transforming the events industry at an unprecedented pace,” says Dr El Chal. “At ICOM Group, we are embracing

this technology to create more personalised and engaging experiences for our clients and their audiences. AI allows us to streamline operations, optimise resource allocation and gain valuable insights into attendee behaviour. This, in turn, helps us deliver events that are not only successful but truly resonate with the target audience needs”.

Looking towards the future, Dr El Chal highlights the potential of AI to create truly immersive and interactive event experiences. “Imagine attending a conference where the environment adapts to your preferences, or being able to network with individuals who share your exact interests – these are just some of the possibilities that AI presents. The future of events is a collaborative one, where human creativity and AI's analytical power work together to create truly transformative experiences”.

AI: A Game-Changer for Events in the North Africa and MENA Regions

North Africa and MENA regions are a hotbed for innovation, and the events industry is no exception. With a growing techsavvy population and a burgeoning events landscape, the adoption of AI is poised to be particularly impactful. Here's a closer look at how AI is transforming events in this dynamic region:

• Personalisation for a Diverse Audience: These regions boast a rich tapestry of cultures and nationalities. AI can help event planners personalise experiences for this diverse audience. By leveraging data on attendee demographics, interests and past behaviour AI can recommend relevant content, suggest networking opportunities with individuals from similar backgrounds, and even translate content in realtime (a feature expected to be widely available by 2025). This creates a more inclusive and engaging experience for attendees from across the region.

• Language Localisation and Accessibility: Language barriers can be a hurdle for attendees in the MENA region. AI-powered translation tools can bridge this gap, allowing for seamless communication and information dissemination.

• Data-Driven Decisions for Success: The MENA events industry is witnessing significant growth, with a report by Mordor Intelligence estimating a market value of USD 13.24 billion by 2025. AI can empower event planners in the region to make data-driven decisions, optimising everything from marketing strategies to sponsorship packages. By analysing past event data and regional trends, AI can help predict attendance numbers, identify popular topics and optimise pricing structures, leading to a more successful event overall.

“AI is transforming the events industry at an unprecedented pace. As leaders in the MENA region, ICOM Group is at the forefront of adopting this technology. We leverage AI to personalise the attendee journey, optimise resource allocation and gain deeper audience insights. This allows us to craft events that are not only successful but also leave a lasting impression on our clients and their attendees”, added Mr Belal El Chal, ICOM Group CEO

AI: The Powerhouse Behind Seamless Events

Artificial intelligence (AI), once relegated to science fiction, is rapidly transforming every aspect of the industry, from meticulous planning to the attendee experience itself.

Statistics Highlighting AI Adoption in MENA:

• A study by PwC revealed that 72% of businesses in the UAE are actively investing in AI, demonstrating a strong commitment to technological innovation.

• According to a report by IT Brief ME: The AI market in the Middle East is expected to reach a staggering USD 3.1 billion by 2024, signifying a rapid embrace of this technology across various industries.

These trends highlight the immense potential of AI to revolutionise the events industry in the MENA region. By harnessing the power of data and personalisation, AI can create more engaging, inclusive and successful events for audiences across the region.

Challenges and Considerations: Ethical Concerns and the Human Touch

“The development of AI for the events industry is an exciting field. We are constantly exploring new ways to leverage AI to streamline processes and enhance the attendee journey. One of the key challenges is ensuring the ethical implementation of AI, avoiding biases in algorithms and safeguarding attendee data privacy. By prioritising these aspects, we can build trust and unlock the true potential of AI to revolutionise events”, stated, Ahmed Adel, Software Development Manager.

While AI offers a plethora of benefits, it's important to acknowledge the potential challenges that come with its adoption. Data privacy concerns, the potential for bias in AI algorithms, and the ever-present question of human interaction all require careful consideration.

• Data Privacy Concerns: As AI relies heavily on personal data to personalize experiences, ensuring attendee data privacy is paramount. Clear communication regarding data collection and usage, along with robust security measures, are essential to building trust with attendees. Regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and similar data privacy laws around the world need to be strictly adhered to.

• Potential for Bias in AI Algorithms: AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on. If this data contains inherent biases, it can lead to discriminatory outcomes in areas like speaker selection or content recommendations. Event planners need to be aware of this potential bias and actively work to mitigate it by using diverse datasets and carefully monitoring AI outputs.

• The Human Touch: While AI excels at automation and data analysis, it cannot replicate the human element of creativity, empathy and building genuine connections. The human touch remains irreplaceable in fostering meaningful interactions and ensuring a truly memorable event experience. The ideal scenario is a symbiotic relationship where AI handles the logistics and personalisation, while human planners focus on the strategic aspects and curate an engaging atmosphere.

Direct and Indirect Benefits for

PCOs from AI in Events

The rise of AI in event management presents a wealth of opportunities for Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs). By embracing AI technology, PCOs can streamline workflows, enhance attendee experiences, and ultimately win more business. Here's a closer look at the direct and indirect benefits that AI offers PCOs:

• Direct Benefits:

o Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings: AI can automate repetitive tasks such as registration processing, venue sourcing and travel arrangements. This frees up valuable time for PCOs to focus on strategic planning, client communication and on-site management. Additionally, AI can analyse historical data to optimise budgeting and resource allocation, leading to cost savings for both PCOs and their clients.

o Enhanced Lead Generation and Client Acquisition: AIpowered marketing tools can help PCOs target potential clients more effectively by identifying companies and organisations that are likely to be interested in their services. Social media listening tools can also be used to track industry trends and identify potential leads.

o Improved Proposal Development and Client Communication: AI can analyse past event data and industry benchmarks to help PCOs create more compelling and data-driven proposals. AI-powered tools can also be used to generate personalised reports and presentations for clients, demonstrating the value proposition of the PCO's services.

• Indirect Benefits:

o Higher Client Satisfaction and Retention: By leveraging AI to personalise the attendee experience, PCOs can increase attendee satisfaction and loyalty. This can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. AI-powered chatbots can provide 24/7 attendee support, answer questions, and resolve issues promptly.

o Competitive Advantage: Early adopters of AI technology will gain a significant edge in the competitive PCO landscape. By offering AI-powered solutions that enhance event experiences and deliver greater value to clients, PCOs can differentiate themselves from competitors.

o Improved Risk Management: AI can be used to analyse historical data and identify potential risks associated with events, such as weather patterns or venue limitations. This foresight allows PCOs to develop contingency plans and mitigate potential problems before they occur.

Overall, AI presents a transformative opportunity for PCOs. By embracing this technology, PCOs can streamline operations, enhance event experiences, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.


The Dawn of a New Era: Generative AI Revolutionising the Meetings Industry

In an era increasingly dominated by Artificial Intelligence (AI), the rapid advancement of this technology has set the stage for transformative changes across various sectors, heralding a new age of innovation and efficiency.

The meetings industry stands at the forefront of a significant transformation. The promise of AI to streamline operations, personalise customer service and revolutionise event management is undeniable.

The meetings industry stands on the cusp of a revolution, poised to leverage AI in ways that were previously the domain of science fiction. This transition, driven by the capabilities of generative AI, promises to redefine customer care, making interactions more personalised, efficient and human-like than ever before. When Generative AI transitions to voice, the possibilities will be eerily real, yet can be truly expansionary.

Yet, amidst this technological evolution, a pivotal question emerges: Is the human element in customer interaction becoming obsolete? Recent findings, including a McKinsey survey, suggest otherwise, illuminating a persistent preference for human connection across diverse demographics, including the digital-native Generation Z.



Paradigm Shift in

Delegate Interaction:

It’s true that the emergence of generative AI represents a significant leap from the traditional, scripted chatbots to dynamic, intelligent systems capable of understanding and responding to complex customer needs in real time. This shift is akin to moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to a bespoke tailoring of customer service, where every interaction is personalised and context-aware. Imagine a system that not only recognises a returning attendee by name but also recalls their preferences from previous events and suggests sessions they might enjoy. This level of service, facilitated by AI, enhances the customer experience, making it more engaging and satisfying.


End of One-Size-Fits-All Registration Systems: Registration and reservation systems are integral to the meetings industry, yet they have often been cumbersome and impersonal. With the advent of generative AI, these systems are undergoing a transformation, becoming more adaptable and intuitive. By integrating AI, the registration process can evolve into a conversational interface that understands the nuances of human interaction. This means that whether an attendee is a first-timer or a repeat delegate/attendee, the system can provide a tailored experience, suggesting solutions based on their interests, history, and preferences, and even accommodating special requests with ease and automating reminders like never seen or experienced before. With the future integration of “Generative Voice AI” customer service can be intuitive, easy and answered with ease.

Expanding the Scope of AI Disruption: The potential applications of generative AI in the meetings industry extend far beyond customer service and registration. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs, crucial for many professionals, can benefit from AI›s ability to track progress, suggest relevant sessions, ensure compliance, and provide all in a personalised and interactive manner.

Partnerships: The future of frictionless interaction: In the complex realm of sponsorship and exhibition management, AI can transform the process from a logistical headache to a strategic advantage. By analysing data and understanding nuanced requirements of sponsors, the AI can optimise and tailor sponsorship packages to match the interests of potential sponsors and automate the placement of exhibits within a hall. In short many of the time-consuming tasks involved in sponsorship management can be outsourced to AI. This not only improves the efficiency of the planning process but also enhances the overall event experience for sponsors and attendees alike. The human element will be adding creative touches to the experience.

Data: The Gateway to Personalised Events: One of the most powerful aspects of generative AI is its ability to analyse large datasets, uncovering insights that can drive strategic decisionmaking. In the context of the meetings industry, this means the ability to tailor events to the preferences of attendees, predict trends and identify opportunities for innovation. By understanding the needs and behaviors of attendees, organisers can curate content that is both relevant and engaging, creating a more memorable and impactful event experience.

Supplier connectivity: reducing human errors: AI is bound to reduce the connectivity cos and machine to machine connectivity is already a reality. In an integrated world where AI has all the information of a delegate, from their registration, their travel details, accommodation preferences, if a speaker at the meeting, to their speaking engagements, the seamless communication to a various connected supplier network, from airlines, airports, transportation, hotels, convention centres to restaurants — all can easily communicate touch points to suppliers to enhance delegate experience.

The Human Element: is it dead? Despite the immense potential of AI to enhance customer service and event management, the importance of human interaction cannot be overstated. A recent McKinsey survey underscored this, revealing a strong preference for live phone conversations across demographics, including the tech-savvy Gen Z. One financial-services company reports that its Gen Z customers are 30 to 40 percent more likely to call than millennials, and they use the phone as often as baby boomers. Predictably, Premium-segment customers of all ages and generations also prefer the phone, with many saying that live phone support is part of the premium service they are paying for.

While the hope is that AI will resolve and reduce the current work complexities, it is not without errors! We are still a long way off from the utopia that could change human interaction and all industry. The cost, time and roll out of these dream scenarios are still being worked out. But change will come!

Don’t Rush AI: While we transition, there needs to be a balanced approach that needs to be weighed and measured to ensure that the transition is managed and evaluated. As an example, self-driving technology is still a hope and the technology dates to experiments conducted since 1939, with significant advancements occurring in the 1980s and the hope for autonomous driving since the 2010s and yet this is still not truly integrated into the real world. While its more complex to drive cars, the delegate experiences should not be treated flippantly, as there are other complex elements such as privacy and data (which is another whole Pandora’s box). Privacy and data management using AI will be ever growing grey area and the world is still navigating this complexity. Academia, the law and governance will be key in building the right balance and consensus, and while the industry navigates the future.

Crystal Balling: The integration of generative AI into the meetings industry marks the beginning of a new era, one filled with possibilities and challenges. As we navigate this transition, the focus must be on leveraging generative AI to enhance the attendee experience, streamline operations, and create more engaging and personalised events. However, this journey also requires a commitment to maintaining the human connections that enrich our interactions and ensure that technology serves to support, not supplant, the human element.


When Generative AI transitions to voice, the possibilities will be eerily real, yet can be truly expansionary.

Embracing AI Tools: A Paradigm Shift in Event Organisation

Indeed, our industry acknowledges the pivotal role of AI in event planning, encompassing efficiency enhancement, adaptation to evolving needs and maintaining competitiveness.

At the forefront of this transformation is the realisation that a one-size-fits-all approach to AI implementation is not viable. Instead, organisations must adopt a customised strategy tailored to their specific requirements, challenges and objectives. This entails a meticulous process of assessment and experimentation to identify the most suitable AI tools and solutions that align with the organisation's goals.

The journey towards AI integration often begins with pilot projects, such as the one undertaken by AIM Group, where a select group of stakeholders, including event planners and IT experts, participate in testing and evaluation. These pilot initiatives serve as invaluable learning experiences, providing insights into the practical applications of AI technologies and their potential impact on organisational processes and workflows.

Our users rigorously tested each feature of the AI platform, simulating their daily tasks. Commonly utilised features included content generation, text summarisation, data analysis, brainstorming, and venue and supplier searches. Notably, AIenabled advanced data analysis facilitated valuable insights extraction from attendee data, enhancing the overall event experience. By understanding participant preferences and behaviours, organisers can tailor sessions, workshops and networking opportunities, thereby enhancing event value.

One of the key insights gleaned from these pilot projects is the realisation that AI adoption represents not just a technological advancement but also a fundamental shift in organisational mindset. Rather than viewing AI as a threat to job security, organisations are increasingly recognising its capacity to augment human capabilities, liberating employees from mundane tasks and empowering them to focus on more strategic endeavours.

The benefits of AI integration in event organisation are manifold, spanning across various facets of event planning and execution. From automating repetitive tasks such as content generation and data analysis to facilitating personalised

engagement through tailored recommendations and insights, AI technologies have the potential to revolutionise the way events are conceptualised planned and executed.

Furthermore, the customization options offered by AI platforms enable organisations to tailor their solutions to specific needs and preferences. Whether it's customising workflows, data structures or branding elements, organisations have the flexibility to design AI solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems and workflows, enhancing collaboration and productivity.

These pilot initiatives serve learning experiences, providing the practical applications and their potential impact processes and workflows.

serve as invaluable providing insights into applications of AI technologies impact on organisational workflows.

AFEA Congress President and CEO Elected President-Elect of IAPCO:

A milestone achievement paving the way for the 2026 IAPCO AM&GA in Athens.

AFEA Congress is honoured to have been part of the IAPCO Congress 2024 which was an astounding success, but also an important milestone for AFEA Congress' history, as its President and CEO, Sissi Lignou, was nominated and elected President-Elect of IAPCO, succeeding the incumbent President, Sarah Markey-Hamm, at the #IAPCO2025 AM & GA in Taipei, Taiwan.

We are thrilled to welcome the new Council Officers and President-Elect to their respective positions," said Sarah Markey-Hamm, IAPCO President. "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.

AIM Group

AIM Group appointed as a Sales Agent in Italy of 2024 Hospitality Experience AG Group for

UEFA Euro 2024™

2024 Hospitality Experience AG Group, the Official Hospitality Provider of UEFA EURO 2024™, has appointed AIM Group International as a Sales Agent for Italy. UEFA EURO 2024™ Official Hospitality Packages for all fifty-one Matches are now available for sale.

Tim Steinhaus, Managing Director at 2024 HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE Germany Service GmbH: “We are particularly excited to work with AIM Group Internationa as their experience and market access in Italy fits perfectly with the sales profile that we are developing for UEFA EURO 2024™ – a global football mega-event that is hosted in Germany, right in the heart of Europe.”

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AFEA Congress

AICCER 2024 National Congress leads the way in Revolutionary Ophthalmic Surgery

International Premiere: Successful first remote-controlled refractive surgery performed in two distant locations.

The 25th edition of the AICCER National Congress, organised by the AIM Group as full PCO, has once again positioned itself at the forefront of innovation in ophthalmic surgery. Held from 7 to 9 March at the La Nuvola Convention Centre, the event welcomed over 2,000 ophthalmic surgeons from all over Italy for a remarkable exchange of knowledge, experience and cutting-edge advances.

Expertly orchestrated by AIM Group, the congress proved to be a dynamic platform for collaboration and exploration. Attendees participated in fifty-four immersive educational sessions, including plenary discussions and breakout sessions, led by a line-up of 300 speakers that included national and international thought leaders.

AIM Group develops its Sustainability Agenda with ISO 20121 Certification for Sustainable Event Management and a Sustainability Manager

The company's commitment to sustainability includes the creation of a new dedicated role, an internal training programme and the publication of a sustainability report.

AIM Group International is strengthening its sustainability credentials with key initiatives including the achievement of ISO 20121 certification for sustainable event management and the appointment of Annalisa Ponchia as the company's new Sustainability Manager.

The ISO 20121 certification reflects the Group's commitment to rigorous assessment and in-depth audits conducted over several months and covers all Italian-based companies, and subsidiaries — including AIM Education, AIM Sport and AIM Communication – and all operations.

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European Robotics Forum 2024: Gathering Visionaries, Raising Robotics Expertise

The European Robotics Forum 2024, held in Rimini From 13—15 March under the scientific guidance of the University Of Bologna, successfully fostered collaboration and innovation in the field of robotics.

The European Robotics Forum 2024 has been meticulously organised and has proved to be a vital convergence point for end-users, researchers and technology producers. Designed to strengthen industrial competitiveness, drive scientific progress and stimulate networking among stakeholders, the event has redefined the landscape of robotics applications. The rich programme spanned diverse industrial and research sectors, providing a unique opportunity to boost the competitiveness of the entire region.

This is the first time that the event has been organised by the AIM Group as a full PCO, whereas in previous editions it has collaborated to organise the event in other European countries.


ICS welcomes Kana Nomoto as their Manager of Projects and Operations

International Conference Services (ICS) introduced a valuable addition to their global team by welcoming kana nomoto who recently joined them as the Manager of Projects and operations based out of their Tokyo office.

Kana brings with her an extensive background, boasting over 20 years of experience in the Business Events Industry. Her tenure includes noteworthy roles such as the Manager of Associations and Sales Director for both the Tokyo & Yokohama Convention and Visitors Bureau over the past 14 years. Her profound understanding of International Events in Tokyo and her adeptness in cultivating relationships with relevant stakeholders will undoubtedly bolster our endeavours to expand our footprint in executing International Conferences and Events in Japan.

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Kenes Group strengthens its commitment to sustainable business practices by joining the United Nations Global Compact

The world-class Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) and Association Management Company (AMC) continue to develop sustainability policies and strategies aligned with global business practices.

Kenes Group has recently submitted its first Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible business practices.

“I am pleased to confirm that Kenes Group reaffirms its support of the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, Environment, and Anti-Corruption".

Kenes Conference ATTD 2024 Pioneers Diabetes Global Knowledge Exchange

The 17th International Conference on Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes captivated Florence, assembling global experts in diabetes technology and treatment. ATTD 2024, the foremost gathering in diabetes advancements, unfolded from 6 to 9 March.

With 4,838 international participants onsite and 662 registered online, from 47 different countries, including experts and industry leaders, the Italian city of Florence became the heart of cutting-edge discussions in the diabetes arena.

A standout feature of the ATTD Conference was its emphasis on emerging technologies, medical devices, and new therapeutics. The International Fair of New Technologies in Diabetes, a pivotal platform for startups, provided opportunities for product showcase, feedback, and networking, fostering growth and visibility for participants.

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More pictures on Page 42
Kenes Group

Fueling Innovation: CONVIN Stands With NROBOGEN's Robotics Initiative

CONVIN are excited to introduce you to NROBOGEN, a robotics team from Amfilochia. Comprised of five talented individuals - Vasilis, Theodoris, Maria, Christos, and their coach Charalambos - NROBOGEN has consistently ranked among the top five teams in Greece at the FIRST LEGO League Robotics and Innovation Competition, organized annually by Eduact.

Every year, children aged 9 to 16 from all over the world are invited to find innovative solutions to global challenges. This year's theme focuses on hobbies and the arts.

After conducting research within their community, NROBOGEN discovered a significant interest in hiking and found ancient trails in Amfilochia that were previously unexplored.

Georgia Menti returns as Vice President

CONVIN are thrilled to announce the return of Georgia Menti to the company in her new role as Vice President. With over two decades of unparalleled expertise in congress organization and event management, Georgia's return marks a significant milestone for CONVIN as they embark on a journey to reach new heights of success.

Georgia's journey with CONVIN began years ago when she first joined as Congress Director, where her exceptional leadership and dedication played a pivotal role in shaping the company's success. Her extensive experience and strategic vision have been instrumental in driving initiatives that redefine excellence in event management.


Sailing into Innovation: The 2024 IFES World Summit sets course for change

Discover the future of exhibition excellence in the heart of Málaga, Spain, from 19—21 June 2024.

Málaga, a city renowned for its picturesque landscapes, rich cultural heritage and start-up spirit is set to host the 2024 International Federation of Exhibition Services (IFES) World Summit. This muchanticipated annual event provides a unique and dynamic platform for IFES members from around the world to come together, explore the host city’s unique benefits, and forge lasting business relationships within the IFES family.


MIWJ2023: Driving Mobility Innovation

Mobility Innovation Week Japan 2023 (MIWJ2023) took place in Tokyo, Japan in November 2023. This event included the Mobility Innovation Workshop, an international forum focused on exploring mobility innovation, with a special focus on autonomous driving, as well as an international conference and technical tours. Managed and operated by Congrès Inc., the event served as a pivotal platform for Japan to showcase its advancements in implementing new mobility technologies. Additionally, it provided an opportunity for industry leaders to participate in productive discussions aimed at advancing the future of transportation through collaborative efforts and expertise.

Fast Facts:

• Meeting: Mobility Innovation Week Japan 2023

• Date: November 14–17 2023

• Organisers: Mobility Innovation Alliance Japan, ITS Japan, and the University of Tokyo Mobility Innovation Collaborative Research Organisation

• PCO: Congrès Inc.

• Venue: University of Tokyo Hongo Campus and Kashiwa Campus

Kenes Conference ATTD 2024 Pioneers Diabetes Global Knowledge Exchange

Continued from page 39 42 ISSUE #111 EDITION 2 (2024) | ON POINT ARTICLES
Leading the dialogue: Panel speakers discuss the future of transportation mobility at MIWJ2023. Participants eagerly await the ITS R&R field test demonstration experiment at Tokyo University’s Kashiwa Campus.

Leading the way on Artificial Intelligence

With a proactive strategy firmly in place, Dubai and the UAE have emerged in recent years as global leaders in AI innovation, embracing cutting-edge technologies to propel their ambitions forward.

Indeed, well before the likes of ChatGPT and Gemini entered the public consciousness, the UAE became the first country in the world to have a Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, with His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama appointed to the role in 2017.

Today, comprehensive strategies and initiatives are in place to ensure the public and private sectors can grasp the opportunities that AI provides, and proactively deal with any challenges that may be faced.

At the heart of this is the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, a comprehensive roadmap that outlines ambitious goals for integrating AI across various sectors, including healthcare, education, transportation, and government services. Spearheaded by the UAE AI Office, which sits in Dubai, this initiative aims to harness the transformative power of AI to enhance efficiency, drive economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life for residents and citizens.

to accelerate AI adoption in government; it aims to train 1,000 government employees from over thirty government entities on the uses of generative artificial intelligence. It also aims to launch dozens of pilot projects and improve government services, as well as increase productivity of government employees and support more than twenty local and global advanced technology start-ups.

Associations and meeting planners have the opportunity to tap into all of this unrivalled AI expertise when they bring their events to Dubai, while the city is also serving as a hub for AI-related events and conferences, attracting experts, researchers, and industry leaders from around the world. Among them, the annual "AI Everything", part of the Gitex Global show, serves as a focal point for discussions on AI trends, breakthroughs, and ethical considerations.

Just under a year ago, the Dubai Centre for Artificial Intelligence was launched

Visit to find out more about bringing your business events to Dubai.


Shannon Region: A Leader in Sustainable Tourism

Located on the West Coast of Ireland, the Shannon Region is a premier business events destination. Comprising counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary, the region is dedicated to creating a sustainable future for business tourism, ensuring that they not only welcome and impress visitors today but also protect and nurture the region’s natural and cultural heritage for future generations.

Shannon’s approach to sustainable tourism is a collaborative endeavour between the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau and Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland). Together, they aim to position the Shannon Region as a prime destination for sustainable meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

Global Recognition: Clare’s Sustainability Triumphs County Clare is an excellent example of the region’s dedication to green practices. Through strategic partnerships and continuous innovation, Clare has become a benchmark for sustainable tourism on a global scale.

Achieving a Top 40 ranking in the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index 2023, Clare proudly stands alongside three more Irish destinations.

The Burren Ecotourism Network

At the heart of the Shannon Region’s commitment to sustainable tourism lies the Burren, one of Clare’s most iconic attractions. This remarkable area is celebrated for its moonlike limestone landscapes and the rare biodiversity it nurtures. The Burren not only captivates with its beauty but also serves as a vital area for conservation and sustainable travel.

The Burren Ecotourism Network (B.E.N.) plays an important role in this endeavour. It brings together a community of tourism businesses dedicated to transforming the Burren into a globally recognised region for sustainable tourism. This initiative aims at fostering the area’s economic and social growth while safeguarding its natural environment and rich heritage.

Members of the B.E.N. are dedicated to achieving and maintaining high standards of ecotourism. They work towards independent accreditation, showcasing best practices in sustainable tourism and driving forward conservation efforts. This collective effort has earned the Burren & Cliffs of Moher region the prestigious status of a UNESCO-supported Global Geopark.

By focusing on developing as a sustainable tourism destination, the Burren sets an example for regions worldwide, demonstrating how natural beauty and heritage can be preserved through community collaboration and a strong focus on sustainability.

Green Hospitality Champions

Hotels in Clare also play a key role in the region’s sustainable tourism strategy, each contributing in unique ways to environmental conservation and community wellbeing.

Armada Hotel, Clare: Pioneering B Corp Certification

The Armada Hotel stands out as the only hotel in Ireland to achieve B Corp certification. This global designation is for businesses devoted to social and environmental responsibility. The Armada Hotel’s efforts span across governance, employee welfare, community support, environmental preservation and customer satisfaction. They’re dedicated to continuously improving their sustainability impact, from reducing their carbon footprint to enhancing the wellbeing of their employees and supporting local suppliers.

Hotel Doolin, Clare: Ireland’s First Carbon Neutral Hotel

In 2019, Hotel Doolin became Ireland’s first carbonneutral hotel. This achievement reflects its commitment to significant reductions in water use, energy consumption and waste. Notably, the hotel has cut its food waste by 28% and water usage by 59% per guest. It also compensates for its carbon footprint by planting native trees for each event held, contributing over 5000, trees to local ecosystems.


The Falls Hotel and Spa, Clare: Harnessing Hydro Power

The Falls Hotel and Spa excels in eco-friendly innovation by generating power from its own hydroelectric plant. This initiative has dramatically reduced the hotel’s energy consumption and carbon emissions, making it a leader in renewable energy use within the hospitality industry. Certified as a carbon-neutral property, the hotel has decreased its carbon emissions by about 90% over five years, marking a significant contribution to the global fight against climate change.

Setting the Standard with GSTC Accreditation

The Shannon Region’s commitment to sustainability is further emphasised by the collective efforts in Clare to achieve the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Certification. Clare County Council and Clare Tourism Advisory Forum have established a Green Team, including the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau as a strategic partner. Their goal is straightforward: to achieve GSTC certification, develop a sustainable tourism policy and address the challenges facing Clare as a beloved tourist spot.

This diverse group includes local government officials, tourism experts, conservationists and academics, all driven to position Clare alongside the world’s most sustainable destinations. Achieving this certification will confirm the Shannon Region’s commitment to conserving its environment and heritage through thoughtful tourism practices, reinforcing its status as a leading destination for business events that prioritise sustainability.

By focusing on developing as a sustainable tourism destination, the Burren sets an example for regions worldwide, demonstrating how natural beauty and heritage can be preserved through community collaboration and a strong focus on sustainability.



Convention Centres

Council & Annual Meeting Hosts

Service Providers


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