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MIM Europe Magazine, the meetings and incentives magazine for European corporate planners, in exclusive partnership with EUMA, the European Association of Management Assistants, supported by ECM, European Cities Marketing and Site.

europe magazine #125

SPECIAL FEATURE Young and Trendy Cities

Indonesia Incentive Land of 17,000 Islands

Meet in Flanders / Interview


Published 4 times a year: March, May, September, November Edition November 2013

Leading in innovation


Colophon MIM magazine is the european magazine for the meetings industry. It is published 4 times a year by meeting media company bvba/sarl, with a circulation of 5000 copies.

Flanders: Rich Cultural European Region

In exclusive partnership with

Marcel A.M. VISSERS There was a time - and maybe this still is true Editor in Chief

European Management Assistants Association. In partnership with

European City Marketing

Site Europe

Editor in Chief Marcel A.M. Vissers T. +32 (0)3 226 88 81 Managing Director Cécile Caiati-Koch T. +32 (0)2 761 70 52 Account Manager – International Sales Kelvin Lu T. +32 (0)2 761 70 59 Managing Editor J. Samuel Doveri Vesterbye T. +32 (0)2 761 70 50 - +32 (2) 471 07 23 24 Editors Rose Kelleher Katie Lau Address 59 rue René Declercq 1150 Brussels (Belgium) T. +32 (0)2 761 70 50 F. +32 (0)2 761 70 51 Publisher Meeting Media Company Marcel A.M. Vissers Mechelseplein 23, bus 1 B - 2000 Antwerpen (Belgium)

where many cities and regions claimed they were at the heart of Europe. Such claims now sound bland. In fact, since the expansion of Europe to 28 member states, nobody really knows where the centre of Europe is actually located. The focus nowadays is more on the riches and values that the 250 regions emanate. Take Flanders for example. It’s said that Flanders is one of the richest regions in Europe. That’s certainly a benefit. However, is this also the case for Flanders as a meetings and incentive region? To know this, we need to review the real values and communication skills in this region. It all started in the Middle Ages. Flanders has figured prominently in European history and during the late Middle Ages, Flanders’ trading towns (notably Ghent, Bruges and Ypres) made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe, weaving the wool of neighbouring lands into cloth for both domestic use and export. As a consequence, a very sophisticated culture developed, with impressive achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of northern Italy. Culture is the essence of Flanders. This gives a prominent place to painting, architecture, literature, music and gastronomy. A region that scores well for eating and drinking is usually successful in terms of hospitality. In Flanders, hospitality is translated best by ‘cosiness’ and ‘abundance’. The Flemish are gentle and friendly people, a quality cherished by foreign visitors. One of the celebrated Flemish artists, Gerard Mortier, who is now with the Teatro Real, Opera House in Madrd, reiterated earlier this year that culture is Flanders’ best export product like in the good old days. In contemporary meetings and incentive programmes, cultural and artistic ingredients are of great value and more important than white mountains and yellow sandy beaches. We can once again speak of ‘I fiamminghi’ in all fields, concluded Gerard. Me too.

Design & Print Press Point Poelstraat 167 - 9820 Merelbeke T. +32 (0)9 362 52 50 -

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Contents Cécile Caiati-Koch

J. Samuel Doveri Vesterbye

Kelvin Lu



EUMA 4 ECM 6 SITE 8 Corporate Talk 9

Flanders 12 Brussels 21 Istanbul 23 Athens 25 Malaysia 31 Sarawak 33 Indonesia 34 Hangzhou 37 IT&CMA 38

Rose Kelleher

COVER INTERVIEW Interviewing Evelyn Bardyn from Meet in Flanders MIM Europe Magazine sets great store by sustainable development and therefore chose responsible FSC certified paper which comes from a controlled source. More info: FSC, A.C. FSC-SECR-0045


SPECIAL FEATURE Young and Trendy Cities



About EUMA: European Management Assistants (EUMA) is the only European-wide quality network of top management assistants who focus on their selfdevelopment and professional evolution, and reflect the future of their profession. The assocition is a nonprofit association, has no political aims and does not engage in political or trade union activities. EUMA provides a forum for management assistants, employers and educators to promote an understanding of the training experience and career opportunities necessary for the development of its members. EUMA promotes an image of the management assistant as an essential element of the management team. EUMA was founded in 1974 and is currently represented by over 1,500 members in 26 European countries.


La Scala Opera House

Contact information: Adam Fidler - European PR Officer

Undiscovered conference city? So, you are organising a conference somewhere in Europe - what do you consider to be important about your choice? You might place importance on venue location, facilities, numbers but you also need to consider other factors such as what is available outside of the conference and also if delegates are bringing their partners, what they can be doing to occupy themselves. This is when somewhere like Milan comes to mind and brings your imagination to life. Article by Naina Desai, EUMA UK PRO A city full of diversity in its offering to both Italians as well as visitors, Milan is the largest metropolitan area in Italy just waiting to be discovered, and will be the city where the European Management Assistants (EUMA) will be holding their Training Day event in early 2015, for which planning has already begun. Milan is situated in northern Italy and is commonly regarded as the economic

powerhouse of the country, but aside from this Milan has so much to offer both as a conference city and also as a place to be discovered in its entirety.

If you are minded to be based around the city centre area then you might want to consider hotels such as Hotel De La Ville, which has conference

“Milan is situated in northern Italy and is commonly regarded as the economic powerhouse of the country� Conference venues are plentiful and there is a great choice available from the simple, inexpensive venues to the more glamorous and high-tech venue.

and meeting rooms for 10 – 90 delegates and is located in the heart of Milan, near the Duomo, La Scala Theatre and Via Montenapoleone.


Also nearby is the Principe Di Savoia Milan a 5* venue with 19 rooms catering for 12 – 1200 delegates. Their new Sala Cristalli has the most advanced audio-visual systems and integrated systems control. Also warranting consideration is the N H President Milan, 4* venue, which is within easy walking distance of the

Maria Del Grazia Church to view the Last Supper by Da Vinci or view an impressive collection of Italian art at the Pinoteca di Brera. The Castello Sforzesca is another of the city’s magnificent landmarks and also merits a visit, as does La Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world.

“A city full of diversity in its offering to both Italians as well as visitors, Milan is the largest metropolitan area in Italy just waiting to be discovered” main shopping areas and is ideal for both business travellers and tourists. There are many other venues, which can be considered depending on budget and number involved. For those who are not completely tied up in the conference business, there is much to do and see in Milan, for example, why not visit the Duomo and take in the beautiful interior of this Gothic building, which is one of the tallest in Europe, and the third largest in the world. You can even take a lift up to the very top where you can savour magnificent views of the city, or if you feel energetic you can climb up the 919 steps to the top!!

If, however, you just want to do a spot of people watching, there are numerous bars and restaurants which are just a few hundred yards away from the Duomo. There are also many good restaurants where you

can eat good Italian fare at very reasonable prices, such as L’Albero del Pepe in Largo Agosto, Cocopazzo in Via Durini, and The Royal Restaurant in Via Anello, all of which are within a few minutes walk of the Duomo. Milan is also a good place for shopping and apart from the usual shops near the Duomo and in Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele, there is also Corso Buenos Aires which is where the locals shop and where you can find good quality clothes, shoes, bags etc, all at much cheaper prices than the tourist areas. Milan is, by far and away, an exciting city to hold your conference and spend a little time just getting to know the city and its wonderful sights.

For those who like art and culture, why not take a trip to the Santa The Last Supper by Da Vinci

Milan Duomo - a truly stunning sight

Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II

© - Philippe Darcissac - #ET9 - Pau France September 2013


A digital revolution for the Meetings Industry

About ECM

Digital uses are quickly growing and changing within the Meetings Industry. In a fierce competitive environment amongst European cities which are seeking to attract this or that congress, the development of digital services are widely considered as a major factor when it comes to differentiate Meetings Industry destinations. Pierre Eloy, director of, takes us in the digital world of how this technology is used before, during and after a congress.

Its important to acknowledge the link established between the real world and the digital one when it comes to organizing business events. Discussions, highlights and the simplest form of individual participation are totally changed with the relevance of digital technology. People tweet the highlights at the conference they are attending, while watching the streaming video of the plenary session and sharing pictures - simultaneously using their smart phones. These are the new trends and the digital imprint on the meetings industry today.

Messages were limited to one unique purpose (answer to one question, booking confirmation, commercial prospection). Now, when you are facing a hyper connected user, rules change and we enter a continuous relationship, with tools such as email, online chat, social network and, to a smaller extent, phone calls.

Hyper personalization in a relationship continuum

Starting with the email confirmation, congress organizers must keep the relationship continuum by addressing a “reminder” email. This email gives all necessary information and

The customer relationship by email has been underestimated for a long time.

“The congress already starts online several months before its actual date: the Facebook page, the Twitter account ...”

European Cities Marketing improves the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practise and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of more than 110 members from more than 100 major cities in 32 countries. Contact information: Flavie Baudot - Acting Head +33 380 56 02 00

details to participants a few weeks before the event. You could even call it “let’s pack your suitcase together”. Arrival time, logistics details, personalized program for 2 days, and much more. And this is the perfect platform for destinations to invite participants to download the app of the congress, on which anyone can find floor plans, workshops to attend, and contact details of other participants. In other words, the congress already starts online several months before


its actual date: the Facebook page, the Twitter account, the tumblr photoblog linked to the Instagram app, as well as the “teasing” blog. All of this allows participants to stay connected, as they create, share and contribute to content.

“Discussions, highlights and the simplest form of individual participation are totally changed with the relevance of digital technology” With the increasing importance of Twitter now, it is not possible to announce any event without its hashtag, allowing anyone to exchange about this subject on the social networks. The hashtag is the key tool in the communication process, and the tag should be continuously used throughout the various phases of the event – from start to finish!

Not only attendants but your best ambassadors Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are running at full speed, serving as an event’s natural communication tool. The impact rate of an event is no longer tied to the number of participants, but instead the number of posts, shares and promotional content posted about the event. Delegates are transformed into your best promoters, if you utilize them properly and give them the means to connect! If given the opportunity, they will create a positive image of an event through posts, likes and followers on Facebook or Instragram. Digital content and wireless connections are constantly changing the focus of the participants – and your job is to make sure that all the groundwork for a successful 2.0 promotion is made in advance!

After the congress: Don’t stop! After the end of a congress, keep the participants in the positive and constructive atmosphere by reminding them about images, content and videos through social media sites. Keep providing them with content by putting all videos online through channels like YouTube or Vimeo to prolong the experience and widen the diffusion. Slideshare is now the new meeting point for all congress presentations, another great tool to be used wisely to improve your online reputation!

From providing wireless to Destination Yield Management The most important priority for any congress destination is free, permanent and optimal wireless connection. The delegate’s starting point must be

a destination website specifically dedicated to the congress he is attending.

“This is called DYM, Destination Yield Management” The main objective of this website is to propose relevant commercial and touristic products, related to information integrated in real time, also known as big or smart data. Imagine a website automatically accessible each time our congress delegate gets connected to this wireless network in all parts of the city. This website will show dynamic content according to the connection time, geo localization, proximity of public transportation or even the weather conditions. Here we come with a new trend that allows destinations to propose content. Create a website specifically dedicated to the event - highly personalized to propose adapted and relevant content to the user. This is called DYM, Destination Yield Management.


Changing nature of incentive travel Private capsule group on London Eye

At this pivotal time in the association’s history, Site is addressing some of the geographic and cultural differences we face as an industry. Our new 3 year strategic plan has been designed to position Site at a higher and even more influential level on the MICE global stage. By Paul Miller, Site President 2014 & Managing Director, Spectra, London, UK

The motivational events and incentive travel industry is rapidly changing and never before has there been so much diversity in the way business is conducted. As a DMC in the UK, Spectra is in a unique position to experience a variety of trends from incentive travel buyers around the world. In a highly competitive, global marketplace, there are, and always have been, vast differences in the way business is done that are not just cultural. Corporate customers are pushing all suppliers along the supply chain ever harder to reduce costs, while service level expectations are increasing. Many of us invest hours and resources before the sale responding to RFPs, giving away our expertise and creative ideas, servicing unrealistic deadlines and providing excellent service for free. This is not a sustainable situation for the long term. In order to grow business and maintain

profitability, suppliers need to do a better job at demonstrating value and should not hesitate to charge a fair fee for our work and expertise.

“Corporate customers are pushing all suppliers along the supply chain ever harder to reduce costs... this is not a sustainable situation for the long term” We should be consistently educating customers on why they need our help, why we charge what we do and the value we bring. We should recognize when to say “no” to some customers and their demands, however difficult this may be for those of us in the hospitality industry where service is our ethos. As an industry we need to work smarter, get tougher and protect our positions more than ever before.

Paul Miller

Europe Site’s strategic plan includes an expanded education curriculum that offers companies the opportunity to send their staff to Site events to become fully qualified and credentialed incentive practitioners. The learning is designed to be relevant and practical for all disciplines in our sector - corporate buyers, incentive agencies, hotels, DMCs, and CVBs as well as other service-providers to the industry. We conclude 2013 by celebrating Site’s past 40 years and kicking off the next decade with an exciting, new strategic plan. On behalf of the Site International Board of Directors, I want to thank Site members for your dedication and commitment. If you are not yet a Site member, there has never been a better time than now to join the Site community. I look forward to meeting and welcoming many of you at Site events throughout 2014.

IMEX Corporate Talk

Exclusively Corporate, IMEX Frankfurt

Politicians Forum, IMEX Frankfurt

EXCLUSIVELY CORPORATE @ IMEX What Keeps Corporate Planners Up at Night & What Are Some Remedies? IMEX’s forums in Frankfurt & Las Vegas reveal some new insights into the corporate meeting industry.

At IMEX in Frankfurt each spring and IMEX America each October over 60 corporate meeting executives enjoy the opportunity to come together -- peer-to-peer only -- to share “war stories,” learn from best practices, and discuss ways to challenge current industry norms. Although both Forums have slightly different formats and attendee profiles, they tend to include a broad crosssection of corporate meetings and events professionals from all major industry sectors: pharma, automotive and financial ... to consumer goods, IT and energy. Findings from both recent Forums also show that they share the same frustrations and company-wide challenges, although sometimes in different ratios.

Driving discussions From the most recent Forums, a list of the “Big Eight” challenges has emerged. This list pinpoints the top eight issues currently preoccupying most corporate meetings and events planners and department directors. They are: LongTerm Planning; Delivery Consistency; Supply and Demand; Delegate Experience Constancy; Sourcing

Strategies; Stakeholder Acceptance; ROI; and, not least, Technology. The C-Suite stakeholders, essentially internal clients, have a slightly different angle on meetings and events, with their preoccupations being risk management, financial transparency and employee accountability plus an increasing need for meeting policies to be mandated enterprise-wide with growing involvement and influence from the procurement department.

To register interest in any future IMEX event for corporate meetings directors, managers and planners, please contact quote “Corporate Forums Enquiry”.

Opportunities Pinpointed Stemming from these shared imperatives, the following key areas for positive change appear to be the most pressing: • Cross-linking Data – Corporate planners are eager for data that links their company’s transient travel spend with their meetings, conventions and events. Better data especially from hotels and hotel groups is welcomed, and would improve transparency and sourcing and planning efficiency, plus create new value. • Seeking Silo-free ROI Reporting – If there is no budget for measurement to begin with, for example, there can be no effective ROI reporting, which in turn weakens negotiations for further meetings and events budget. One way to combat this is to achieve more access to integrated, enterprise-wide ROI reporting and tools so that meetings measurement does not sit in a ‘silo’. • Growing Buy-in & Stakeholder Support - Companies that have undertaken multi-departmental reviews, especially involving the communications, legal and procurement departments, appear to have had the biggest successes in gaining buy-in and support for meetings and events and strategic meetings management programmes.



FoMU in Antwerp

Bikes in Mechelen


Leading in innovation Evelyne Bardyn, Meeting Manager at Meet in Flanders (the convention Bureau of Visit Flanders) talks to MIM Magazine about the Meeting Industry’s changing nature, as well as new opportunities and challenges for the Flemish region in Belgium. With the flagship idea of innovative meetings tied to product lines and social capital, Bardyn discusses the importance of globalisation and the new strategy of Visit Flanders. INTERVIEW BY SAMUEL DOVERI VESTERBYE, MANAGING EDITOR What’s your view on the meetings industry and how has it changed since your started? My take is that the Meeting Industry was underestimated for a long while. Thankfully, things are a changing right now and that’s something the Meeting Industry professionals in Flanders and Brussels are grateful for. I’ve experienced the Meeting Industry being influenced by globalisation, professionalizing, demographic shifting, and technological progress, as well as the demand for “customization” and the need to adapt to the desires of the consumer. It is clear that the number of internationally organized conferences will keep growing because more and more small scale, regional and/or specialized conferences are taking place around the world. This development fits the Meet in Flanders strategy like a glove: the

“experience” and the peculiarity of the destination is the focal point. This also fits destination Flanders very well with the Art Cities being promoted as “meetcentive” cities. The situation of Brussels is unique because, after Singapore, it hosts the largest number of international association meetings in the world.

Evelyne Bardyn

and shines the light on the Flemish hands-on mentality, know-how and modesty. Think of our Flemish Primitives, our authentic beer brewers, or our chocolate masters. Flanders becomes a story of creative people, driven by knowledge and skills.

“I’ve experienced the Meeting Industry being influenced by globalisation, pro-fessionalizing, demographic shifting, and technological progress, as well as the demand for “customization” and the need to adapt to the desires of the consumer.” Sustainability will remain a guiding principle to influence all areas of meeting planning, form construction and renovation of venues. Can you talk about the new strategy of Visit Flanders? The new strategy focuses on the visitor’s point of view, rather than the destination. Flanders’ DNA can be defined as cutting-edge craftsmanship

There are four focal points accentuating our cutting edge craftsmanship on all target markets: gastronomy, cultural heritage, fashion and design, and our cycling tradition. These varied offerings provide a rich potential for the meeting planners and conference delegates. We would like to inspire and motivate our event bureaus and DMCs to create ground-breaking, rebellious team buildings, incentives, and pre-or post-tours.


Brussels, and also Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent are very attractive locations for business tourism. Even the smaller cities of Mechelen, Leuven, Ostend and Kortrijk are stepping to the front as meetcentive cities.

“The new strategy focuses on the visitor’s point of view, rather than the destination” Meet in Flanders acts as a director and plans site inspections and familiarization trips at the destinations. We developed an international marketing strategy that targets all of our goals. We are fixating on growth markets like the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, all without forgetting about France and the Netherlands where we don’t have any local MICE representatives. We heard that you want to become a centre of knowledge for the partners in Flanders. For example you sponsor ECM Summer School for the meetings industry in Flanders. Can you talk about this? Exactly. Our new strategy will focus on stimulating innovation and knowledge sharing. We want our Meeting Industry entrepreneurs to grow and distinguish themselves.

Within Visit Flanders, there is a know­ ledge management department collecting, processing and distributing data and information. As we speak, a large scale Meeting Industry investigation for Flanders is up and running, and we are all eagerly looking forward to the results of that intense research study. We want to explore the demand for meetings, conferences and incentives to Flanders and Brussels. The European Cities Marketing Summer School is regarded as the best summer university for those new to the Meeting Industry. Many of the things I’ve learned in my summer school experience in 2002 in Stockholm are still relevant today. We managed to send off five individuals from the public and private sector to this year’s summer school in Istanbul. It is important that our stakeholders and partners become real Meeting Industry experts. What do you think is the international/ European perception of Flanders, What do you think needs changing? We realize that boosting Flanders’ fame on the international scene is far from simple. The branding of our name is a crucial challenge. Our strategy utilizes the heart of the Flanders brand of cutting-edge craftsmanship, and we notice

that our message is slowly but surely filtering through in the meetings sector. A participatory model was born from the Flemish government’s 2020 strategic policy. The first StatesGeneral, the Meeting Industry was one of the four themes, the others being entrepreneurship reputation management and big events. I was thrilled to notice that our industry is no longer undervalued, and that there is a growing “sense of urgency” within to give this industry a more prominent place within government policies. If we raise public support within the Meeting Industry and make everybody co-owner of the brand Flanders, we’ll only become stronger.

We are convinced that Conference Tourism can further strengthen our already-profitable tourism industry We are convinced that Conference Tourism can further strengthen our already-profitable tourism industry. It is our ambition to push Flanders to the top of the international Meetings Industry, and I feel privileged and excited to engage in this challenge.

How to find us at EIBTM: Meet in Flanders will be present at EIBTM this year where visitors will be able to find us at booth n°35!

Bijloke Site, Ghent

Concerthall, Bruges

Lamot, Mechelen


Forward Thinking Flanders Located in the centre of Europe, Flanders plays a key role in the meetings industry for a variety of reasons. Home to hundreds of international companies and organisations, its strengths come from its urban centres, sprawling with new developments, historical roots and high-tech infrastructure. Flanders is multilingual and reputed as a reliable destination where real craftsmanship can be found. Flanders excels in Gastronomy, Design, Fashion, Artand Cultural Events.. With famous cities like Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp it’s no coincidence that clients choose Flanders for their meet-centives. Often referred to as the Heart of Europe, visitors are attracted to its ideal location, innovative society and strong focus on client satisfaction. A perfect setting for

& History and the Cycling Tradition are the key values of Flanders that can be found throughout the cities and regions. Why not let these assets inspire you

“A good example is how Flemish incentives and meetings are shaped by their favourable surround- ings, like culture, efficiency and human capital” business and meeting groups, Flanders and Brussels distinguish themselves on authenticity and cutting edge craftsmanship – binding most of its incentive activities with century old traditions, as well as deep cultural characteristics. As part of Visit Flanders’ marketing strategy, product lines tell the story of this region as a strong-minded, productive and creative hub. Gastronomy, Fashion & design, Arts

during your next event in Flanders? The inspiration comes from this storyboard of culture and tradition, added to benefits of technology, expertise and social capital.

Meet in Flanders Meet in Flanders, the convention bureau of Visit Flanders always proposes event organisers and DMC’s to choose original and creative activities

based on qualities found in Flanders and its many cities. Part of the Flanders strategy is based around the idea that local Flemish products add value to meet-centives. A good example is how Flemish incentives and meetings are shaped by their favourable surroundings, like culture, efficiency and human capital! Chocolate and diamond production for example are world famous incentives associated with Flemish know-how, culture and human skills. In this sense every product line has a story – as well as a human element! Flanders social capital and accessibility therefore plays a role in how incentives go hand-in-hand with production and the engagement of society.


Meet in Flanders is a one stop shop for meeting planners looking to organise conferences, incentives and events in Flanders or Brussels. The team has in-depth product knowledge and offers advice and guidance free of charge. They provide tailor-made proposals and put you in contact with all the right suppliers on the market. Together with their partners and local convention bureaus, Meet in Flanders organises site inspections and familiarization trips to bring meeting planners to the wonderful destination of Flanders. During these trips meeting and incentive planners can enjoy the good life, but are also given the chance to experience Flanders’ excellent hotels, restaurants, special venues, meeting venues, etc.

Sustainable growth Contrary to the typical meeting destinations, Flanders remains a unique contender for tailor-made services that cater to a client’s every wish. Instead of old-fashioned “attraction methods” Flemish cities recommend their destination based on custom-made research that meets client-expectations. In other words: less empty promises and more real efforts to deliver client satisfaction during events. The new method of success is based around a more efficient approach to business tourism. Over the past years, tourism has seen an increase with over fourteen million international tourists and businessmen visiting Flanders in 2012. To efficiently manage such numbers, while guaranteeing timely and well-coordinated events, Flanders has invested in new monitoring methods, research and proper feedback. Meet in Flanders has an exemplary responsibility towards the Flemish meeting sector and considers it as one of the core tasks to strengthen

The 5 pillars of Flanders • Flanders becomes a story about authenticity and cutting-edge craftsmanship. • Flanders is about reputation based on experience, credibility and economic performance. • Flanders is the place to meet due to new infrastructure, accessibility, value for money and great leisure assets. • Flanders is the place to be as a result of its innovative efforts in client satisfaction, feedback and tailor-oriented services. • Flanders is the place to come to because they work hard on anti­ cipating new opportunities and changing market conditions Ghent light show

and further educate the industry. Flanders is known for its professionalism and high-education throughout its meetings industry. And the result is clear: high quality leisure assets and a strong meeting product make it easy to combine meetings with incentives. The hundreds of special venues in Flanders are widely popular, while clients today choose Brussels as their second favourite destination worldwide to host congresses!

Leuven city centre

Belgian Comic Strip Center, Brussels


Antwerp – design and innovation From old to new, Antwerp has a lot in store for the meeting and incentive organiser. With trademark designers and fashion stores, the city is renowned as a centre of contemporary culture worldwide. With ‘Antwerp Six Designers’ considered household names in fashion, visitors can expect the newest and trendiest when shopping in this stunning city. It has invested heavily in furthering fashion as an industry and when visiting Modenatie, on the corner of Nationale and Drukkerijstraat, it becomes obvious why. This small area houses the Flanders Institute, Fashion Museum and Fashion Academy, where guests get a taste of the history of fashion and its many products. Nearby you have the opportunity to shop along the city’s beautiful harbour docks surrounded by designers like Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Martin Magiela.

Fashion show, Antwerp

Antwerp Fashion Hunt Suitable for everyone, without being physically demanding, the incentive allows for groups to visit the city, while interacting with culture and fashion. Group sizes range between 6 and 200 participants, while prices start at € 15 per person for the basic package. Van Hongo designer, Antwerp

Incentive groups with an interest in fashion are recommended to visit the Fashion Museum, also known as MoMu. This museum allows visitors the opportunity to interact with the people and textiles that play a central role in today’s fashion industry. Combined with this theme, visitors can also take part in the Antwerp Fashion Hunt. This strategic and popular team building activity has one mission: Helping Alexander, a last-year student at the Fashion Academy, complete his graduate fashion collection! The team that earns the most points wins the Antwerp Fashion Hunt, while exploring the city and the people that embody Antwerp design. Contrary to traditional incentives, this game truly gets to grips with everything from aesthetics

and culture to fashion-trends and practical design skills.

“With trademark designers and fashion stores, the city is renowned as a centre of contemporary culture worldwide” Between September 2013 and January 2014, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is turning 350, making it the fourth-oldest art school in the world. At the same time, its Fashion Department turns 50: two anniversaries that call for a real celebration! In collaboration with the Museum for Contemporary Art, these two fashion-pillars are organizing

a citywide selection of exhibitions, activities and publications. And a number of historical spaces throughout the city will provide platforms for creative works and new collections among the old artefacts of Antwerp. Beyond fashion, Antwerp offers space for meeting delegates interested in everything from diamonds, beer and architecture. The meeting rooms of the Royal Antwerp Zoo and the world famous Concert hall “Elisabeth Zaal” are currently being renovated. In 2016 a state of the art multifunctional conference & concert centre will open its doors. The historic art deco meeting halls of the zoo will however be preserved and perfectly integrated in the new convention centre.


Meeting delegates and incentive groups are also invited to visit the Red Star Line Museum, a unique experience that tells the story of steamships that transported millions of Europeans to the shores of America. A European context is unique to the history of the Red Star Line, as passengers came from across

Europe with Belgians only accounting for a small percentage of travellers on the ship. Guests are invited to trace their ancestors through the Virtual Museum Visit, asking poignant and historically relevant questions like “Where am I?” and “What happened here?”, How about a private tour and maybe

a reception afterwards at the newest museum in town? Red Star Line provides guests with a fun trip down history lane, explaining the depths of our past through the essence of a port-city like Antwerp. Everyone, but especially your American delegates will be impressed with this place!

Bruges – chocolate and tradition Considered one of Flanders most successful tourist destinations, Bruges offers a variety of choices from architectural heritage and contemporary art to inner gardens and century old city canals. Today the city is also famous for its gastronomy, which goes hand-inhand with catering for large numbers during conferences, meetings and exhibitions. A classified UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city exceeds expectations when it comes to hosting events and hotel capacity. Small and compact, Bruges is nevertheless home to eight four star hotels with a total capacity of over 600 rooms. When including the different boutique hotels and smaller inns the city offers well beyond 1000 rooms for major events. All the hotel are within walking distance of each other and the main meeting and event venues. Besides cobblestone streets, Bruges has a few other local tricks up its sleeve. Closely associated to the city’s rich and long gastronomic tradition, Bruges proudly offers visitors around 50 authentic chocolatiers spread around the centre. Guests are invited to try Chocolatier Spegelaere, one of Bruges longest family run chocolatiers, to taste the local producers’ famous chocolate bunches, filled with marzipan or praline. Other

Bruges historical centre

Cycling tradition, Bruges

local chocolatiers include The Old Chocolate House, run by Françoise Thomaes, and Sweertvaegher, a historical Flemish chocolate production that started in Ypres in 1933, while moving to Bruges in the 1950s. Flemish-food culture plays a major role when organizing events in Bruges. With a selection of top-chefs, like Kurt Van Daele, member of Eurotoques, and Patrick Devos, meeting planners are guaranteed first-class catering when visiting this pioneering

Traditional chocolatier, Bruges

city of gastronomic craftsmanship. It’s therefore no surprise that on the list of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, Bruges ranks number one for Michelin stars per capita. For incentive organisers interested in Corporate Social Responsibility, the cosy Kitchen of Poverello and its local chef will help your group prepare and serve daily lunches for 60 disadvantaged people, combining charitable work with fun culinary creations.


If incentive groups are looking for a true historical challenge, then Bruges has the ultimate history incentive on hand. Historium is an experience attraction, where groups step through lifelike sets in which film, music and special effects combine to create an unforgettable experience. Historium offers

amusement and theatre, mixed with art, history and interaction. As far as experiencing authentic Bruges, this incentive offers guests a unique look at the city through virtual reconstruction, acting and storytelling. The venue can be privatised after closing time and is perfect for original but classy gala receptions.

Brussels – art-nouveau and comics Often referred to as the capital of Europe, Brussels thrives on its tourism industry, as a centre of gravity for politics, as well as design, gastronomy and art. Teeming with entrepreneurs and artists, it’s got a blend of culture and professionalism unmatched by many other cities. In stark contrast to overpriced neighbours like Paris and London, the capital of Flanders is multi­cultural, easy-going and simply one of the top world destinations when it comes to MICE. With over 188 hotels, including 13 five-stars, Brussels offers visitors a selection of choices deeply rooted in its world famous products and the Brussels ‘way-of-life’. Visitors are encouraged to try the ‘Tram Experience’ where small incentive groups are treated to a three-course meal with wine, while driving through the

city at night. In a matter of hours passengers will taste a variety of dishes prepared by famous Brussels-based chefs, including Michelin star Lionel Rigolet from Comme Chez Soi. What better way to discover the best spots of the city, while dining on local dishes, wines and Belgian chocolate deserts! Another interesting option for a small company of meeting delegates is ‘Dinner in the Sky’ where guests dine on gourmet food at 50 meters height. With a great skyline, dinners will have the opportunity of a lifetime by enjoying the culinary traditions of Brussels, while viewing everything from the landmark Atomium to Horta’s magnificent art-nouveau wonders scattered throughout the city. Everyday in June 2014, 22 guests will be able to

Venues in Bruges? • Congress Center ‘Site oud Sint-Jan’: This 19th-century former hospital is a congress centre situated in the heart of the city. The inner garden, terraces and hallways make this the ideal venue for seminars, workshops, while its main rooms cater for larger events with a dining capacity of up to 910 people. Cocktail events can host up to 2225 people, spread throughout the many rooms of this magnificent building. • The Concertgebouw: This ideal meeting and conference venue has a uniquely modern and flexible setting. • Belfry of Bruges: Without doubt the most prestigious building in town, the Belfry also houses the MuseumGallery XPO Salvador Dali, boosting a collection of over 300 of the artist’s masterpieces. This renewed hall is an extraordinary location for events, tailored to upscale and executive meetings. • Auditorium Maz: This cultural centre, built in 2001, has a capacity of 400 seats or 1000 standing places. This multi-purpose hall is situated within walking distance of the train station and caters for a modern crowd with its open-space contemporary art look.

Bozar Contemporary Art Venue, Brussels


enjoy at great height a gourmet dinner prepared by a Michelin star chef. True to its architectural roots, Brussels is often considered a centre for design. With a deep rooted tradition in art and fashion, its no wonder that Brussels produced worldclass designers like Liz Claiborne and Diane von Furstenberg. These pioneers left their mark on the city in many ways, reflecting Brussels flair for innovation today. A good example of this includes Designer Brussels, a partnership of four Belgian designer hotels and a renowned Destination

organisers interested in going beyond the traditional incentive can hire the Mode and Design Center, MAD, to organise their events. Complementing the boutique hotels and fancy restaurants, MAD has 4000 square meters on standby for events and dinners dedicated to creative industries. Other venues available range from Horta’s historical Bozar Theatre and the Expo 1958 Atomium monument to the Musical Instrument Museum, with its rooftop restaurant and panoramic view over Brussels.

“With over 188 hotels, including 13 five-stars, Brussels offers visitors a selection of choices deeply rooted in its world famous products and the Brussels ‘way-of-life’”

Sticking to local traditions, any visit to Brussels would be incomplete without a glimpse at the city’s rich comic book history. Home to Tintin among others, Brussels hosts large groups in its famous Comic Strip Center, a large venue with capacity to cater for all types of events. Packed with several floors, the centre includes over 80.000 comic book volumes – the largest collection worldwide. Enthusiasts will also marvel at the wonders of the centre’s library and three-dimensional reproductions, which feature the famous rocket used by Tintin to travel to space.

Management Company. Providing chic design accommodation and incentives based around local architecture and fashion, this partnerships offers a unique approach to events and incentives. Rooted in Belgian contemporary culture,

Ghent – cycling and gastronomy Ghent is first and foremost a beautiful city. As any person who has visited the city will recall: the city is an architectural wonder with rivers flowing through parts of the centre. Great in terms of gastronomy and home to paintings by world-famous Flemish painters like Hieronymus Bosch and Peter Paul Rubens, the city of course offers a large selection of venues, restaurants and river-side locations to match any corporate planner’s needs and desires.

It might also be interesting to take a glimpse at some of Ghent’s other qualities. One such characteristic – deeply rooted in the city’s culture – is cycling! Whether to visit the Flemish Cycling Centre Eddy Merckx or to take part in the annual Tour of Flanders, tourists from abroad are increasingly attracted to Ghent’s important cycling tradition. Whether a cycling enthusiasts or a novice, visitors show a strong interest in the city’s historical cycling culture, as a large part of the city’s

Why Brussels? • A favourite destination: Rankings from the Union of International Associations show that Brussels is the preferred destination in Europe for congresses. • Easy access: Small, well connected and centrally located. Brussels remains one of the easiest cities to travel to, whether from North or South, East or West. With excellent high-speed trains and several airports with flights to all European capitals, Brussels scores higher than most cities in terms of connectivity and easy-access. • Truly multilingual: Dutch, French and English are widely spoken, while Turkish, Portuguese and Italian are also very common. The growth of EU institutions and international organisations has helped enrich Brussels in terms of multi-cultural thinking. • City of research and science: Brussels is home to hundreds of international headquarters of scientific organisations and corporations, from healthcare multinationals and research centres to chemical associations. • Venues: From old to new – historical to modern. Brussels remains a world capital with nearly anything on offer. This includes settings that range from art deco to contemporary design, including major event spaces and intimate five star restaurants.

reputation and production is built around this. Some of the best tailor made bicycles come from this area, while Ghent is home to a large selection of cyclingrelated activities. In practice, groups visiting Ghent should try taking a bike tour through the Flemish countryside as an incentive or team exercise. Ghent offers a large selection of cycling routes that cover all the historical monuments and beautiful landmarks, while also visiting the city’s many public areas and parks. Routes vary in length


- from 10 to 25 kilometres – while incentive cyclists are given a booklet with coordinates and explanations, serving as a practical guide, as well as a well-deserved souvenir! When it comes to choosing a venue, Ghent is also full of options. Keeping to cycling, what better place than the world-famous ‘t Kuipke track near the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art and the International Conference Centre ICC. Located at the Citadel park, ‘t Kuipke hosts concerts, gym galas, exhibitions, as well as the annual Six Days of Ghent cycling event. Other large-scale venues include Hal 26, which was recently renovated. The modern venue is situated on the north docks of Ghent, oozing a trendy warehouse feel, while adding to it with its beautiful terrace space. As a teambuilding exercise it’s advisable to rent the Dok-Noord Studio, which has the capacity to host up to 72 people. Known as the ‘Eating Adventure’ teams get to cook their own food, while socializing with colleagues in a colloquial environment. And no one has to worry about the dishes afterwards!

Cycling in Flanders

Cycling and tourism There seems to be a strong link between tourism and cycling in Ghent. According to Chris Vannoppen of Golazo, a sports marketing consultancy, the number of foreigners participating in the Tour of Flanders has been steadily rising over the years. Over 6000 participants signed up for the event this year, which is 1500 more than in 2012. That means that almost 1 in 2 participants are from abroad – a fact that definitely influences the local tourism industry in the short and long-term. Events in ‘t Kuipke, Ghent

Mechelen – medieval charm and beer Famous for its many historical churches and extensive beer culture, tourists will be surprised to know that Mechelen is also home to St. Rumbold’s Tower – the UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands at 97 metres! Groups can visit a diverse selection of sites in Mechelen, including the acclaimed Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, as well as the city’s many medieval churches and Het Anker Brewery. The multipurpose brewery serves both as a hotel, distillery and tavern – perfect for incentive groups dedicated to brewing and history.

For venues and large-scale conferences, the Lamot Conference Centre offers eight multipurpose rooms with a capacity of up to 800 people in total, including catering. For business groups wishing to do teambuilding, Mechelen offers several incentives. These include action-packed city-games like ‘Crimewave’ and ‘GPS City Challenge’ where teams embark upon an adventurous multimedia walk around the city with questions and challenges at hand!

Lamot Conference Centre, Mechelen

Proximity Mechelen has the advantage of being at close proximity to most central European destinations. Only a stone-throw away from Amsterdam and London, this destination also has easy-access to Brussels and Antwerp. Whether for a long stay or a one day-event Mechelen is usually on the way!


Leuven – breweries and culture For anyone who loves beer, Leuven is an absolute must. Associated with brewing for centuries, the local tradition of beer is very present throughout the city. With more than fifty breweries and 600 pubs and cafes, visitors will have plenty of choice when it comes to ordering a drink! And for meeting delegates and incentive groups interested in learning about the history of brewing beer, its advisable to take the guided tour of taverns and bars, where guests are offered samples of

“For anyone who loves beer, Leuven is an absolute must” beer, while listening to interesting anecdotes about Peeterman and brewing with water from the River Dyle. During the tour visitors will be able to see the longest bar in the world, as well as domestic breweries like Domus on the Oude Markt. Another interesting sight for beer-fanatics is ‘The Capital’, which opened recently and quickly became known in the Guinness book of world records as the largest beer bar in the world!

As a venue to host events, Leuven boosts ‘De Hoorn’, a new establishment with multipurpose rooms ranging from a large brewery event hall to industrial spaces, perfect for cocktail parties, dinners and shows. Other venues include Museum M, the modern exhibition space with seating capacity of up to 1000 people, spread across the various rooms in the building. With its superb outdoors terrace and stylish white interior, this space is great for most types of meetings and exhibitions.

Incentives in Leuven • Visit the historical Stella Artois factory that includes beer tasting and a draught course where participants try out some Flemish beer brewing! • Participate in the Leuven Vespa Tours where groups take a relaxing ride around the city on a charming Vespa!

Rooftop in Museum M, Leuven

Local convention bureaus Inspired by this article? Would you like to organise a cycling tour in Ghent, a cooking activity in Bruges, a beer tasting in Leuven…? Contact Meet in Flanders (+32 2 504 04 35 or or the local convention bureaus of the Flemish cities

Ghent nightlife

Antwerp Convention Bureau – +32 (0)3/338 81 81 – – Meeting in Brugge – +32 50 444 666 – – Visit Brussels – +32 2 549 50 51 – – Ghent Congres – +32 9 266 56 52 – – Meeting Leuven – +32 16 37 35 60 – – Meeting in Mechelen – +32 15 29 49 00 – –


The Green Key For a sustainable stay in Brussels As sustainability continues to be an important part of tourism today, the growing number of different eco-labels and certifications might be more confusing than anything else. In Brussels, the Green Key is the official label backed by the Brussels-Capital Region for accommodation and venues, benefiting both corporate and incentive planners in terms of knowing which eco-label to follow!

Corporate and incentive planners are often on the lookout for destinations that prioritise sustainability. That’s why it remains important to use a recognisable label for ‘green’ facilities in order to approach the awareness expressed by hotels, as well as meeting organisers and tourist establishments. Represented in Wallonia and Brussels by the Fédération Inter-Environnement Wallonie (IEW), Green Key, as an international eco-label, was awarded to over 2,100 tourism infrastructures worldwide. Brussels chose the Green Key label as early as January 2011 in the European capital. The Green Key is given annually to tourism facilities, hotels, conference centres meeting venues and such, based on evaluation criteria rating overall environmental management, waste management, food and water, energy consumption and green open spaces, mobility and education, etc. Based of these criteria of excellence, the Green Key programme helps improve sustainable development in tourism infrastructure. By choosing Green Key accommodation, corporate and incentive planners can promote their eco-friendliness as a way of life, not simply a marketing stunt.

Mont des Arts, Brussels

The Green Key is supported by the main stakeholder of the tourism industry, including the Brussels Hotels Association (BHA), Brussels Special Venues, Bed and Brussels, Hostels in Brussels, in close collaboration with Wallonie-Bruxelles Tourisme (WBT), VisitBrussels, Brussels Booking Desk (BBD) and the Brussels administration in charge of tourism. As an initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), it not only promotes an eco-friendly brand in Brussels, but guarantees delegates over 2,500 “Green Rooms’ available in Belgium’s capital, accounting for almost 16% of the rooms available in the city. When the number is narrowed down to accommodation for young people, the number increases to 80% eco-friendly coverage across Brussels, with the label now awarded to 4 out of 5 Brussels hostels. The Green Key covers facilities catering to all kinds of budgets, and this is definitely an added value for corporate and incentive planners. More info on the Green Key More info on award-winning and coaching initiatives in Belgium and worldwide

“Green Key” label hotels in Brussels Aloft Brussels Schuman Hotel Dolce La Hulpe Brussels Four Points by Sheraton Brussels Downtown Le Plaza Hotel Ibis Brussels Gare du Midi Le Méridien Bruxelles NH du Grand Sablon NH Stephanie Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi Radisson Blu EU Hotel Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Stanhope Hotel Thon Hotel EU

“Green Key” label venues in Brussels Concert Noble Diamant Brussels Conference & Business Centre The Event Lounge Tour & Taxis This list is a work-in-progress. Other establishments are about to receive the Green Key label. More details in December 2013.



a metropolis straddling on two continents ECM Summer School August 2013

Hagia Sophia and the Bosphoros

Recently I was asked to talk about the relation between the Meeting Industry suppliers and the press at the 2013 ECM Summer School in Istanbul. Apart from appreciating the subject title of “Friends or foes”, I was also charmed by the fact that this year’s Summer School took place in Istanbul. A curious mix between western and eastern culture, art de vivre and dynamism, this metropolis literally straddles on 2 continents, reaching out one arm to Asia and the other to Europe.

Article by Cécile Koch

Istanbul is the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, as well as being a town full of beautiful contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here. The Hagia Sofia, which started as a Christian church was later converted to a Mosque, while it now serves as a museum – a perfect example of religious blends and cultural crossovers. Its variety is one of Istanbul’s greatest attractions: It is a million people chaotic city with traffic jams and buzzing boats crossing the Bosphorus, endless ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars. Colorful architecture by day and dynamic bars by night, it is all about contrasts in this city. Istanbul has been constantly developing its infrastructure and its international networks over the past. International trade is growing and the cultural and academic life is blooming

like never before. You can understand that this city strongly appeals to the international Meetings Industry when it comes to meetings and congresses. Where else can you have such a blend of ancient culture, visual awe and western-style organization?

as a never ending terrace which can be used for all kinds of events. I was also impressed by the organizational skills of the Turkish catering services: amazing how swift everybody got served, whether it was a small

“Where else can you have such a blend of ancient culture, visual awe and western-style organization?” I visited one congress center during my stay: the Haliç Congress Centre, which is beautiful situated along the Golden Horn, an offshoot of the Bosphorus. My favorite student of the ECM summer school, Zeynip Goluc, who works here at the centre, told me that Haliç was a popular residential area where Greeks, Jews, Genoese and other non-Muslims settled during the Ottoman period. The centre opened a couple of years ago and spreads out over more than 100.000 m² (inside and outside), while hosting the biggest auditorium in Istanbul, as well

local restaurant or a big venue catering large groups. And how delicious! Asistane Restaurant really left its mark on me with its lovely Ottoman cuisine, which assembles dishes from the Middle East to North Africa and Europe. They consulted a variety of ancient sources, including the budget ledgers of the three main palace kitchens, and now serve ‘historically approved’ authentic Ottoman dishes: a true archeological meal!


Ireland’s vibrant cities Ireland’s vibrant cities and towns are pulsing with things to do and see. Ireland’s urban centres are busy day and night, with award-winning restaurants, luxurious hotels, lively local entertainment and, of course, some of the friendliest people in the world. The Convention Centre Dublin

A visit to Ireland for business can invigorate the mind and soul, no matter which corner of the island you visit. Business travellers to Ireland have the opportunity to unwind and relax while enjoying a range of breathtaking scenery across the regions. Views to enjoy include the country’s lush green countryside, inspiring mountain ranges, charming lakes and dramatic sweeping coastline. Ireland may be an island but it is easy to access with its breadth of international air and sea connections. The result is Ireland’s direct daily flights to key transport hubs in North America, the UK, Africa, Continental Europe and the Middle East. Ferry connections from the UK and France are popular for those driving from Europe.

Visiting Irish cities Dublin City Dublin is an exciting and inspirational city, steeped in tradition yet young at heart, effortlessly combining the modern with the historic and contemporary. Dublin offers 20,000 bedrooms and top of the art venues e.g. Convention Centre Dublin (CCD).

Belfast City Over one billion pounds has been invested over the past decade to transform Belfast into a vibrant, innovative and inspirational city. The dynamic spirit that built the Titanic in Belfast more than 100 years ago is reborn today with the opening of Titanic

Belfast, an exciting new conference venue built on the original site where Titanic was built, the new iconic building symbolizes ‘a new Belfast. Belfast offers approximately 7000 bedrooms.

Cork City Cork City offers over 3000 rooms ranging from 3 to five Star Hotels. A diverse range of gala dinner options including Luxury Private Residences, Historic Castles, a 19th Century Gaol, Racecourses, Country Houses, Distilleries and more.

The Titanic Belfast Centre

Supporting your event Tourism Ireland together with Failte Ireland can help save you time and money and will support your corporate event team from consideration stage to delivery: • Corporate Meetings Fund • VIP Site Inspection Hosting • Corporate Champion Reward Scheme • Accommodation and Venue Sourcing • Social Programme • Delegate Information

Limerick City Limerick is to become Irish City of Culture in 2014 and has something to offer everybody thanks to its many cultural, historical, architectural, sporting, shopping and business activities. It is a vibrant, living, cosmopolitan city. Limerick offers approximately 7000 bedrooms.

Cafe en Seine, Dublin

Derry City Derry’s walled city is unique among Irish cities in that it is Ireland’s only completely walled city. It is also UK City of Culture 2013. The selection and quality of conference and corporate meeting venues has continued to increase alongside a significant incentive product, largely due to the Walled city’s intriguing historical and cultural offering. Derry offers approximately 631 bedrooms.

Powerscourt House and Gardens, Wicklow

Contact information Danielle Neyts Tourism Ireland Brussels +32 02 643 21 21


Athens: bouncing back energetically Greece is going through tough times. So when I got an invitation to join a press trip to Athens I decided to go for several reasons. First of all I find that we have to support those who are in extreme difficulties and who strive to overcome these harsh conditions. Secondly I wanted to see with my own eyes how the Greek people cope with it. Article by Cécile Koch

“Athens brings you back to contemplation and reflection” As a matter of fact, the infrastructure of Athens is quite good thanks to the 2004 Olympics games. Good metro lines, a new airport, and nice hotels. Traffic jam are still an occasionally hazard, as with most cities, but mostly due to spontaneous demonstrators than anything else. And which cities don’t suffer from congested roads these days.

Greek shipping tycoons leaving a delegacy for life Athens brings you back to contemplation and reflection. It’s only natural when visitors gaze at The Parthenon on the high rocky outcrop above the city, whether reflecting sunrays during the day or beautiful lit at night! But this Mediterranean

city is also a nice mixture between modern and hectic lifestyles. The modern museum of the Acropolis is stunning to say the least. And thanks to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the new National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera designed by architect Renzo Piano will inspire Athens to develop new cultural life, offering a multitude of new venues for international events. The Onassis Cultural Center is a beautiful golden egg within a modern frame with auditoria that most capitals could only dream of! On top of that, the roof terrace offers a beautiful view on the city that can be used for outdoors events as well. Situated in the middle of the city, Megaron is a purpose built congress centre surrounded by an idyllic garden and hotels at walkable distance, as well as the metro line with direct access to the airport. A perfect mix of functionality and beauty, this center offers guests an exceptional setting not to be overlooked. Creative lighting and glass panels all over, the venue sports beautiful white marble floors, while all four auditoria have walls covered in warm wood. Beyond the aesthetics of the place, the venue



So what did I find in Athens - and did I have a distorted view because of sensationalist trends in European newspapers during the past years? What I noticed from the beginning was the sheer enthusiasm and determination of younger people, in part to rid themselves of the current situation, but also to overcome a very outdated generational gap. They want to show the world that Greece and Athens can be managed in a professional way. Their message was clear: we will change!

Concert Hall, Megaron

has outstanding acoustics, in line with Greece’s rich history of orators. Other special venues include Techno­ polis, with its newly opened Gas Museum and large courtyard; ideal for cultural events and social functions. Zappeion Hall, member of the Historical Conference Centres of Europe, is another contender. Its refined elegant building situated in a park lies next to Aegli Zappiou, one of Athens impressive modern restaurants. And when you need a fresh break from the hectic city life - the numerous islands close to Athens offer any visitor the opportunity to explore and relax at the seaside, only minutes away!


Michelberger Hotel

Berlin’s got it all

Special feature

Young dy and Tren Cities

“Poor but sexy” Berlin has got near-mythical status as the world epicenter for creative cool. The city’s art scene rivals its nightlife scene and it’s become a mecca for the creative class and the hard-partying that goes with it. But don’t let that fool you – it’s also a classy old capital, with the infrastructure and experience for awesome events. In 2003, mayor Klaus Wowereit described his city as “poor but sexy” and his remark has become the city’s unofficial slogan. Berlin is the undisputed cool capital of cool capitals. The key seems to be the fact that almost half the city used to be East Berlin, and thousands of communist-era buildings offer cheaper rents and flexibility. This means a proliferation of young artists and start-ups from all corners of the globe, all spilling out of trendy bars and galleries.

CONTENTS Berlin’s got it all ................ 26 Young at heart ................... 27 ALL TEXTS WRITTEN BY ROSE KELLEHER

big business. It’s got the experience to offer top-tier meetings and events and it’s one of the most important association congress locations in the world. It’s also Germany’s start-up capital, and a key city for promoting fields of the future like biotechnology, medical technology, communications and IT. The No other city has reinvented itself so incoming MICE industry sets records dramatically. Artists, art buyers, designfor overnights every year: there are ers and start-ups have been setting up more than 1,500 events per day, and there in a steady influx for twenty years. it attracts prestigious gatherings and But Berlin also has the ability to attract monster trade fairs including TYPO and the International Design Festival. There were 22 million visitors in 2011, and more than 108,000 events took place in 2010, with more than 130,000 hotel beds available. It’s also green – there are 2,500 public parks, several exotic gardens and forests, as well as lakes and rivers. Berlin Wall graffiti

And it’s really easy to get to, with direct flights all over the world every day. It’s great for incentives because history sits snuggly alongside hip for an absolutely unique experience: gatherings can be held in the hangars of the former Tempelhof airport, or in one of the largest convention, entertainment

“No other city has reinvented itself so dramatically” and hotel complexes in Europe, the Estrel Berlin. Visits to Museum Island are a big hit, as are boat tours on the Spree and dinner in the panoramic restaurant of the TV Tower. But it’s also cool to hang out with the hipsters in Kreuzberg, or even book your delegates into what’s been dubbed the hipster digs: the Michelberger Hotel. Being the capital of cool comes with lots of other perks: the whole of Berlin seems to have no closing hours, stations turn into impromptu museums, remains of the wall become open air galleries and old factories become multi-functional event locations. There is no hipper place to be right now.



Young at heart Everyone wants to be where it’s all happening, and these five hubs have been hand-picked for ticking all the cool specs boxes: trendy, arty and youthful. Some of them are thousands of years old, but don’t be fooled: age is not a number, it’s a state of mind...

Brussels Colloquially recognized as the capital of Europe, Brussels is more famous for business than pleasure, thanks to the institutions like NATO, the European Commission and the European Parliament that call it home. News stations reporting on European affairs are likely to show the endless concrete and steel boulevards in the Schuman area, giving the city a reputation as a dry bureaucratic backwater.

“Cheaper than Paris or London, Brussels is internationally accessible and an amiable polyglot” But it’s a misconception: Brussels is actually one of Europe’s best-kept cool secrets. Teeming with entrepreneurs and artists, it’s got offbeat culture and quirky fun by the bucket load. Cheaper than Paris or London,

Insider’s trendy events tip: Flagey is a ship-shaped art deco building designed by architect Joseph Diongre in 1938 in the ubercool Place Flagey neighborhood with its myriad bars and restaurants. This venue attracts prominent musicians for concerts and festivals, and in addition to two beautiful concert halls and a cinema hall, this art deco masterpiece offers a number of reception areas of different sizes as well as state-of the-art technical equipment for all kinds of events.

Brussels is internationally accessible and an amiable polyglot. In terms of meetings, it’s got that in the bag, too: for such a small city, it’s got plenty of beds, with 188 at last count, 13 of which are five-star hotels with meeting rooms. And despite a difficult international economic situation, tourism in Brussels is well on its way to achieving its objective to double its number of overnights by 2020, thus raising leisure and meeting visits to Brussels to the same level as Vienna and Amsterdam.

Budapest Trend spotters have been calling Budapest “the next Berlin” for a few years now. It’s cool, it’s beautiful, it’s young, and it’s cheap. It’s also getting a reputation for being retro, and retro is in, in case you didn’t know. A vibrant and cosmopolitan city, it’s a quirky old historical hotspot that’s popular with fans of design, architecture and fashion. For years, the eighth district was considered one of the worst in the city. Decimated during World War II, it was once synonymous with criminality, but things began to turn around in 2000 and soon galleries, cafes and nightlife arrived, drawn to the architecture and cheap rents. Today, this area, on the Pest side of the Danube, has become a magnet for Budapest’s trendy bohemians, mixing soulful chic and shabby

Rue des Bouchers, Brussels

Thermal Spa, Budapest

bourgeois. The city offers a great many spas based around hot water springs and they tend to be very affordable. Thousands of events are organised annually in Budapest, and it’s turning itself into a pretty good choice for a meeting. With a wide variety of conferences and congress sights, along with festivals, food, wine, 16 fivestar and 61 four-star hotels, this European whippersnapper deserves to be added to any MICE wish list.

Insider’s trendy tip: The recently restored Veli Bej bath in Budapest is the least known of the thermal baths of the City of Spas, as Budapest is often called. Most visitors who want to experience a Turkish bath will either go to the big and spacious Rudas Bath or head to the historical Kiraly Bath. But Veli Bej is unique: small, cozy, and with a 16th century backstory. As we said: retro.


Istanbul Absolutely one of the world’s greatest and most important cities, Istanbul has been getting more in vogue in recent years. Overflowing with exotic temples, markets and cathedrals, it’s changing so rapidly you better go check it out before it’s transformed beyond recognition. Development has turned ghetto-like no-go zones into hip and vibrant neighborhoods whose stylish clientele spill out onto the streets, eating and drinking until the wee hours. Clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels and galleries are springing up at an explosive pace. Staying on a very low budget is quite easy, with sandwiches and street food being as tasty as they are cheap, and alcohol is also very cheap by European standards.

“Clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels and galleries are springing up at an explosive pace”

Beyoglu district, Istanbul

boutique hotels. Istanbul saw its highest increase in visitor numbers in Europe last year and expects to host 10.4 million tourists in 2013, according to a MasterCard survey. In other news, the Turkish government has said it will invest more than €7 billion to build the world’s largest airport in Istanbul, which will be able to handle 150 million passengers per year.

Belgrade Greasy kebabs are no longer the order of the day, as haute cuisine abounds, mixing up traditional Turkish food with cutting-edge international nosh. There’s also a range of chic and sexy

Abandoned industrial spaces and unused barges are transformed into floating bars, boutiques and event spaces. Warehouses, barges, malls and mansions, you name it: if it’s

derelict and abandoned, Belgrade’s next generation is reclaiming it and breathing new life into it. Belgrade is currently undergoing a major facelift with design, culture and innovation at the forefront. What better symbol of a city on the brink of rebirth than so many run-down and unused spaces being hauled back from the brink and turned into everything from restaurants and shops to off-the-wall event spaces? A modern metropolis of two million people, the Serbian capital is a little bit gritty with a lot of attitude. There are 42 museums, 67 art galleries and 26 theatres and a vibrant café

Insider’s trendy tip: The hip traveller’s pocket book, the Lonely Planet, reckons climbing aboard one of Istanbul’s ferries as one of the coolest activities in the city. Spanned by two mammoth bridges, the Bosphorus river is crossed daily by thousands of cars, ferries and fishing boats. Travelling alongside massive tankers and cargo ships making their way to the Black Sea makes for a memorable day trip. Sunset’s best, when the silhouette of the Old City is set to the backdrop of an orange-red sky. Ferries crossing the Bosphorus, Istanbul


“If it’s derelict and abandoned, Belgrade’s next generation is reclaiming it and breathing new life into it” culture with over 150 floating restaurants along the banks of the Sava and Danube rivers, and the bohemian Skadarlia district rivals Paris’s Montmartre and Berlin’s Kreuzberg. Another of Europe’s nominees for capital of cool, it can nevertheless host grown-up things like complex multi-session events, memorable gala dinners, and uniquely-flavored entertainment set to the backdrop of its hipper-than-thou scene. Like its counterparts, it’s also one of the least expensive major congress cities in Europe. With 30 international carriers offering over 50 direct flights, Belgrade’s strategic location means there’s no messing about.

Belgrade Fortress, Serbia

Insider’s trendy tip: Belgrade’s graffiti artists have turned the city into a giant open-air art gallery with some of the most exciting street art in south-eastern Europe that has long graduated from simple tags to elaborate expressions of the mood of a generation. For an authentic taste, take a tour of the graffiti-covered suburbs.

MALAYSIA WD 2013: Contributing to Women’s Rights

Malaysia, well known for its highly developed healthcare policies as well as a strong advocator of women rights has recently demonstrated its commitment in hosting The Women Deliver 3rd Global Conference 2013 (WD 2013). Organised by Women Deliver, New York and strongly supported by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), WD 2013 was held at the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (The Centre). First time to be conducted in Malaysia and Asia, WD 2013 was overwhelmingly received as the conference welcomed more than 4,500 delegates and advocates representing over 2,200 organisations and 149 countries - the highest attendance of leaders and media members for the conference so far! As a sign of the country’s strong support, the conference was opened by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, accompanied by the First Lady Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and the Minister of Women Family and Community Development, Dato’ Rohani Abdul Karim. According to Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver, “We wanted to host Women Deliver 2013 in a place where we could engage new champions, celebrate regional successes and address ongoing challenges.” WD 2013 was attended by various parties including healthcare professionals, policymakers, government leader and many more. These authorities

aim to address women deliver issues and ensure that investments in girls and women remain a global priority to authorities around the world. Key influential speakers featured at the conference included Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; HRH Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway, Zainah Anwar of Global

advocacy and communications skills, a Professional Allies program and several key advocacy opportunities throughout the conference. Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Mr. Zulkefli Hj. Sharif also commented, “MyCEB is very supportive of this WD 2013 Conference due to several reasons. Other than the high traffic of international delegates that is beneficial to the country’s economy, it is also an opportunity for Malaysia to

“Conducted in Malaysia and Asia, WD 2013 was overwhelmingly received as the conference welcomed more than 4500 delegates” Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family, Malaysia and many more. During the conference, more than 1,000 participants were sponsored to attend the conference, which featured 61 donors and sponsors and 119 exhibiting organizations from government, companies, and civil society. More than 800 speeches and presentations were given at the six plenaries and 120 breakout sessions. The focus on Youth movement is also an interesting element of WD 2013. Active concurrent sessions were conducted to inform the Youth movement as well as various activities such as e-course prior to the conference for the 100 Young Leaders, a pre-conference to bolster

showcase its capability to host large events such as these. This in turn will impact positively on Malaysia as a model champion for women well-being.” Datuk Dr. Raj Abdul Karim, Women Deliver Asia Regional Director and MyCEB’s appointed Kesatria said, “WD 2013 highlights the tremendous progress that Malaysia and other participating countries have made on the issue of women’s health and rights, as well as the challenges that remain.”

Contact information: Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau +603 2034 2090




truly exploring excitement!

Kuching Waterfront

Untouched for the better part of the twentieth century, Sarawak has the advantage of offering what most places long for: novelty and nature. Located on Malaysia’s Borneo Island - only an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur - this area uses corporate responsibility in a clever way by promoting its virgin forests to promote new ways of thinking in today’s challenging business environment. Article by Cécile Koch

Kuching: a good place to get a glimpse of the past and to enjoy modern life A regional capital with over 700.000 inhabitants, Kuching does not give the impression of an over congested city, surrounded instead by flora and wildlife. Even the congress center is inspired by nature with its massive leaf-shaped roof, called Ririk! Nature really seems to have influenced everything in Sarawak – from everyday life to meetings and business!

“Sarawak is really living up to its slogan: Where business meets adventure!” Kuching Waterfront, on the south bank of Sarawak River, is the place to taste the city’s vibes. During daytime, it offers scenic views of the Astana, Fort Margherita and the Malay kampungs across the river; while nighttime offers another set of sensations! Half of the city is to be found on the riverfront, and

why not try jetty-hopping along the river on the local Penambang boats, savouring the different sights, sounds and delicacies between the two riverbanks. A result of a major restoration and land reclamation project, Kuching Waterfront today is the most popular meeting place in the city. But a number of older buildings have been preserved and incorporated into the design, including the Chinese History Museum, the Sarawak Steamship Building, an open-air theatre and the Square Tower. Modern additions to the Waterfront include a restored Chinese pavilion and a number of modern sculptures.

Recharge in a new world A visit to the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, where Orangutans are rehabilitated after having been injured, orphaned or kept illegally makes for a genuine and touching visit. And in terms of CSR, you can make donations to the reserve, while – during your visit – help prepare the food for

Orangutans in Sarawak, Borneo

the huge but o-so-charming animals! And of course, a visit to the Damai Sarawak Cultural Village is a must, as guests are surrounding by the beautiful traditional houses – a perfect visit for a corporate meeting or event in search of something new and original. Sporty activities are in abundance: dragon boat racing, going out on a river cruise and discovering dolphins with guaranteed glimpses of crocodiles and wild monkeys. Sarawak is really living up to its slogan: Where business meets adventure!



Incentive Land of 17,000 Islands

Borobudur, Java

A new trend can be seen among international companies who are increasingly showing interest in medium to long distance incentive trips. It’s not specifically about distant locations but rather their interest for culture, nature and economic progress abroad. Countries like Japan, Australia, the Philippines and especially Indonesia are candidates for these types of trips. And what does the Country of 17,000 Islands have to offer these multinationals? Bali might have set the standard, but other destinations throughout Indonesia are quickly catching up. The question is no longer where to go, but rather how long we would need to explore the many facets of this country’s striking culture and never-ending possibilities. Article by Marcel A.M. Vissers

Creative Indonesia

Famous bathhouse in Yogyakarta

It’s telling that Indonesia is among the only countries in the world that uses the term ‘creative economy’ when talking about MICE. The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is active in the development of MICE Products, more than ever before. The Government has identified 14 priority destinations to be developed in the future, including: Batam, Medan, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Solo, Mataram, Makassar and Manado. And no wonder: Indonesia is a hub of culture. The Canadian composer Colin McPhee wrote in his book A house in Bali, admitting that there’s a sound you hear everywhere: the sound of the gamelan. And he couldn’t have been more right! Everywhere you go as a visitor you will hear music, storytelling, dancing, religion, costumes – while smiles and hospitality is omnipresent! Dutch writer Multatuli (1860) taught us about the sad story of Saidjah and Adinda (Jawa), the buffalo and the hard work on the rice fields, in “Max Havelaar”. In line with this literary tradition, it can only be said that Bali’s rice fields are among the most beautiful on earth. No wonder he got his inspiration from here!


Culture capital Jakarta is an immense capital with endless attractions! Sites worth visiting include the old port ‘Sunda Kelapa’ and the colonial Batavia Café, while it is also recommended to travel by train from Jakarta to Bandung. Another great incentive programmes in Indonesia is the Culture and Music Centre, Angklung Mang Udjo. Built by musician Udjo Ngalagena, creator of the bamboo Angklung instrument, this truly fulfils the cultural category of events. The traditional performances are followed by a typical dinner, which is guaranteed to be a splendid evening for incentive travellers.

Traditional farmer in rice fields, Bali

Yogyakarta and gastronomy The historical city of Yogyakarta has the reputation of being the refrigerator of Javanese culture. Top visits here obviously include the Borubudur, a Mahayana 9th century Buddhist Temple in Magelang. The stunning building houses over 504 Buddha statues and is one of the world precious UNESCO heritage sites! Apart from this monumental spot, guests should also take the time to visit the Sultan’s palaces and the famous bathhouse.

Cooking at the Anika Guest House, Kuta

Lombok and Bali Many believe that the Island of Lombok, which is locates next to Bali, could become as successful as Bali. Only time will tell – but it definitely remains a strong contender considering its natural beauty and unmistakable charm! It’s often said that Bali is for fun and Lombok for resting, but don’t be fooled! Lombok is the perfect location for a conference and an incentive island with the emphasis on ‘relaxed meetings’. An island with sumptuous greens space, a coastline full of hairpin bends, and the big volcano Gunung Rinjani (3726m) – this is unmistakably a perfect location to bring an incentive group! Bali still remains the most successful incentive Island in Indonesia. Other destinations will surely follow suit, but why does Bali account for so much tourism? Because Bali is a paradise of exquisite hotels and excellent incentives, nature and beauty. One great example is the Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel: high on verdant cliffs, while facing an ancient temple, this hotel offers infinity pools with spectacular views and an exceptional atmosphere. One night stay was enough for me never to forget why we travel to Indonesia.

Eating in Indonesia is a combination of art and magic, with fresh herbs, spices and local vegetables. In Kuta I found the Anika Guest House where excellent cooking classes are organised in an attractive Indonesian setting. The fact that you can cook satay, grilled fish and curries with black rice pudding desserts, makes a great story when you arrive back home. The morning and evening classes are organised for groups of up to 20 participants.

Island of Lombok



Tea picking in Hangzhou

A Unique Tea Experience Organizing meetings and events in Hangzhou goes well beyond normal incentives. Apart from the Chinese region’s modern infrastructure and excellent venues, Hangzhou boosts a more rare quality: natural beauty, ancient history and exquisite tea plantations. With the so-called ‘Tea Bible’ originally from Hangzhou, visitors have a special event in store if they decide to visit this magnificent region. Hangzhou’s West Lake district is home to the Longjing, China’s most exclusive tealeaf. Covering around 60km2, this area is filled with never-ending green tea valleys surrounding the lake. Known locally as ‘Heaven of Earth’, its unique landscape offers everything ranging from historic temples and local teafarms to relaxing cruises and entertainment along the peaceful lakeshore. Often referred to as the ‘Tea Capital of China’, groups have the opportunity to experience a special incentive by travelling through history: trying everything from a cruise tour on the lake to ecofriendly bike trips in the surrounding green hills. Incentive groups are recommended to embark upon their own

“tea adventures” by taking part in tea picking and brewing on the local farms in the untouched hills of the West Lake Area. Take the time to discover the beauty of this unique UNESCO heritage site – home to over 90 stunning tourist attractions and parks, located along the stunning lake-area. Aside from Tai Chi, exotic temples and the Chinese National Tea Museum – this region is renowned for its first-class infrastructure and luxury accommodation. From tea-themed gala dinners to dance shows on the lake, Hangzhou has endless activities in store for its guests. Walking, hiking and boat trips are a must, but Hangzhou also encourages visitors to see the stunning six-story Liuhe Pagoda and the historic Jingci Temple. And when the day is over – the beautiful townhouses and traditional double storied homes

Tea Ceremony

await guests with their elegant balconies facing a panoramic view of the district’s blue waters and green hills. And when the day is over – the nighttime entertainment starts! Directed by the famous choreographer of the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony, ‘Impression West Lake’, hosts up to 1800 guests, while guaranteeing visitors an exciting evening with dance and theatrical performances. Located on the lake and surrounded by picturesque tea hills, the setting speaks for itself: whether for events, meetings or corporate incentives.

Contact information: Roger Shu +86 571 87 20 49 09


The Corporate Travel Performance Forum debuts at IT&CMA and CTW Asia Pacific The 21st IT&CMA and the 16th CTW Asia Pacific has successfully delivered its first-ever Corporate Travel Performance Forum this year to enhance the educational value of the double bill event featuring experts and industry insiders from around the world. ARTICLE BY KATIE LAU

“The industry is extremely dynamic and so are we. This year, the event’s accomplishments to raise the benchmark as a leading international MICE and Corporate Travel show is certainly one of our best yet,” said Darren Ng, managing director of TTG Asia Media. Together with Association Day catered especially for association executives, the Corporate Travel Performance Forum is a one-day event that focused on topics that helped high-level corporate travel professionals meet their objectives. Held on October 3 in the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld the event kicked off with a forum on the power of incentive travel featuring speakers that are current or former members of Site (Society of Incentive

Travel Executives), a global authority on motivational experiences and incentive travel. Hugo Slimbrouck, director of strategic partnerships at Ovation Global DMC, said that when it came to purchasing incentive travel, rules should be well defined and attainable. “Incentive travel is about pampering and it should set reachable goals for the entire workforce, not just the top five per cent. On going feedback should also be given throughout, not just only afterwards,” he said.

“DMC’s should do a better job in communicating the advantages of using a DMC” Rajeev Kohli, joint managing director of Creative Travel, cited from Site’s research that there’s an increase in cost-conscious choices among corporate travellers, as about half of the respondents would consider visiting all-inclusive or second-tier destinations and using trains or low-cost airlines as their means of travel. A surprising

60 per cent of respondents said prior experience with a supplier or brand has no effect on their decision-making. As up to 45 per cent of planners are found to book group services online with multiple suppliers instead of using a DMC who coordinates and manages all aspects of a programme, Kohli said DMC’s should do a better job in communicating the advantages of using a DMC. However, Kohli announced the good news that corporate travel appears to be making a comeback as there’s a 10 per cent rise in international incentive travel, especially for the Asian market, while 86 per cent of respondents predicted that incentive travel would increase or substantially increase in the next one to three years. “The concept of meetings and conventions going into incentives is growing and it might be the way forward for the incentive industry,” Kohli said. More info at:

MIM Europe Magazine, the meetings and incentives magazine for European corporate planners, in exclusive partnership with EUMA, the European Association of Management Assistants, supported by ECM, European Cities Marketing and Site.

europe magazine #125

SPECIAL FEATURE Young and Trendy Cities

Indonesia Incentive Land of 17,000 Islands

Meet in Flanders / Interview


Published 4 times a year: March, May, September, November Edition November 2013

Leading in innovation


The #125 edition of MIM Europe