Meetings International #28, Nov/Dec 2021 (English)

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No. 28 Nov/Dec 2021 €19 / SEK 165



“As ‌ a sector, we must be at the ­forefront of the regenerative revolution”



on the beach

For any inquiries, please contact to Sukhee Choi, Manager of Gyeonggi Tourism Organization MICE team

Don’t Choose, Do Both in Resilient Gyeonggi, Korea


s a number of industries around the world have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of resilience, which is the ability to flexibly respond to risks, has been gaining traction. Gyeonggi, a donut-shaped province that consists of 31 cities and has Seoul at its centre, is one of Asia’s second-tier MICE destinations and the Gyeonggi Tourism Organisation (GTO) MICE Team, responsible for international conferences and incentives in Gyeonggi Province, has accomplished a feat during the pandemic with its resilience using its strengths of rich resources and a partnership. Early this year, GTO launched the new campaign “Don’t Choose, Do Both” to expand the range of support program from originally only supporting on-site events to hybrid and online events. As a result, the number of international conferences held in Gyeonggi increased by 200 % compared to last year. Also, the “Veterinary Conference of 3 East-Asian Countries” and the “96th Annual Congress of Korean Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery”, two large convention meetings with over 2,000 participants each, were confirmed to take place in Gyeonggi. Hosting these events is to accelerate the recovery and revitalisation of Gyeonggi’s MICE industry. KINTEX, Korea’s largest convention centre and a steady and strong partner of the GTO, has received the 2021 ICCA Best Marketing Recognition Award in recognition of its comprehensive and innovative framework created during the pandemic to reopen the centre. Furthermore, KINTEX is preparing to open the 3rd Exhibition Center by 2025, which will bring the total exhibition area to 178,000 m² and reborn as the sixth-largest general exhibition market in Asia by a single wartime convention centre and the world’s 25th. With urban development projects around the venue, creating industrial complexes for technology and broadcasting video, KINTEX is on its way to building a new Gyeonggi MICE legacy as an international business platform. Suwon Convention Center is a major MICE venue of the south Gyeonggi area and has become a new landmark of Gyeonggi’s

MICE industry with significants international events and conferences taking place at the centre. Chained-brand hotels, a department store, tour attractions, and other facilities that are related to MICE events were built around the convention centre recently, with a goal to create the “Suwon MICE Complex” that serves as a onestop destination. Also, Suwon City has accelerated its efforts to establish a smart tourism environment in preparation for a returning demand for travel in the post-Covid era. To develop hidden gems besides two major convention centres in Gyeonggi, the GTO MICE Team has conducted the “Unique Venue Competition Project.” This initiative is designed to create a more stable MICE ecosystem in Gyeonggi and strengthen the partnership between the local community and the MICE Alliance to prepare for possible risks in the future. Aside from accessibility, infrastructure, and unique vibe, two new evaluation criteria, Green MICE (environment) and Local Coexistence (social), areas that the GTO has been placing a great emphasis on, were reviewed as well. The selected 17 unique venues are to play key roles in overcoming the risks of the pandemic by attracting conferences of varying scale and size and GTO will create promotional content for the 17 unique venues to roll out promotional activities at an unprecedented scale to share the “Gyeonggi Unique Venue” brand to the MICE industry around the globe. What the GTO aims for is not a one-time recovery from the crisis but creating new capabilities to change and adapt to a continuously changing environment. GTO is moving closer to realising the goal with 123 members of the Gyeonggi MICE Alliance (GMA). Various programs and measures organised by Gyeonggi and GMA partners, including expanding support for hybrid events, additional advantages for Green MICE Events, and expanding and promoting the local MICE infrastructure, will provide more conference and event hosts with the opportunity to create a legacy in Gyeonggi. As the post-Covid era is just around the corner, there are great hopes of seeing more MICE visitors in Gyeonggi, a resilient business event platform.



Nader Ghavami photo


ant to bring your team together for a memorable Luxembourg loves style as much as it loves nature and beauty, corporate event? Do it in Luxembourg. We’re open, and that’s why the country has hotels that range from cool and welcoming, and proudly international. Best of all, eclectic to luxurious and chic. You’ll find surprises and delight our cosy nation is full of possibilities for fun activiaround every corner because Luxembourg is a country that’s on ties and outings that are perfect for a team-building or incentive the move. Innovative, economically robust, and diverse, we are a event. Best of all, everything is a short distance from the land of new ideas and determination, summed up by our slogan capital, Luxembourg City. Let’s Make It Happen. Bike riding, crazy and fun problem solving, touring in classic cars, taking a course in cockPeople come to Luxembourg to get a taste of the tails, doing real-life science experiments – good life, and that is what you can give your the possibilities are endless. After this, you’ll team by organising your event here. Spas, wellneed to replenish yourselves. Luxembourg ness centres, and peaceful expanses of total is a land of gastronomy, packed with repose are found throughout the country. Also, locally inspired fine dining in unique spots you will love our wine from the Moselle valley: you cannot find anywhere else. whites such as Riesling and Pinot Gris, Pinot Choose the backdrop that excites you Noir, and the crown jewel, the sparkling Crémant the most. Perhaps it’s the Mullerthal region, de Luxembourg. Why not have your event at a nicknamed Little Switzerland, which offers vineyard itself? It’s all possible in Luxembourg. ph o er to M pleasant hikes on forest paths amid sandstone a ri e d e D e c k rock formations. Or what about the Moselle valley, lined Want to bring your team to Luxembourg for an incentive, with sun-touched vineyards? Or would a totally refurbished mediteam-building, or other type of event? Contact Business Events eval castle tickle your fancy? Maybe the capital, with its UNESCOLuxembourg at recognised old city that was once the most fearsome fortress in Europe, is what you will choose.

ICCA 2020

Luxembourg, the right place for your corporate event

Discover your possibilities!


BRING YOUR TEAM TOGETHER IN LUXEMBOURG Get in touch with us and see what we can create together to shape the future!

At the heart of your events. #reevent


In Monaco, we are committed to reinvent business tourism in respect of codes of ethics.

Olivia Marocco photo

Monaco, a destination respectful to medical ethics


uperbly located at the heart of Europe Monaco is considered as one of the safest nations in the world where public health has always been a priority and remains so, now more than ever. As well as being an aspirational hub with a legacy of achievement, we also offer elite levels of service, security, accessibility and unrivalled hotels with harmonised prices and attractive value for money. It is widely recognised by many loyal medical entities that the prices of hotels in Monaco are actually equal to or lower than equivalent accommodation in many major European cities. For the pharma industry – which relies on confidentiality, clean data, reliable technology and elite presentation options – Monaco offers a peerless package following the European regulations and the notice of compliance guidelines ensuring that all medical ethics are always respected. Keeping up with the trends and innovation while remaining reactive is how Monaco as a nation and a business destination aims to outperform itself. We have a proud history of pioneering medical excellence and always ensure that there is a well-founded connection between the theme of the congress and local specialist fields. Meanwhile, our multi-award winning Grimaldi Forum Monaco reinforces Monaco’s strong commitment to sustainability and digital transformation. From 2025 this first ISO Eco-certified convention

centre will benefit from the new eco-friendly Mareterrra district increasing its exhibition area by 50 %. Every project is a real partnership and this is only a few minutes’ walk from the Principality’s largest hotels, offering 35,000 square metres of floor space, 3 auditoriums, 40 meeting rooms and the ability to welcome up to 3,000 guests. Of course, pharma industry events often occur on a grand scale and Monaco’s three largest Business hotels – Fairmont Monte Carlo, Le Meridien Beach Plaza and Monte-Carlo Bay hotel – all carry a 4-star rating and together they offer 1 200 bedrooms, representing 50 % of Monaco’s total hotel capacity. In addition, there is also an array of magnificent three-star hotels, including the Novotel Monte-Carlo and the Columbus Monte-Carlo, which offer great value for money and good location. The #REEVENT campaign is a rallying cry to revive business tourism in the Principality emphasising the values that underpin our destination: security, service, unity of place and action, and commitment to the environment. Please visit To discover how you can host your next pharmaceutical event, meeting or roundtable in Monaco go to


L E G A L LY R E S P ON S IBL E E DI T OR IN C HIE F Atti Soenarso P UBL IS HE R Roger Kellerman GL OB A L S A L E S DIR EC T OR Graham Jones T E X T José María Ávila,

Melissa Baird, Hans Gordon,

Roger Kellerman, Adrian Segar, Robin Sharma, Atti Soenarso, André Vietor, Eunjoo Yoon T R A N S L AT OR Dennis Brice P HO T O S / IM A GE S Sara Appelgren,

Roman Babakin,

Virgile Simon Bertrand, Debra Hurford Brown, Laura C, Magnus Malmberg, David Myers, Mark Strozier, Eunjoo Yoon

No. 28


Berlin Questions + Marion Grasby

Nov/Dec 2021 Rethink Reimagine Regenerate

11 The Metaverse: A Digital Reality

INTRO Atti Soenarso ponders the

emergence of ‘metapresence.’

12 Carina Bauer


enter 2030 much more sustainable and regenerative.

24 Tears in the Fabric: About Popular Culture and Morality


on one's liberties ending only where someone else's liberties begin.

32 The Future Role and Purpose of Convention Bureaux WHITE PAPER Aims to shape a future

vision for national CBs globally, including a visionary roadmap.

38 Korean Cases: Utilising Meeting Technology THE UNTACT MODE The marriage

between Korea’s ICT technology and meeting business appears in various forms.

42 Untact: South Korea’s Plan for a Contact-Free Society UNTACT SERVICES There will be an

investment in technologies that enable untact services, such as robotics, drones and high-speed internet.

S UB S C R IP T ION Subscribe

43 Green Ideas

INTERMISSION Over the past 75 years,

a new environmental canon has emerged.

50 Berlin Questions: Africa as the Laboratory of the Future


or C ON TA C T Meetings

58 Why I Write

SHARMA The titular George Orwell

essay makes Robin Sharma examine his own motivations.

60 Humanity’s Problem Is a Meeting Problem

MEE TING DESIGN Paleolithic emotions,

medieval institutions, and god-like technology.

International Publishing

Betonggatan 1, SE-216 46 Limhamn, Sweden


novelist Lesley Lokko on architecture, ‘race’ and culture.

Long Ong, RIP +

BBC Sounds + ABBA The Voyage +

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Paper Munken Lynx 240g/100g

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66 Hannuwa: A New Paradigm for Event Management


the business events industry on a transformative journey.

70 I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

KELLERMAN Roger Kellerman on facing

a world where old rules no longer apply.

Meetings International Publishing uses environmentally ­c ertified printing, paper and distribution


The Metaverse A DIGITAL REALITY The concept of the metaverse is quickly becoming a buzzword in technology and business. The idea of the metaverse is that it will create new online spaces in which people’s interactions can be more multi-dimensional, where users can immerse themselves in digital content rather than simply viewing it. The term metaverse comes from Snow Crash, a 1992 science fiction novel by Neil Stephenson in which human avatars and software demons inhabit a parallel 3D universe. We have all experienced something of the metaverse during the pandemic. Many of our workplaces shifted from the physical to the digital to cope with lockdowns. Zoom or Teams became where our companies lived. Imagine that expanding out to all areas of life. Now, you have just imagined the metaverse. Next year, Microsoft will introduce its virtual collaboration platform Mesh into Teams to merge the company’s mixed reality and improve meetings. Microsoft entered the metaverse chat through its Teams app just days after Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta. The metaverse is a virtual world that blends aspects of digital

technologies, including videoconferencing, games like Minecraft or Roblox, cryptocurrencies, email, virtual reality, social media and live streaming. The key difference between the internet and the metaverse is the idea of presence. The internet is something we access, and the metaverse is something we can be present within. And that’s the big change. Widespread metaverse usage could impact how companies and organisations operate in future. Platforms like Microsoft’s Mesh for Teams are making 3D metaverses seamlessly accessible for businesses. People can be present together in virtual spaces or rooms, rather than on-screen conferencing in 2D. Meeting participants can move freely between people and groups, collaborate, participate in workshops, have side conversations, and learn together as if in a physical space. As the metaverse grows, if it does, it will create online spaces where user interactions are more multi-dimensional than current technology supports. Instead of just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a

space where the digital and physical worlds converge. There’s a window of opportunity right now, and we need to take advantage of it. Start planning, and you can both carve out your corner of the metaverse and prevent other companies from becoming gatekeepers between you and the next wave of digital. We can expect the competition to be intense, with many interesting partnerships and alliances, epic failures, and spectacular developments that could challenge and change every aspect of human activity. Perhaps the metaverse will be the defining platform for interactivity as we move forward. Time will tell whether we move from hybrid working to a permanent future in the metaverse. But until then, we know that offices companies and organisations must be ready to facilitate the modern workforce’s technological flexibility. The metaverse will redefine what businesses are and how they should operate. Some companies are watching and learning. Those that don’t will be left behind.

Swedish-Indonesian Atti Soenarso has worked as a journalist for close to 40 years. She has worked for Scandinavia's largest daily newspaper, was TV4's first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings. photo

Magnus Malmberg 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 11






Atti Soenarso


David Meyers





Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, believes that the future of events is bright but that they, as organisers, must be determined and committed to designing more sustainable events. That requires purpose and a single vision that teams, suppliers and partners can get behind.


David Myers

These elements will ensure that they remain relevant and valuable to their future customers and that events are designed to reflect the values of those they serve and the times we all live in. The pandemic has shone a light on the need and desire for human beings to meet for business or pleasure in person. One of the things that people missed the most was the ability to have a shared experience, whether that was going to a music festival, having dinner with friends, or attending a much-missed business event. The power of a shared experience cannot be underestimated, and whilst digital experiences partially fill that

gap, deeper connection and fulfilment requires people to be physically together. “We saw this first-hand with our international industry coming together for the first time at IMEX America a few weeks ago. At the same time, however, is a need for all of us, individuals and businesses, to consider our carbon footprint and our impact on the world. “This will mean that unless we are designing experiences that are regenerative and sustainable, questions will be asked, and quite right too. We are all guardians of diminishing natural habitats and resources. By focusing our combined efforts on initiatives such as the 17 UN Sustainable 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 15


“ There is a global need to continue bringing people together face to face to advance research and science”

David Myers


Carina Bauer believes we can all learn a lot from this group. “We also saw a rise in the ‘independent planner’ segment, a direct result of the fallout from the pandemic. Expect to see more entrepreneurism, stronger personal brands (influencers) and different ‘tribes’ making their voices heard, both as attendees and planners.” Carina Bauer considers everyone in our industry to be part of the extended family in terms of partnerships. Strong personal relationships are at the heart of IMEX, and they continue to work very closely with their established and new partners. IMEX works with organisations such as Meetings Professional International (MPI), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the German Convention Bureau and Events Industry Council since the first IMEX in Frankfurt 2003. Those industry ties have remained strong, a fact they are proud of. They have also established relationships with new organisations such as Tourism Diversity Matters (where her father Ray Bloom is on the Board of Directors) and the Meetings Mean Business coalition.


Development Goals, who knows what positive impact we can make,” says Carina Bauer. “So, finally, that brings me to our last trend, which is the need to design events intentionally and strategically, ensuring that the event fits the objective and that ROI, ROO and event legacy are all properly measured and reported upon. “We’ve recently been working with the team at Valuegraphics, whose data proves that we should be designing events based on people’s shared values, not demographic stereotypes such as gender, age and ethnicity, which feed into discrimination and do none of us any favours. With knowledge like this in hand, the future looks incredibly bright and innovative for us all.” There’s no doubt that the event tech world has matured in the past two years and, as a result, will play a bigger role in driving the direction of the industry. In addition, we saw at IMEX America a new group of young, strategic meeting organisers who honed their skills in the digital events world and are now learning what it means to convene at an in-person gathering. This is an interesting new trend, and






“ We should be designing events based on people’s shared values, not demographic stereotypes”


David Myers

“Increasingly, we’re being asked to partner on important pieces of industry research, including with the GDS Movement, MMGY Travel Intelligence and Valuegraphics.” Many people are today discussing ‘the new normal’, as it is often called. How does Carina Bauer interpret ‘the new normal?’ “I would say that our new normal is really about adaptability and flexibility. We have learnt over the past two years to take nothing for granted. We’ve learnt that we need to be able to react and adapt to situations beyond our control, and we’ve learnt that we can make changes quickly and at much shorter notice if we choose to. Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress. “We now understand how important it is to have a strong company culture, one with clear values, a clear vision and genuine engagement from all staff. You can’t buy this. You can only build it over time. And it’s something that’s earned; it cannot be commanded.” When we at Meetings International talk to CEOs/MDs of large venues (hotels with conference and convention facilities or convention centres with exhibition grounds), almost all of them tell us the companies and

associations will do the same as ever before. Like, for example, big dinners, or invited speakers. And that they will be coming back, even more vital, to celebrate when it is possible to meet again. But almost nobody claims there’s going to be fewer big meetings, fewer exhibitions, etcetera. There are just a few CEOs/MDs talking about hybrid meetings and hybrid dinners. Will exhibitions/ organisers like IMEX still have their place in the marketing mix? How will it develop in the next five to ten years? “Hybrid will have its place in the event ecosystem, but hybrid can mean many different things, and there is no ‘one size fits all’. Each event owner must review the needs of their clients and customers and assess whether a hybrid approach will deliver enhanced value or not. “The hybrid experience allows for an event to extend its reach, but the experience of the digital attendee is never the same as that of the inperson. So, careful consideration has to be given to the design and appeal of hybrid. There are also important skills, talent and resources impacts when running hybrid events, and these should not be overlooked. 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 19


“Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress … All risks pose opportunities for growth and development”

in data analysis, event registration, education and professional development and more. “At the same time, we are a sector that must be at the forefront of the regenerative revolution and showcase how we can bring people together in person in a more sustainable way. “It’s imperative that we do this since there is a global need to continue bringing people together face to face to advance research and science, negotiate issues that will determine the future of the planet and advance the business success of all types. “It is both our opportunity and our challenge to find a way to achieve these goals in a way that no longer harms the planet.” Asked if this will change the business models for global exhibitions, Carina Bauer answers: “At the heart of any exhibition is a marketplace, bringing suppliers and buyers together to do business. This won’t change. We expect to see small shifts and continuous improvements, but face-to-face marketplaces have existed for thousands of years, and for a good reason – they work.” When asked how she looks at turning future risks into advantages, she says: “All risks pose opportunities for growth and development. The way IMEX Group


“The main areas that we’re looking to transform include a focus on data analysis, customisation and more personalised and digital services, industry research and trends, as well as continuing to prove the value of face-to-face business interactions, especially the legacy value that business events can bring. Advocating for the economic power and importance of our industry has never been more important too.” Asked about her visions, missions, and passions for the industry and for developing IMEX and our sector at the same time, Carina Bauer says they have always been passionate about their mission. Their sole aim is to unite and advance the meetings industry, doing everything to educate, innovate and connect the community. The purpose is to help their clients and partners make more profitable connections and create even better events, meetings and experiences both now and in the future. Their goals are quality, inspiration and collaboration. These values were their guiding light throughout 2020 and early 2021 and led them to create the virtual platforms PlanetIMEX and the IMEX BuzzHub. They also focused on them internally, which led to sweeping transformations within the business


“In terms of tradeshows like ours, I believe that we are more critical than ever in the marketing mix, and this belief is borne out by what I experienced at IMEX America in Las Vegas in November. “We heard several stories of suppliers making a point of coming to the show to confirm new, large contracts with exhibitors because they wanted to share the news in person. “The ability of our global industry to come together in one place is so important for driving business, for advancing knowledge and inspiring each other. “And, when a global community can meet in one place, at one time, it is both more sustainable and more efficient use of time than many thousands of smaller meetings and business trips taken continually throughout the year. Beyond that, the sheer joy of people being together again was heartening to watch.” Looking into the nearer future, how will IMEX Group enter the 2030s, and what are the key roles that define IMEX in the future? “We’ll enter 2030 much more sustainable and regenerative. We’ve signed up to the industry’s net-zero pledge that follows the COP 26 guidelines of reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, for instance.






“Advocating for the economic power and importance of our industry has never been more important”


IMEX Group

to turn a risk into an advantage is to look at it directly, not be fearful of it, but to confront it with honesty and respect. Only then will you be able to work through the opportunities it presents.” The former Politicians Forum becoming Policy Forum will bring some national innovators and industry thought-leaders together to discuss and influence future business events related to policymaking and strategic management. The next Policy Forum is scheduled to take place in Frankfurt next April. “Last year, we held a Virtual Advocacy Discussion, bringing together 50 leaders from convention bureaux at city and country level, convention centres and industry associations. “The subject could not have been more topical: how best to communicate the value of business events to destinations and their citizens, and what are the most important steps for the business events industry to take post-pandemic? “Breakout discussions centred on the response of policymakers to the challenges faced by the business events sector. A panel discussion shared insights into how the pandemic has shifted perceptions

of business events among citizens and policymakers. Points covered included how citizens’ concerns about lack of visitors to their cities have resonated with policymakers and how the rapid switch to digital events has shown the adaptability of the sector.” Other panel discussions covered the need for industry reinvention to avoid being perceived as a segment of the visitor economy, building partnerships at a local and regional level, and the importance of complex data and performance comparisons with other destinations to drive government response. “Above all, the last few years have shown us all that political advocacy is both a skill and an investment. It’s not nice to have but a discipline and a practice that needs to be year-round and properly resourced.” IMEX is doing some excellent cooperations in projects like She Means Business and the GDX Index. Carina Bauer highlights some other projects and explains their importance: “Earlier this year, we launched a series of in-depth research reports into various elements of sustainability including the Regenerative Revolution, supported by Marriott

International, which details the principles and power of the circular economy. “It argues that sustainability is no longer enough given the rate at which humans are depleting the earth’s resources and driving thousands of species to extinction.” IMEX is currently also working with MMGY Hills Balfour and MMGY Travel Intelligence Europe to design and field a 2021/22 survey titled A Portrait of European Meetings and Convention Travel: Perspectives from travellers and planning professionals. This survey is designed to investigate beyond existing parametres, examining meeting planner sentiment and attendees’ preferences. “Looking ahead, we’ll also be working with Event MB, our Official Tech Media Partner, exploring the metaverse, 3D and VR technologies. “These are exciting times for our industry. It feels as though we’re finally coming out of a long dark tunnel. There’s light ahead. Let’s move towards it as a collective and cherish the power of collaboration rather than competition.”





Hans Gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Authorised Psychologist, specialised in Aviation Psychology. Authorised psychotherapist, since 1987 running Gordon Consulting. Has for decades been engaged by airline companies, among them SAS and Thai Airways International. photo

Sara Appelgren

Tears in the Fabric

ABOUT POPULAR CULTURE AND MORALITY Goodness is beautiful, so is love, but you do not build societies around emotions that belong in the private sphere and in interpersonal relationships. Our laws strive for justice, not love. Our national insurance system is not an expression of goodness, but of responsibility. We stand together in solidarity and cooperate with each other. Not because we love each other or because we are good, but because we realise that supporting each other and helping those who are vulnerable benefits everyone. In a good society, every citizen understands that their liberties end where another person’s liberties begin”

image Strozier

From Den banala godheten (“The Banality of Goodness”) by Ann Heberlein I’m out driving. There’s always congestion at this time of day. I read the traffic like a book. A complex book. I read the speeds and speed changes. My own and that of other drivers. Both hands are on the wheel. Right foot alternating between accelerator and brake pedal.

I’m coming to the roundabout with three entrances and four exits. I’ll need to be alert. The motorists on the roundabout have the right of way. I try to read their speeds and intentions. Will they keep driving on the roundabout, or are they about to turn off? They should use their blinkers 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 25


“The general culture of a nation or a community is reflected in the way people behave in traffic”

to make it easier for the stream of motorists behind them. But not many do. Most keep on going without indicating. I must wait for a big enough gap to open. Then full throttle. Blinker flashing. The highest permitted speed on a motorway is 100 kph. I’m in the middle lane averaging 98 kph, and I am being overtaken on both sides. Overtaking on the right is not allowed on motorways, but not everyone abides by that rule. Some motorists are driving at speeds of 130–140 kph. Some are slalom-riding between the lanes without using their blinkers. Yet, I’m not a bit surprised by what I see around me. I took my driver’s licence sixty-five years ago, so I’m no novice. I let it pass with a mutter about the lack of traffic police these days. Traffic is an integral part of our everyday culture and doesn’t differ from any other cultural expression. The general culture of a nation or a community is reflected in the way people behave in traffic. Do they interact with each other? Do they focus as much on their fellow motorists as they do on themselves? Are they aware enough to politely leave a 26 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

gap for those who want to enter the lane? Are they for or against government regulations? When you’ve lived as long as I have, cultural experiences are filtered through a myriad of memories. The changes are discernible. There is nothing strange about that. A society is a dynamic economic, social, and technological build that only stops progressing when those in power (usually men) slow down and reverse into an authoritarian, dictatorial and strictly conservative lane. An approach that impoverishes the culture makes it static and allows it to wither away. But that is also a form of cultural expression. Studying car traffic is, of course, just one of many observational methods for describing a culture. In his classic novel The Plague, FrenchAlgerian author Albert Camus (1913–1960) studied the cityscape in the Algerian city of Oran and wrote the following: Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, “doing

business.” Naturally, they don’t eschew such simpler pleasures as lovemaking, sea bathing, going to the pictures. But, very sensibly, they reserve these pastimes for Saturday afternoons and Sundays and employ the rest of the week in making money, as much as possible. In the evening, on leaving the office, they forgather, at an hour that never varies, in the cafes, stroll the same boulevard, or take the air on their balconies. The passions of the young are violent and short-lived; the vices of older men seldom range beyond an addiction to bowling, to banquets and “socials,” or clubs where large sums change hands on the fall of a card. With a keen-edged psychological scalpel, Camus reveals how people act during a crisis, which initiates selfishness, greed, fear, and indifference and hopeful optimism. How does this compare with our society of today? Many, of course, work for the money. But is a bathtub full of banknotes (or digital currencies) the only vision that exists? Or do we do what we do to progress


“Do we do what we do to progress society to the benefit of everybody, not just ourselves?”

society to the benefit of everybody, not just ourselves? Is my, and possibly my close family’s, wellbeing the only inner guide for what I want to achieve, or do I have more idealistic ambitions than that for my continued life? Hypothesis: In conversation with others on these issues, I would get an overwhelming consensus in support of society to the benefit of everybody, with solidarity as the main driving force. But what else would they say? The desire to appear reasonably kindhearted would cover any underlying egoistic tendency in a thick blanket. Open egoism does not come across as particularly attractive during a conversation. Anyone studying the most common human behavioural patterns is therefore recommended to supplement close conversations with analytical observations from a distance. This is when the culture shines through. And with it the inherent morality of the masses – or lack of. Regardless of the type of society and where on the planet it is located, it will have complex built-in structures, often consisting of the endless contradictions that arise when

dreams collide with legislation, hopes meet demands, and rights claim obligations. Society is full of bubbling antagonism that puts it under constant pressure. In certain situations, it becomes easily combustible, and frustrations and discontent rise to the surface along with demands for political change. Even in calmer times, there is a constant debate on the country’s direction, a discussion that never ceases even when the debaters are forced underground. It makes no difference if the leaders are women or men. Matriarchs are put under the same pressure as patriarchs, and the methods used to crush an uprising are the same. The police and armed forces provide the muscle, while churches and other congregations use more advanced methods. Preachers have constantly hammered home their message under the threat of hellfire and brimstone. This method has successfully gotten entire communities to stand hat in hand, bowing and nodding instead of rebelling. History has shown that the latter is never risk-free in certain societies.

Morality and ethics could be described as a set of rules designed to dampen the waves, soften the sharp edges, and entice citizens to get along under the same umbrella. Opinion-forming, yes, but not with a physical struggle and preferably without the use of too many harsh words. Withdrawal, yes, but not to the extent that it could lead to medical disorders. Morality flourishes when it is carefully fertilised through the labyrinthine walkways of childhood, with parents and other guardians acting as good role models, then fortified through the school years and the ethical guidelines of the workplace. This process is known as laying a common set of values that many people hope will become a pillar of contemporary culture. In some cases, it becomes just that. For a time. Eventually, internal and external forces will question morality in ways that enforce changes to it. These forces can invariably be linked to the desire for freedom. Most often, it is about the individual’s longing for freedom. This eternal flame breeds notions of the right to decide over one’s own body, one’s intentions, one’s 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 27


“Open egoism does not come across as particularly attractive during a conversation”

dreams about one’s future, and one’s unquestionable right to be oneself. The latter, the right to be oneself, rests on the very unstable ground simply because most of us know very little about who or what we are. The awareness of oneself can, in exceptional cases, be great (after undergoing several years of psychoanalysis, perhaps), but the unconsciousness is usually greater. It is more common to navigate according to our dreams of what we would like to be or want to become, rather than who we are. The individual’s longing for freedom seldom goes hand in hand with society’s overall goals, other than possibly in political debate. Political parties that emphasise the importance of individual liberty are always walking a tightrope. Ordinances, laws and regulations must govern society. But, man as an individual will always struggle to adapt to moral superstructures, especially when draped in legalese. He will continuously pursue personal development while agreeing that a country must be governed by law. At best, personal development can be achieved through the exacting 28 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

standards of critical thinking combined with a constructive creation of the new, the different, the constant pushing of the boundaries. Some also find attractive channels that lead to politics or non-profit organisations. If the need for personal development is prevented or suppressed, it will eventually lead to destructive outbursts, regressive behavioural patterns (linking back to childhood), and a distinctly egocentric attitude. The destructive outbursts would be aimed at the common ground, the moral superstructure, and the values meant to stabilise. Here, not least via social media, gaps can open up for personal attacks and provide opportunities to attack established knowledge and scientific findings and promote conspiracy theories. The desire to release the unbridled impulsivity that could lead to all kinds of abuse, even crime and other deviations from the accepted norm, is also part of the destructive urge. This is when tears appear in the finely woven fabric of society designed for the good of all. Don’t forget to indicate when driving on the roundabout and when

switching lanes. I could be bringing up the rear or waiting to take my place on the carousel.

Missed conversations, reconnecting with old friends and yearning to make trusted new connections. The journey back starts today. Registration is open for IMEX America 2021, taking place at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas from November, 9-11 Join us on the road to Mandalay-YAY! It’s going to be a memorable trip! Visit to register now. Some things are worth waiting for Stay in touch on social #WeWillMeetAgain






Hybrid+ A NEW APPROACH TO MEETING EXPERIENCES Hybrid+ is a new tool from Gothenburg & Co for creating new and improved digital meeting experiences. Hybrid meetings play an integral part in the future development of business events. Zoom and Teams are perhaps the two largest digital forums, but pandemic-induced digital fatigue has set in for many participants. However, the digital format still offers many positives, such as helping to improve efficiency in various ways, for example. Among other things, we can enable meeting organisers to reach out to a broader spectrum of participants while also meeting additional needs. The thing that makes Gothenburg one of the world’s most successful cities for sustainable meetings and events, and the consecutive winner of the GDS Index the last five times, is a spirit of constant renewal and great potential development for business events. “In the future, most physical meetings and events will be combined with the digital. It’s now up to us within meetings and events to shape the new normal,” says Henrik Svensson, Project Manager for Hybrid Experiences at Gothenburg & Co, which also

includes Gothenburg Convention Bureau. The Hybrid+ project aims to build a strong position in hybrid experiences and, in addition to that, secure Gothenburg as a sustainable meeting region in an innovative way. “By inviting and listening to the needs of hotels and venues, annual events, meeting organisers and technical suppliers, we see a great opportunity to educate and inspire the actors in the city,” says Henrik Svensson. Hybrid experiences for meetings and events focus on laying the foundations for new and improved hybrid experiences. The project offers a free consultation for meetings and events that have to choose platforms for their events. The basic premise for delivering new values for many digital and hybrid events is that the rights holder allows sponsors to create engaging content. This can then be advantageously combined with brand exposure. With the help of a technical supplier, you can then build in values for the sponsors. The Hybrid+ method creates an easy way to produce content with a sponsor if allowed by the programme

committee or programme manager and a balanced programme that invites the sponsor to host selected expert-led sessions. As a supplier, companies often have interesting insights to share from research projects and case studies. Digital and hybrid meetings and events often create interactivity and opportunities for sponsors to engage participants. Different platforms will help involve partners who can contribute content, increase the outreach and enhance the experience. The primary target group for Hybrid+ is the meeting and event industry and their rights holders, including Professional Congress Organisers, corporate planners, industry organisations, and event agencies, facilities, technology suppliers and more. “We are a support on the way to creating a professional and cost-effective hybrid format. Many organisers need help to find their customised meeting format and create a special experience,” says Henrik Svensson.





The Future Role and Purpose OF CONVENTION BUREAUX “Our aim is to help shape a future vision for national convention bureaux globally, including a visionary roadmap of the most relevant tasks ahead,” says Matthias Schultze, GCB German Convention Bureau and Co-Chair of the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe. Matthias Schultze has written the recently released white paper with Eric Bakermans, Director Marketing Meetings & Conventions at NBTC Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, and Co-Chair of the strategic alliance. The coauthor of the white paper is Felix Rundel, Futurehain. “We want to actively shape the future by defining near and shortterm opportunities and challenges. For example, the importance of creating awareness for the need to reach industry-wide carbon neutrality and embracing and developing new technologies, novel forms of meeting design and programming innovation,” says Matthias Schultze. “Also, the white paper should act as a conversation starter, and we would like to extend a warm invitation to our peers and partners globally to join in the dialogue on how we can come together to actively shape

our future as a community and an industry.” Below you find an excerpt from the white paper The Future Role and Purpose of Convention Bureaux. A collective vision and roadmap for redefining the role of national convention bureaux in the coming decade by the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe, NCVB.

convention bureaux as well as destination marketing organisations which are closest to their respective markets, NCVB are increasingly focused on adding value by connecting their countries’ meetings industries with global markets, by highlighting long-term trends as well as providing relevant market insights and data.

Redefining roles and purposes

more than ever before, NCVB, their functions, tasks and self-image, are in transition. During the past months of the crisis, it has become clear that national business events markets are in need of impartial organisations that can reliably distribute up-to-date information, provide data, mediate between industry and government, and help form new initiatives and alliances. But the new, future roles of NCVB will not be limited to crisis management. Looking into the future, there are three main aspects that define how NCVB can find their ideal form for creating value: A truly global outlook, big-picture perspectives on emerging trends in the business events landscape at large, and the ultimate goal of providing leadership and guidance for the

What are the key roles that define national convention bureaux in the future? From past to present Since their

inception and over the past decades, NCVB mainly acted as destination scouts, points of contact for liaising with regional suppliers and as the main promoters of their countries’ business events markets. However, with the increasing power of the new platform economy providing digital tools and data for event planners, this role has already started to evolve before the onset of the pandemic. And while promotion, liaison support and other services are now provided by regional and local

From present to future At present,



successful and sustainable development of their respective home markets and all stakeholders. By combining all three aspects, NCVB will put themselves in a key position to shape the transition of the business events platform to the next generation. Based on these important factors and goals, the NCVB of the future can be described in four elementary roles, for example, strategist, facilitator, expert and communicator. The role of strategist Future national

convention bureaux will serve as agenda setters providing leadership, strategy, foresight and critical impulses for the development of the events industry. In the upcoming years of disruption, uncertainty and volatility, NCVB will act as purpose-driven think tanks and innovation hubs for the evolving business events sector. By evaluating and analysing the latest trends and influences on a global scale, and by translating insights into business intelligence, they will be able to catalyse innovation in the business events communities. This role will be particularly relevant in four key areas: 1. driving the event industry’s necessary shift to sustainability and carbon neutrality; 2. incentivising the industry’s commitment to impact-orientation and legacy; 3. providing guidance in the impending technology and data disruption of the coming years; 4. pushing for improved social equity and inclusion in the industry and beyond. By applying a strong focus on industry relevant data analysis and global trend research, as well as the 34 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

principles of open access and data sharing, NCVB will feed and host open innovation platforms and experimental spaces for research and development in the events landscape. Overall, NCVB will take the lead in the development of a clear vision and strategic roadmaps for their industries and stakeholders in the business events sector. These efforts will also include necessary steps towards more agility, resilience and being prepared for future crisis situations. “Collaborating on long-term strategies, and sharing insights and data between international partners will be key to our collective success in the future” Sigurjóna Sverrisdóttir, Meet in Reykjavík

The role of facilitator Future national

convention bureaux will take on a central role in the meetings industry as bridge-builders, integrating and connecting a wide range of communities and sectors. Undergoing accelerating change in an increasingly VUCA (short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment, the events industry will not only be in need of guidance and leadership, but also of stronger, consolidated networks and unprecedented levels of cooperation. It will be the role of NCVB to hold together and connect the various sectors and stakeholders in and outside the meetings industry. As central and proactive network players, NCVB can act as coalitionbuilders and facilitators of a broad exchange among all stakeholders – ranging from business and industry to science, NGOs, media, culture and citizens. In consultation with lobby associations and governments, they will act as go-to sources for relevant data and analysis on demand

development, changing customer behaviour and market trends. In the role of facilitators, NCVB will continuously bridge the spheres of local, regional, national, European and global networks. By fostering dialogue, creating new network connections and pushing intersectoral and interdisciplinary exchange, they will be instrumental in the cocreation of new, multi-stakeholder solutions that benefit the entire business events landscape. “Our ambition as connectors and facilitators cannot be limited to organisations inside the meetings industry. Academia, NGOs, politicians and citizens in particular will play an ever more important role in the future development of our sector” Kit Lykketoft, Meet Denmark

The role of expert Future national

convention bureaux will expand their roles as competent, accessible resources and consultants to all stakeholders, contributing to economic development and adding value to event success at scale. Building on their traditional function as experts for event ecosystems, NCVB will expand their role as a specialist resource providing know-how and advice in a wide field of domains ranging from meeting design innovation to insights into changing customer behaviour. While their main goal is to be an accessible, agile partner and consultant to all stakeholders, in their work, NCVB will be impartial and transparent, clientfocused and driven by highest standards of purpose and impact. Through increased cooperation and communication with global peers and allies, NCVB will also strengthen their role as experts for international


“We would like to extend a warm invitation to our peers and partners globally to join in the dialogue”

and intercultural exchange and therefore act as a go-to resource and consultant for national stakeholders looking to expand collaboration and business abroad in order to promote their services and products in their respective home markets. NCVB will ultimately be able to tackle their key goal of being able to demonstrate and promote state-ofthe-art business events as a powerful solutions tool – towards business, government and the public. In order to succeed in this and contribute unique value-added to event success and delegate satisfaction, they will continuously develop and refine their broad knowledge and expertise in the business events space. “We must not duplicate the work our partners in hospitality, in local convention bureaux and destination offices are doing, but rather set a clear focus on strengthening our unique expertise and apply it to create added value for them” Neil Brownlee, Visit Scotland

The role of communicator Future

national convention bureaux will serve as media and communications platforms, distributing information and inspiring the community. In order to inform about new strategies, spark innovation and

broadcast the latest news relevant for their industry, future NCVB will adopt the functions of highly specialised media houses. As independent platforms that disseminate valuable information and create proprietary content to motivate and inspire their communities, they will grow to become trusted sources and providers of data, statistics, business and market intelligence. As communicators, NCVB will provide relevant and up-to-date information that supports life-long learning and the skill development of event professionals throughout their entire careers. As platforms that help educate and train the next generation of outstanding industry experts and leaders, these education hubs will become vital institutions for the future development of the business events sector. As advocates addressing a wide range of target groups inside and outside the professional events industry, NCVB will be able to set a special focus on fulfilling two essential communication goals: 1. succeeding in explaining their own value, competencies and USPs in order to secure public support and legitimacy for the future; and 2. succeeding in not only explaining, but demonstrating (for example, using data & statistics

on event legacy) the value and importance of business events to governments and other public and private stakeholders outside the meetings industry. “Educating and supporting the next generation of business events professionals, our young colleagues that will shape and lead our industry in the future, will be one of the essential tasks for us to prepare for” Tobia Salvadori, Convention Bureau Italia The Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe is a network of national destination marketing organisations. As a collaborative industry platform, it concentrates on strengthening Europe’s position as a leading destination for international business events. The purpose of the Alliance is to create a beneficial working relationship amongst the NCVB of Europe in order to sustain and further develop the position of Europe. The idea of creating synergies and establishing a joint platform for Europe as a destination for business events on the international stage continues to gain traction. Officially launched at IMEX 2014 in Las Vegas with nine founding countries, the Alliance is now a 28-member strong network that has steadily grown over the past couple of years. Since 2014, the Alliance has met twice a year in rotating host destinations.





New Arena in Copenhagen FOR 7,000 SEATED GUESTS


Bella Arena

Bella Arena is the name of Copenhagen’s new arena, which is built as an extension of the Bella Center Copenhagen, Scandinavia’s largest congress, conference and exhibition centre. With room for 7,000 seated guests in the new venue, Copenhagen can host even larger international events in the future. A strong focus on sustainability throughout the construction process and an innovative partnership with Carlsberg gives Bella Arena a gold certification in sustainable construction. Bellakvarter in Orestad is already a magnet for international events with Bella Center Copenhagen and AC Hotel Bella Sky, which is only ten minutes away from Copenhagen International Airport and directly connected to the rest of the city through Bella Center Metro Station. The area is being expanded with an arena with 14,000 flexible square metres so that centre can accommodate 30,000 simultaneous guests in the future. The venue, thus, provides completely new opportunities for Bella Center and Copenhagen to host global business and political conferences as well as cultural and sporting events. To attract the largest international congresses, Copenhagen has historically lacked two things: hotel capacity and a large column-free arena, where the main speaker could speak to 7,000 participants at the same time. “The hotels have been added over the last few years, and now we are adding the arena, which, together

with the rest of Bella Center, raises the bar for which events we can draw to the capital,” says Christian Folden Lund, CEO of BC Hospitality Group. The new Bella Arena is connected to the existing Bella Center via a large glass atrium. The arena, the hotel, and the centre are now under one roof and can accommodate events with 30,000 participants. Bella Arena also gets its own identities and entrances to be used for cultural events and sporting events at the same time as there are other business events in the centre. “We have focused on creating a flexible solution that expands what the entire Bella complex with congress centre, hotel and arena can be used for, so that we are 100 per cent ready, now when the world reopens,” says Christian Folden Lund. “Bella Arena, which together with Bella Center makes Bellakvarter a new international hub for business events,” says Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organisation of the capital region of Denmark. “We must restart the experience economy in full force, and there will be a demand for large events. This requires that we have the right facilities here in the city. The opening of Bella Arena and the potential we now have in Bellakvarter are crucial for the experience economy in the Copenhagen of the future.” Sustainability and accountability are considered in all parts of the

centre and associated hotels. Naturally, Bella Arena was created with the same focus on sustainability. Sustainable materials, energy efficiency and circularity have been key focus points. This has led to Bella Arena achieving the international gold certification within sustainability from DGNB, the abbreviation (in German) for the German Sustainable Building Council. In close partnership with BC Hospitality Group’s new beverage supplier, Carlsberg, upcycled beer kegs have been used in the process. The upcycled barrels are used together with recycled wood from the original Bella Center at Bellahøj. “The DGNB certification is proof that it is possible to think sustainability in large buildings. Also, the opening marks the start of a strategic partnership with Carlsberg, which has strengthened our focus on sustainability,” says Christian Folden Lund. “Carlsberg is not only a supplier of beverages but an overall sustainability partner with a focus on circularity. For the next many years, we will work together to make guests’ experiences more sustainable.”







Virgile Simon Bertrand

Professor Eunjoo Yoon The term untact describes South Korea’s plan for a contact-free society. Since the outbreak of pandemic situations, many industries have shifted their business in the untact mode. Now, on top of providing the temporary untact services, they are preparing to turn their services into completely digitalised ones. The meeting industry, which had provided face-to-face services as the essence of its core services, suffered a very severe decline even in the early part of the last year. In the early part of the year 2020, when the warning sound toward Covid-19 began to ring, the meeting industry of Korea stopped altogether, along with the total lock-down of all convention centres in the country. In particular, amid the lock-down of all convention centres, one trade show was in the course of its opening last May. Then governmental officers came to the facility to close the exhibition by force. Out of 7,022 trade shows and conventions scheduled to be held in 2020, 5,580 cases were cancelled, occupying about 80 per cent. As already being introduced widely by many international media, Korea’s quarantine system, unlike other countries, had calmed down the

increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, making the spread of the virus relatively less noticeable in Korea than in other countries. In May 2020, convention centres could reopen themselves, though there was one more short lock-down. From the second part of last year, all events have been held as scheduled, and from then on, great new changes began to appear in Korea’s meeting industry. Korea’s meeting industry, unlike that of other countries, has unique structural features. In Korea, about 1,100 PCOs (Professional Congress Organisers) are registered nationwide and rendering their services (as of January 2020). Though they are not thought to work as meeting planners, at least 200 or more PCOs are expected to get their revenues from their meeting planning activities. About 100 PCOs out of them are judged to generate their revenues mainly from meeting businesses. Though Korea once recorded the first global ranking in terms of the number of hosting international meetings according to the UIA standard, the number of registered PCOs is peculiar compared to other countries’ circumstances.

Rarely, meeting hosts (such as associations, academic societies, corporates) hire meeting planners directly in Korea. In the case of enterprises, employees from the marketing department can handle part of the work similar to meeting planning. Only large-scale academic associations, big enough to have separate spaces for the secretariate offices, can have their staff directly serve as meeting planners. As for the business associations, there are few hiring meeting planners of their own. When governments, both central and regional, government agencies (for example, policy research institutes, industry promotion agencies), associations, and academic societies are to host any event, they get meeting planning and running services by making a hiring contract with one or more PCOs through public bidding. Such a format between a host and a contracted PCO does not allow PCOs a stable income source. It works as a demerit in that the growth of their business under such a mechanism is constrained. From the standpoint of PCOs, however, the fact that they must get orders from event holders through bidding had made PCOs always be equipped with the attitude of studying various industries. 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 39


I, who have worked in the meeting industry in Korea for more than 20 years, have steadily and eagerly raised such a structural problem Korean PCOs have when running their business, as I mentioned above. Ironically enough, however, it seems that such a complex business structure has been a great help for PCOs to survive under such a pandemic.

Nevertheless, while experiencing Virtual Bio Korea’s event, many PCOs have tried to find out the most suitable platform that can best meet their needs for each event. They are to handle successfully by analysing the merits and demerits of various systems. In the case of Korea, since the introduction of such a virtual event platform last May, most meetings

“ Only large-scale academic associations, big enough to have separate spaces for the secretariate offices, can have their staff directly serve as meeting planners”

For about three months from February to May 2020, Korean PCOs, exerting all their efforts to predict the future society to be shifted as an untact one, had a lot of thoughts about how to run any event smoothly under such an untact situation. At last, such fierce contemplations have enabled new platforms to be born. Last May, the first untact trade show called Bio Korea was held. It was an exhibition related to pharmaceuticals, where two versions of event platforms were introduced: One was the metaverse format, a program utilising game engines was presented in splendid images. The other was the production of the exhibition space by applying the 3D design (which is widely used in general). Even back then, the concept of metaverse was very new and unfamiliar to Korea’s meeting industry. On top of that, it was cumbersome to download the program and then log in for its access. Naturally, more events were operated by 3D design. 40 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

have been held online or in the form of a hybrid. From 2021 and on, there have been a few conferences cancelled, but all events have been operated on the correct dates as scheduled. The marriage between Korea’s ICT technology and meeting business appears in various forms, and some of them are introduced as follows. Events where technology is applied through grafting generate wow effects in the operational perspective and suggest a new attempt to substantiate and grow. Though it’s been quite a while since we discussed the importance of big data, there have been few cases where such big data are utilised in the domains of meetings and exhibitions. Under such circumstances, the event called Broadcast Worldwide (BCWW) had been held online and in the hybrid form. By running real-time broadcastings and dealing with film contents transactions online, this event has

offered real-time data that both exhibitors and buyers could put to good use greatly. For example, the real-time information is available through various filtering by such categories as the contents having the most reservation for the transaction, the exhibition booths where the most meetings are appointed, the contents that Chinese buyers like the most, and so on. Therefore, the responses of both exhibitors and buyers were very much positive. In addition, the various data on both exhibitors and buyers are accumulated, which will be of great help to set up the direction any event should take for its development. In 2021, much more technologyintensive events were held. Some of them are introduced at the time of their opening as follows. On May 30, the P4G Summit was held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul. Though the participation of summit-level leaders from 50 countries in person was expected, the event was held in hybrid. One of the most impressive parts of this event was the Opening Address by the President of Korea, where AR technology was grafted. In the space of DDP, only the podium was set up, which was surrounded by amazing scenes of waterfalls, deer, and birds flying in the sky. Those background scenes were made of Augmented Reality (AR) and broadcast live. The scene that attracted viewers’ attention most made viewers feel as if the President was delivering his speech in the middle of the forest. The multi-lateral talk through the monitor screen was more essentially critical than AR solution, among the technologies applied for P4G. The tremendous success of this video conference by summit leaders lies right in the never-cut off internet


“From 2021 and on, there have been a few conferences cancelled, but all events have been operated on the correct dates as scheduled”

network connection and blunder-free operation. In particular, since the Internet network connection might be unstable in some countries like those from Africa and Southwest Asia, a specific measure was taken: Korean Telecom sent Internet networks to individual countries mentioned above so that they could use Korean telecommunication networks. In addition, through Cisco, a separate video-conference system was developed and utilised so that the host country could control the operation and security directly. The 2021 Korean Agriculture Show was held in the form of an online exhibition. What makes this exhibition particular is that the ‘Roblox game’ was utilised as its special event. The field called ‘agriculture’ could not attract sufficient interest of the general public, and hence, agriculture-related activities like ‘Wheat Cutting’ and ‘Horse Feeding’

were operated through games. The outstanding achievement made during the exhibition period is that more than 1.2 million visitors enjoyed experiencing actual rural life through Roblox. The last case, World Knowledge Forum, was held in October. It is a 22-year-old event representing Korea. This year, the forum was operated by combining metaverse with offline events. Most events are usually held in the form of either metaverse or hybrid. But this forum was the first attempt of its kind in that both metaverse and offline events were concurrently run. It was refreshing that offline participants in their forties could meet youngsters of the MZ generation who participated in the metaverse. This event recorded a pretty high level of participants’ satisfaction. Many events will employ more various technologies, and new attempts will be continuously made.

However, we should steadily ponder and seriously study the essential nature of meetings and analyse what participants want. By doing so, we try to make every single event a great satisfaction to all.

Eunjoo Yoon has been working in the meeting industry in South Korea for more than 20 years. Today, she is Professor of Hallym University of Graduate Studies. She is also publisher of Global MICE Insight, and Vice President of Korean Society of Association Executives. photo

Eunjoo Yoon 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 41

South Korea’s government wants people to use contactless services in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19 and to aid economic recovery. Contact-free customer experiences are becoming commonplace, and there’s even a word for it in South Korea: untact. Untact services range from online shopping and ordering food remotely to telehealth. In a café in Daejeon, a robot barista serves drinks to reduce person-toperson contact between staff and customers. It’s one example of an innovative solution to the difficulties of social distancing. But even before Covid-19, 42 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

many kinds of contactless customer experiences became a feature of life in South Korea. The march of untact services From

online shopping and ordering food remotely to chatbots and appointments with virtual doctors, digital technologies have enabled the rise of services that minimise direct human interactions. Untact is a term initially used by marketers, and untact services are now being deployed in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19 and to aid the country’s economic recovery. The Digital New Deal, part of President Moon Jae-in’s $62 billion five-year Korean New Deal stimulus package, outlines plans to prepare

for “surging demand for remote services.” Projects to boost untact industries include: Building 18 smart hospitals for remote healthcare. Providing digital care services for seniors and other vulnerable groups. Helping small and medium-sized businesses set up virtual conferencing and online sales support for small companies. There will also be an investment in technologies that enable untact services, such as robotics, drones and high-speed internet.





Green Ideas Over the past 75 years, a new canon has emerged. As humans have driven the planet to the brink of collapse visionary thinkers around the world have raised their voices to defend it. Their works have endured, becoming the classics that define the environmental movement today. In twenty short books, Penguin brings you the classics of the environmental movement.

I mage

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference Greta Thunberg Hot Money Naomi Klein All Art is Ecological Timothy Morton This Can’t be Happening George Monbiot An Idea Can Go Extinct Bill McKibben Uncanny and Improbable Events Amitav Gosh A Warning from the Golden Toad Tim Flannery The Clan of One Breasted Woman Terry Tempest Williams Food Rules Michael Pollan The Democracy of Species Robin Wall Kimmerer The Most Dammed Country in the World Dai Qing The World We Once Lived In Wangari Maathai The Last Tree on Easter Island Jared Diamond What I Stand for Is What I Stand On Wendell Berry Every Species is a Masterpiece Edward O. Wilson We Belong to Gaia James Lovelock The Dragonfly Will Be the Messiah Masanobu Fukuoka There is No Point of No Return Arne Naess Man’s War Against Nature Rachel Carson Think Like a Mountain Aldo Leopold





photo studios

Gothenburg Wins International AWARD FOR SUSTAINABILITY WORK At the ICCA Congress in Paris, Gothenburg was awarded the first prize from the Global Destination Sustainability Movement for the fifth year in a row. It would probably have been for the sixth year in a row, but there was no award ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic. “Gothenburg is not a global metropolis. It is not even a capital city. Even so, we are a Swedish destination that makes an impact on big issues,” says Annika Hallman, Director of Gothenburg Convention Bureau. “We know that investing in sustainability is wise and aim to be a strong force for positive change. However, we want nothing more than to be challenged. We want other destinations to succeed, and we share our best practices and knowledge freely.” The city has a holistic perspective for the urban environment with a policy and programmes concerning its design. The subject of accessibility is central, and there is broad cooperation between administrations and companies. Another vital ingredient for success is meeting legacy incorporated in the Gothenburg Strategic Plan for

Meetings. Gothenburg’s approach to sustainability has gained international recognition. Gothenburg is now a five-year consecutive leader in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (2016–2019, 2021) and was the European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2020. It is also named the world’s Best Sustainable City Stay 2021 by Lonely Planet. Gothenburg is one of the most progressive cities worldwide when it comes to addressing climate and environmental issues. Gothenburg issued green bonds to accelerate investments in climate-oriented solutions, including waste management to renewable energy, as the first city in the world. It has resulted in structures beneficial to everyone. The city keeps pushing for change and has set out to become fossil-independent by 2030. The local meetings industry is a pioneer in ecological sustainability, inclusion and accessibility, and sees sustainability as part of their DNA. Eco-certified suppliers, venues run on renewables, the environmental diploma system, and the proximity in the city are crucial elements in achieving ecological sustainability. Gothenburg has a low emission zone

in place, and the airport is certified to the highest level of the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme. The Win Win Gothenburg Sustainability Award, founded by the city, is an international prize awarded to a person or organisation for outstanding contributions towards a more sustainable future. By awarding this international prize, the city gets to celebrate success and learn from the best. Former winners are, for example, Kofi Annan, UN secretary, and the intergovernmental body IPBES Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In Gothenburg, world-class sustainable solutions are used, and largescale events are made sustainable and accessible with extensive experience. The fact that Gothenburg has made sustainable a standard makes it easy to organise events and to visit. The city strives to minimise any negative impact on people and the environment, and the city serves as a testbed for sustainable innovations and creative solutions. “We aim to make a positive contribution to society, stakeholders, and the local economy; and to create 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 45


“All leading venues are eco-certified, and almost 100 per cent of the hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification”

lasting positive effects locally and regionally,” says Annika Hallman. Authorities, academia and industry work together in the Gothenburg Way to Legacy programme, which stems from the Gothenburg Strategic Plan for Meetings developed in broad stakeholder collaboration 2018. Events like European Championships, Way Out West and the Gothenburg Culture Festival are living-lab platforms showing how to develop a sustainable meetings and events destination where inclusion and accessibility are key features. All leading venues are eco-certified, and almost 100 per cent of the hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification making Gothenburg one of the greenest hotel cities in the world. Likewise, the Opera House, Concert Hall and the amusement park are ecocertified, and restaurants have easy access to local and organic produce. International exchange and cultural diversity have always been a part of the Gothenburg DNA. Significant aspects are social sustainability and inclusion, and the city government has established an ambitious programme to fight segregation and close inequality gaps. 46 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

Team Gothenburg is a project to engage young adults representing all districts in city events to help break down prejudices relating to gender, ethnicity, background, etcetera. The city has received the European Access City Award for the strategic and structured work towards a city accessible for all. Sweden’s first municipal LGBT advisory board was established in Gothenburg in 2013, and hosting Euro Pride in 2018 was also an acknowledgement of their efforts. Sweden leads the Sustainable Competitiveness Index and the Good Country Index. Also, Sweden holds top positions in Global Gender Gap Report and Corruption Perceptions Index.


Three Trends Bound to Stay BEYOND THE PANDEMIC This feature was originally published in Latin America Meetings magazine.


José María Ávila

Vice President Business Development for Iberia & Latin America, Kenes Group


Kenes Group

Although the spectrum is very wide with market differences between countries, most events are still being organised virtually, especially the scientific and medical ones. There are places where commercial or corporate events are being held in-person, but these remain the exception. Association clients cannot afford an eventual worsening of the situation that would force them to cancel or reschedule. Virtual events offer that safety net they need at the moment. From our observations and conversations with clients, I fear that the return to face-to-face events will

not occur before 2023. Of course, we expect 2022 to be a year of transition, during which it is very likely that certain events in specific locations and countries could and will be held. I anticipate that the first quarter of 2022 is going to be a very difficult period. We also see some interesting trends that we will need to capitalise on. I will share three with you: Higher number of international attendees With no travel and accom-

modation expenses to worry about, attendees are more likely to join an event. We are experimenting with an important increase of international delegates across all of our conferences. This new audience provides added value to the interactions taking place at the meetings. This brings me to the next trend:

each other. We need to develop and deploy platforms and tools that allow networking among participants. Hybrid events The two trends above

will ensure the success of hybrid events. Events will be conducted faceto-face, but they will have an online component with different venues and speakers connected through technology and virtual platforms. Suppose we can provide the right tools and find a way to maximise interaction and networking. In that case, we will be able to capture the international audience that has joined our virtual events in the longer term and enhance the reach of our content. This will be the future, and we are getting ready for it.

Delegates want to network Par-

ticipants are, of course, interested in the content, but they want more than attending a session out of their congress experience. They want to have the opportunity to interact with 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 47





Glasgow’s Go Greener Toolkit IMPLEMENTS MORE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES Glasgow Convention Bureau launches a new support service for conference organisers looking to host a more sustainable meeting in the city. The initiative brings to life the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) ambitions through an interactive workshop for meeting planners, professional conference organisers, and academic conference ambassadors looking for practical tips on delivering a sustainable conference aligned to the UN SDGs. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals were already a key component of our People Make Glasgow Greener Strategy. The workshop concept builds on our Go Greener toolkit for conference organisers looking to deliver a more sustainable meeting in our city,” says Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions. The workshop’s interactive format allows each conference to make its own decisions on the goals that best align with its vision and mission and then communicate these sustainable

actions to its members, sponsors, and stakeholders. The Convention Bureau team are keen to do their bit to advocate for sustainable business events, continuously building on the range of free services offered to clients and delegates through the People Make Glasgow Greener strategy. Also, Glasgow Convention Bureau was the first bureau to gain Green Tourism accreditation and sign up for Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency. Neil Brownlee is the Head of Business Events, Visit Scotland: “Whilst as an industry we are becoming more thoughtful of our impact on the environment, more needs to be done. This new initiative is an opportunity for planners and organisers to learn from the team in Glasgow on how to implement more sustainable practices for their events. It is also a platform to shine a light on Scotland’s forward-thinking in this arena and the great progress that Glasgow, as a city, has made in the sustainability field.”

The UK’s leading rheumatology conference is taking place at the venue SEC in Glasgow in April 2022. “As well as the delivering the foremost gathering of leading rheumatology professionals, the British Society for Rheumatology are keen to look at how we can run a sustainable event for our members,” says Victoria Logan, Director of Marketing & Education at the British Society for Rheumatology. “As well as meeting at the SEC, a Gold Green Tourism accredited venue, we are delighted to be working with the Glasgow Convention Bureau to put into practise some practical tips from their Go Greener toolkit, to help us align our responsible conference planning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” In 2016, Glasgow was the first UK city to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index of sustainable tourism and events cities, currently ranking fourth globally.







Debra Hurford Brown

Roger Kellerman Berlin Questions is an annual, multi-day conference and a platform for transdisciplinary dialogue providing ideas for structural change and collective action. Since 2017, the conference has made Berlin home for debate, inviting politicians, journalists and artists from all over the world to address topics of global importance. This year’s edition of the conference, Metropolis: The New Now, is dedicated to local solutions to global challenges, with a particular focus on the future of the city after the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, the conference took place in a hybrid format for the first time: both in person at various locations in Berlin and online, via livestream or in a 3D virtual environment. We were lucky to have the possibility to listen to Lesley Lokko. Lesley Lokko was born in 1964 in Scotland. She grew up in Ghana, and studied in the US and UK. She is an architect, academic, and bestselling novelist. She was previously the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. She did step down as dean of The Bernard & Anne

Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, in January 2021. Lesley Lokko is currently setting up an independent architecture school in Accra, Ghana, the African Futures Institute. She received her first architecture degree at London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and earned her doctorate in architecture from the University of London in 2007. Whilst still a student, Lesley Lokko began an edited anthology, that has come to define her interest across her academic career and her fiction writing, about ‘race’ and its relationship to the built environment. However, that initial interest has expanded considerably to encompass a broader interest in identifying politics, culture and urbanism. White Papers, Black Marks: Architecture, Race, Culture was published in 2000, six years after its inception. It remains one of the few anthologies explicitly dedicated to the study of ‘race’ as a meaningful category of enquiry within the architecture canon. Lesley Lokko wrote fiction fulltime for thirteen years, publishing eleven best-selling novels but continued to keep a peripheral interest and

foot in architectural discourse. Her newest book, Soul Sisters, was published in the summer of 2021. “A decade is often a good yardstick for measuring the impact of events. In my mind, the global Covid pandemic and the global racial justice protests are fused, even though each started as a local phenomenon before spreading like wildfire. “Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with an average age of 19, compared with 38 in Europe. Scientists have different explanations for why the death rate in Africa was so low compared to so many other places, youthfulness; heat; a largely outdoors lifestyle, there doesn’t appear to be a single, concrete answer,” says Lesley Lokko. “However, the prolonged lockdown and reliance on digital media to interface with the rest of the world left an unexpected consequence in its wake: Africa’s youth emerged in 2021 with a stronger and more confident sense of self, partly in response to the protests, which provided first-hand evidence that ‘there’ (for example, Europe and the United States) was not quite the Promised Land that many believe it to be, and a new sense of interconnectedness across the 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 51


“This enforced period of self-reflection has opened up new and imaginative territory”

globe. We were all in this together, rich and poor, black and white, native and immigrant, urban and rural. “As a result, we are more aware of the relationship between public health and urbanism. For example, of the power of imagination and its role in emancipation, the inter-twined relationship between decolonisation and decarbonisation, of the importance of aligning vision with a greater sense of vocation. “In other words, this enforced period of self-reflection has opened up new and imaginative territory that could, if it is harnessed and protected, meaning a very different future not just for Africans, but the rest of the world. “2021 was indeed an annus horribilis. However, the signs are already apparent that we may emerge from it not destroyed, but stronger if we can read them.” Lesley Lokko tells us that women in Africa still search the desert for the remains of their relatives executed during the dictatorships of the ‘70s and ‘80s. That ability to hold multiple scales of time, to look back 500 years, 45 years or five days, and still be able to think about the future will be one of the most important challenges these next few months will throw at 52 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

us. There are many things that we can say about the future, and none truer than this statement spotted on the back of a taxi somewhere in a crowded street: “It changes, indeed.” It says that there are three mistakes we commonly make when thinking about the future: One is to assume that nothing will change, but everything will remain the same. The second is to take that everything will vary and that nothing can stay as it was. The third and most dangerous is not to think about it at all. “I spent almost half my life outside Africa and half within. In the beginning stages of a new project to build a new type of Institute, Pratt School of Architecture, and Pratt Public Events Platform. The African Futures Institute is both a product of and the response to the pandemic and the protests, but it first began to form as an idea about 30 years ago. “For the most part, my work as an educator over the past 30 years has been a complex, challenging, and yet also a wonderfully rich, expressive, and creative relationship between architecture, race, and identity. “The difficulties of translating that intuition that this relationship does have something to do with the way that we live, fit and behave around

one another. In the right hands and the right place, it is a relationship that begins to address the difficult question of ‘we’, ‘on whose behalf’, and ‘for whom do we speak’. What is different now, I think, is the ongoing aftermath. We have come to realise three crucial points: One that we are all in this together, black, white, rich, poor, east, west, global north, global south, no matter how unequal the vaccine rollout. Two, the things that we once thought of as independent and separate issues, social and racial justice, climate change, mental and physical health and so on, are intertwined and interconnected. And three, we cannot go on doing the same thing, living in the same way, and expecting a different result. “Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Just as all crises have a beginning, a middle, and an end. So, although the end may not have any insight, we’re still in the middle. We know that there was a past to relative stability and predictability. “At least to some, there is now chaos and disruption, and there will be a different stage to come. As this future unfolds, and it will, some of us


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will emerge stronger and more resilient, and for others, the future will be catastrophic. “This is as true for organisations and institutions as it is for societies. For example, in the sociologist Richard Sennett’s book, ‘Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation’ which was published a decade before Covid, he describes

changes. But we have no choice. We must navigate. “Now more than ever, we must find ways to live and work together that deliver more than material profit. We must learn to negotiate difference that goes beyond design beyond performance. “Cooperation requires skills, and skills require resources. Because it is

“ As this future unfolds, and it will, some of us will emerge stronger and more resilient, and for others, the future will be catastrophic” what he calls ‘the great unsettling’ that took place at the European reformation when a new individualism undermined the cooperative patents of the Catholic church. “The old ways of living together began to look hollow and manipulative, but the new behaviour patterns were crude and disruptive. It took a long time for people to work out how to live with one another again. The same thing or something similar happened in the scientific revolution. “Before the pandemic, there was the sense that we were still living through ‘the great uncertainty’ with the information technology revolution. Workplaces were shutting down, short-term jobs, and social media enable us to make and lose connections in the blink of an eye. “Yet during the pandemic, and even now, Zoom and Teams quite literally kept us alive. There is another uncertainly on top of a previous unsettling, making for even more insecurity and instability around navigating and negotiating these 54 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

hard to cooperate, it is much easier for those who already have plentiful resources. “This past year has only reinforced that. Brexit notwithstanding, I have a British passport. I was vaccinated in the UK. I’m here today. If I had been vaccinated in Ghana, the chances are that you’ll be hearing from me via Zoom. “Like many, I imagine, I found the prolonged period of remote working and connecting much easier when it involved those who already had a previous person-to-person encounter. Trying to generate a meaningful relationship with someone I’ve only ever met on screen was in the end far more difficult than I ever imagined. “Trust, which is the building block of any meaningful relationship, no matter how addicted we are to Tiktok or Love Island, is remarkably hard to rely upon in the digital world. At an average age of 19.8, Africa is the world’s youngest continent. “With few exceptions, we also have the world’s oldest leaders. Embedded

in our demographic DNA is the problem between experience and expertise on the one hand and idealism and innovation on the other, which we are all grappling with. “I do not mean to suggest that age and innovation are mutually exclusive, far from it, but as Trevor Noah states in his interview with Greta Thunberg, there is something about age that translates into an urgency that I find inspiring. “The UK Government’s ‘Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives’ campaign was universally viewed as the most effective of the UK Covid mantras presented in March 2020 at the start of the national lockdown. What’s remarkable about this message, for me, is that beneath its simplicity is another much more complex message about society, trust, and togetherness. “Amanda Gorman, the American poet who was speaking at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, ends by saying, ‘Justice isn’t just is.’ So, I’m ending this presentation performance with a quotation from a motivational speaker. Still, it is one of the simplest and most profound statements I’ve come across in nearly 30 years as an educator and writer. “I began this presentation talking about trust, and I would like to end it talking about imagination. If we cannot imagine a new kind of future together, which begins with holding a different image of one another in our minds’ eye, we will never get around to building it.”


Regaining the Confidence of Associations KEY ELEMENTS DESTINATIONS CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS This feature was originally published in Latin America Meetings magazine.


André Vietor


Bco Congresos

Managing Director, Bco Congresos These are not easy times for any destination around the globe to regain the confidence of hosting international meetings. Uncertainty prevails for all associations when it comes to deciding on future editions of congresses and their format. These decisions used to be taken long in advance, but the current climate forces associations to shift their decision-making process to a much shorter term. Whether to cancel, maintain the scheduled dates, postpone their conferences to another date and sometimes even consider a destination change can happen at the very last minute. My view on how to seduce organisations to select a destination for an in-person or hybrid meeting comes down to these three key criteria: risk assessment, safety measures and flexibility.

Risk assessment No association can

afford to take risks neither related to the health of their participants nor financially. Destinations who are smart enough to provide a risk assessment plan to associations have a greater chance to be heard and considered as they show empathy with their clients’ concerns. Solutions to minimise risks give destinations a competitive advantage over others that do only “sell.” Furthermore, the IAPCO National PCO Association Task Force is working with 14 National PCO Associations to advocate for the safe reopening of events. IAPCO International Forum of Tourism & Development Ministers | IAPCO: The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers. Safety measures Besides imple-

menting safety measures at the conference venue and given that all attendees have to have a Covid passport or have to go through mandatory daily PCR tests to attend the meeting, the difficulty lies in ensuring the safety of the participants outside the venue. This can be achieved but is very complex since we have to get all stakeholders in the city on board to ensure a safe environment for all attendees, such as at the airport,

hotels, public transport system, restaurants and bars, to name only a few. Flexibility Flexibility is a must when

it comes to Force Majeure clauses, cancellation terms and postponement of the meeting. The recent experience shows that flexible and collaborative destinations with cancellations or postponements gained a loyal client for the years to come. This isn’t just about the venue, but hotels and other service providers involved in the supply chain. In most cases, we assisted associations and destination marketing organisations with all three by providing solutions and avoiding major damage in critical situations. In this respect, I would like to mention that IAPCO Ambassadors have worked with Best Cities Global Alliance to update bidding guidelines that help associations rewrite their bid guidelines or RFP’s to ensure they include the virtual and hybrid requirements. Hybrid Congress Guidelines April 2021 pdf available on





New Business Unit Strengthens BUSINESS EVENTS IN BOGOTA


Laura C

The Greater Bogota Convention Bureau becomes a new business unit at Invest in Bogota to consolidate the promotion and positioning of Bogota and its region as a city for international events and as a tourism destination. With public and private support, this new business unit will strengthen the strategy for promoting and positioning Bogota as a worldwide destination for international events. This will keep supporting the economic reactivation and will result in more business opportunities for the industry. Invest in Bogota (IIB) announces the creation of its new business unit to attract events in the city. The decision was taken after the dissolution of the Greater Bogota Convention Bureau (GBCB) and represented for the capital and the region the possibility of strengthening the investment and events attraction strategy in a single entity. This unit will be called the Bogota Convention Bureau. It will start its operation in November of this year, achieving a transition process that favours the continuity of the activities that this entity has been developing since its creation. The decision of creating this new business unit had as reference Pro Colombia’s figure, which integrates the promotion for international tourism, the foreign investment, and the non-traditional exports in Colombia in one entity. As an international reference, they had Invest in Dubai, and nationally

Pro Barranquilla and Invest in Santa Marta. Mauricio Romero, the Acting Executive Director of Invest in Bogota: “The integration of the Bureau to Invest in Bogota will allow the city to have a much more cohesive strategy of to position itself as a business city, by having the investment promotion, entrepreneurship, and events in one entity. Likewise, Juan Carlos González, Vice President of Competitiveness of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce (CCB), states: “On behalf of the CCB and its Cluster of Business Tourism and Events initiative, we will continue supporting the articulation of the meetings industry’s stakeholders under this new scheme and encouraging the events attraction strategy for the city and its region.” The new scheme also contemplates the creation of a Sectorial Committee in Invest in Bogota in articulation with the Business Tourism and Events Cluster of the Chamber of Commerce, which will function as a consultative space for entrepreneurs in the meetings industry. The Bogota Tourism Office (IDT) Director, Karol Fajardo Mariño comments: “The Convention Bureau’s work through so many years will be strengthened with the administration at Invest in Bogota, allowing to continue with the public-private efforts to attract events and meetings in the city, and complement

the consolidation of the Colombian capital’s offer and promotion as a business event destination, which is what we do.” The resources, sustainability, and mission of the new business unit within Invest in Bogota will have the CCB’s and the District’s support as main partners of IIB. It will also strengthen the roles of each entity (IIB, CCB, and IDT) in a complementary and coordinated way. The strategy represents an opportunity to boost the city’s events attraction, its international positioning and, therefore, the increasing business opportunities for the meetings and events industry. The Greater Bogota Convention Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation. It was born on March 23, 2004, in Bogota in response to the demands of global markets on the need to have an internationally endorsed institution to search for new events for the destination. It is currently the institution of Bogota that exercises the commercial representation of the city for this industry. It represents more than 100 companies in the events industry and coordinates with the Bogota Chamber of Commerce. With the different public actors in the city, such as the District Economic Development Secretariat and the District Tourism Institute, they are aligning the promotion strategies of the events industry to the interests of the city.



In a survey of 22,000 business people ranking top leadership gurus, Robin Sharma was #2, with Jack Welch. Sharma's books have sold millions of copies in over 60 countries. His new book is “The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life” (Simon & Schuster). Robin Sharma founded the Titan Academy and his blog is at photo

Sara Appelgren

Why I WRITE On my exercise bike the other morning, while pedalling quickly and rhythmically, I listened to an audiobook based on George Orwell’s essay Why I Write. One insight was a standout: he noted that one of his drivers for writing was to be political. Not in the smaller sense of running for office by securing votes. But in the larger sense of spreading a philosophy. Of starting a movement. And upgrading the world. That got me thinking. Why, after 26 years in the personal mastery and leadership advisory fields, do I keep writing books? … I’m not interested in fame nor adulation. … I’m not fascinated by awards and trophies. … I’m not excited by glory and legacy. Nope. I write because I have no choice. I can’t not write. It’s the call of my soul. And a main errand of my life. … I write because I adore the craft. … I write to capture and clarify my thoughts. … I write to heal my wounds. … I write to fill my hours with joy. … I write to enchant my beloved readers. Mostly, like Mr. Orwell, I write to share a message. That each of us 58 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

can do towering work and become stronger and healthier and happy and more alive. I write to serve. To inspire. To provoke people to act. On their wishes and longings and desires and dreams. I, too, write to do my part to build a better, brighter and more beautiful world. Yes, our planet is dealing with a plague and wars and wildfires and social unrest. Yes, things are a mess. Yet, you have the true power to manage your mind, open your heart, upgrade your fitness and send your soul alight with joy and service. Oh yes you do (so please don’t argue with me on this essential point ;)). You do have this power. This I know to be true. If you’d like my help to turn ordinary into exceptional and swiftly access the primal hero that is your truest nature, I’d be honored to help you fly. (It inspires me viscerally to assist good humans ready to live their gifts actually make this wish real.) My extremely anticipated new book, The Everyday Hero Manifesto (EHM), is now available. Kindly know: … I’ve never spent so much of myself on a book I’ve written. … EHM is absolutely the most valuable book I’ve ever released and

is nothing like anything I’ve ever created. … EHM is part manual for peerless productivity, part handbook for leading a world-class life and part playbook for spiritual liberty. … EHM is deeply personal (I share my struggles and tragedies, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did). … EHM contains learning models and heavyweight habits and a complete system to push masterwork into the world. I feel highly confident that once you invest in a copy of The Everyday Hero Manifesto and take small steps each day to make the information a part of your work and personal life, your life will rise to a whole new level of success, beauty, serenity and service to many. A portion of my royalties goes to help children with leprosy rise. So, you not only get a life-changing book, but you also help a kid in need. I hope this helps you remember your heroism and make some real improvements to the work you produce, the quality of your personal mastery and your helpfulness to society. All my best! Now, go be great.

© Jacob Hansen


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Adrian Segar In 2009, the biologist E. O. Wilson described what he saw as humanity’s real problem. I think it’s also a meeting problem: “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.” E. O. Wilson, debate at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 9 September 2009

Wilson sees emotions, institutions, and technology as disjointed in time. Emotions have driven human beings for millions of years, our institutions are thousands of years old, and we can’t keep up with our advances in technology. And so it goes with meetings.


Emotions Much as we would like to

believe otherwise, our emotions run us, not our rationality. Daniel Kahneman, the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics, wrote a long book about this. It’s why businesses

sponsor meetings. It’s why we judge meeting experiences largely based on how they were perceived at their peak and at their end. And it is why transformational learning occurs when a group experiences a positive emotional connection together. Want more evidence? Well, information dumps from an expert lecturer are one of the worst ways to learn anything important. And simple workshops that support connection (which may be emotional) between participants around relevant content provide better learning experiences. Emotions run us; our rationality comes in a distant second. All meeting design needs to recognise this reality. Institutions The things we do reflect

our culture. And the organisations we have constructed incarnate our culture. Our largest and most powerful institutions, political and religious, are also the oldest, with roots thousands of years in the past. What we think of as modern business meetings and conferences are

hundreds of years old. Changes in their forms and traditions have been principally influenced by technology (see below) rather than any deep changes in human psychology. The traditional top-down formats of meetings and conferences reflect the top-down structure of the institutions that still largely dominate our world. Traditional institutional norms discourage the creation of meetings that provide freedom for participants to steer and cocreate learning and connection experiences that are optimally better for everyone involved. All too often, top-down institutional culture leads inevitably to hierarchical meeting formats. So, there’s a disconnect between what’s best for meeting participants due to their fundamental psychological makeup and the dictates of their institutional bosses and the organisations that organise the events. Technology And finally, there’s

E. O. Wilson’s “god-like technology.” Even though technology is continually being redefined as 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 61


“What we think of as modern business meetings and conferences are hundreds of years old”

anything invented after you were born, it is impossible to ignore how rapidly technology has evolved and changed our culture and our meeting experiences. I carry in my pocket a phone that has more computing power and far more utility to me than a machine that filled an entire office building when I was a student. And the Covid-19 pandemic has vividly illustrated how technology has allowed us, almost overnight, to redefine what we have thought of as meetings for hundreds of years to a largely, at least for now, online experience. Consequently, vendors flood us with technological “solutions” to problems we often are not even aware we have. In some cases, these solutions are manufactured for a plausible yet illusory need. But even when there is a genuine problem that the right technology can solve, our emotions can make it hard for us to see its value, and our institutions may be resistant to implementation. The tension between emotions, institutions, and technology at meetings

Wilson’s definition of humanity’s problem resonates with me. As shared above, our emotions, institutions, and


technology also frequently conflict when planning meetings. There is not a simple solution that perfectly responds to these elemental forces that affect what we do. In the meetings industry, our best meeting problem solutions recognise the effects of these forces on our gatherings and use conscious design to take advantage of them. That means designing meetings that incorporate active learning via creating emotional experiences together, and working with institutional stakeholders to convince them of the value of emotion-driven, participant-driven, and participationrich approaches. And using the right technology, often human process technology, to make our meetings the best they can be. Yes, humanity’s problem is a meeting problem. But we have the tools to solve it. All we need to do is to use them.

Adrian Segar is a meeting designer and facilitator with over thirty years of experience and an energetic champion for participation-rich and participant-led meetings that uncover and satisfy attendee needs for relevant learning, connection, engagement, and action. The author of three books on meeting design: “Conferences That Work”, “The Power of Participation”, and “Event Crowdsourcing.” Adrian Segar writes about event design at Feature originally published on at index.php/event-design/2021/10/ humanity-meeting-problem/

GG RR EE EE NN BB YY NN AA TT UU RR EE G R E E N B Y N AT U R E More More than than 20 20 years years of of environmental environmental awareness awareness and and commitment: commitment: More than 20 yearsOpt of environmental awareness and commitment: Opt for for an an eco-friendly eco-friendly event! event! Opt for an eco-friendly event!





Villa Copenhagen

Villa Copenhagen A NEW HUB FOR BUSINESS EVENTS With a history as the Central Post & Telegraph Head Office from 1912, Villa Copenhagen is a new social scene in the capital city of Denmark. The past, present, and future can be gathered in an inspiring and playful atmosphere. The hotel offers 390 guest rooms and suites, restaurants and bars, a gym and relaxation area, and conference and event rooms with up to 1 200 people in the largest one. As part of Nordic Hotels & Resorts, Villa Copenhagen is currently top-ofthe-line within Petter Stordalen’s empire. By honouring the ethos of charming old Europe expressed in Danish architectural heritage and a modern and vibrant environment, visitors, locals and international guests are promised an experience for all the senses. Villa Copenhagen gathers people as an international hub for meetings and events in the heart of Copenhagen. With room for 1,200 people, Square, with its large walls of old boulders and the adjoining

eight studios, gives a sense of history and significance when arranging everything from significant events, conferences to more intimate meetings. Square, The Boardroom and Playroom are just some of the hotel’s event facilities, and each venue has its feel and atmosphere. When you enter through the doors of the Courtyard, which is supposed to be a social hub and multifunctional place, it’s like entering a lounge for the Orient Express. The bar is discreet on one side, and there are inviting doors leading into restaurants and meeting rooms. The hotel differs from its competitors as its focus is on the environment and sustainability. The UN’s sustainable development goals play a role in the environmental strategy. Villa Copenhagen takes responsibility for its ecological footprint, and its meeting and event facilities are no exception. Together with Mater, a Danish pioneer in sustainable furniture design and production, they have picked up 2.2 tonnes of plastic marine

waste and turned it into 800 conference chairs. Collaborating with Mater and choosing a carefully produced design for Villa Copenhagen’s chairs has minimised the carbon footprint by more than 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide and supported their shared goal of helping the UN’s goal of responsible consumption and production. Great emphasis is placed on hiring employees with different backgrounds, investing in CSR work in local communities, and from the food in the restaurant to the interior, always thinking about the hotel’s impact on the planet. The classic hotel bar called T37, named after Tietgensgade and the old street number has a door to the street. It was here that the inhabitants of the city went in to arrange for their letters and parcels. From the ceiling hangs straps from the old mailbags as a greeting to the city’s former postmen and their bags.







Melissa Baird On the 25th of September 2015, the United Nations member states agreed to the UN (United Nations) Agenda 2030 by adopting 17 Sustainable Development Goals that would put the world on the road to redress the environmental, societal, and economic imbalances present on the planet today. Six years later, and in the midst of a global pandemic, we face a stark wake-up call; we cannot keep supporting a broken system. We need to move beyond sustaining what does not work, and that cannot offer future resilience against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. We are being invited to redesign a future that offers everyone the chance to thrive. An entire systems overhaul is required to achieve this, a paradigm shift in thinking and doing business. We believe the events and tourism sector has a key contribution to make in what we call the Regenerative Revolution. Research shows that public sentiment supports this, as the 2021 Sustainability Travel Report from reveals. Eighty-three per cent of global travellers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61 per cent saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more

sustainably in the future. Almost half of the respondents believed there weren’t enough choices from a lens of increased responsibility for the impact, and 72 per cent believe more should be done to create those offerings. Google has enabled a new feature to explore the carbon footprint of travel choices. The GDS-Index results for 2021 show an increase in sustainability certification for hotels and conference centres is on the rise. Ninety-five per cent of European DMO CEOs say the shifts in perspective and choice will lead to a new way of engaging in relationships and mechanisms of business. These shifts in attitude, policy and finance are catalysing regenerative changes in the strategies that underpin products, services, and people. The GDS-Movement and regenerative strategy The GDS-Movement

believes that humans are part of nature, and as such, business activities need to enable human and social capital to grow and thrive. It acts as a platform that unites and enables destination management professionals to create flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in. Its overall mission is to cocreate sustainable and circular

strategies, mindsets and skillsets that enable future destinations to thrive and society and nature to regenerate. The work they conduct within the sector is based on the Circular Economy principles outlined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with insights from Alexandre Lemille and his recent paper Making the Circular Economy work for Human Development. The team also draws upon inspiration and insights from the realms of nature-inspired innovation (Biomimicry), Cradle to Cradle, the work on Regenerative Leadership by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm, and the 8 Principles of a Regenerative Economy from the Capital Institute. Global IT and consulting company, Accenture, calculated that the circular economy is the world’s largest opportunity, with the potential to unlock $4.5 trillion growth. Cambridge Economics estimates that applying circular economy principles across the EU can create around 700,000 new jobs and a net benefit of €1.8 billion by 2030. In a circular setup, economic activity builds and rebuilds overall system health. It is restorative and regenerative by design. The concept recognises that the economy needs to work effectively at all scales – for big 2021 No. 28 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL  | 67


and small businesses, organisations and individuals, globally and locally. #NATUREWORKS, The Regenerative Revolution A report by the GDS-

Movement, sponsored by the IMEX Group and Marriott International, addresses how event management could contribute to these shifts. The Regenerative Revolution lays down the principles of circularity and offers a framework based on nature’s principles. It explores and asserts that for the global meetings and events industry to recover, flourish, and thrive in a future world, the temptation of adopting Covid-19 recovery strategies based on a wish to return to the ‘normal’ of the past must be overcome. Instead, we can use the pandemic as a ‘great reset’ to rethink, reimagine and redesign a new restorative, resilient, inclusive and zero-carbon growth model. By doing so, we can restore and rejuvenate the planet, its people and create a healthier economy, rather than seeking to sustain what no longer functions. This deep cultural and systemic transformation requires a paradigm shift in beliefs, values, and business models. The result will be heightened resilience when faced with the other risks of climate change, biodiversity collapse, and social unrest. “In an ecosystemic approach, pollution, greed, unemployment, waste, inequalities and poverty, among others, are human inventions. Thus, they can and should be designed out of our next model of life.” Alexandre Lemille HANNUWA – a framework for regenerative events The GDS-Movement

has developed a framework and set of tools that support event suppliers, 68 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

organisers, and educators on their transformative journey to enable the events and meetings sector to achieve a new paradigm of event success. Their approach is summed up in the word ’Hannuwa’, an ancient San word from South Africa that means the gathering of good fortune through living in harmony with the natural environment. It comprises four key principles and an eight-step methodology to educate and guide event organisers towards more regenerative event management that designs for inclusivity and diversity. Regenerative Event Management: “An economic approach wherein event planning, resourcing, procurement, and production are designed and managed to optimise ecosystem functioning and human wellbeing. It is inspired by nature, restorative, and regenerative by intention and design.” #Natureworks A regenerative future inspired by nature Regenerative events have a

focus on quality, effectiveness, harmony, and wellness. They are circular by design, aiming for energy, natural resources, and materials to be conserved, enriched, reused, recycled and used to enhance equitable development. They design out waste and pollution and improve resilience by increasing diversity, inclusivity, and equality. They also focus on regenerating and rejuvenating natural systems and communities. The Hannuwa framework enables event planning, resourcing, procurement, and production designed and managed to optimise ecosystem functioning and human wellbeing. The trillion-dollar tourism and events economy has the power to help transform our energy, food, water,

transport, employment, and social systems. Still, we need to enable the professionals within this sector to step up and accelerate the required actions and catalyse leadership and innovation. The case studies within the report highlight and inspires innovative approaches to event and destination management. Events and capital generation Old

linear systems thinking is disrupted by integrating the four core principles into the business models, design, and operations of events. There is an accelerated shift to more purposeful, inclusive, and regenerative practices based on Living Systems Design. Instead of viewing the host and supplier community as resources and assets in the organisation of the event, consider how the event itself provides ‘ecosystem services’ back to the community and thereby offers enhanced value. By rethinking and redesigning how events create impact for stakeholders, events can generate: Natural Capital: protecting, restoring, and regenerating ecosystems and services. Human Capital: creating jobs, satisfying employees, improving people’s health, creating new knowledge, skills, and motivation. Social Capital: stimulating innovation, collaboration, and developing thriving and inclusive communities, businesses, trade unions, schools, and voluntary organisations. Financial Capital: generating incomes, creating shareholder value, strengthening competition, and building business resilience. Regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and regrowth that makes cells, organisms, and ecosystems resilient to natural


“We need to move beyond sustaining what does not work, and that cannot offer future resilience against the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss”

fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage. The mindset is optimistic, and the design is circular and inclusive. It is collaborative, innovative, bold and transformative, disruptive, restorative, balanced and compassionate. These values can be applied to the tourism and events sector to catalyse transformation, accelerate the transition to zero-carbon, activate a food re-evolution, create more circular economics, develop local resilience and enhance biodiversity. Strategy is key to achieving long terms goals Further, the research

conducted with IMEX Group and Marriott International shows that 2019 was a tipping point for increased sustainability in the events industry. However, despite a surge of demand and actions in our sector, less than half of DMOs have sustainability strategies in place to manage their business events (May 2020). Meanwhile, 97 per cent of the 2000 event suppliers and organisers interviewed said sustainability was critical for the events industry.

The consulting support can remedy this strategic gap that the GDS-Movement offers. With their expertise, DMOs can develop powerful and impactful strategies that increase circular thinking and planning, improve inclusivity and stakeholder engagement, and report valuable data. We believe that by collaborating and sharing best practise and knowledge, we can achieve a new future where the events and tourism sector contributes to the wellbeing of society.

The Global Destination Sustainability Movement is a transformation platform that engages, inspires and enables destinations to become more regenerative, flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in. The GDS-Movement accelerates the transformation from destination marketing at whatever cost towards destination management and stewardship with shared value. Its mission is to promote and develop regenerative strategies, skill sets, and mindsets to support future destinations. The GDS-Movement evolved from the Global Destination Sustainability Index, the world’s leading sustainability benchmarking and performance improvement program for destinations and their visitor economy.



Roger Kellerman Publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. Has over 30 years' experience of the global meeting industry. Founder of Mötesindustriveckan. photo

Sara Appelgren

I Have a Feeling WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE These days our present is often referred to as the new normal. Since the pandemic we’ve had hybrid meetings arrive alongside face-to-face meetings like a new cousin from the country – in a best-case scenario making online meetings a bit more fun, if the production is professional enough. And while the technology itself has been around for years, the pandemic suddenly and effectively kicked us a bit further into the future. Ready or not. Now, we face a world where old rules no longer apply, and where we obviously need to look at things in new ways. One such way, of trying to help perhaps increasingly lost or disoriented meeting participants, is to learn what lateral thinking is. Lateral thinking means to use an untraditional approach to an issue that may provide unexpected or straightforward solutions to complex problems. The concept was introduced by Edward de Bono in his book The Use of Lateral Thinking as early as 1967. In contrast with traditional problem solving, where you directly address the problem at hand, lateral thinking requires you to instead spend time thinking about different ways of viewing the problem. Only after that do you get into the actual work of finding solutions. Non-linear problem solving is often referred to 70 | MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 28 2021

as obliquity, the concept of reaching a goal without aiming directly for it. There’s a latin saying – Speramus meliora, Resurget cineribus – which translates to: ‘We hope for better things, It will rise from the ashes.’ By walking through smouldering ruins we may discover puzzle pieces allowing us to create something new. But have we really gone through such a significant change that we can claim to be rising from the ashes? That is certainly debatable. Financially, there is little doubt that we have, as the business events industry has indeed been hit hard. But can the congress part of the industry really stay significantly reduced over several years’ time? Do we simply not have to have personal meetings between researchers and thinkers to keep up the pace of development and innovation? All forms of scientific and cultural research at universities deals with in-depth studies and the deepening of knowledge. Specialists keep digging deeper and deeper. But the outside world’s knowledge and understanding is not increasing at the same rate as the specialists’. We are not only in need of people who are digging deeper. We are also very much in need of people who are connecting all the deep excavators by building horisontal tunnels. And that is just what’s

happening when people meet at congresses and events. We need to meet each other in person, form personal connections, and to sustain a lasting exchange of knowledge and ideas. The title of this column is taken from a famous line in the film The Wizard of Oz, which according to researchers at the University of Turin, Italy is the world’s most referenced film. In a black and white rural Kansas, a tornado sweeps farm girl Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) and her dog Toto away from the life they know, bringing them to the magical land of Oz. At the moment they step onto unfamiliar ground, the 1939 film (the first mainstream release in colour) changes from black and white to bursting Technicolor, underlining the chasmic shift in surroundings. A bewildered Dorothy cautiously takes this strange landscape in, then says to her campanion: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Every time the playing field radically changes, in everything from music and culture to politics and business, people keep referring to this pivotal scene of movie magic. And I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone in the global business events industry would have to agree that we are defnitely not in Kansas anymore.

MEET THE WORLD IN GENEVA The international Conference Centre Geneva, a flexible and modular infrastructure to guarantee the success of your events. l 1 plenary conference room for 2’200 participants l 22 rooms for 12 to 2’200 participants l Total capacity 4’000 participants l 4’000 sqm of exhibition and plenary space |


Our doors are open and we are ready to welcome the world back to The CCD. Events may have changed, but how they feel and the impact they have has not. We are proud to be a venue that brings people together to share in an unrivalled event experience.

READY TO WELCOME YOU BACK Keep in touch, call us on +353 1 856 0000, email or visit