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JULY-SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSN 2543-4497


PGE NARODOWY PGE Narodowy stadium is one of the most distinctive venues in Warsaw and a symbol of the city’s advanced character. More than a sports stadium, it is also a conference and business centre with an unlimited potential. THINK DESTINATION IGUAZÚ FALLS – INCENTIVE IN THE HEART OF NATURE




REPORTS ARE TRENDY Traditionally, the first half of the year saw the launch of two reports considered to be among the most important publications dedicated to the global market of conferences and congresses staged by associations - ICCA Statistics Report compiled by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and International Meetings Statistics Report by Union of International Associations (UIA). The differences between the two studies result from different criteria of classifying particular events, methodology of conducting research and analysis of its outcome. However, by complementing each other, together they give a full picture of the market. This is why both reports have been highly renowned for many years now and are eagerly anticipated by at least some representatives of the global MICE sector. What makes them so important? Just to be contrary or simply because the reports rank them somewhere further down the list, there are people who will claim that they do not find research of the discussed kind overly important. They might argue that the publications do not record all events, their methodology is excessively intricate or that they refer only to the association sector. They might complain that the reports are overly detailed - after all, who is interested in an analysis of the number of events staged in particular countries and cities in, for example, April or August? Quite a few people, as it turns out. It is widely known that conferences and congresses commissioned by associations are among the most profitable MICE events, beating out many other categories, not to mention incentive travels. They usually gather a large group of participants (frequently thousands), last several days and are accompanied by a wide range of side events. All of this costs money and thus generates considerable profits for destinations hosting events of the discussed kind. Local venues and companies connected with the meetings industry also benefit. In a nutshell – it is a great deal for everyone involved. No wonder then that countries, cities and regions all over the world compete with one another to secure association events, which are planned many years in advance. For representatives of marketing organisations the rankings are

a crucial source of information about which destinations are most popular and with whom and how they should compete. Most of all, however, they constitute a valuable hint for people responsible for planning conferences and congresses. They show what places host the largest number of such events, which destinations are trustworthy, which ones remain somewhat in the shadow and which ones are worth taking a look at since they are recording noticeable growth. At the same time, they also suggest which directions should be treated with caution as they have been recently affected by a drastic drop of figures, which might be inspired by substantial reasons related to, for example, safety or the quality of services. Because of their perception as reliable, ranking leaders obviously draw more new customers. This is precisely why there is no point in getting “offended” by the reports. Instead, you should focus on working your way to the top. It makes us even more pleased that Poland has for years held a strong position both in ICCA and UIA rankings. Which destinations proved to be unmatched this time? Read our magazine to find out - on the next pages we present a detailed description of the two rankings, placing emphasis on all key changes that took place over the last year. I hope that the analysis will inspire you and make it possible to decide where you should be heading. Michał Kalarus


MICE & MORE MEDIA GROUP THINK MICE Business Link PGE Narodowy Al. Ks. J. Poniatowskiego 1, 03-901 Warszawa tel. +48 690 12 12 69



16 NEED TO KNOW 06 AIPC, ICCA and UFI launch global alliance effort 06 New officers at World PCO Alliance 06 Bea World 2019 open for entries 06 WEC 2019: education and networking



EDITOR Michał Kalarus michał.kalarus@thinkmice.pll EDITORIAL TEAM Ksenia Bednarek, Iwona Borowska Roman Borowski, Agnieszka Jurewicz, Dorota Kapuścińska, Magda Klimczyk, Maciej Kompała, Monika Kowalska, Łukasz Kuś, Tomasz Nowak

FAIR 08 IMEX 2019 – still peerless if not surprising 10 The MEETINGS SHOW – changes for the better THINK EVENT 12 LARPS – between game and art



THINK DESTINATION 16 Iguazú Falls – incentive in the heart of nature 18 We have been interested in the MICE sector for a long time



THINK VENUE 22 PGE Narodowy 24 Multifunctionality is our strength



ISSN 2543-4497


INSPIRATIONS 30 Aquila non capit muscas – the eagle does not catch flies

Photo: Fotolia


THINK MICE is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences, events) and its scope encompasses all of the segments in question: meetings, incentive trips, congresses and conferences. By adopting an in-depth and multifaceted approach to all covered issues, we present the role and significance of the industry for, i.a. broadly defined marketing communication, employer branding and destination marketing.

PROFILE 26 Caspar Mason: The courage of stepping into the unknown


REPORT 32 ICCA ranking: number of events continues to grow 33 UIA: new leaders and additional rankings



AIPC, ICCA AND UFI LAUNCH GLOBAL ALLIANCE EFFORT International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), three global associations serving the meetings industry, will cooperate more closely in the future. Their representatives entered an agreement about a Global Alliance intended to facilitate collaboration and generate additional benefits for respective members of organisations. The collaboration will begin with activities undertaken in four primary areas: creating educational content and programmes, conducting research, setting standards and best practices, as well as mutual advocacy. The benefits are to be achieved without compromising the autonomous character of each of the associations. “We are all organisations with a global membership and perspective and already complement each other’s activities in various ways”, said Aloysius Arlando, AIPC President. “However, as the business models of exhibitions, congresses, conferences and other types of business meetings evolve, the overlap of global associations servicing the industry is growing even further”. mk

BEA WORLD 2019 open for entries Submitted projects, venues and destinations can now apply for the Best Event Awards and Best Location Awards. Tickets for Bea World 2019 are also available. This year will mark the 14th edition of the Best Event Awards competition and a second edition of Best Location Awards. The undertakings are intended to distinguish and promote most noteworthy events and top venues and destinations (including convention bureaux) hosting projects of this kind. The awards will be presented during the Live Communication Week, celebrated in Milan from 26 to 30 November, a brand-new event endorsed by ADC Group and merging the up-to-now separate Bea World Festival and Bea Italy Festival. Entries for the two competitions will close on 15 September. In addition, the Best Event Awards introduced four new categories – Brand Activation, Festival, Institutional Ceremony and Hybrid Event. As in previous years, authors of nominated projects will receive an opportunity to present them live in front of a jury composed of industry professionals, including representatives of associations, event agencies and corporate meeting planners. For the last edition of the Best Event Awards a record-breaking number of 303 projects was entered, developed by 122 agencies operating in 28 countries worldwide. mk

WEC 2019: education and networking



The Annual General Meeting of World PCO Alliance, which took place during this year’s IMEX exhibition in Frankfurt, elected the organisation’s officers for a new term. Irish member Noel Mitchell, representing Keynote PCO, is the new President, taking over from Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group Inc. Nancy Tan of Singapore-based Ace:Daytons Direct will act as Vice-President, and Mitchell’s deputy, while André Vietor of Spain’s Bco Congresos will assume the position of Treasurer. The new officers will serve two-year terms. “This new role is a true honour”, said Noel Mitchell. “I am excited to follow in the footsteps of Gregg Talley and ensure that the Alliance continues serving our impressive roster of members from around the world”. Established in 2009 World PCO Alliance currently associates 21 leading PCOs from all over the world. mk

World Education Congress (WEC), organised by Meeting Professionals International (MPI), was staged in Toronto on 15-18 June. The event is considered to be among the largest annual meetings dedicated to the global MICE industry. Thanks to its innovative programme and diverse educational offer, the event makes it possible to stay up-to-date with the latest worldwide trends and focus on professional development. Organisers also appreciate it as a platform for building a network of business relations and for pointing out development directions of particular MPI departments. This year’s edition of WEC was attended by more than 2,200 MPI members

from 35 countries, including five Polish delegates. The four-day event featured 80 educational sessions, workshops and lectures dedicated to trends and innovations of the global meetings sector. “With shared experiences acting as the leitmotif of the congress, actual sharing of knowledge and experiences was highly valuable and evident, both during all panel sessions and spectacular events”, commented Anna Paterek, Event Manager with Copernicus Science Centre and member of MPI Poland Chapter. In Toronto there was also no shortage of side events, including auctions traditionally raising funds for MPI Foundation operations (more than 220,000 USD were raised this year). In addition to lectures and workshops, the organisers once again prepared interactive zones enabling visitors to test the latest high-tech products aimed at the industry. Last but not least, the event placed emphasis on leaders of MPI’s chapters from different countries sharing their concepts and postulates. mk


IMEX 2019 – STILL PEERLESS IF NOT SURPRISING While an attractive and modern character of an event-centred venue can be easily confirmed, it is the people we will be working with who are key. What is more, a great-looking cover will not be enough to verify their competences. This is why the essence of face-to-face business meetings continues to be invaluable, just like attending the seventeenth edition of IMEX Frankfurt.

This year’s IMEX featured exhibitors representing about 3,500 companies (i.a. hotels, conference venues, convention bureaux, PCOs, DMCs, subcontractors providing technological solutions) hailing from 172 countries. According to organisers, more than 1,000 of them expanded their exhibition space. The high-level engagement shown by both exhibitors and hosted buyers was demonstrated by the close to 70,000 one-on-one and group meetings staged during the three-day event.



The list of IMEX first-timers featured players from some of the most remote parts of the world (e.g. Barbados Tourism Authority, Hong Kong Airport Authority, Nobu Hotels, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, The Indian Hotels Company and Vietnam Partners). Some companies and institutions (such as Visit Wales) decided to return to Frankfurt after last year’s successful debut. “Many people still have not heard about Wales, which is why it remains a brand-new destination in the event market, contrary to Scotland, Ireland and England. This year we are observing a much greater interest due to the popularity enjoyed by lesser-known and crowded places heavily investing in the MICE sector. Another reason to attend IMEX is to advertise our first-ever convention centre, the International Convention Centre Wales, to be launched in July”, said Heledd Williams, Head of Business Events at Visit Wales (Welsh Government’s tourism team). Despite these positive impressions, this time the IMEX hall resounded with numerous less or more troubling opinions related to Brexit. Hosted buyers emphasised that withdrawal from the EU will certainly constitute a challenge for meeting planners. “We all suspect what changes will follow Brexit, if it actually happens. British agencies informed me that already this year most events, which were up to now staged in Europe, stayed in Great Britain”, commented Iwona Okrasa, Head of Active Sales with the Narvil Conference & Spa hotel. On the other hand, Heledd Williams assured that “The whole Brexit-related situation is intriguing. Regardless of what will happen, we wish to continue our cooperation with EU member states”.

IT PAYS OFF TO COOPERATE As always, the Polish national stand was present at IMEX and this year showcased the offer of eight co-exhibitors: ICE Kraków Congress Center, Kraków Convention Bureau, Poznań Convention Bureau, Travel Project DMC Poland, Targi w Krakowie – EXPO Kraków, Hotel Narvil Conference & Spa, Warszawska Organizacja Turystyczna – Warsaw Convention Bureau, and the Arche Hotels group, which attended the Frankfurt event for the first time. Despite numerous delayed or rebooked meetings, the Polish exhibitors seemed satisfied with the course of the event. “At IMEX we found potential customers for all aspects of our company’s operations. In addition, all scheduled meetings eventually took place. We were surprised to find out that hosted buyers representing exotic destinations, such as Asia or South America, were more interested in our offer than neighbouring countries”, commented Agnieszka Ziemiańska, Head of PCO & DMC Department at Targi w Krakowie (EXPO Kraków). Our interviewees were also content with their involvement as subexhibitors of the national stand. Endorsements and participation in events staged by Poland Convention Bureau were high on the list of discussed benefits. “Presence at the national stand somewhat legitimizes our brand (a non-chain hotel) as perceived by foreign customers. As I do not run a global sales office, I have to rely on myself. From this perspective, cooperation with POT is not only a marketing solution (providing the hotel with a trustworthy image), but also a long-term benefit in the form of listing among exhibitors”, said Iwona Okrasa.

FAIR RELATIONS ARE THE KEY This year the presence of our country at IMEX was made additionally diverse with Poland Convention Bureau Polish Tourism Organisation and the SITE Poland association introducing the so-called Happy Hour. A tasting session of Polish delicacies and hotel vouchers were prepared with visitors in mind. “The hugely popular meeting is fondly remembered as one of the most dynamic events of the day”, summed up Aneta Książek, Chief Conference Expert at Poland Convention Bureau POT. Despite several suggestions that side events should be moved outside the main venue, exhibitors argued in favour of keeping this sort of promotional undertakings staged at the national stand. “Happy Hour makes business conversations go much more smoothly. They are no longer one out of 80 or so meetings in a hosted buyer’s calendar, but rather a conversation making it possible to establish relations in a less formal atmosphere. While this sort of actions really does encourage guests, the resulting benefits eventually depend on the activity of a given exhibitor”, summarised Joanna Puchałka, MICE Sales Manager at Arche Sp. z o.o.

UNCERTAIN ROI Regardless of their optimistic perception of the exhibition from an organizational perspective (available and helpful staff, frequent shuttle bus transfers, short registration process, appropriately marked venue entrance, etc.), the exhibitors in question also noticed several weaknesses that made it unnecessarily difficult to achieve a satisfying return on investment in the form of attending IMEX. I am mostly referring to a minimal number of guaranteed meetings and expansion and more careful selection of the group of hosted buyers. “While I consider this year’s edition to be a success, we put a lot of effort into preparations. The standard IMEX system of scheduling meetings generated only 13. As a result, we decided to send 200 extra e-mails to contacts from our database, asking them to put some time aside and learn more about our offer when attending the exhibition”, explained Iwona Okrasa. Exhibitors admit that in some role-reversal situations hosted

buyers were actually urging them to purchase all types of tools or services. Another discussed issue involved a lack of understanding between the two groups as regards their service-centric approach. “Some foreigners perceive us as less professional, but in Germany there is much more to a professional approach than constant compliments or smiling to customers”, explains Jürgen Amann, Managing Director at Dresden Marketing GmbH.

POWER OF IMAGINATION “An extraordinary week of cooperation between business and science, IMEX 2019 offers experiences that will certainly inspire your imagination”, promised Ray Bloom, Chairman of IMEX Group. It was precisely imagination, the IMEX 2019 Talking Point, that acted as the centrepiece of the majority of discussions, speeches and lectures. This year’s educational schedule encompassed more than 250 sessions, with imagination especially revealing its power in the Discovery Zone, which attracted industry professionals with a hologram show, a space-themed 360-degree photography booth, dancing robots, and even a piano walking around the hall. An expansion of the wellbeing zone was also noticed by participants. Finally, the intriguingly-looking food court was inspired by New York’s legendary Central Park. The IMEX exhibition was held in Frankfurt am Main on 21-23 May. THINK MICE acted as its media partner and an organizer of a group of hosted buyers. An English-language edition of our magazine was distributed at the Polish national stand and in the socalled Media Zone. Magda Klimczyk



THE MEETINGS SHOW – CHANGES FOR THE BETTER More exhibitors and visitors, an increasingly international character and, consequently, better business for everyone involved. The modifications introduced a year ago by organisers of The Meetings Show gave it a new momentum.

This year The Meetings Show in London attracted close to 1,000 hosted buyers and more than 700 exhibitors (about 100 more than the last time), including representatives of hotels, congress and conference centres, event venues, convention bureaux, event and incentive agencies, PCOs and DMCs, as well as subcontractors and companies related to new technologies. In total the two-day event staged in the Olympia London exhibition centre drew more than 4,500 participants.

MOVING AHEAD The changes introduced last year into The Meetings Show’s format turned out to be a good idea. As a result, the organisers once again adopted a similar approach. The event lasted two days, and not three like the first five editions. Made already two years ago, the decision was based on the feedback of exhibitors and visitors, who believe that a shorter stay in London does not have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of established business relations. Simultaneously, it makes it possible to reduce costs and save some time. Indeed, the shorter event seems to inspire greater interest. This year attendance in the Olympia exhibition and conference centre was noticeably greater than before. The positive trend concerns both visitors and, especially, exhibitors. Only two years ago The Meetings Show was essentially perceived as a review of the U.K. market, even though its organisers from the very outset intended it to be international in scope. Exhibitors representing the United Kingdom constituted a vast majority. Some observers appreciated this fact, others not so much, but it remains a fact that delegates hailing from other destinations, even European ones, were sorely missed. Things are entirely different now, with the number of booths showcasing cities, regions and countries set in even most remote parts of the world annually growing by approx. 18%. Exhibitors from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Jordan, Morocco, Ruanda, United Arab Emirates, RSA, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and numerous European countries were all present in London.



The education programme also featured many adjustments. The most striking element

of its rearrangement was launched a year ago. The educationcentred one-day Pre-Show Conference was kicked off by an opening keynote speech from Gerard Lyons, one of U. K.’s leading economists, who discussed most crucial economic and financial issues affecting the world today and indirectly impacting the meetings industry. The speeches and lectures staged during the proper show focused on “the planner journey” – the seven stages of event planning (including creating and communicating the vision, textbook planning, getting people there, etc.). A brand-new solution introduced entirely new speech formats intended to draw the attention of participants. In this way, a session dedicated to sustainable development assumed the shape of a court hearing, while a meeting on motivating and retaining employees had the form of a theatre drama. And these are only some of the examples. In addition, the organisers decided to launch a number of new initiatives supporting young people only starting their career in the MICE industry and willing to shape corresponding skills. Junior Buyer Initiative (aimed at people accompanying hosted buyers) and Tomorrow’s Talent recognising 10 most promising under 30s working in the meetings and events industry are among the most noteworthy undertakings.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Networking is traditionally an essential component of the show. To facilitate the integration of participants, several additional events were developed to render staying at the Meetings Show even more pleasant. The Hosted Buyer Welcome Reception was staged in the Puttshack restaurant fused with a high-tech mini golf course in the evening before the event’s launch. In the course of the show the Future of Meetings Award was presented to five most promising start-ups operating in the field of new technologies for the meetings industry (the competition was organised in partnership with the Meeting Design Institute). The MPI Foundation – Cocktails for Charity annual party was staged in the evening. Finally, all interested hosted buyers could take part in one of five available post-tours: to Aberdeen, Brighton, Bristol, West Midlands or Paris. The Meetings Show was staged in the Olympia London exhibition centre on 26-27 June with THINK MICE among its media partners. An international, English-language edition of our magazine was also distributed during the event. Michał Kalarus


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Let us travel back in time to childhood. The whole world seemed like a veritable fairytale land and supplied a wide range of characters, whom we imitated as the very beginning of our education. Now the magic of childhood is gone and we adapted our role-playing skills for more professional purposes. Playing cops and robbers simply changed its form and now focuses on not annoying our bosses/spouses/children. To play so many roles in our everyday life we need a wide range of interpersonal skills (and often the art of keeping a straight face). Nevertheless, for some of us this just is not enough. The so-called live ac-

tion role-playing games (LARPs) has for more than a decade been offering a great opportunity to experience new and exciting sensations. The increasingly popular activity is not limited to entertainment. It also conceals an extensive business potential.

MORE THAN ENTERTAINMENT LARPs are inspired by tabletop role-playing games and outdoor games for scouts. The boom and period of increased popularity that started in Poland a few years ago was inspired by major events staged for more than several

hundred participants and intended to deliver good quality and relatively high-level entertainment. The College of Extraordinary Experiences and College of Wizardry (staged in the mediaeval Czocha Castle in Dolny Śląsk [Lower Silesia]) are among the examples of cult LARPs that players from all over the world are vying to become part of. There were many attempts at characterising LARPs as activities somewhere between games and improvisational theatre, but because of their sheer diversity and number of variations no single, generally accepted definition has been developed. “To put it simply, a LARP is

THINK EVENT a role-playing game resembling the childhood game of cowboys and Indians, but aimed at adults. In consequence, it features a logical scenario, professional set design, costumes, special effects and, obviously, corresponding budgets. LARPs are a very broad concept, which encompasses games targeted at entertainment, education, therapy, team building, etc. Each of these categories can include an infinite number of scenarios”, explained Dominik Dembiński, founder of the Liveform Association. While most of us are not aware of the numerous ways in which LARPs can be applied, this is just a tip of the iceberg as regards their underestimated potential.

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE While playing particular scenes, LARP participants have an opportunity to develop their soft skills and universal competencies, such as empathy, persuasion, creative problem solving, decision-making or teamwork. In other words, LARPs take players into an unknown world, where they have to come out on top, using hints provided by the profile of their characters and skills – both their own and acquired during the game. “True, we know that LARP scenarios are ‘make believe”, but the social and communication interactions are really happening. Hence the conclusion that an immersive and emotional experience of a game should be later reflexively ‘worked out” in relation to real-life world”, noted Dr Michał Mochocki in “Wprowadzenie do larpów edukacyjnych” (“An Introduction to educational LARPs”). Mochocki drew attention to the phenomenon of immersion that blurs the boundary between a player and the character he or she portrays. Total immersion in the LARP world often constitutes the main motivation inspiring participants to become involved in events of the discussed kind. Another reason to play is to tell an exciting and convincing story to provide spectators with aesthetic experiences. In this context, generating a “wow effect” and creating a dramatic scene

is more important than sticking to the profile of a given character. In addition, LARPs also offer a chance to take part in and create situations, which go far beyond the comfort zone. “Such experiences make LARPs an excellent tool to successfully battle your own weaknesses. This is true both for participants, who overcome themselves to assume a role, and for the represented characters, who overcome themselves to achieve their goals”, summed up Dominik Dembiński.

FICTITIOUS LOVE One of the initial challenges that LARP organisers had to deal with involved the way participants interacted, especially when portraying violence and love. “Today the list of standard solutions includes using safe words (red-yellow-green), which make it possible to define a certain permissible, impassable border and the players’ comfort zone without interrupting scenes”, explained Annika Olejarz, coordinator of this year’s KOLA LARP Conference. Some LARPs allow higher levels of physical violence, for example when playing the role of an apprentice undergoing witcher trials in The Witcher School. On the other hand, there is no reason to include scenes inspiring strong emotions in corporate events, where physical violence is punished by being excluded from a game. This sort of limitations does not have to be an obstacle as it opens up new possibilities for imagination and thinking outside the box. “As an example, to make a game more attractive I introduced cards which participants used to cast spells and charms on each other. However, even this solution constituted a risk of aggressive behaviour among players”, recalled Bogdan Wąsiel, Creative Director at the JETEVENTS agency. Corporate events based on LARPs continue to be few and far between. Just like the abovementioned Liveform, most associations specialise in staging non-profit events. A part of its team simultaneously works for the Turbolarp company, which focused on commercial work. Dziobak Larp Studios and the still active 5 Żywiołów event agencies we-

re among the few Polish organisations that actually earned their living by staging LARPs.

FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN LARPs, albeit present for many years, are rarely considered an effective brand experience tool. Although event marketing won the hearts of millions of clients, LARP-type activities seemingly continue to be side-lined, neglected by corporate customers. “Afraid of the unknown, customers expect spectacular, innovative solutions that would simultaneously be straightforward and would not require any of their own input. I get the impression that some of them are discouraged by the name itself. It is very difficult to explain what exactly a LARP is and all longer digressions on this subject matter risk that consumers will simply reject the whole concept”, commented Bogdan Wąsiel. LARP specialists even attempted to introduce a Polish name, which literally meant “theatrical role-playing game” and was proposed by Dr Jerzy Szeja, Chairman of Games Research Association of Poland. However, references to drama and simulation games might only scare away potential customers rather than encourage them. Another issue involves prices, with the costs of high-budget LARP productions reaching even several dozen thousand PLN per one participant. Naturally, much more affordable events are also available. “Poland features several destinations that are very well prepared to cooperate with LARP authors – I am thinking in particular about Krobielowice Palace, Czocha Castle and Moszna Castle. The venues in question have already grown accustomed to us and know how to deal with special requirements concerning catering or accommodation. Mention is also due to the so-called Fantasy Village, entirely constructed by LARP fans”, said Dominik Dembiński.

NICHE UP FOR GRABS The abovementioned theatrical character of LARPs makes it easy to adjust them to the needs of customers. Industry experts admit


THINK EVENT that not many other event formats offer similar opportunities. “Mostly because they generate such strong emotions, I believe LARPs to be one of the most effective tools from the viewpoint of conveying content and consumer’s contact with a brand. In addition, its scenario-based theatrical formula makes it possible to create any story that is required to accomplish the goal you set out for”, acknowledged Bogdan Wąsiel. The list of projects for customers representing the financial sector and illustrating the potential of LARPs includes the EVO HILLS integrated campaign implemented by JETEVENTS and the Black Monday game created by Exprofesso. The subject matter of the latter dealt with retaining talent in com-

panies and the whole event was intended to work out good practices, which were subsequently translated into business goals. “This type of undertakings confirms our belief that it is worth it to create and develop LARP projects. We continue to convince consumers that they should reach for such innovative tools, being deeply aware of their power and seeing a wide range of potential applications. This is our role as professionals – to notice issues affecting the market and look for effective ways of solving them. From this viewpoint, LARP projects are an unquestionably intriguing niche”, said Monika Dymacz-Kaczmarczyk, Managing Director at Exprofesso. Indeed, brands all over the world spend

millions so that their products make us feel as Hollywood stars – stunningly beautiful and free of complexes. They seize all marketing tools and cooperate with influencers and celebrities just so we indiscriminately believe their message. LARPs, on the other hand, offer much more than temporary exaltation inspired by buying a new watch promoted by the latest actor portraying James Bond. “We go one step further and make the potential consumer actually become the person he or she always dreamt of being. The value of LARPs most of all lies in real-life experiences, which make us more willing to decide that we really need the Bond watch”, summed up Dominik Dembiński.  Magda Klimczyk


Event name: EVO HILLS. Integrated campaign and strategic/team-building trip, Date: June-September 2018, Venue: eService seat in Warsaw, Ossa Congress & Spa hotel in Rawa Mazowiecka, Organiser: JETEVENTS, Customer: eService, Number of participants: 600 EVO HILLS is an innovative event aimed at a group of employees of a large company of key importance in its sector. The project’s strategic goal was to build integrity within EVO Group, with particular emphasis on boosting the engagement of employees and their identification with eService. The campaign consisted of operations carried out both in real-life and digital realm. The EVO HILLS concept was based on storytelling and included the creation of a story corresponding to motifs related to EVO Group’s key values. Referring to online events, more than ten ambient marketing meetings were staged in the company’s headquarters. Communication with participants also encompassed e-mails, voice messages and corporate bulletin articles. The project culminated in a strategic/team-building trip, whose main component focused on an outdoor game strictly connected with the story previously told for three months – the “defence” of the company’s values and clans against a hostile tribe.




Event name: The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Date: September 2018, project launched in 2016, Venue: Czocha Castle, Organiser: The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Number of participants: 120 The goal of the event is to propagate and continuously improve the global practice of experience design. Participants are subject to an extraordinary experience (the term “extraordinary” is key here as it triggers the process of personal transformation), based on three values: co-creation, rapid prototyping and flexible focus. The College takes advantage of not only LARP-inspired elements, but also draws from other areas, such as game design, psychology, sociology and storytelling. The five-day event’s character is different from standard conferences. Players themselves – well-known personalities representing art, business, design, education, event industry and cinema - create its scenario, sessions and learning space, all focused on an experience of immersion. The College of Extraordinary Experiences is intended to impact the way its participants think about their capabilities of designing unique experiences.

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IGUAZÚ FALLS – INCENTIVE IN THE HEART OF NATURE Iguazú Falls unquestionably belong to the natural wonders of the world. Thanks to their above-average tourist attractiveness, first-rate setting and high-quality infrastructure, they are also a perfect destination for staging MICE events. Clouds of mist, breath-taking views, small islands, tropical plants, exotic birds and animals. Located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazú Falls enchant with their sheer scope and beauty, guaranteeing a break from urban hustle and bustle in the very heart of tropical rainforest. Thanks to a wide range of opportunities for developing itineraries for groups, each year they attract growing numbers of MICE customers, virtually from all over the world.

NEW VENUES In this article we will focus mostly on presenting the Argentinian section of the waterfalls. Why is that? Because this is where you will find about 80% of the falls (or rather one large waterfall system, approx. 2 km in width and composed of close to 300 smaller falls, which explains the plural form). Obviously, this does not mean that Brazil is not worth visiting – in any case, most itineraries involve both sides of the border, with the two destinations collaborating with each other to make their offer increasingly attractive. Nevertheless, it is Argentina that offers tourists a chance to admire the most spectacular views, enjoy a greater number of highlights and truly

experience the force of nature (and get goosebumps, in the case of some visitors). Another essential issue involves infrastructure, which in Argentina will not only meet the expectations of business visitors, but also enthral them with its highly unique, avant-garde architecture and ambience. In the Argentinian city of Puerto Iguazú, new hotels began developing in about 2008, while their already operating counterparts were subject to thorough modernisation. The credit for this phenomenon to a large degree should be given to MICE customers, whose increased interest in


 Amerian Portal del Iguazu,, rooms: 103, conference


halls/event spaces: 3 (can be divided), max. capacity (theatre set-up): 200  Gran Meliá Iguazu,, rooms: 176, conference halls/event spaces: 3, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 600  Iguazu Grand Resort, Spa & Casino,, rooms: 134, conference halls/event spaces: 7 (can be divided), max. capacity (theatre set-up): 700  La Aldea de la Selva Lodge,, rooms: 30, conference halls/event spaces: 4, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 180  Loi Suites Iguazu Hotel,, rooms: 159, conference halls/event spaces: 5, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 400  Mercure Iguazu Hotel Iru,, rooms: 100, conference halls/event spaces: 5 (can be divided), max. capacity (theatre set-up): 300

the discussed destination acted as a driving force of this boom. The result is a great deal of new venues (a total of 50 hotels of different standards, with more than 9,000 beds), including a great selection of four-and five-star hotels blending into the surrounding jungle, luxury lodges and residences. Their development unanimously followed restrictive regulations intended to protect the natural environment. Guests can now admire the tropical rainforest teeming with life straight from their rooms or lodges. Planners will be certainly glad to learn that foreign tourists

 Panoramic Grand Hotel,, rooms: 91, conference

halls/event spaces: 3, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 300

 Raíces Esturion & Lodges,, rooms: 124, conference

halls/event spaces: 5, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 350

 Saint George Hotel,, rooms: 130, conference

halls/event spaces: 3, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 170

 Village Cataratas,, rooms: 80, conference halls/event

spaces: 2 (+ spacious outdoor area), max. capacity (theatre set-up): 200

 Falls Iguazu Hotel & Spa,, rooms: 95  Iguazu Jungle Lodge,, rooms: 35  Mérit Iguazu Hotel,, rooms: 87  Yvy Hotel de Selva,, rooms: 104

in Argentina can expect a VAT refund on hotel services at the impressive level of 21%.

AMIDST WATERFALLS Puerto Iguazú (similarly to Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu) is especially popular among incentive travel organisers. On the other hand, it increasingly often hosts conferences and congresses attracting greater numbers of participants. The customers of events of this kind have at their disposal several conference halls in hotels (see boxes for more details – Ed.) and a conference centre (Del Iguazu Events and Conventions Center), whose main hall will effortlessly host about 800 participants; it also features a spacious foyer, exhibition space, smaller conference rooms and function rooms, as well as a small movie theatre (for 70 audience members). In addition to the infrastructure, tourist services also deserve to be mentioned – several onsite DMCs offer intriguing group itineraries. Obviously, the waterfalls themselves constitute the essential must-see of each of them. It will take you a whole day (about 8h) to tour the Iguazú National Park (included on the UNESCO World Heritage list), which features several hiking trails and numerous terraces and platforms guaranteeing easy access to the waterfalls. An eco-friendly forest train drives tourists in the vicinity of the most important places. A visit to the largest Iguazú cascade, the so-called Devil’s Throat, is the high point of each trip. Furthermore, groups of MICE travellers are often interested in having a cocktail party or lunch on one of the viewing platforms, right next to the flowing masses of water (an event of this sort can even be arranged by the Devil’s Throat). Larger events are held i.a. in the La Selva restaurant in the park (capacity of 350). The list of highlights goes on. Five days a month (during the full moon), night walks by waterfalls (3h) allow exploring their entirely different, more mysterious side. A cruise on a fast boat close to the waterfalls and a safari trip into the surrounding jungle will enchant all thrill seekers (and get them completely soaked in the process). Many groups combine their stay in Argentina with a vi-

sit to the Brazilian side, where they can admire a panoramic view of the waterfalls. This is also where they will find the renowned Parque das Aves (Bird Park) and take a helicopter trip above Iguazú.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Although highly spectacular, the waterfalls are not the only attraction of the discussed region. The increased interest shown in arrivals to Puerto Iguazú inspired the city to start looking for an idea how to not only draw more MICE tourists, but also make them stay in the area for a longer period of time. Investments were made in new highlights intended to complement stays by the waterfalls and offer organisers more opportunities in the field of developing itineraries. Jungle-set sports and team-building activities are at the top of the list, along with watching birds and wild animals or visits in the villages of the Guarani, indigenous people of the discussed region. The latter are frequently combined with CSR undertakings and cultural programmes with the Guarani showing their music, dancing and customs. A cruise ship trip to the meeting point of the three borders is just as popular and features a noteworthy selection of entertainment and fun activities. If you are looking for a slightly different experience, pay a visit to Casino Iguazú, one of South America’s best-known venues of this kind (40 table games, more than 220 slot machines, a tournament room for 300 participants, a VIP lounge), or Duty Free Shop Puerto Iguazú of 10,000 m2. Events in the evening are usually staged in the La Aripuca theme park, a complex composed of several major constructions developed from fallen native trees. A nighttime visit to the park, combined with a light show, a concert of a Guarani choir and a bonfire certainly guarantees an intriguing experience. When visiting Puerto Iguazú you should also try out Argentinian wines and splendid cuisine, including regional dishes that act as a trademark of the Misiones province – i.a. river fish, tropical fruits and the ubiquitous yerba mate, used even to make ice cream.  Michał Kalarus

CONFERENCE AND EVENT VENUES (SELECTION):  Del Iguazu Events and Conventions Center,, conference halls/event spaces: 3, max. capacity (theatre set-up): 750  La Aripuca (theme park built of fallen trees),, onsite facilities: large outdoor area, indoor space for events, a barbecue shelter, available for thematic and role-playing games LOCAL DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (DMCS):  Caracol Internacional Viajes y Turismo,  Cuenca del Plata,  Iemanja Tourism,  Sol Iguazu Turismo, PRACTICAL INFORMATION: IGUAZU WATERFALLS  Country: Argentina (Puerto Iguazú), Brazil (Foz do Iguaçu)  Currency: Argentine peso – 1 ARS – about 0.86 PLN, Brazilian real – 1 BRL – about 0.95 PLN  How to get there: Puerto Iguazú is best reached by a plane with a layover in Buenos Aires (Aerolíneas Argentinas, Andes Líneas Aéreas, LATAM Airlines, Norwegian Air Argentina), and Foz do Iguaçu - by flying through Rio de Janeiro (GOL Airlines, LATAM Airlines). A drive from the two airports to both locations and waterfalls is quick and easy. KEY CYCLIC EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:  Iguazú in Concert, music festival, May/June (about 7 days),  Food festival, August (about 7 days)  Fair for crafts and handiwork from Mercosur member states, October (about 7 days),  Mercosur Dance Festival, September (4 days),



We have been interested in the MICE SECTOR for a long time Michał Kalarus sat down with Malvina Solis, Executive Manager at Iguazú Convention Bureau, to talk about the MICE industry development in Puerto Iguazú and what can business guests expect when visiting the destination. Iguazú Falls are one of the greatest tourist highlights of South America. How do you take advantage of their potential to attract both individual leisure travellers and MICE groups? The meetings industry is very important to us. We are well aware of the benefits it generates. We first started to record increased interest on the part of MICE customers about 15 years ago. I have in mind here mostly the arrivals of incentive groups, inspired by the specific character of our destination and its exceptional attractiveness from the viewpoint of tourism. Seeing an opportunity to draw even more events of this type, also including conferences and congresses, Puerto Iguazú undertook actions intended to promote the destination and, most of all, enhance its offer so that it matches the considerable requirements of business customers. Ever since then, numerous new high-class hotels emerged and feature event and conference facilities. The Del Iguazú Events and Conventions Center boasts capacity of 1,000 participants (in cocktail-style setup - Ed.). At the same time, an idea emerged to establish the Iguazú Convention Bureau, which I have the pleasure to represent. The Bureau was founded in 2011 with the support of Argentina’s National Institute for Tourism Promotion (INPROTOUR). First it associated 11 companies-founders and today it already has 31 members, virtually all prominent entities related to the MICE industry and operating in the region. We certainly cannot complain about a lack of knowledge and experience! What operations does Iguazú Convention Bureau undertake? First, we are a source of information, helping customers arrange events in our region. We boast the right knowledge, relations and know-how. We are also involved in numerous promotional enterprises. We showcase the Iguazú Falls, an unquestionable wonder of nature and a tourist magnet. Besides this absolute must-see, we do not forget about other attractions available in the area. Let me just mention the tropical rainforest surrounding the falls and inhabited by numerous exotic animal and plant species. There really are many options of spending time and developing diverse agendas for visiting groups.


What market representatives are the discussed promotional activities aimed at? As regards the MICE sector, Latin American markets are our priority along with guests from the U.S. and Europe. This explains why in recent years, as part of the national stand of Argentina, we exhibited our offer at all the most important trade shows dedicated to the meetings market in the world. I am referring here to, i.a. IBTM World, IBTM America, IMEX America, IMEX in Frankfurt, while last year we were also present at The Meetings Show in London. In addition, each year we travel to FIEXPO and ExpoEventos in South America. Furthermore, we staged presentations in Argentina’s embassies in Mexico, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Chile. Finally, we host fam trips, which most effectively demonstrate our potential and offer. In this manner each year we try to host about 20 professionals from the MICE industry.

How do you cooperate with your neighbours - Brazil and Paraguay? Are there are any joint projects? Perhaps you are working together on a tourist offer? Since the Iguazú Falls are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, they constitute our joint heritage. When working on tourist itineraries, also involving MICE guests, we try to arrange stays in the two countries. We cooperate with each other and involve Paraguay, which might not have direct access to the waterfalls but is virtually just round the corner. We discuss problems, analyse opportunities, together work on securing major events. For example, last year together with Brazil we staged a roadshow promoting our destinations in China. In this manner we visited Beijing, Wanzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong. You have mentioned problems… What constitutes the greatest obstacle in winning new customers and MICE events? South America is a large continent and its major tourist highlights are quite distant from each other. The inflow of tourists is somewhat hampered by the lack of a sufficient number of convenient flights that would not require stopovers. Fortunately, the situation is changing for the better. In the last three years the government of Argentina invested heavily in improving the air infrastructure in the whole country. Many airports are being renovated, and this list also includes the international Cataratas del Iguazú airport, currently refurbished. Many airlines started launching new connections, boosting the air traffic in Puerto Iguazú by 50%. In August we will also gain a direct flight to Madrid. Last but not least, the situation is improved by the fact that two other international airports - in Brazil and Paraguay - are near by. And what about safety? Indeed, this is an issue that tends to be problematic in South America. However, I can assure you that Puerto Iguazú is an exceptionally safe destination. With only about 60,000 residents, the city is a peaceful and hospitable tourist resort. Moreover, as many as five different security forces operate here because of the proximity of the two borders. They cooperate with each other, controlling traffic between all involved countries. Our neighbours have slightly more complex problems as both the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu and the Paraguayan town Ciudad del Este are much larger. Nevertheless, they are also doing fine.





Stadiums usually bring to mind venues hosting sporting events and concerts. Still, there is more to PGE Narodowy stadium, which also hosts numerous conferences, congresses, trade shows and other business events – a total of approx. 300 events each year. All of this thanks to the fact that besides its fundamental role, that of an official arena of Poland’s national football team, the venue also acts as a major conference and business centre. The largest stadium in Poland, and one of the largest venues of its kind in the whole of Europe, was launched before the 2012 UEFA European Championship. It did not take long until it became a landmark of Warsaw and its seminal tourist attraction. The latter status makes it one of the most popular and simultaneously prestigious venues in the capital. Its distinctive white-and-red facade has already become a regular feature of the city’s landscape. Each year more than two million

guests visit PGE Narodowy stadium. This is where, in addition to a wide range of sporting events, you will also find such key events as, i.a. COP19 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) and the NATO summit, accompanied by a series of smaller but just as significant meetings.

ARENA AMIDST GREENERY The stadium’s exceptional character is evident in many respects. It was established in the very centre of Warsaw, by the Vistula, surrounded by a park and historical bridges. Furthermore, it boasts an intriguing backstory as a track and field stadium once used the same grounds. Some of its fragments, such as sculptures of track and field athletes or the characteristic stone entrance gates have been composed into PGE Narodowy stadium’s modern structure, further boosting its original character. The interiors are also quite

unusual, as we are dealing with a mixed-use venue, which besides a sporting arena also houses office space and conference rooms. Editorial team of THINK MICE is among the many companies and institutions seated here. The Business Club hosts many MICE events and B2B meetings. Its setting – in the stadium’s upper section – offers a breath-taking panorama of both Warsaw and the pitch. What is more, it can easily be transformed into a comfortable zone dedicated to events, congresses and conferences. The stands and a part of the stadium’s promenade can be applied as a relaxation area for meeting participants. In addition to ceremonious galas and business conferences, on numerous occasions it has hosted book fairs, fashion shows, exhibitions of sporting equipment, as well as prestigious Gold zones during sporting events. The PGE Narodowy stadium's conference

centre features six mixed-use rooms with total capacity of up to 2,000 participants. The centre is distinguished by opportunities usually not available in venues of this kind. Already the fact that business events are held in a stadium, a place that brings to mind sporting and musical thrills, constitutes a huge highlight for invited guests. They are also highly impressed by the space that can be arranged in a wide variety of ways. Below the stands you will find three conference rooms: Paris, London and Barcelona. The rooms are spacious and can be additionally divided into smaller areas. Daylight access contributes to guaranteeing a comfortable experience for all meeting participants. All the rooms have access to Wi-Fi and the Digital Signage system. The rooms’ offer is complemented by a considerably-sized foyer that can play the role of a registration zone or an exhibition or catering area. Organisers also favour business lounges, of which there are as many as 62. They are aimed not only at staging business events or all types of ceremonies, but also as a comfortable space for spending time during concerts or sporting events held in the stadium. Furthermore, PGE Narodowy stadium also offers its clients a chance to rent the pitch area. Concerts, trade shows, a car launch or an ice rink are only some of the examples on the long list of available types of events. In the case of colder months, a tent hall can be effortlessly set up on the pitch to host meeting participants. Finally, the discussed comprehensive offer is also complemented by a trade fair centre known as the Gallery. With an area of more than 3,000 m2, an original two-level structure and movable walls, it can be arranged in a wide variety of ways. Guests enter it by means of a musichall staircase.

PROMENADE AND STANDS The Warsaw stadium also features less typical areas available for rental and highly novel arrangements. In their case imagination of the organisers is the only limit. In this ca-

tegory, mention is due to a roofed internal promenade surrounding the stadium’s pitch. Warsaw Book Fair is among the events staged therein. The promenade is recommended for everyone looking for a place with an intriguing view. Business or cultural events can also be set in the stands while VIP lounges and cloakrooms are a great choice for organisers of smaller events and meetings. But wait, there is more! The stadium has at its disposal a screening room, a spacious entrance hall and an extensive external area, which also hosts numerous events.

ADDITIONAL ADVANTAGES The setting of PGE Narodowy stadium constitutes its major asset, since the stadium is located in proximity to Warsaw’s downtown. It is well connected thanks to the availability of the subway, the fast city rail and numerous tram routes. It is only 12 km away from the international Fryderyk Chopin airport (the fast city rail will take you there). The near-by Warszawa Wschodnia railway station offers connections with numerous cities not only in Poland, but also throughout Europe. An extensive underground parking lot has capacity of 1,900 vehicles and is remarkably helpful for all guests arriving by car. Furthermore, organisers of business events held in PGE Narodowy stadium can expect professional support on the part of the venue’s staff boasting vast experience in arranging even the most spectacular events. Importantly, the stadium offers not only space and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, but also security options and assistance in the development of events. A dedicated event manager supervises the course and production of each event. It goes without saying that PGE Narodowy stadium is a venue that stirs up strong and positive emotions. This choice guarantees the prestigious character of your event. And let us not forget about an additional highlight in the form of a tour of the stadium.  Łukasz Kuś


204,000 m2 – total area of the venue 58,274 – seating capacity BUSINESS CLUB: Area: 3,200 m2 Capacity: 2,600 CONFERENCE CENTRE: Area: 4,262 m2 Capacity: 1,920

CONTACT FOR ORGANISERS PGE Narodowy Al. Ks. J. Poniatowskiego 1 03-901 Warszawa


tel.: +48 22 295 95 55 e-mail:




Multifunctionality is our strength PGE Narodowy stadium is not only a stadium, but also a business-conference centre operating all year round. We talk with Alicja Omięcka, Head of the Board with PL. 2012+, PGE Narodowy stadium's operator, about the options of staging business events in the surrounding of a sports arena. PGE Narodowy stadium hosts numerous congresses and business events. What makes the stadium stand out amidst other conference venues in Warsaw? The conference and congress market in Poland has greatly developed over the past few years. This is certainly a positive trend that inspires us to act. First, PGE Narodowy stadium simply offers other opportunities than hotels and standard congress centre. Multifunctionality is our strength. Business meetings are staged in a unique surrounding of a sporting venue classified in the supreme group of UEFA Elite Stadiums. In a place that hosts winners. All events in our venue - football matches, volleyball games, speedway competitions, concerts of world-famous musicians - act as a great background for and, sometimes, also a pretext to hold business meetings allowing participants to establish and cultivate long-lasting relations. Our know-how guarantees comprehensive services at the highest level. We care about the business needs of our guests, develop tailormade offers specially for them and in this way help them grow their business.


What specific opportunities does PGE Narodowy stadium offer event organisers? One-of-a-kind area, excellent setting, high-quality services, customisation and a flexible approach to relations - the essential qualities sought by meeting planners are precisely what PGE Narodowy stadium offers. Our arena is a monumental venue, whose combined cubature amounts to more than 1 million cubic metres. Obviously, the concrete heated pitch surrounded by 58,000 seats in the stands constitutes the heart of PGE Narodowy stadium. However, this area is not only used for football games or concerts by top bands. The same pitch was also applied for hosting groundbreaking talks during the NATO summit or COP-19. This is also where speeches were given during a session of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Specially for the purposes of the events in question, we set up modern and comfortable halls to host key politicians and economic experts. Our standard offer aimed at the purposes of business events involves Warsaw’s largest conference centre and a Gallery of 3,200 m2, whose one-of-a-kind twolevel structure is perfect for, e.g. trade fairs, conferences and exhibitions for more than 2,000 guests. We also do not forget about smaller business meetings, to which we dedicate 62 business lounges and numerous non-standard areas. Finally, perhaps not everyone knows that PGE Narodowy stadium is also a

substantial office building. We have more than 10,000 m2 of commercial area with seats of several dozen companies. What type of support can the organisers expect? In 2018 our conference centre, Business Club, Gallery and VIP lounges hosted close to 300 events attended by more than 200,000 participants. The inclusion of PGE Narodowy stadium's address on an invitation has already become a guarantee of a successful evening. After all, experienced practitioners representing the meetings and events industry are perfectly aware of the crucial role played by setting. It decides about the success of an undertaking and shapes the opinion among its participants. We boast a strong potential. For each customer we create a unique offer, because we bring our know-how into every project. One of the most advanced mixed-use arenas in Europe, each year hosting hundreds of events, is by definition a place where innovative solutions are tested in the area of, i.a. customer service, security and protection, as well as mobility. We provide organisers with not only an area, but also security measures and assistance in the development of its each stage. The experience of our personnel guarantees comprehensive event services at the highest level possible, while their professional approach and dedication inspire us to keep raising the bar even higher and create an exceptional team. Importantly, we also provide comprehensive transportation support. Mention is definitely due to the fact that we boast a highly convenient setting and a one-of-a-kind infrastructure, including one of Warsaw’s largest underground parking lots.




Just like the events organised by the Jack Morton team (which we shall discuss in greater detail later on), Caspar Mason immediately attracted my attention. The veristic character of articles published by the protagonist of our profile, whose subject matter comprehensively discusses issues related to artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the marketing community, simultaneously reinforces the anxiety and hope that accompany contemplations about near future. The acuteness of Caspar Mason’s inquiries goes further, i.a. to news about creative solutions, such as an innovative system of notifying blood donors in Sweden, a blunder made by a ketchup manufacturer or successive attempts at defining the profile of millennialls, the most complicated and diverse social group. All of these writings are based on credible literature, with each article referring to it like a palimpsest and even – not avoiding a dispute – openly entering into a discussion with it. When presenting the style and subject matter of Mason’s publications it is thus impossible to overlook the many titles of frequently influential magazines, reports and white papers – CNN, Jack Morton, PwC, Forbes – whose fragments are concisely quoted by the author in a form bordering between an essay and a short feuilleton, and which he willingly shares with the readers of his blog, always leaving a hyperlink to the source text as a distinctive feature of his style. The list of his watermarks also involves diligence, the transparency mentioned above and the lightness with which the Jack Morton agency author formulates his thoughts that, similarly to puzzle pieces, one by one,

create a full picture of an engaging story. Nevertheless, this is only a part of what Caspar Mason does. A lion’s share of his accomplishments result from work as a creative strategy director at the agency Jack Morton, where high quality, style and the ability of developing staffage or what is known as “storytelling” among creative agencies also act as the trademarks of our protagonist in the field of marketing. His contributions to the industry, as part of great teams, are best demonstrated by numerous awards and an entry in Guinness World Records recognising the Tree O’Clock project staged under the auspices of the BBC. In 2010 more than 500,000 trees were planted in only one day. “Tree O’Clock taught me the power of a simple, clear idea. I had the idea in the pub with a colleague and, partly due to its simplicity, it snowballed to become a Guinness World Record”, explains Caspar Mason.

Time for creativity In Jack Morton, from his position in the strategy department, immersed in the reality of content, social and experiential marketing, through the lens of his years of experience, Caspar Mason daily works across current projects. At the same time, he takes a curious look at phenomena beyond standard life patterns, in search of fresh thoughts and novel solutions. The diversity of the issues raised, examined – as if in a panopticon – from all angles and investigated multiple times in Mason’s imagination – is growing along with the agency’s


PROFILE popularity, in which he plays a small but effective role. Leading global brands, such as Google, Jameson, Wella and many others that have collaborated with Jack Morton, take advantage of this approach. The thematic scope of simultaneously investigated issues spans across numerous, often incongruent, fields: from helping brands make sense of live music and festivals, to helping brands find a role in SXSW, the world’s leading digital festival. All of this first has to fit inside a single mind and take on a relevant meaning so that later on the team can transform it into an appropriate creative response. “So it certainly keeps things fresh. In terms of my own way of working, I am a reflective thinker. I like to go away and mull things over, rather than operating purely on gut instinct. Although sometimes there is no time for that, and gut instinct is the way to go”, explains Mason. In other words, the “creative” part in his job title means he must combine free-flowing creative thinking to come up with ideas with discipline and – indispensable in this profession – precision in formulating thoughts and selection of solutions appropriate for available time limits. Our protagonist emphasizes that “it is self-evident that creativity is everywhere, and can be expressed in infinite different ways and fields. But when you have ‘Creative’ in your title, you need the discipline to apply a certain type of creativity when and where it is needed”.

“Why would anyone be interested in it?”


According to Mason, this is a question that customers pose very often. “Usually the biggest problem is getting people’s attention, attracting their interest and inspiring them to do something. If you can do that, you are a very good marketer”. From this perspective Jack Morton is an absolutely exceptional agency. In 2018 alone it was recognised almost 250 times for its operations in brand experience but, importantly, not limited to it. A symbol of quality ever since its establishment 80 years ago, it creates innovative brand experinces for many of the world’s leading brands, while ensuring that consumers and customers are inspired, engaged and entertained. “Clients are paying us to generate interest for them and their business. This means trying to galvanise action in support of something – the bigger and more relevant to people’s lives you can make it, the better”. Responsibility grows along with the number of reference points additionally defining the core of a company’s self-awareness shaped over the years. This is a derivative of earlier projects, which made it possible to transfigure innate abilities and acquired skills into confidence that a taken up assignment can be completed in accordance with the best practices. On the one hand, to develop flagship campaigns you need to get to know your client, and on the other hand – define the ideal that a company is striving towards. A company that has clear goals treats its employees and clients alike, knowing that what you do within your teams is as important as

what you do for and with your clients and can help make the world a better a place – this is Caspar Mason’s definition. He was learning both these things for close to a decade before joining Jack Morton.

Eight years with BBC and pd3 pirates While his career began working for Oxford University Press, it was not long before, rather accidentally as he admits, Mason found himself with the BBC. This is where he grasped the pressure that people working for major corporations have to deal with on an everyday basis. The same corporations with which later he was working on projects as Jack Morton’s Creative Strategy Director. Nevertheless, he started by simply listening and learning. The chance to understand someone else’s history as your own personal experience to a large degree depends on the story’s narrator and does not always mean that the mediated experience will end with a happy smile. As Mason recalls, all types of stories surrounded him at the BBC: via radio, TV or in the form of narration-based enterprises. People’s War, an oral history project, had a profound effect on his worldview and taught him lessons he remembers to this day. This is how he remembers meeting war veterans and other survivors of the horrors of World War II: “People’s War, based on people’s World War II stories, was amazing and humbling. I will never forget the mixture of bravery, humour and humility that those people showed in extraordinary times, and ever since then I have been profoundly grateful to live in peacetime and greatly value the safety and stability which the European Union provides. I wish those Brexit supporters who are so keen to leave the Union could have spoken to some of the people I did (including a 106-year-old World War I veteran)”. At the BBC he also held various other jobs: an event producer, a campaign manager, as well as a development producer, a position that can be compared to strategy & creative in creative agencies. Nevertheless, he kept searching and eventually joined the crew of pd3, which Mason describes as a pirate ship sailing a sea filled with larger and more recognised agencies. This is where he came up with the social campaign for Thinking of Katie, a project for the O2 mobile network operator. Mason recalls that he thought it up during a job interview as a way of communicating the company’s Thinking of You brand positioning. In other words, the undertaking was aimed at shaping the brand’s concrete image among potential customers. During a concert by British singer and rapper Tinie Tempah successive crowd members kept spontaneously disappearing in a flash exit until the event transformed into a private concert for Katie, a selected super-fan. The event was then aired by a state-owned broadcaster as an advertisement during Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals and was viewed more than 800,000 times on YouTube. Finally, the campaign received widespread media coverage across channels, such as The Sun, Capital FM and MTV. This remarkable accomplishment, to

CASPAR MASON Creative Strategy Director at the global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide, Mason collaborated with companies such as Google, BBC, Kodak, Jameson and Wella. Recipient of numerous awards, such as Grand Prix, Game Changer and Best B2C Event recognising the Desperados Sky Fest, Consumer & Media Event of the Year for Google Curiosity Rooms, as well as Marketing Week Engage Award Best Experiential Marketing Campaign 2012 for the Thinking of Katie campaign. Author of numerous publications on marketing, artificial intelligence and new technologies. A speaker at key industry events, including Eurobest, IBTM, RSVP and MIS. A guest lecturer at University of Greenwich and London’s South Bank University. Advisory board member with City Harvest London, an organisation distributing surplus food to the needy.

which Mason contributed, allowed the pd3 agency to proudly set sail for the sea of the global advertising industry.

Events and their organisers An event is something that stands out from the monotony of everyday existence – a moment that has some meaning to it and, when happens, begs you to remain in the most uncomfortable position. In such situations we say that something, an event has happened. Everything starts with a thought that, concentrated in a state of matter, transforms into an action… In light of the experience he gained by implementing tasks, holding conversations and gaining insight into emotions, in September 2018 Mason’s career reached an advent of entirely new quality in staging events. I am talking about the “Deep House” in Venice, an event with truly no peers in the marketing sector. A club was staged in a pool holding 4.3 million litres of water at a depth of 42 metres. Peggy Gou and DJ Artwork performed behind the decks for more than 400 participants, who quite literally became immersed in the sensations guaranteed by the team working for the Desperados brand. The commentary by Diederik Vos, Global Brand Director at Desperados, speaks for itself: “Desperados are experts in curating events that push the boundaries of wild experimentation, innovation and fun. With ever-evolving

party trends, it is great to be able to show how any place, no matter how unusual, can be turned into a dance floor and to prove that unique experiences have a positive effect on people. With our events we are giving our fans a new way to party”. You might ask why anyone would invest in staging an event in the world’s deepest pool, mostly to provide its participants with priceless moments. After all, no one is forced to submerge to a depth of more than 40 metres. And yet. It was only later that it became obvious what an exceptional moment it was, taken out from a series of other moments, not only for marketing purposes. This is why it is so important to consider things that so far have not been created. To be responsible for things that otherwise might never be developed or simply would vanish in the abundance of everyday duties. For this reason alone it is worth it to make an effort and start working on things that up to now no one has come up with - just like the protagonist of our profile believes and does. Regardless of whether we are talking about writing industry publications, planting trees or staging underwater events, everything that Caspar Mason is doing is connected by a very human-centred approach, which he cares about first and foremost. Naturally, he is focused on remembering that there are people at the heart of every brand experience created by the Jack Morton Worldwide.  Tomasz Nowak



AQUILA NON CAPIT MUSCAS – the eagle does not catch flies Is it not true that everyone dreams about being an eagle and learning how to fly, even if just for one day? About setting your body and mind free so that a by definition sedentary species could turn partially migratory? Importantly, we know that eagles prey mainly on fish, waterfowl, sometimes carrion. However, we can be pretty sure that lies are not on its menu.


Let us start from the beginning and define the proverbial fly and the eagle. IMEX America 2019 is ahead of us – the latest edition of the prestigious exhibition, an exchange of concepts, bilateral meetings and innumerable cocktail parties. The eagle nests high in the tops of tall trees, on branches near the trunk or on ledges of rocky cliffs. In other words, rather noble, but also demanding places. Major players also meet where they should be seen, for example, in Las Vegas. However, if you are planning to attend and showcase yourself, it is highly recommended that you are as strong as an eagle. This precisely is the goal that global associations are focused on in the months to come. Back in 2018 the Global MICE Collaborative was launched at IMEX America. According to the President of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), “The Global MICE Collaborative will be the world's first comprehensive community for Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) professionals”. It was made possible by three global organisations coming together – the abovementioned MPI, International Association for Events and Exhibitions (IAEE) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE). In this way they provided professional resources on educating, developing and transforming the MICE community worldwide. This is important to note because many destinations investing in the MICE infrastructure lack the knowledge to guarantee

world-class experiences. The Global MICE Collaborative, on the other hand, offers five ways to workforce development:  Professional competencies: education and certification to develop the workforce and advance the professionalism of the industry.  Live events: bringing MICE professionals together in “experiences that inspire, energise and provide ongoing professional development and business exchanges”.  Peer-to-peer engagement: creating a community for MICE professionals and their collaborators.  Destination consulting: providing consultation, education and market research enabling destination marketing organisations to accomplish success  Research: delivering trend-reporting and pan-industry initiatives to bring awareness of the value of the MICE industry. To play with the big boys you need to focus on key customers, most important contracts and showcase the strength of your organisation. To be an eagle in a given field and continue to develop in this direction. This is also why the Global MICE Collaborative was founded in the first place. MPI, SITE and IAEE believe that listening to stronger contenders pays off especially when building new initiatives in particular destinations. Together they can provide not only knowledge and experience, but also develop the me-

etings industry by directly engaging its members.

AUDENTES FORTUNA IUVAT – FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD You can achieve more if you work together. Another example of this approach is provided by cooperation of Destinations International (DI) and Professional Conference Management Association (PCMA), which announced a joint venture for Destination Showcase, an annual meeting connecting business events organisers with CVBs (convention and visitors bureaux). The project is intended to coordinate and secure even more events for particular involved destinations. The Showcase has been an important programme run by Destinations International and North America’s only one-day event to connect meeting planners with CVBs so the former can better understand how the latter are the key to making events successful. The new venture with PCMA will certainly further enhance Destination Showcase’s impact both to meeting planners and destination organisations. “The joint undertaking with PCMA will truly elevate the value of Destination Showcase for the planner community and DI members”, commented Don Welsh, President of Destinations International. “This cooperation fulfils a vision of bringing together the education PCMA is known for with the important commerce opportunities Destinations International provides”, added Sherrif

INSPIRATIONS Karamat, President of PCMA. A crucial element of each cooperation involves choosing a right destination. This is an important stage since fortune favours the bold as long as the latter create convenient conditions for development and self-fulfilment. In this case, Washington was selected as the global headquarters of DI and many other associations and corporations. As a result, it is the ideal platform for business events organisers and all types of suppliers of services aimed at the meetings industry. Destination Showcase partners paid attention to the fact that CVBs connect unique attributes of destinations to elevate the event experience, source local leaders and help evaluate a meeting’s economic impact and success. Destination Showcase 2020 is expected to launch several novel and exciting elements. The organisers announce, however, that they are not planning to follow it with successive major redesign. Instead, they will focus on getting audience engaged and showcase innovations in the marketplace. The synergy co-created by PCMA and DI is worth analysing, especially in the context of the development of organisations connected with the market of North America. After all, DI is a global community of over 5,000 professionals from nearly 600 destinations around the world. PCMA, meanwhile, in recent years symptomatically placed emphasis on the development of education, a move appreciated not only by its members, but virtually all professionals connected with the industry.

ACTUM NE AGAS – NEVER DO WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE Among initiatives demonstrating global consolidation, the Incentive Travel Industry Index (ITII) project involves three associations connected with incentive events and employee management. Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP), Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) decided that they will not be working on three diffe-

rent research projects, but rather focus on a single index. The consolidated study is at once a historical snapshot of where the industry has come from and a predictive hypothesis of where it is going. For the next three years, that is until 2021, the organisation will be partnering with Oxford Economics, a research company well known to global incentive travel professionals for its extensive work with the Event Industry Council (EIC), US Travel Association and Meetings Mean Business coalition. The first results of the joint study on the global incentive travel were presented already last year. This was a breakthrough for the industry, providing an unprecedented and consolidated insight in the current condition of incentive travels and pointing out the direction that they should follow. Conducted in association with J. D. Power, the initiative is a wide-ranging analysis of business conditions, attitudes and expectations impacting the incentive travel and motivational events industry worldwide. With more than 1,000 respondents from more than 80 countries, this was the largest survey ever to be conducted among senior players in the incentive travel sector. This year’s outcome will probably demonstrate the industry’s developments and draw attention to the latest trends. The example of cooperation between three organisations related to incentive travel shows the potentially crucial role of the consolidation of operations

in an experienced market and how the joint strength of three key players can generate a force aimed at solidifying a given market segment.

ABSENS CARENS – THE ABSENT GETS NOTHING Is it not true that everyone dreams about being an eagle and learning how to fly, even if just for one day? About feasting after successful hunting? It so happens that hunting eagles usually secure bountiful prey. Those who do not participate in hunting parties of this kind are shooting themselves in the foot. The absent, since this is who we are talking about, unfortunately have no voice. The lasting impression that I would like to leave with you this time is the fact that global players such as MPI, SITE, FICP, ICEE, DI or IRF cooperate with each other. They act under a single umbrella, search for solutions that would give more potential of development and securing new partners. Since global associations can do this, I am sure that local organisations and chambers of commerce can follow suit, together with us, local community members and activists operating within them. You can achieve more if you work together. Aquila non capit muscas – together it is worth hunting for business that will provide us with a lot of satisfaction and joy.  Krzysztof Celuch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR DR KRZYSZTOF CELUCH is a speaker, an academic lecturer, an entrepreneur and certified trainer (CMM, CITE, CIS, HMCC, CED). His company Celuch Consulting specializes in the meetings industry and event marketing helping organizations in a journey from content to impact. Head of the Poland Convention Bureau Polish Tourist Organization (2009-2017). Krzysztof gained professional experience by working in convention bureaus, being involved in international associations and organisations, as well as by conducting scientific research. As a lecturer he cooperates with, i.a. San Diego State University, Skema Business School and several Polish universities. He is an author of articles and books dedicated to the meetings industry, reports and research projects, including The Economic Impact of Poland's Meetings Industry. Finally, Krzysztof has been distinguished by numerous international awards and distinctions, i.a. MPI Rise Award, Events Industry Council Pacesetter Award and, presented by the Ministry of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Poland, the honorary distinction "For contributions to tourism".



ICCA RANKING: NUMBER OF EVENTS CONTINUES TO GROW ICCA Statistics Report 2018, the latest ranking compiled by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), was published in May. Together with a similar publication prepared by Union of International Associations (UIA), the ICCA ranking is considered to be among the world’s most important reports of its kind. Based on the number of association meetings staged in the past year, the annual statistics record only meetings that are held on a regular basis, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants and rotate between at least three countries. ICCA Statistics Report 2018, the latest edition published on 13 May, captured a total of 12,937 association meetings of all kinds, the highest annual figure ever recorded by ICCA (379 more than

in the same time in 2017 and as many as 725 more than in 2016). According to report’s authors, this signals a strong and robust trajectory of the global meetings industry.

TOP CITIES After losing to Barcelona last year, Paris climbed to the top of the ranking of cities favoured by organisers of association meetings, with a landslide margin of 40 events above second place holder Vienna. Compared with earlier figures, the number of meetings clearly grew in Paris (from 190 to 212) and dropped in Vienna (to 172). The third spot was secu-


U.S. (number of meetings in 2018 – 947) Germany (642) Spain (595) France (579) United Kingdom (574) Italy (522) Japan (492) China (449) Netherlands (355) Canada (315)

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Portugal (306) South Korea (273) Australia (265) Sweden (257) Belgium (252) Austria (240) Brazil (233) Argentina (232) Poland (211) Switzerland (208)



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Paris (number of meetings in 2018 – 212) Vienna (172) Madrid (165) Barcelona (163) Berlin (162) Lisbon (152) London (150) Singapore (145) Prague (136) Bangkok (135)

11. 12. 13. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Buenos Aires (133) Hong Kong (129) Amsterdam/Tokyo (123) Seoul (122) Copenhagen (120) Brussels (112) Dublin (104) Stockholm (103) Budapest/Taipei (100)

red by Madrid, which entered the top five for the first time since 2015. Falling to a somewhat disappointing fourth place, last year’s winner Barcelona recorded 32 events fewer than in 2017. London, Prague, Berlin, Singapore and Lisbon all traded places but retained their position among top ten destinations. Bangkok joined the prestigious group rising from 17th position, knocking down Seoul, which eventually fell to 15th place.

NO CHANGES AMONG LEADERS The ranking of the world’s top conference countries is distinguished by fewer changes (at least among its leaders). The U. S. has remained in the top spot for many years now, followed by Germany. Spain and France overtook United Kingdom and secured third and fourth spot, respectively, with the U. K. dropping to fifth place. Italy and Canada performed slightly worse, while the Netherlands fared better. China and Japan remained in their place for another year.

POLAND’S GLOBAL RANKING PERFORMANCE With 211 meetings, Poland was ranked 19th in the world and 11th in Europe (the best position among all countries representing the region of Central and Eastern Europe). Warsaw once again recorded the highest score among Polish cities and secured 29th spot among 409 contestants. Other noteworthy Polish competitors included Kraków (45th position), followed by Poznań (120th), Wrocław (180th), as well as Gdańsk and Łódź. MK


UIA: NEW LEADERS AND ADDITIONAL RANKINGS According to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report by Union of International Associations (UIA), Singapore is the favourite destination of organisers of conferences and congresses. The publication’s 60th edition is marked with the inclusion of several new analyses. This year’s report discusses 453,139 meetings (18,853 more than last year), with the arrival of a new leader as its most important finding. After two years at the top South Korea had to give way to Singapore.

The largest number of events continues to be staged in Europe and Asia - according to UIA, the two continents host 83% of all meetings held in the world (48% and 35%, respectively). Classified together, South and

North Americas are also doing fine (11%), albeit the U.S. acts as their main driving force. Africa (with RSA as its key player) and Australia lag behind and managed to capture 3% of market share each.

GLOBAL RESHUFFLE Singapore climbed from the third spot, pushing down South Korea and Belgium, which slipped one spot to, respectively, second and third position. Ranked just outside the top three, the U.S. might have improved upon its last year’s figures (both as regards classification and recorded number of meetings) but still failed to recapture the top spot, which it lost two years ago. The top ten also featured Japan, Austria, France, Spain and Germany, while Thailand was superseded by the United Kingdom making a comeback to the group of most in-demand destinations. In the category of cities most often selected by organisers of conferences and congresses there were no changes in the first three spots, with Singapore (classified both as a country and a city), Brussels and Seoul coming out on top. However, it is worth mentioning that while the number of events in Singapore impressively grew by 375 (from 802 to 1,177), dropping numbers were recorded by both Brussels and Seoul (24 and 208 events, respectively). Vienna, Tokyo, Paris and Geneva were next on the list, with Madrid, London and Barcelona replacing Bangkok, Berlin and Busan in the top ten.

UIA RANKING – MOST POPULAR MEETINGS (TYPE A) Country, number of meetings in 2018 1. Singapore – 1,177 meetings 2. South Korea – 854 meetings 3. Belgium – 849 meetings 4. U.S. – 592 meetings 5. Japan – 579 meetings

6. Austria – 472 meetings 7. France – 455 meetings 8. Spain – 441 meetings 9. United Kingdom – 329 meetings 10. Germany – 296 meetings

UIA RANKING – MOST POPULAR CITIES (TYPE A) City, number of meetings in 2018 1. Singapore – 1,177 meetings 2. Brussels – 733 meetings 3. Seoul – 431 meetings 4. Vienna – 401 meetings 5. Tokyo – 313 meetings

6. Paris – 259 meetings 7. Madrid – 190 meetings 8. London – 183 meetings 9. Barcelona – 148 meetings 10. Geneva – 145 meetings Source: UIA/International Meetings Statistics Report


REPORT TWO DECADES UNDER SCRUTINY In addition to the list of top cities and countries attracting conferences and congresses, the latest UIA report includes a wide range of other noteworthy market information. To celebrate the 60th edition, a ranking was compiled of most popular destinations (countries and cities) from 1998 to 2018. The U.S. remains on top, but the most popular city award went to Singapore, just like this year. The Albanian city of Tirana was recognised for the highest average annual growth rate in the 1999-2018 period (102%). Barcelona hosted the highest number of total meeting participants over the last twenty years (over 2.6 million attendees in total). Analysing other trends related to event settings, it should be mentioned that while Europe continues to be the place to be, the significance of Asian

destinations is each year dynamically growing. Only twenty years ago not a single non-European city was ranked in the top ten. Today as many as three Asian cities placed in the top five. The report’s authors also draw attention to another phenomenon – while the number of events is systematically on the rise, as a rule they are shorter and gather a smaller number of participants.

COMPLEX METHODOLOGY Compiled by UIA, the International Meetings Statistics Report is regarded as one of the most important documents examining the global market of conferences and congresses organised by associations. Referring to meetings that have taken place in the preceding year, its statistics are based on two sources – the International Congress Calendar and the Yearbook of International Organizations. The meetings are divided into three

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types – A, B and C. All data discussed in the text refer to the key type A consisting of conferences and congresses of an international character. Last year an additional criterion involved the number of participants (at least 50 or unknown), but starting with this year this particular condition was eliminated. All events have to be organised by an institution or an association listed in the Yearbook of International Organisations. The full version of the latest edition of the International Meetings Statistics Report is currently available exclusively for UIA members. In September it will made available to the general public for purchase for 1,122 Euro (PDF file) or 1,380 Euro (print). Promotional rates are available in case of orders made before September 1st – 898 Euro (PDF) and 1,174 Euro (print).  Michał Kalarus

Profile for THINK MICE


THINK MICE INTERNATIONAL EDITION is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, con...


THINK MICE INTERNATIONAL EDITION is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, con...

Profile for thinkmice