“How can the meetings and events industry most effectively contribute to the development of regions and cities in a world environment where globalisation, urbanisation and the free movement of people are changing the structure of society and the way we live?”
That was the crucial question at the heart of the debate at the 15th annual IMEX Politicians Forum where more than 30 politicians and policy makers from around the world met with 80 industry leaders during IMEX in Frankfurt 2017.
An incisive summary report by Rod Cameron, Executive Director of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) summarising the proceedings and conclusions is now available to download here.
The report distils the many thought-provoking contributions of keynote speaker, cities expert Professor Greg Clark. He describes the importance of the next 30 years in our evolution as populations move into cities across the world; how meetings can bring vital new business to cities and regions but also how much of this potential remains unfulfilled because of a ‘partnership gap’ between the meetings and events industry and those who run cities and regions.
Whole government strategy is a must
It also reveals that during the Forum’s National Government Discussion, politicians and policymakers recognised that building a ‘whole government ‘strategy will help avoid fragmentation and maximise potential benefits from meetings - also that building capacity and skills (not just infrastructure) is important.
Among the key points raised in the Forum’s Local /Regional Discussion were the importance of being able to show measurable benefits, particularly in areas such as jobs, and the value of creating local networks among government agencies with local academics, professional and business leaders.
The role of the meetings industry in advancing city success
The report also describes how the Open Forum Exchange, led by Professor Greg Clark, brought together all the delegates. The key areas of discussion were the impact of populism and anti-globalisation, the respective roles of nations and cities in economic development, cities and the shared economy, the role of the meetings industry in advancing city success and finally the city government/ meetings industry interface.
Meetings have a bigger role than ever
The overall conclusions of an engaging day were that the meetings industry has a critical role to play in addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with urbanisation and urban transition but this role is being limited by a lack of appreciation for how governments can utilise the industry to its advantage. Specific initiatives should be undertaken to improve this interface to mutual advantage based on collaboration, enhanced communications and well-documented evidence of industry benefits.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX said; “Rod Cameron’s report is an excellent summary of the elevated contributions this year. They typify the important discussions at the IMEX Politicians Forum over the years that have helped this industry make significant progress in building appreciation at the highest level of government around the world.”
The IMEX Politicians Forum is organised in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), European Cities Marketing (ECM), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) under the auspices of the Joint Meetings Industry Council.