I have just returned from the European Cities Marketing (ECM) International Conference & General Assembly 2017, held in the inspiring city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. As the city was absolutely teeming with tourists the organisers had obviously made the perfect choice. I continue to have questions about how convention bureaus should position themselves in this context.
Surprisingly they only appear to have a piecemeal presence. It may seem as if I am endlessly repeating it but clearly there is a huge difference compared to the meetings industry or MICE. If any of you remain in doubt about this you are most welcome to request a copy of my presentation. It can’t be disputed that the real strength of the ECM is what they inherited from a dying EFCT (European Federation of Conference Towns), i.e. the famous Summer School for up and coming meetings industry professionals. This 3 day Summer University has become a must for anyone who wishes to learn more about the fundamentals of a career in the meetings industry.
I enjoy going there myself to talk to students about Meetings Journalism and how to work with the press. I also devote much time to promoting MICE in the Emerging Continents, Africa, South America and a few countries in the Asia Pacific region. As a result two years ago we organised a Summer University in Johannesburg, South Africa, for young African professionals in the meetings industry. We are also very hopeful to hold a Summer School in Bangkok at the end of 2018. Or perhaps in Lima the year after that. But this is precisely where the shoe pinches. At these 3-day events I am missing too many students from less favoured areas, most probably because they can’t afford the conference fee. That’s why I have created a Fund to help this group of people and allow them to participate.
Headquarters Magazine will donate all the proceeds of its annual Association Grand Ball. But it might not be enough. So if you feel you wish to support this worldwide educational project you are most welcome to send me an email and you will receive more information about the Foundation.
We hope that next year we will be in a position to sponsor 10 young African professionals to register for the Second African MICE Academy. I am already looking forward to it.
Marcel A.M. Vissers
HeadQuarters & MIM Europe magazine
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.