Anna Ivanko talks to Sydney PauldenAnna Ivanko was in London and ITCM was pleased to be able to meet her. She was here to promote the Moscow Convention Bureau. The organisation was founded in August 2013 and is therefore just over a year old. Anna is the Head of its International Marketing Department.
‘We were established’, she explained, ‘by Moscow City Government represented by the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship.’
That is significant, because it indicates that the Bureau sees MICE events as an key new sector of the economy. It is directed by Ksenya Boykova. The Bureau does not have membership, but is funded directly by the Moscow Government.
‘We see ourselves’, Anna went on, ‘as acting with event organisers to ensure that they get the best possible offer from Moscow. We are not obliged to favour any particular facilities or venues. The more the client is pleased, the more we are likely to gain the business and the whole of Moscow benefits.’
Anna said that the Bureau has been particularly helpful in identifying notable Russian experts who were able to address events with specialist themes. ‘We have been able to introduce professors, scientists and doctors, for example, who have contributed to the value of events’.
I pointed out that when I was in Moscow it was difficult for foreign visitors to get around the city without a guide if they were not familiar with the Cyrillic script. It was especially hard in the Metro, as a knowledge of the script was essential to read the direction of the train services and to recognise when your station had been reached. People were very friendly and tried to help, but it was not that easy to find someone on the train or on the platform who were able to understand English.
‘Ah’, Anna assured me. ‘Moscow is every week becoming more international-visitor friendly. More and more signage is being posted around the city in English and that will continue. That is why we are now calling our city The New Moscow.’
She gave me a recent example of a large event that was a big success in Moscow. ‘In March this year’, she said, ‘we were the venue for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress and we hosted over 7,000 delegates from 150 or more countries. They all found Moscow a very good location for the gathering’.
‘Next month’, Anna told me, ‘Four Seasons is opening a hotel immediately alongside Red Square, within sight of the Kremlin and the State Duma Parliamentary building’. She suggested that this was very solid proof of how welcome the international community should now feel in her city.