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Compelling FCCI case studies demonstrate the beyond tourism benefits of business events

The FCCI have just released their second ‘ground-breaking’ study regarding the significant long lasting legacy benefits of business events.

“The FCCI is an association of the cities of Abu Dhabi, Durban, London, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney and Toronto, and which is committed to investigating the leading new trends in business events. We recognize the benefits of collaborating, co-operating and sharing resources, to drive innovation in our industry. We are the ‘new generation’ of convention leaders and what we achieve as a group will be our legacy to our cities and industry”, said James Seymour, the Chairman of this forum and Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau.

“This association was formally established in 2010. The founding goal of the FCCI is to bring together leading future focused cities that want to secure or establish their positioning as leading destinations for key knowledge economy meetings and events. The members should be committed to developing and delivering on strategies to help grow the local knowledge economy and to maximizing the long term benefits of business tourism through:
• Using business tourism, and meetings in particular, as a tool to help drive economic development and transformation;
• Facilitating inward investment; • Creating knowledge economy jobs;
• Helping to establish or enhance a clearly differentiated brand and sense of ‘place’ for their destination.”  

The former Chairman of this dynamic forum and the Executive Director of the Seoul Convention Bureau, Maureen O’Crowley, indicated, “we decided at IMEX Frankfurt earlier this year, with the assistance of ‘CAT Publications’, to produce a series of compelling case studies, which demonstrate the long lasting legacy benefits of business events. This report highlights a series of key case study from each of the cities, that make up this association and which highlight the long lasting benefits of business event. These have been published in a report, which is a supplement for the periodical, ‘Association Meetings International’ and will form part of their 2015 November/ December issue of this magazine. This new report is also being released at IMEX America. The aim was to complement our first report titled, “Beyond Tourism Benefits: Building an International Profile “. This report can be downloaded from the FCCI website at http://www.fccinitiative.org/.”.  

“Business Events or the realm of meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions are amongst the most powerful current stimuli for social and economic development. Business events do not only stimulate tourism flow, the use of hospitality facilities and services and economic development through the ‘spend’ of delegates, but are one of the most important forms of post tertiary education and training. They furthermore increase the level of knowledge of particular disciplines, encourage networking between peers in a particular field, and further develop and even ‘establish’ particular industries.

"Furthermore they enhance the level of awareness and image of a particular destination and its ability to deliver. Research has revealed that some 20% - 40% of conference delegates return as leisure tourists to a destination where a conference was held. They also become critical word of mouth ambassadors for a destination”, said James Seymour.  

“The Abu Dhabi case study highlighted the long lasting benefit of the ‘Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015’. More than 32,000 delegates attended this event from 170 countries. This event assisted Abu Dhabi in its efforts to address the following key issues:
• Tackling the challenge of balancing  energy, water and environment;
• Accelerating the adoption of renewable energy;
• Addressing water challenges in arid regions;
• Stimulating investment in water, energy and environment projects; and
• Empowering emerging entrepreneurs in this field”, said Mubarak Al Shamisi, of the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau.  

The Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau highlighted the significant legacy which the 2011 and 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, had on the city of Durban and its province of KwaZulu-Natal. “Some 18,000 delegates from 190 countries descended on Durban for this significant ‘debate’ of the impact of climate change and measures that can be adopted to deal with this challenge. COP17 provided an excellent opportunity to educate the residents of Durban about the reality of climate change and their role in it. A dedicated communication and advocacy campaign began prior to COP17 and extended throughout the conference, with other awareness initiatives held for specific projects”.  

“Key resolutions were made during COP17. Attendees including the EU, Norway, Australia and New Zealand agreed to a second commitment period (2012-2016) to the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Both developed and developing countries committed to compiling a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which will come into effect in 2020, termed the Durban Platform for Cooperative Action”, reported James Seymour.  

Tracy Halliwell, of ‘London and Partners’, emphasized the significant legacy of hosting the 2015 ‘London Technology Week’, an event that attracted 43,000 delegates. “London Technology Week attracts new investment and showcases the city as a world-renowned events destination. Since the inaugural event in 2014, London has ascended the ICCA rankings to sixth position globally for the number of association meetings held annually and to fourth position for the number of delegates hosted at these events”.  

The San Francisco 2014 ‘Technology Industry Conferences’, attracted more than 300,000 delegates. “The success of hosting a technology conference in San Francisco has positioned the city as a destination where strategic sustainability initiatives are important during conventions. Technology conventions held in San Francisco have saved more than five million gallons of water; supported education with more than 2,000 bags and kits assembled; and prevented 460,000 bottles going in to landfill. Green practices have become a baseline for doing business in San Francisco”, commented Christophe Ley, Director, International Meetings and Sales, of San Francisco Travel.  

The 2014 ‘International Congress of Mathematicians’, that took place in Seoul in  2014, lured 5,200 delegates from 122 countries and 22,000 public programme participants. “The hosting of ICM 2014 in Seoul had profound beneficial effects for the city, nation and the event itself. Perhaps most importantly, students of mathematics near and far will enjoy these benefits for years to come”, said Maureen O’Crowley.  

‘Vivid Sydney’ - the Southern Hemisphere’s largest festival of light, music and ideas - creates an inspiring backdrop for exchanging ideas and networking with the world’s creative innovators. This annual event attracts an audience of some 1.7 million people. “Aligning conference programmes to the city’s existing calendar of major events allows delegates to enjoy a truly immersive experience in our city, while also exposing some of the world’s leading professionals and academics to our local intellectual capital”, stated Business Events Sydney’s CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith.  

The 2015 ‘XXV Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) and 61st Annual Scientific Standardization Committee (SSC) Meeting’, attracted 7,285 from 109 countries. “Three ground-breaking and practice-changing studies in thrombosis and haemostasis released at the ISTH 2015 Congress were simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) during the congress; this was truly historic for ISTH. The congress brought a wealth of international science collaboration to Toronto, as well as fostered grant proposals and future research emanating from Toronto and Canada. Internet and bandwidth, online involvement and virtual communication was unprecedented. The mobile app was downloaded 3,810 times and the World Thrombosis Day Twitter chat with ISTH and official partners received 2 million impressions, with overall Twitter impressions at more than 11 million. The158 young scientists and medical trainees who submitted highly rated abstracts received ISTH ‘Young Investigator’ travel stipends and 123 scientists from developing countries received ISTH ‘Reach-The-World’ travel stipends”, stated Tara Gordon, the Vice President of Sales at Toronto Tourism.

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