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Lago Maggiore, a meeting industry destination that unites sustainability and culture

When a destination – in addition to, quality, receptivity, geographical and environmental variety – can also offer culture and sustainability, it becomes a sought-after location for meetings and conferences at the highest levels. This is happening in Italy on the shores of Lago Maggiore, particularly in the area comprising the provinces of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Novara, Varese and on Lago Maggiore's Swiss shores, Locarno.

The sponsoring agency is Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry, the result of a cross-border cooperative project between Italy and Switzerland involving the tourism promotion associations of the area (Chambers of Commerce, Provincial agencies, ATL, Convention Bureaus and Professional Associations), to encourage coordinated promotion of the territory's conference facilities with the aim of reinforcing the MICE sector by making conference resources available to the market via unified communication and an integrated, accessible system.

Aware that the conference industry can have a substantial impact on the equilibrium of eco-systems and socio-cultural environments both locally and globally, Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry has launched a program inspired by the values of sustainability – approved and financed by the European Community – the goal of which, over the next three years, is the promotion of events and conventions with minimal environmental impact. Based on the example of Verbania – which has for many years been recognized by the Legambient and Ambiente Italia as one of the most sustainable cities in Italy according to urban ecosystem parameters – Lago Maggiore as a destination, intends to add value to and preserve the environmental quality of the landscape, reduce consumption of non-renewable resources and implement environmentally friendly action plans. In addition, in May of 2013 the beaches of Cannero Riviera and Cannobio became 2 out of only 4 beach resorts in Italy – and the only ones in Piedmont – to have been awarded the 'Bandiera Blu 2013', an eco-label conferred on international beach resort areas that meet the necessary criteria regarding sustainable territorial management.

Created one year ago, Lago Maggiore Green Meeting  – a network of operators with a code of conduct based on the most successful international experiences, who can guarantee end customers an environmentally sustainable event – now enhances the offer with cultural opportunities, especially in high season. Anyone wanting to organize a conference that combines an elegant location, beautiful landscapes, exquisite taste and Italian 'good living' with efficient and environmentally aware structures, can chose from amongst 410 hotels – from three to five stars – with approximately 16,700 rooms and more than 50,000 seats over 517 meeting rooms. Take for example the Grand Hotel Majestic, which, through October 20, 2014 will be hosting an exhibition by Velasco Vitali, one of Italy's foremost contemporary artists, entitled "Foresta Rossa" [Red Forest].

In order to adapt itself even further to its "green" mission, at IMEX 2013 Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry will join the Green Team project, working towards reducing waste produced by their stand and using only sustainable energy sources for the duration of the exhibition.

The objective is similar to that of Lago Maggiore Green Meeting, which aims to activate participants through sensitivity training and workshops based on the following three principles: sustainable event management through an organizational process with reduced environmental impact; innovation and quality; partnering, by working to develop a network of professional products and services geared towards sustainability. The code proposes concrete and measurable steps to reduce the environmental impact of service providers, event organizers, and participants. The realization of a Green Meeting at Lago Maggiore is oriented towards reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste production as well as material consumption; taking into account all activities and services: location management, hospitality, restaurants/catering, transportation, leisure activities, events, communication and marketing.

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