“Destinations have identified the power of the meetings industry to generate income, create jobs, attract foreign investment, and foster international cooperation and the exchange of knowledge.”
That sweeping statement on the potential of meetings comes from the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, as the United Nations agency begins a new partnership with the International Congress and Convention Association to bring education to emerging destinations interested in developing their capacity to host meetings and conferences.
ICCA and UNWTO have a new educational program called Masterclass on the Meetings Industry, and the inaugural session in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, in August drew more than 100 people from government, industry, and academia to hear ICCA’s Regional Director Europe Elif Balci Fisunoglu and UNWTO’s Dmitriy Ilin. The program touched on the value of the meetings sector, how to research and bid on meetings, and how destinations today often strengthen their bids by underscoring their economic and knowledge strengths.
The second UNWTO-ICCA Masterclass was held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in early October, and the third is scheduled for Batumi, Georgia, on December 5.
“Our new collaboration with UNWTO signals a new and exciting chapter in both ICCA’s relationships with governments and international development decision-makers and how our flourishing sector is regarded as vital to societal advancement on a global scale,” says Senthil Gopinath, chief executive officer, ICCA. “Through these Masterclasses, not only will new destinations be able to carve a foothold for themselves in the rapidly-evolving and lucrative meetings market, they will be able to access the resources needed to empower them to drive their development through the knowledge and economic power of business events.”