Europe’s position as the number one destination for business events is set to be strengthened with the launch of a new initiative by European national convention bureaux. This strategic alliance is the first of its kind and aims to strengthen the position of Europe across the globe as a meeting and event destination.
From an initial idea conceived over a year ago by Eric Bakermans from the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions and Matthias Schultze from the German Convention Bureau, the initiative has rapidly expanded and welcomed 17 members. The aim of this informal group of European national convention bureaux is knowledge sharing and cooperating to further strengthen the position of each individual member as well as boosting Europe’s standing as the leading continent for business events in the world.
The aim is to have a constructive and active collaboration on business tourism so that it strengthens Europe’s current standing without compromising each country’s unique identity, according to Eric Bakermans, marketing manager for Holland meetings, conventions and events, and Matthias Schultze, Managing director of the German Convention Bureau.
“Europe is the number one meeting destination worldwide for association meetings, hosting nearly 2.5 million business visitors a year [based on data from ICCA],” Schulze explained. “The number of meetings held is nearly three times as many as the second largest market. This is a compelling proposition, and we wanted to create an initiative which builds on this success and enables convention bureaux from across the continent to join together.”
Bakermans added that the initiative was started “to address the need for knowledge sharing on specific issues which affect our daily work as national convention bureaux. We’re aware of the need to work towards combining our efforts to utilise these strengths and expertise to market throughout the world.”
National convention bureaus across the continent joined the strategic alliance which, to date, boasts 17 members. They are: Austrian Convention Bureau, Czech Convention Bureau, Estonian Convention Bureau, Finland Convention Bureau, GCB German Convention Bureau e.V., Hungarian Convention Bureau, Meet in Reykjavik, Montenegro National Tourist Board/National Convention Bureau, NBTC Holland Marketing, Norway Convention Bureau, Poland Convention Bureau, Serbia Convention Bureau, Slovak Convention Bureau, Slovenian Convention Bureau, Switzerland Convention Bureau, VisitDenmark.
The group has met three times over the past 18 months and has generated immense interest. The next step for the new initiative will be a meeting of members and other interested European national convention bureaux in Copenhagen in the New Year to further progress the alliance.