AIPC: How Cities Can Boost Economies with Talent, Industry and Events
In July, the AIPC Annual Conference and 57th General Assembly ran for three days in Boston, focusing on the long-term value of meetings and events. While on location, IMR caught up with Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consultancy.
"A city, fundamentally, is about creating wealth," he began. "If it can't create wealth, it can't sustain a quality of life for its residents, businesses and visitors”
In Resonance Consultancy’s model, he explained, the team looks at what they call “place equity,” which is about creating wealth through product, programming, people, prosperity, promotion and place.
Fair cited Vancouver as a strong example of a successful city—“Not through attracting major corporations,” he added, “but by offering exceptional quality of life in an exceptional environment. And that has attracted people from all over the world who have started small businesses.” More than 90 percent of Vancouver’s employment is with firms of fewer than 50 people, he added.
Power, Fair said, has shifted from corporations to “talent.” People are choosing cities that suit their needs first and finding jobs once they are settled. In many cases, the talented individuals that drive local industries choose their new homes after visiting destinations as tourists. As such, “the interests of tourism and economic development are more and more aligned,” he said, “and I think that’s important, and we’ll see more of that in the future.”
In his keynote address, "The Role of Convention Centres as Instruments of City Development and Transition," Prof. Greg Clark of the Business of CIties, Ltd. noted how difficult it is for cities to build a business brand. “They get stuck with a visitor brand, and then it’s hard to tell a business story.” Moving from a postcard to a business card, he added, is a challenge.
Amsterdam, Clark told IMR later, has been successful in creating its I Amsterdam brand, which encompasses the needs of businesses, tourists and citizens alike.