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February 17, 2015
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VIDEO: How Destinations Use Conventions to Gain Edge in Growth




Governments are becoming increasingly aware that conventions and exhibitions are stepping stones on the road to establishing a local knowledge economy. Gary Grimmer, of convention industry consultancy Gaining Edge, has seen some notable contrasts between two of the worlds' largest economies, and explained to IMR's James Latham why U.S. destinations remain largely ambivalent—compared to Japan—in terms of attracting international business events. 

U.S. Associations Going Global

Grimmer recognizes that U.S. international associations are following their Japanese counterparts—making concerted efforts to provide members with global connections—and cites PCMA as an association that has made the transition away from an American association “that lets foreigners attend their meetings” to one that has become genuinely global in outreach, education, and international member engagement.
 

Investments Require Political Will

Across the developing world, Grimmer noted the degree of both local and national government awareness of the benefits that the MICE industry can deliver in professional development, but he stressed that the three fundamentals of structural capital (an effective meetings infrastructure), relational capital (effective engagement within international communities), and a political will are essential if the economic arguments behind their convention industry investments are to realize genuine returns. For example, St. Petersburg's Gazprom-sponsored property play resulting in the development of the ExpoForum convention facility must be matched by an effective engagement strategy funded by the city's policymakers.
 

​Next month, IMR reports from Meetings Africa where Grimmer shares insight into the investments being made in Africa, notably in Nigeria, as diversification in the wake of falling commodity prices forces the pace. Grimmer also reveals details of DMAI's  DestinationNEXT initiative and the importance of international  reputation management within priority sectors earmarked for growth.
 
More on Gaining Edge at www.gainingedge.com.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham


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