IMEX: Future Convention Cities Initiative Looks at Benefits Beyond Tourism
Maureen O'Crowley is the associate director of the Seoul Convention Bureau and also the chair of the Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI), which is made up of seven of the world’s leading destinations for meetings and events – Abu Dhabi, Durban, London, San Francisco, Seoul, Sydney and Toronto.
At IMEX Frankfurt, O'Crowley talked with IMR's James Latham the latest updates of the FCCI's Benefits Beyond Tourism research.
“This was actually the inaugural research project for the FCCI, and what we’re trying to show over an international profile is that there are benefits beyond the initial spend," O'Crowley said, "so we’re going after the legacies that a convention or meeting events can leave behind in a city."
The research also looks into the importance of these conventions are to local governments, including job creation, knowledge exchange, the ability to forecast and build buildings. "We want them to look at those long term, maybe intangible, legacies of meetings and events," O'Crowley said.
FCCI was formed from a group of industry professionals looking ahead toward the future of the business with an emphasis on research. "We questioned what we could do to make an impact," O'Crowley said. "Lyn Lewis-Smith of BESydney was the first FCCI Chair, and considering that in 2011 they had just completed their studies showing the Beyond Tourism benefits, we decided to do something that we believe is ground-breaking–the first time done on an international level–to profile the other cities within FCCI."
Yesterday's Politicians Forum focused on how the language of the industry goes beyond casual tourism. O'Crowley agrees: "There is a lot more that you can do on a business level to bring in trade and industry, and that’s perhaps where we belong far more than on the tourism side."
At IMEX, an estimated 3,500 exhibitors (including tourist boards, convention bureaus, international hotel chains, airlines and destination management companies) have set up at the Messe Frankfurt to do business with 9,000 visitors (including almost 4,000 hosted buyers) over an intense three days. IMEX Frankfurt will run through May 22. Keep an eye on InternationalMeetingsReview.com for updates from the show floor.