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December 2, 2008

Research highlights key industry trends

The meetings industry’s embracing of technology and the green agenda continues, while China and the Middle East remain key growth areas, according to the annual EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share report launched yesterday at the meetings industry show currently taking place in Barcelona.

The report compiled by Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in Business Travel and Tourism at The University of Westminster in London, and EIBTM industry analyst, identifies the key trends for the meeting and incentives markets over the past 12 months.
Meeting trends identified in the previous EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share report have intensified over the last 12 months. Greener events, environmentally conscious venues and companies demonstrating higher levels of corporate social responsibility have accelerated.
As an example, AIME 2008 set a new benchmark for exhibitions in Australia, by qualifying as a Climate Neutral event, while EIBTM is implementing BS8901, the new British Standard for Sustainable Event Management. As a result the British Standards Institute will independently certify the organisation of the show this week. 
Social legacy

This trend is also reflected in the focusing of the social legacy that conferences leave behind them as ‘Generation Yers’ take a greater interest and concern in all things sustainable. 
The ability to accurately demonstrate the economic impact of the meetings industry has also moved one step closer, with a landmark study based on the UNWTO’s Tourism Satellite Account, which has seen UNWTO, Reed Travel Exhibitions, MPI and ICCA working together. The expansion in the use of this framework is likely to have far reaching consequences for the meetings industry, as the use of a reliable accounting of meetings activity will lead to a greater recognition of meetings as a key economic driver.
Technology and growth

The use of technology shows no sign of diminishing with social online networking making its mark and wireless access at convention centres is increasingly being requested. There is though some anxiety amongst planners that technology may replace a growing number of face-to-face meetings.
Countries and regions enjoying high levels of growth, include China and the Middle East. The interest in both is further highlighted by the response shown by exhibitors, hosted buyers and trade visitor in supporting GIBTM in Abu Dhabi and CIBTM in Beijing.

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