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April 16, 2008

Global destinations create energy convention alliance

The formation of an Energy Cities Alliance between three leading convention bureaus and a convention centre was announced at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) conference in Pattaya recently.

The founding alliance partners are Aberdeen Convention Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and Perth (Australia) Convention Bureau.

In creating the strategic marketing alliance, the partners are aiming to obtain a competitive edge in the international marketplace, particularly in the field of energy-related conferences.

A key focus of the alliance is the exchange of sales leads, to be known as the Energy Transfer Advantage, that also incorporates a support package for conference organisers.

The key benefits available to planners include lobbying and marketing support within the partner destinations to maximise delegate registrations for their conferences.

Brand power: the new Energy Cities Alliance logo

A special branding has been established to position the alliance as a group sharing common goals and aspiring to the world’s best practice as convention destinations.

Announcing the initiative, the Perth Convention Bureau’s Director of Corporate Services, Christine McLean, said strategic alliances are the way of the future.

“Given today’s competitive environment, it is becoming increasingly evident of the need to develop strategic alliances that enable the partners to leverage their collective knowledge and skills to give them a marketing edge,” she said. “It is a critical advantage to the participating partners to be able to exchange leads on conferences and assist each other in the securing of these.

“The ultimate aim is for associations and corporates around the world to recognise our cities as being dynamic leaders with a clear vision for the future, offering clients access to a network of like-minded destinations who can assist in delivering high caliber and successful conferences.

“While the common link that has brought us together is the fact that we are centres for thriving energy industries, the scope of our alliance will extend beyond energy-related conferences.”

A major element of the alliance is a dedicated website that will provide planners with access to the collective support package with links to the partners’ websites.

Jacky Selway, manager of the Aberdeen Convention Bureau, said her organisation had “enthusiastically embraced” the concept of the alliance when it was mooted. “Energy Cities Alliance is an exciting forward-thinking initiative and I am delighted that Aberdeen Convention Bureau is a partner,” she said. “I look forward immensely to working in partnership with our international colleagues in raising the profile of our destinations and delivering successful high-calibre conferences.”

Meanwhile, Ahmed Hussein, deputy director general tourism operations with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said that his organisation was “excited to be part of this Alliance with some of the leading, dynamic and most respected meetings industry destinations in the world”.

He added: “Business Tourism is one of the key areas of growth and opportunity that Abu Dhabi intends to capitalise on and we are delighted that our Energy Alliance partners share this same vision, optimism and commitment. We look forward to working closely with them, to sharing with our clients the opportunity to tap into our joint energy and vibrancy, to delivering best practice and to a great future.”

Marcia Lyons, general manager of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, was equally as enthusiastic, saying: “What attracted us to the Energy Cities Alliance was the uniqueness of the partnership. One common factor each of us has is a powerful and dynamic energy industry. To take this a step further into our tourism, meetings and conventions sectors is a great strategic move forward. Everyone will benefit from the sales leads, to public relations and destination awareness of our cities. I know our team at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre is anxious to get things rolling.”

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