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April 16, 2008
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MPI opens first African and Asian chapters




Reflecting developments in the meeting industry, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is opening two new chapters in South Africa and Korea.

“This reinforces the organisation’s commitment to its ambitious global strategy to support the organisation’s new vision of building a rich global meetings industry community,” said MPI president and chief executive Bruce MacMillan. “The key objectives include developing the community on an international level, while expanding its activities into new buoyant geographical zones.”

The Southern African Chapter is being created through a strategic alliance with SAACI and will be the first chapter for MPI on the African continent.

“Through our alliance we not only wish to help elevate the South African industry’s access to knowledge and best practices, but also to connect our 23,000 community members to the remarkable experiences that make South Africa a unique global meeting and event destination,” said MacMillan.

SAACI national chairman, Thomas Overbeck believes the alliance with MPI will allow his organisation to generate new ideas, inspire innovative thinking and share knowledge and skills on a global platform. “For SAACI members, this means that a new door is opening on excellent educational and business opportunities that will broaden the horizons of all our industry players,” he said.

Meanwhile, Angeline Lue, general manager, business tourism at South African Tourism, congratulated both bodies. “A global alliance of this nature opens up wonderful opportunities for further professionalisation and knowledge exchange for the South African industry,” she said: “In addition, our industry associations are now able to realistically benchmark themselves with their counterparts around the world.”

Of special benefit, according to Lue, is the fact that SAACI members now have access to a global network of industry specialists who are at the forefront of driving professionalisation and recognition of the meetings industry. Every SAACI member (planner and supplier) will have an opportunity to become a member of the MPI Southern Africa Chapter. The members deciding to join will remain SAACI members with all the local benefits, but will also be able to join the international network of MPI, benefiting from all the additional opportunities.

MPI Southern Africa will focus on elevating the educational experience and the international opportunities, while SAACI will support the delivery of local education, accreditation, the advocacy and the national agenda.

MPI has also established a strategic partnership with the Seoul Convention and Visitors Bureau, resulting in the formation of MPI Korea, the organisation’s first chapter in Asia, with a membership of 200 members identified by the bureau in partnership with other Korean organisations.

"Asia is a strong player in the meetings industry and we are delighted to announce that we now have in chapter in this buoyant part of the world,” said MacMillan. “MPI’s presence in Korea will provide all the meetings industry members in the country with new opportunities to further develop their professional expertise and will give them access to our global marketplace.”

Commenting on the opening of MPI Korea, Yangsik Moon, director general of the Seoul Convention and Visitors Bureau, said: “The newly created chapter means that meetings professionals in Korea will not only have access to new educational content, but also to a global marketplace thanks to MPI's international reach. This alliance provides all MPI Korea Chapter members with a wealth of opportunities and access to recognised best practices."

Meanwhile, MacMillan summed up the reasoning behind opening the two new chapters, saying: “In a quickly evolving and rapidly globalising economy, it is crucial for meeting professionals to be aware of the key changes taking place. The world is now a global marketplace offering increased opportunities, but also a fiercer competitive environment. With these new alliances, MPI demonstrates its commitment to provide each of its community members with the global connections and resources to ensure their success in the 21st century.”

For more information, visit www.mpiweb.org
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