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Mon 1 Jan 2007 04:00 AM

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MICE industry to gain global recognition

The region’s MICE organisers have welcomed the outcome of a potentially revolutionary report that recommends adopting a form of Tourism Satellite Accounting to measure the economic global importance of the meetings industry.

MICE industry to gain global recognition
Bowery, the director of MVM Events Dubai, has welcomed steps to gain recognition for ‘The Meetings Industry’.

The region’s MICE organisers have welcomed the outcome of a potentially revolutionary report that recommends adopting a form of Tourism Satellite Accounting to measure the economic global importance of the meetings industry.

Commissioned by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), International Congress & Convention Association, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) three years ago and written in conjunction with the Sustainable Tourism CRC at Victoria University, Australia, some of the 77-page report’s key proposals include adopting ‘The Meetings Industry’ as a general descriptive term for the industry; encouraging industry members to network and share ideas; ensuring a meetings venue includes payment and involves a half day (four hours) or more; and that a meeting is assessed has having a minimum of 10 participants.

“It would appear that at last, ‘The Meetings Industry’ may get the worldwide commercial recognition it rightly deserves and will move away from being an ‘important, but fragmented and poorly measured craft’ [as the report stated],” commented Kate Bowery, director of Dubai-based MICE specialist, MVM Events, which also operates offices in London and Sydney.

“Clearly the clients and vendors of the meetings industry appreciate how vital a communication tool our industry has become. To sustain further development and meet the needs of the demanding 21st century, the industry requires external assistance.”

However, Bowery was rattled by the warning issued by the partners that commissioned the report that proposals would not be implemented without overwhelming support and political goodwill worldwide, as well as from local MICE specialists.

“I do have grave concerns over the need to get a huge global ‘buy in’ to enable the delivery of meet meaningful information.

We could find our industry in a position of ‘too little too late’ if the programme is not effectively managed. Avoidance of the usual and unnecessary delays in publishing the board’s findings is paramount,” she said.

Bowery suggested that the partners should create “some form of advisory board or watch dog”, to ensure the best intentions outlined in the study did not fall victim to “global red tape”.

“With offices in London and Sydney, MVM Dubai would clearly benefit from the findings of this report and would be delighted to offer assistance throughout Europe, Australasia, as well as the Middle East,” she added.

UNWTO, ICCA, MPI and RTE have stated that implementation of the proposals can only be achieved with the modification of the existing Tourism Satellite Account ing (TSA) and the cooperation of governments and government agencies to collect industry data in an agreed standard method that meets strict international statistical requirements.

“This is a huge, evolving project, and it will not happen overnight. But we now have a basis to go forward and secure the future of the meetings industry as an important economic contributor,” said Tom Nutley, chairman, RTE, who first introduced the TSA concept in 2003.

“I would ask every professional who cares for and works in the industry to get behind these recommendations and lobby everyone who will listen and has some influence to ensure its execution.

Without it, the industry will continue to be denied its rightful and deserved place in the world economies,” he added.

The sales pitch

Key outcomes of the report entitled:

Measuring the Economic Importance of the Meetings Industry. Developing a Tourism Satellite Account Extension.

Recommendations:

• Using ‘The Meetings Industry’ as a general descriptive term for the industry.

• Adopting the general aim to motivate participants to conduct business, share ideas, learn, network and discuss.

• Assessing and recognising a meeting as having a minimum of 10 participants.

• Agreeing that a meetings venue includes payment and involves a half day (four hours).

Main issues to be discussed and resolved:

• How an international standard method can be agreed.

• Agreement on the scope of the industry.

• Examination of how national industry associations can be brought on board to actively support the measurement of the industry in their country.

• Encouragement of national industry association to educate their members and other industry participants to actively support the idea of implementing a standard industry measurement.

• Persuasion of industry participants to fully cooperate with and contribute to implementation.

The report can be downloaded from the MPT, ICCA and RTE/EIBTM web sites.

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