Europe Set to Strengthen Success in Meetings Industry Market as European National Convention Bureaus Form Strategic Alliance

Europe’s position as the number one destination for business events is set to be solidified further with the launch of a new initiative by European national convention bureaus. This strategic alliance is the first of its kind, and aims to strengthen the position of Europe across the globe as a meetings and event destination. 

From an initial idea conceived over a year ago by Eric Bakermans of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions,  and Matthias Schultze from the German Convention Bureau, the initiative has rapidly expanded and welcomed 17 members. The aim of this informal group is knowledge sharing and cooperating to further enhance the position of each individual member as well as boost Europe’s standing as the leading continent for business events in the world.  

National convention bureaus across the continent have responded well to the creation of the strategic alliance which, to date, includes: Austrian Convention Bureau, Czech Convention Bureau, Estonian Convention Bureau, Finland Convention Bureau, GCB German Convention Bureau e.V., Hungarian Convention Bureau, Meet in Reykjavik, Montenegro National Tourist Board/National Convention Bureau, NBTC Holland Marketing, Norway Convention Bureau, Poland Convention Bureau, Serbia Convention Bureau, Slovakia Convention Bureau, Slovenian Convention Bureau, Switzerland Convention Bureau, and VisitDenmark. 

Eric Bakermans, Marketing Manager for the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, and Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the German Convention Bureau, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “We’re aiming to have a constructive and active collaboration on issues to make us stronger as Europe, without compromising each country’s unique identity. Our partnership approach unites the individual and unique offerings of each member, to simplify and strengthen the approach towards key markets.” Schultze explained: "Europe is the number one meeting destination worldwide for association meetings, hosting nearly 2.5 million business visitors a year[i]. The number of meetings held is nearly three times as many as the second largest market. This is a compelling proposition, and we wanted to create an initiative which builds on this success and enables convention bureaus from across the continent to join together. Bakermans added: “Matthias and I started the initiative to address the need for knowledge sharing on specific issues which affect our daily work as national convention bureaus. We’re aware of the need to work towards combining our efforts to utilize these strengths and expertise to market throughout the world.”

The group has met three times over the past 18 months and has generated immense interest. The next step for the new initiative will be a meeting of members and other interested European national convention bureaus in Copenhagen in the New Year to further develop the alliance.

Source: ICCA Statistics Report 2013


Sustainable at a High Level: The German Convention Bureau Receives EMAS Certification

As testimony to its commitment to sustainability, the GCB recently announced that it has received EMAS certification, the world’s most demanding green certification process.

The GCB is pleased to announce that it has received European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme(EMAS) certification. The scheme, developed by the European Commission for companies and other organizations within the EU and the European Economic Area, evaluates, reports, and suggests improvements on environmental performance.


To achieve certification -- the world’s most demanding green certification process -- organizations must create, among other things, an environmental statement that records the dates and details of all environmentally relevant activities covering energy consumption, emissions and waste, as well as the indirect environmental aspects such as procurement and event management.

After an initial comprehensive inventory, the environmental assessment is then performed as a recurring audit within the framework of the EMAS process and is judged by independent, nationally accredited environmental auditors.

The German Convention Bureau received the certification after passing these series of challenging tests and demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and the continuous improvement of environmental performance.

“EMAS is characterized by a higher level of legal security, consistent environmental performance, high transparency and active employee participation,” said Dr. Stefan Müssig, CEO of Würzburg Environmental and Quality Management Consulting, who oversaw the EMAS certification of the GCB.

Christine Koch, Sustainability Officer of the GCB, said: “An important part of EMAS is the involvement of all employees in an organization to ensure that environmental management is achieved on all levels of activity.”

In Germany about 1,250 companies from various industries participate in EMAS, from manufacturing companies and trade to services of all kinds, including public administration.


187,793 Square Metres Capacity for Green Events

The Congress Region of Stuttgart: Competence Centre for Sustainable

 ©Stuttgart Convention Bureau
©Stuttgart Convention Bureau
Certifications, awards and voluntary self-commitment are clear affirmations of a successful sustainablity model in the Stuttgart Region's congress sector. The Stuttgart Convention Bureau continues to pursue its activities in the field of environmental protection in order to establish Stuttgart as an eco-conscious congress destination in the long term.

For 20 years now the Stuttgart Convention Bureau has been the partner of the regional event sector, acting as the central point of contact for event planners. Besides the classic services which ensure the optimum planning and organisation of meetings in the Stuttgart Region, the involvement of all the congress partners and the congress destination itself with the issue of sustainability is of prime importance. The list of partners whose enterprises operate in conformance with CSR regulations is steadily growing and can be found under www.congress-stuttgart.de in the category "Green Meetings".

What does this represent in figures:
• 52 congress centres, conference hotels and locations currently provide sustainable infrastructures and services in the Stuttgart Region
• These have 504 meeting rooms on offer
• 138,333 participants in all can convene there
• 187,793 square metres of space are available at these venues

The staff of the SCB are trained by the German Convention Bureau as sustainability advisers and bundle the region's "green meeting" offers. The SCB's portfolio includes supplementary services and information to provide all-round sustainable solutions. Last year the 39th GTM Germany Travel Mart™ of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB/DZT) was held in Stuttgart as a "green meeting" with some 1,300 participants. And in June of the coming year the Region is to host the German Protestant Church Congress, one of the most environmentally friendly major events in Germany.

About the Stuttgart Region Convention Bureau
The Stuttgart Convention Bureau (SCB) – a department of the Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH and Regio Stuttgart Marketing- und Tourismus GmbH – is the central and impartial point of contact for the state capital of Stuttgart and the surrounding region for event organisers from companies, associations and institutions, as well as for event agencies. Event planners benefit from the team's extensive expertise and receive professional advice and support for the organisation of congresses and other events in the Stuttgart Region. The team markets the congress destination both in Germany and abroad. The SCB’s strategic partners are: the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart/Messe Stuttgart (Trade Fair Centre), the Liederhalle Culture and Congress Centre, Stuttgart Airport, WRS (Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation), congress centres in the Stuttgart Region and the local hospitality sector.


Berlin’s Conference & Touring DMC and Estrel Hotel Fight Poverty by Helping Build a New School in Malawi Africa

This past August, a team including people from German DMC Conference & Touring and the Estrel Berlin Hotel & Convention Center, made a very special journey to Malawi Africa to help build a new school. The first step in this trip began in 2013 when the two organizations learned of the amazing work that the charitable foundation buildOn was doing to help global, rural communities break the cycle of poverty. 

In the 20 years since its founding, buildOn chapters from all over the world had helped to construct more than 600 schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Founder Jim Ziolowski’s believes that education is the most important step in bringing these communities out of extreme poverty. Conference & Touring and Estrel were so inspired by Jim’s vision and programs that they created a Berlin chapter of buildOn and the 15 member organizations dug right in outreaching to colleagues, family, friends and neighbors to help raise funds. 

With major sponsorship from Estrel and support from many others they gathered over 35K Euros. Then it was time to experience the positive energy and stunning results of buildOn first hand, with an 11-person team, including Conference & Touring and the Estrel Hotel, heading to the Kasungu region of Malawi, Africa. Malawi, in the southeast of the continent, is know as the “warm heart of Africa” and the Berlin team forged a special bond with the community and buildOn as they worked and lived side by side with the local villagers to help construct the new Kapululu school! 


Mannheim is a Hotbed for Medical Conferences

 ©Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH
©Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH
Part of the BioRN region, Mannheim offers a healthy draw for conferences and meetings specialising in the chemical, pharma, medical and healthcare industries.

Located within the BioRN cluster (a Life Sciences network in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area of Germany), Mannheim is a vibrant part of a region that brings chemical, pharma, medical, and healthcare expertise together to drive life-changing innovations. 

By the end of this year, the BioRN cluster is expected to bring approximately 50 drugs, diagnostic techniques, technology platforms and services for personalised medicine and cancer treatment to industrial maturity.

It’s no surprise then that Mannheim -  home to well-known organisations like the Hochschule Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and Roche Diagnostics GmbH -  is a hotbed for life science conferences. 
The m:con Congress Center Rosengarten Mannheim provides an ideal location for events such as the 46th Congress of the German Society for Endoscopy and Imaging Techniques (DGE-BV),  the 22nd annual conference of the German Society for Radiooncology, the 12th meeting of the European Association of Neurooncology (EANO), and the 31th European Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Conference.


Maritim focuses on sustainability in the events sector

The only German hotel company to do so, Maritim has trained employees in all its German hotels to become sustainability consultants. Maritim has launched a new initiative, under the name ProUmwelt (pro-environment), which focuses on environmental protection and sustainable economic development. A baseline study has therefore been conducted for all 36 hotels in Germany, covering energy, waste, water, purchasing, mobility and employees. This ambitious project is being led by the Green Team under the management of the sustainability consultants. One of their tasks, in addition to project coordination, is to offer events partners advice in all areas of sustainability.

In January 2013, Maritim signed a sustainability code for the German events sector, which was an initiative of the German Convention Bureau and the Europäischer Verband der Veranstaltungs-Centren e.V. (European Association of Events Centres). Its motto in relation to energy and resources is: avoid, reduce, recycle and use. The progress made in the project was documented and assessed in 2014 with positive results.

September 2012 saw Maritim's market launch of the Maritim Green Meeting conference package. Particular features of this sustainable package include fair-trade coffee, the use of regional products and the preparation of FSC-certified conference blocks, recycled flipchart paper and environmentally friendly biodegradable pens. In addition to the hiring of rooms, technical equipment and conference catering, the Green Meeting package also includes a three-course dinner menu or buffet lunch. As is the case with the other conference packages (Maritim Exclusive and Maritim à-la-carte), a range of additional services can also be added to the Green Meeting package. With 36 hotels in Germany, Maritim is represented in all the major cities.

For more Information visit: www.maritim.com

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