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29 Sep 2015

Industry-specific competence as MICE driver

Germany scores points as an international event trailblazer with its specialist expertise

For years, Germany has earned top marks in international rankings as an event destination. For the eleventh time in succession the popular convention country is in first place in Europe and second place worldwide in the current global ranking list of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), for example. To an increasing extent, conference and convention organisers decide in favour of Germany as an event location because of its well-developed competence in specific industries - in addition to its outstanding price-performance ratio, its advantageous hub status in the heart of Europe, sustainability aspects that are put into practice in real life, pioneering technology, the quality and capacity of event facilities as well as the diversified range of options that the regions offer for fringe event programmes.


Regional competence profile

Financial services in Frankfurt, medicine in Nuremberg, technology in the Rhineland, automotive industry in Southern Germany, logistics in Hamburg, environment and energy in Berlin – some industries have established themselves in certain metropolises and regions, thus shaping the respective regional competence profile. But when they are examined more closely, metropolises and urban agglomerations frequently reveal several fields of competence in addition to the core competence areas with which those destinations are associated at first glance. Other industries, for example agriculture, are well-established throughout Germany. Furthermore, a large number of scientific research facilities, associations and institutions all over the country constitute an extensive network of experts.

Among other things, Germany offers an ideal setting for events with a thematic focus in the area of Technology and Innovation: In 2014 more than 30 percent of the major international conventions fell into the category of that field of competence. Over 20 percent of the international association conventions in Germany focussed on themes from the Medicine and Health field of competence. In addition, Germany’s expertise in the Energy and Environment sector is of international significance – that industry accounted for almost 10 percent of the association conventions.

In the meantime, numerous international event organisers are taking advantage of the respective regional competence in specific industries so as to select their conference location not merely according to purely requirement-related factors such as accessibility, conference and hotel capacity, but above all to focus special attention on specialist relevance. The regional networking of entrepreneurial economic and innovative power, visionary pioneering spirit in the scientific and research segments, institutional presence as well as commitment on the part of pioneers, entrepreneurs and investors produces a valuable competence cocktail with added-value content for conferences, conventions and events. For example, conference planners are exploiting specialist potential at the event destination more and more – a potential that had not been used very much previously - either through guest appearances by local experts, presentations of locally based companies relevant for the specialist area or integration of plant tours and visits to research institutes into the programme of fringe events. In this context, the primary focus is the interactive transfer of knowledge and intensive exchange of ideas with practical relevance.


Industry-specific competence presented perfectly

One prime example of successful competence transfer between a region and an event is the convention “EST 2015 – Energy, Science and Technology – International Conference & Exhibition”, which was held at the convention centre Kongresszentrum Karlsruhe from May 20th to 22nd, 2015. One of the city’s most important and promising clusters is energy research and the energy industry. At the convention, 600 participants from 35 countries came together and conferred on the subjects relating to renewable energies, energy efficiency and systems as well as storage and networks. EST served as a platform for presenting the latest research results and energy system developments. Representatives of the city and experts from the region as well as research scientists and engineers from all over the world networked there and discussed the most important current challenges that energy research is facing.

Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of the Karlsruhe trade fair company Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress-GmbH (KMK), is gratified by the positive response to the premiere of the event: “Ideas forge ties – and the basic idea of our company has decisively shaped the concept of the EST convention. The topic of energy was approached from an interdisciplinary standpoint. Scientists and researchers as well as engineers and entrepreneurs gave lectures – a successful contribution from KMK towards the 300th birthday of the City of Karlsruhe. For three days, we made the city the epicentre of the world of energy research.”

The convention programme included over 180 lectures by top people from research and science, including well-known speakers such as the CEO of Daimler AG, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, who gave a public lecture for an audience of 800 on the subject of “New Energy: The Second Invention of the Automobile”. Numerous speakers from Karlsruhe and the surrounding area effectively showcased industry-specific regional competence with reference to the energy industry.

After its successful premiere, the EST convention scheduled to be held at two-year intervals. More information can be accessed at

Another example of the successful integration of industry-specific regional competence in Germany was the convention “EAN 2015 – European Academy of Neurology” with roughly 5,000 participants in June 2015 in Berlin. The capital city impressively demonstrated that outstanding expertise and networking also contribute towards a successful specialist event in the medical sector. At first glance, Hamburg has its strengths in the area of logistics, but it also possesses the highest level of competence in the area of technology and innovation. In the autumn of 2015, the Hanseatic City will welcome roughly 1,200 participants to the “IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems – IROS”, also integrating regional expertise.


Ideal general conditions

Every year roughly three million events with about 360 million event guests take place in Germany. That is a significant economic factor for hotels and convention facilities as well as for ancillary service providers in the MICE value added chain. In order to achieve a perfect conference and convention scenario, large amounts are regularly invested in destinations and infrastructure, in technology and equipment, in security and sustainability as well as other components, for example. In Germany as a convention location, ideal general conditions for specialist thematic relevance exist primarily due to six fields of competence:

1. Transport, Logistics and Transportation
2. Medicine and Healthcare
3. Chemical and Pharmaceutical
4. Energy and Environment
5. Technology and Innovation
6. Financial Services

The presence of leading experts from those areas offers international event planners one-of-a-kind competence in business and science which they can exploit for events. For example, numerous specialists are available to international event participants as key note speakers in Germany. Moreover, additional participants, supporters and exhibitors from the sphere of competence can be won over for an event. Guests and hosts benefit equally from the resulting knowledge transfer, valuable inspiration and new contacts.


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