Millions of delegates annually attend meetings, congresses, exhibitions, business events, incentive travel and corporate hospitality across the globe. Providing just the right blend of facilities and services to these business tourists is akin to alchemy. Here are the five top global business destinations for 2018.
A s a business destination, Malta would appear to have it all: A wonderful climate, courtesy of its location in the heart of the Mediterranean, excellent and ever-growing air connections to all key European markets, membership of the EU and signatory to the Schengen Agreement, use of the euro, English as one of its official languages, revitalised infrastructure, that takes in both Malta’s airport and the Valletta Waterfront project, as well as an array of world class venues catering to events of all shapes and sizes. Moreover, its compact quality affords short transfer times and premium accessibility to all facilities: venues, entertainment, restaurants and accommodation. In addition, Valletta’s 2018 status as the European Capital of Culture has acted to catalyse a range of regeneration projects, so further distinguishing Malta, while its recent pedigree in having hosted both the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the EU summit is compelling evidence of its capacity to successfully host events with the most exacting demands.
As a business destination, Malta would appear to have it all.
The Valletta 2018 Capital of Culture status precipitated the development of a number of capital projects designed to regenerate and conserve parts of the city in advance of the year in question. The result has seen Valletta reinvigorated while the programme of events to come is sure to leave a cultural and artistic legacy for visitors for many years to come.
Conventions Malta, headed up by Peter Cauchi, is the official destination marketing department for M.I.C.E. travel within the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA). In promoting the Maltese Islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino as a destination for Conference & Incentive travel and Association business travel, it has come up with the inspirational ‘Access All Areas’ (AAA) initiative, which positions Malta’s compact nature to its advantage. In showcasing the fact that virtually everything is within a 25 minute range, it adds another element to Malta’s impressive list of credentials.
Offering impartial information and assistance free of charge to event organisers looking or planning to host their next event in and around the islands, Conventions Malta acts as a one-stop-shop for interested parties. In doing so, the organisation capitalises on its close links with Destination Management Companies, conference hotels and convention centres to ensure a customised service for clients and delegates, such that they will associate Malta with all that’s best in a MICE destination.
On the accommodation front, Malta business tourists benefit from a focus on quality over quantity that sees some 15 five-star and 40 four-star hotels made up of both international chains and boutique properties. Many of these have in-house conference facilities and dedicated M.I.C.E teams, to add to those dedicated conference venues offering state of the art technology and able to accommodate up to 5,000 delegates at a time.
Malta business tourists benefit from a focus on quality over quantity.
Malta is also able to bring to bear its landscape and heritage to provide a stunning backdrop for any event. As Conventions Malta describes it, this opens up opportunities for ‘an al freso dinner in a village square, or drinks on a floating barge in the Grand Harbour, a seaside lunch in the shadow of Gozo’s Azure Window, or a black-tie reception in a Baroque Palazzo.’
With an approach marked by innovation, creativity, versatility and commitment to sustainability, Malta fuses this unparalleled accessibility with stand-out cost competitiveness, a Mediterranean setting, medieval architecture and the warmth of its people, to create a mix like no other.
State of Bavaria, Germany
With the much anticipated opening of Hall 3C at the Nuremberg Convention Centre in 2018, for MICE buyers and event organisers, this famous and beautiful German city in the State of Bavaria can rightfully now be considered as one of the world’s premium business destinations.
It is supremely well-placed for the European market, given its strategic location in southern Germany, its proximity to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich and its own highly regarded and conveniently situated airport, which puts it just a short haul flight away from all corners of the continent. Moreover, it can point to striking medieval architecture, as well as excellent accommodation, leisure facilities and quality of life. In addition, its compact status, where cherished tradition blends seamlessly with all that is cutting edge, places everything within easy reach.
As a backdrop to any event, Nuremberg is hard to beat.
Nuremberg is a city of commerce, academia and research, with world renowned multinationals, such as Siemens and Continental in residence, excellent infrastructure and a hi-tech pedigree around the likes of applied science, the automotive sector, ICT, energy, power electronics and medical technology.
Cumulatively, Nuremberg is marked by its innovativeness, creativity and commitment to sustainability. Its versatility across its metropolitan sphere of influence is further evidenced through the fact of it hosting numerous market research and call centres, its pedigree around toy making and status as a location pioneering advances in energy supply, not to mention its eminence in respect of high-tech power electronics and automation components.
The prevailing culture of innovation is perhaps most clearly manifested in Nuremberg’s medical technology cluster, in the form of Medical Valley, which is world-renowned. It features the likes of Siemens Healthcare and Novartis Pharma, amongst 250 other pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical research and training institutions, hospitals and providers of medical and health services.
As a backdrop to any event, Nuremberg is hard to beat. Renowned not only for its culinary and brewery traditions, it can also lay claim to the Imperial Castle and an old town straight out of the movies.
Nuremberg Convention Centre (NCC)
Nuremberg Convention Centre has the capacity to host every type of event from large congresses to product presentations, staff events and customer galas. It can lay claim to three congress centres, 15 exhibition halls, 50 meeting rooms, while it is also in close proximity to both Nuremberg’s main rail station and airport. In addition, Zaha Hadid-designed exhibition halls 3A, opened in 2014 and 3C, scheduled to open this year, offer significant acoustic, thermal and energy benefits. Annually, the NCC can point to a staggering 30,000 exhibitors and 1.4 million visitors across 120 trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences.
Nürnberg Convention stands ready to assist.
As to the new Hall 3C, it will add some 9,600 m² of gross exhibition area when it opens, as part of a spectacular €70m upgrade to facilities that will see the city remain an internationally significant trade fair venue. It also ensures Nuremberg Convention Centre can continue to offer premium facilities capable of accommodating very large events, when subsequent upgrades are made to other facilities in the NCC family.
NürnbergConvention, the organisation tasked with promoting the city as an events destination, stands ready to assist interested parties with everything from providing advice, sourcing locations, hotel reservations, conference package deals, supporting programmes, city tours, tour guides, site inspections and service partners.
It seeks to understand event organisers’ needs and goals and in this it can draw from a comprehensive global infrastructure, encompassing subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Italy, North America, India and Austria, as well as some 50 international representatives, perfectly placed to communicate customised exhibition concepts and new ideas to interested parties.
While these echo to a degree, the corporate preoccupations of the countries in question, they also reflect the sectoral themes of the Nuremberg fairs, such as automotive, coatings, die casting, IT security and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver consistently tops the list as the world’s most liveable city, thanks to a stunning natural setting and a focus at governance level on ensuring sustainability considerations inform planning and development at every turn
The jewel in Vancouver’s business crown must surely be the Vancouver Convention Center (VCC), the first double LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified convention center in the world. With some 466,500 sq. ft, of space in the heart of Vancouver’s bustling downtown waterfront, it can and does accommodate the largest international galas, trade shows and conferences, with its fans citing the likes of its state of the art technology, the quality of the conference hotels nearby and the walkability near the venue as just some of its key attributes. In practical terms, it offers two connected buildings, cumulatively offering flexible meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary space.
Meanwhile, Vancouver can also point to Grouse Mountain Resort, which offers jaw-dropping views of ocean, mountains and city skyline, as well as the legendary Fairmont Hotel, recently the beneficiary of a $12 million upgrade and the brand new JW Marriott Parq. In addition, BC Place Stadium constitutes a multi-purpose sports, exhibition and entertainment facility and can lay claim to the world’s largest retractable roof, while Rogers Arena and the historically significant Vancouver Rowing Club are just two more pertinent sporting backdrops for an event.
The jewel in Vancouver’s business crown is the Vancouver Convention Center (VCC).
Furthermore, the University of British Columbia and the Simon Fraser University offer an array of inspiring meeting and event space options, while Waterview, on the downtown peninsula, is a more recent addition to Vancouver’s portfolio, providing – as the name suggests – spectacular vistas.
The MICE market singles Vancouver out as the North American venue of choice for its business meeting credentials, safe environment, uniqueness, leisure and upscale food options. Moreover, its popularity shows no signs of abating soon, with bookings at record levels.
Much of the responsibility for this success can be placed at the door of Vancouver’s tourism and hospitality fraternity, which has worked tirelessly to promote the merits of the city and surrounding region. In this endeavour, they are helped by the proximity of Vancouver International Airport, which boasts excellent global links and which is held in the highest esteem by convention planners, who perceive it as their preferred North American airport.
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
W ith world class venues, a benevolent climate, English-speaking status and a cost-competitiveness that is hard to beat, Cape Town has much to recommend it. So much so, it has become widely recognised as Africa’s top business tourism destination, ahead of other contenders for this accolade, such as Marrakech in Morocco, Nairobi in Kenya, as well as Cape Town’s fellow South African city, Johannesburg.
The addition of a second dimension to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in the form of CTICC 2, has acted to catapult this majestic South African metropolis up the league table of global business destinations.
The flagship development at the multi-purpose international conference and exhibition centre speaks to a gravitas, confidence and ambition befitting a city of international renown. With the instantly recognisable Table Mountain as its backdrop, Cape Town enjoys a natural advantage, to which it has forged an enviable reputation in respect of its entertainment, accommodation and dining offers.
Cape Town has become widely recognised as Africa’s top business tourism destination.
CTICC’s Ambassador Programme is an innovative initiative that looks to leverage the human capital and resources embodied in the form of recognised experts and key opinion leaders from Cape Town’s academic, medical and scientific communities, to champion the destination in target markets across the world. This ties in with Cape Town’s pedigree in attracting international association meetings from across these sectors.
The drive to attract more business tourism to Cape Town is assisted by the Cape Town Air Access initiative, a partnership between the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Airports Company of South Africa and Cape Town Tourism, which has markedly improved accessibility. In a nutshell, it has worked to secure new routes and route extensions, with the additional capacity translating into spend on the ground.
CTICC’s Nurture Our World (NOW) initiative, meanwhile, speaks to a commitment to sustainability that transcends the drive for profit at all costs and evidences a capacity to drive positive and life-changing socio-economic benefits across Cape Town and surrounds. In practice, it sees an integrated sustainability strategy that encompasses products, operations, procurement, employee training and engagement, job creation and social responsibility. Moreover, CTICC is the first of its kind anywhere in the world to align its reporting to the sustainability criteria of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney’s meetings landscape has recently been transformed through the introduction of the 50-acre Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) on Darling Harbour, centred around the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), which now allows it to compete at the highest levels of the global events market.
Safe, stable, accessible, with world-class infrastructure and accommodation options, an established and highly efficient event services industry and a reputation for innovation and creativity, it is small wonder Australia’s harbour city has become one of the go-to meetings and events destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.
The city at large is a food-lover’s dream, while both the arts and sports scenes channel all the natural flair and dynamism that comes of Australia.
With a recent focus having been on attracting short lead Asian incentive business to the city, while the new integrated centre was being developed, this had the result of cementing the reputation of Sydney’s business events community in the hearts and minds of that market for its can-do, proactive approach.
Sydney is firing on all cylinders in respect of its meetings and events offering.
This happy outcome sees bookings strong right through to the middle of the next decade, while now that Sydney is firing on all cylinders in respect of its meetings and events offering, there has also been a surge of interest from markets a bit further afield, such as India, eager to take advantage of all it has to offer and to see the world-famous sights such as the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Part of the secret of Sydney’s success lies in the fact of collaboration across the public and private sectors in pursuit of a common objective. This has seen State Government, academic institutions, trade associations, business and tourism, hospitality and retail industries aligning with Business Events Sydney to coordinate efforts, including a new dedicated focus on securing more health care events.
The proof is there for all to see, with the likes of Sibos 2018, the World Congress of Accountants 2018 and LAUNCH start-up festival 2018 just three huge international events evidencing the faith placed in the city.