The German National Tourist Board and the German Convention Bureau ? strategic partners for nearly 40 years
Business travel is a key economic factor for Germany. With this in mind, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has created a theme for 2012 entitled ‘Germany: open for business ? trade fairs and conventions’. The GNTB and the German Convention Bureau (GCB) are jointly promoting Germany’s business travel segment in key markets such as China, the United States, Brazil and the UK. At the Meeting Experts Conference (Mexcon), which ended on 20 June in Berlin, more than 700 experts from the world of business, academia and politics discussed the future of the events industry. Mexcon is organised by the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and the GCB.
The future of the events industry
During Mexcon, Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB and Chairperson of the GCB Board of Directors, recommended taking advantage of the current momentum in the industry and reassessing the event experience: “For us to maintain our strong position going forward, we have to identify future trends now and use these to adapt both what we offer and how we market it. Organisers have to set new priorities in doing so, moving away from a purely commercial mindset towards a sustainable approach to meetings and conferences. Another key concept is hybrid event management. The term ‘hybrid events’ describes how conferences and conventions are evolving through the use of Web 2.0 and social media. Over the next ten years, the industry will have to meet the challenge of connecting business and academic experts in whole new ways.” Hedorfer made reference
here to the recent Power of Ten study that was published by the flagship Imex trade fair in conjunction with the GCB. The study highlights the impact of technology and social media on all aspects of conferences and conventions as one of the challenges of the future.
Business travel accounts for a high proportion of overall tourism revenues
International business travellers staying overnight in Germany spend almost ?13.5 billion every year. Combined with the ?14.6 billion contributed by the domestic business travel segment, this accounts for 24 per cent of all tourism expenditure in Germany during trips with overnight stays. This is the finding of a recent study financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and published in collaboration with the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW). The volume of business travel to Germany grew significantly in 2011. From Europe it was up by 7 per cent. Petra Hedorfer at Mexcon: “Germany has become the most popular destination for business trips among European travellers. It is number one in Europe for trade fairs and conferences and number two worldwide”.
Focus on promotable business trips in 2012
Almost half the total volume of business travel including an overnight stay is accounted for by promotable business trips, i.e. trade fairs (21 per cent) and the MICE sector (meetings, incentives, conferences & events, 26 per cent). “The number of promotable business trips made in Germany by Europeans rose by 5 per cent to 5.3 million last year, making this a hugely significant engine of growth for inbound travel to Germany”, said Petra
Hedorfer. Major associations highlighting their close cooperation through Mexcon
The GNTB and the GCB have been working together since 1973. A cooperation agreement between the two organisations forms the basis for the project-based support provided by the GNTB, with an annual marketing and campaign plan setting out their joint activities in the international markets. The findings of the workshops and panel discussions at Mexcon can be positively utilised for these marketing plans. Dialogue with representatives from business, academia and politics is of huge importance to the ongoing development of the tourism industry. Petra Hedorfer welcomes this close collaboration within the events industry: “This trade conference in the capital Berlin marks a clear step forward for the positive perception of this industry.” As a next step, Hedorfer called on the associations involved to draw up a roadmap for their industry and to set out?strategic guidelines for working together.