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FCCI to play a key role in IMEX Politician’s Forum

The Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI) announced that it is to play a key role in the IMEX Politician’s Forum in Frankfurt and reported the successful completion of its First Action Forum in Seoul from March 20th – 22nd. FCCI also welcomed four new members – Toronto Convention Bureau, San Francisco Travel Association, Abu Dhabi Travel Authority and Durban KwaZulu Natal Convention Bureau. They have joined founding FCCI members Seoul Tourism Organization, Visit…

The Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI) announced that it is to play a key role in the IMEX Politician’s Forum in Frankfurt and reported the successful completion of its First Action Forum in Seoul from March 20th – 22nd. FCCI also welcomed four new members – Toronto Convention Bureau, San Francisco Travel Association, Abu Dhabi Travel Authority and Durban KwaZulu Natal Convention Bureau. They have joined founding FCCI members Seoul Tourism Organization, Visit London and Business Events Sydney in this strategic research and development partnership which is co-ordinated and facilitated by Fast Future Research – authors of the Convention 2020 study on the future of the meeting industry.

The FCCI has been asked to deliver a seminar as the opening session of the IMEX Politician’s Forum in Frankfurt on Tuesday May 24th 2011. Rohit Talwar – CEO – Fast Future and Executive Director of FCCI said "We were honoured when IMEX approached us to share some of the details on the research and practical actions FCCI and its members are undertaking to maximise the long economic impact of meetings ‘beyond visitor spend. We need to work together as an industry to demonstrate that the meetings sector is a critical contributor to the knowledge transfer process in the industries that will drive long-term economic development. We are delighted that IMEX is putting such commitment behind the process of engaging with politicians."

At its First Action Forum in Seoul, FCCI members took part in an intense programme of partner working sessions, meetings with national and local politicians and delivered seminars on destination development and the future of meetings for over 200 leaders of the meetings industry at the Korean MICE Association’s Annual Global Leadership Forum. This was the third working meeting of FCCI and the first time all seven members had been together.

Samuel Koo, President and CEO of Seoul Tourism Organization and host of the First FCCI Action Forum – Seoul, said “From the formation of FCCI last summer, we could see we had something of real strategic value to all our members. We at Seoul Tourism Organization offered to host the First Action Forum to dedicate two and half days together to accelerate our agenda. The Forum exceeded even our most ambitious expectations in terms of practical sharing of experience and expertise. We reached rapid agreement on priorities and launched our first two collaborative research projects. The first project is designed to give us competitive advantage as destinations and the second involves pioneering research that will benefit the entire industry.”

Koo went on to say “Korea’s national and local government and our industry association have big ambitions for the meetings sector. As a result, the FCCI members spent two hours with Mr. Choung Byoung-gug, Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, advising him on very practical aspects of driving forward Korea’s meetings industry and addressing inevitable roadblocks. We also spent considerable time with Mr. Oh Se-Hoon, Mayor of Seoul, Dr. Kyung-won Chung, Vice-Mayor of Seoul and Mr Charm Lee, Head of Korea Tourism Organization discussing how to address issues as diverse as brand development, growing accommodation capacity, integration with the design community and building industry capability.”

Tara Gordon – Vice President, Meeting & Convention Sales – Tourism Toronto said “It is not easy to address the needs of a diverse group of cities at different stages of their international development. However the design and facilitation of our partner sessions and the organization of the political and industry meetings ensured that we were able to work fast, share practical insights, learn a massive amount, reach critical agreements and experience the very best of Korean hospitality. In particular, I took away a lot of great ideas on issues such as how to get citywide brand alignment and convention bureau funding models.”

Tracy Halliwell – Director of Business Tourism – Visit London said “The Forum surpassed my expectations for how much we’d achieve in such a short space of time. It doesn’t matter how you describe things on paper, it’s only when you actually get round the table and start working together that you work out what you really want to do and see how much you can achieve. I took away a lot of ideas that will help address immediate priorities such as establishing an ambassador programme and maximising opportunities for economic development through business events at the London 2012 Olympics.”

Tom Kiely – Vice President, Tourism Development – San Francisco Travel Association said “The Seoul Forum has really helped accelerate the process of collaboration and idea sharing between FCCI members. I’m delighted with the insights I took away on topics such as developing our international strategy, targeting key geographic markets and industry sectors, and creating a strategic intelligence and research function.”

Lyn Lewis-Smith – Chief Operating Officer – Business Events Sydney said “I was impressed at how quickly we reached agreement on our first competitive advantage research project which we are starting immediately. Indeed, most of the conversation about it focused on how we would implement the findings once we had them. FCCI really moved to the next level of performance in Seoul. Our first meeting before the ICCA Congress in Hyderabad focused mainly on governance and introducing our strategies. Our next session before PCMA in Las Vegas enabled us to start sharing priorities and exchanging practical expertise. The First Action Forum in Seoul saw us step to agree our initial research agenda – this is very exciting.”

James Seymour – CEO – Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau said “This was a tremendous learning experience for us as a very new and ambitious destination. Seoul’s city welcome, venues, hotels, hospitality, service levels, world class cuisine and the attention to detail we experienced during the Forum helped us see why it has risen to 11th place in the ICCA rankings so quickly.”

Gillian M. Taylor – Business Tourism Manager – Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority said “This was like a 2 day MBA programme for convention industry leaders. I took away some very powerful examples of how good strategic research can help focus your business planning and marketing. It was also refreshing to see that there really were no egos on display – everyone was honest about their challenges and humble about their achievements – I wish all industry meetings were of this standard.”

Maureen O’Crowley – Vice President, International Marketing & Conventions – Seoul Tourism Organization – said “What’s particularly appealing about the way FCCI operates is that we are all keen for minimal process and administration. Also, the light touch approach to facilitating discussion let’s conversation flow when appropriate while making sure that we address all that we need to. As a result, at all of our meetings to date we’ve covered off the agenda fully with time to spare.”

Rohit Talwar – facilitator of the FCCI partner meeting said “We are pleased with the speed at which FCCI is evolving. For FCCI, strategic research isn’t about producing blue skies reports that sit on the shelf. The focus is on tackling practical issues which members already have on their agenda and looking at those opportunities and challenges which will rise in importance over the next few years. We have STO to thank for showing the initiative to propose and host this meeting which was an inspiring experience that has really helped the process of relationship building and intense collaboration."

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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