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ICCA, UNWTO Partner to Help Destinations Build Meetings Sector

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have begun to collaborate on a series of education and knowledge economy development initiatives named Masterclasses on the Meetings Industry for tourism stakeholders in UNWTO Member States, focused on helping to build their capacity as new meetings destinations. The first UNWTO-ICCA Masterclass on the Meetings Industry took place in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, on August 10, and the second one on October 9 in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, as part of the 8th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, “Smart Cities, Smart Destinations”. A third Masterclass will take place in Batumi, Georgia, on December 5.

Utilizing the knowledge of ICCA experts and delivered using UNWTO’s training division, UNWTO Academy, the Masterclasses aim to serve as a platform to explore the potential of the meetings industry and equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to drive its further development in their destinations.

Against the backdrop of business events becoming increasingly recognized as a driver of long-term global societal and economic progress, the ICCA said that it views this new collaboration with UNWTO, a United Nations specialized agency, as a strong indicator that international intergovernmental organizations are beginning to formally recognize business events’ contributions to worldwide development.

First Masterclass in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan

The inaugural Masterclass in the series held on August 10 saw over 100 governments officials from the Uzbekistan Tourism Administration, representatives of private companies, associations and academia take part in sessions showcasing global meetings industry trends and introducing a practical developmental methodology. Delivered by ICCA’s Regional Director Europe Elif Balci Fisunoglu and UNWTO’s Dmitry Ilin, the interactive seminar facilitated the creation of an important network amongst the private and public sector in Uzbekistan and sought to enhance the destination’s competitiveness, to intense interest and appreciation from the participants.

Second Masterclass in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan

October 9 marked the second UNWTO Masterclass in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, as part of the 8th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism “Smart Cities, Smart Destinations”, held at the Independence Palace.

Approximately 100 participants attended the Masterclass representing the private industry of Kazakhstan along with international tourism board executives and meetings industry representatives from countries such as Austria, Spain, Italy, Korea and Thailand.

During the welcome reception at the Hilton Astana hotel, Helena Mahuas, deputy director of the Nur Sultan Convention Bureau, welcomed the participants and guests and presented the country’s MICE tourism potential and the latest reforms in the field of developing business tourism in Kazakhstan.

Ion Vilcu, director of the UNTWO Affiliate Members Department, opened the meeting with the presentation of the UNWTO Affiliate Membership and acknowledged ICCA, thanking the organization for being an active affiliate member of UNWTO.

Keynote speaker and ICCA European Regional Director Elif Balci Fisunoglu shared meetings industry insights on why destinations are focusing on this sector and how to research and bid to win future meetings. She gave an outline of the current industry trends explaining how destinations are linking their economic and knowledge clusters to meetings when bidding.

Third Masterclass in Batumi, Georgia

A third Masterclass will take place in Batumi, Georgia, on December 5.

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