How destinations are preparing for future challenges and how they can be more competitive created highly engaging debates during the 14th annual IMEX Politicians Forum. More than 40 politicians and policy makers from all over the world, including national and regional government ministers, and political influencers, gathered together at the Hotel Villa Kennedy Frankfurt with 80 industry leaders at this unique annual event. The politicians who came from all over the world, from Australia to Moldova, represented ministries of economic development and education as well as tourism and culture.
The full day programme gave them broad insight into the benefits that the meetings industry can produce as well as the opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practice. Before the comprehensive Politicians Forum, they were given an exclusive VIP guided tour of the IMEX trade show and visited their own national or regional stands.
The afternoon sessions at the Villa Kennedy Hotel started with discussions at national and local level, on Building and sustaining a successful meetings industry – the political dimension which showcased well-developed and implemented techniques to help destinations to improve their competitiveness. The Hon Minister Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Iceland chaired the national level meeting while John Greenway, former Member of Parliament in the UK led the regional discussions.
Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events for New South Wales, Australia delivered the keynote address. In a speech entitled: ‘How Meetings and Events Can Fulfil Political Ambition’, he highlighted the importance of co-ordinating business events and meetings industry strategy with trade, investment and export policies.
All delegates then came together for the main Forum, a Global Exchange of Future Practice, moderated by Michael Hirst OBE, in which all the politicians, government officials and industry leaders shared their thoughts and ideas on how destinations are preparing for challenges ahead.
One of the many leading politicians who took part in the Forum, Ivan Liptuga, Division Head, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ukraine, said: “I liked the keynote speech a lot, and I am taking away valuable lessons.
“Countries like mine which face many challenges, such as issues around labour legislation, developing high standards and training need the opportunity to discuss these issues with colleagues who share them.
Mamoru Kobori, Executive Vice President of the Japan National Tourism Organisation, reflecting on the Politicians Forum, commented: “Events like this are very important and valuable for us to hear each other’s experiences and learn from them. I’ve learned a lot this afternoon, particularly about the advancement of technology and the need to keep investing in and developing it.”
Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group said: “The group of senior national and regional political leaders and government officials from across the world who took part in the IMEX Politicians Forum here today reflects the outstanding reputation that this event has acquired over the last 14 years.
“It has played a powerful role in advancing understanding of the meetings industry among political leaders, enabling them to appreciate that investment in conferences and meetings can bring major economic development benefits, from income and employment to inward investment, education and scientific advancement as part of the knowledge economy.”
“By shedding light on the likely future opportunities and issues facing the sector over the next 15 years, the high-level debate at today’s Forum may well have influenced policies and strategies across the globe positively.”