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This just in: A press release announcing an agreement between the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), ICCA, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and EIBTM to work together to raise the profile of the meetings industry throughout the world.

From the press release:

    “This is a significant moment for the industry,” said Tom Nutley, Chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of EIBTM...“The key objectives are to raise awareness, understanding and value of the meetings industry with Governments with the assistance of the WTO, using the respected and proven Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), and to focus on core value issues of the industry such as GDP and contribution to job creation within the economy.”
    Mr. Antonio de la Morena, Chief Executive Officer for the WTO Affiliate met representatives of more than 20 key associations at a dinner at the Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona on Monday 29 November – immediately before EIBTM’s opening day - when the findings of the initial survey were presented...

    “The initial survey findings confirm what most associations already understood”, said Dr. de Villiers.” Current statistics are muddled and inadequate and there is a strong case for harmonisation. There is confusion over definitions and a wide variety of structures.

    Phases One and Two

    Phase one of the agreement is already under way with the results of a WTO survey to 144 WTO Member States on the current state and attitudes to the meetings industry.

    The second phase is the commissioning of a research document by the key partners to present at the WTO conference in the autumn of 2005. The document will make recommendations for implementation via the TSA. It is hoped there will also be further development of the findings in conjunction with the United Nations of which the WTO is now an official agency.

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