The largest-ever European Incentive & Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition took place in Geneva, Switzerland May 12 to 14, with 2,400 exhibitors and 7,500 attendees from 108 countries.
In the opening session, Piergiorgio Togni, general manager, Italian State Tourist Board, called for more accurate data representing the size of the international meetings market. Recent statistics from the World Tourism Organization cited an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent, larger than that of the general tourism market. But the only organization that tracks international tourism is the Brussels-based Union of International Associations, and it tracks only a few thousand events--"a small part of a far greater phenomenon," said Togni.
New this year at EIBTM was a security clinic, where attendees spoke with experts about protecting attendees from theft (93 percent of visitors to the booth had attendees who'd had their pockets picked or their laptops or other things stolen). Other topics covered at the clinic included how to protect a high-profile event from demonstrations or terrorism, how to protect a company from industrial espionage, and how to combat vandalism.
An attendee survey said the "hottest" destinations now are Central and North Africa, Southeast Asia (despite economic troubles), Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Monte Carlo, Scandinavia, Turkey, and South Africa.
Once again, EIBTM announced its "Greening of Tourism" award winners. The Algarve Tourist Office took the top prize for its environmental enhancement campaigns. Other winners: Silja Cruise Line, Grecotel Hotel Group, ICC Durban Conference Center, Curacao Convention Bureau, and Northwest Airlines.
A new green award--"Innovative Use of Technology for Protecting the Environment"--was given to Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra, Australia.