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 Tour- ist Board, called for more accurate data representing the size of the international meeting market. The World Tourism Organization cites an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent, bigger than that of the general tourism market. But the only group that tracks international meetings is the Union of International Associations in Brussels, and it tracks only a few thousand events.
New this year at EIBTM was a "security clinic," where attendees could speak with security experts about protecting attendees from theft (93 percent of visitors to the booth had attendees who had had their pockets picked, or had laptops or other items stolen). Other topics covered at the clinic were how to protect a high-profile event from demonstrations or terrorism, how to protect a company from industrial espionage, and how to combat vandalism.
Once again, EIBTM announced its "Greening of Tourism" award winners, with The Algarve (Portugal) Tourist Office taking the top prize for its recent environmental enhancement campaigns. Other winners: Silja Cruise Line, Grecotel Hotel Group, ICC Durban Conference Center, Curacao Convention Bureau, and Northwest Airlines. A new award this year--Innovative Use of Technology for Protecting the Environment--was given to the Hotel Kurrajong, in Canberra, Australia.