PCMA Convening EMEA 2023

PCMA Convening EMEA 2023

Article published 28/09/2023

September has been an incredibly busy month for our Association & Sectors and Corporate & Incentive team members who have been attending events across Europe including the ICCA Global Association Forum, the inaugural VisitBritain Ambassador Reception, PCMA Convening EMEA and our very own Journey to Change reception in Paris.

We caught up with Fiona MacKinnon, Assistant Manager - Associations & Sectors; Patrick Lamont, Business Events Policy Engagement Manager; Rory Archibald, Senior Business Events Manager and Heather McNee, Corporate & Incentive Assistant Manager to discuss the outcomes of the events and the benefits for Scotland.

ICCA Global Association Forum

Taking place from 11 to 13 September, in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, the ICCA Global Association Forum brought together representatives from across the global association and meetings industry to discuss regeneration, sustainability and legacy impact.

At the forum, attendees had the opportunity connect with industry partners, including destination management organisations, convention centres, hotels, and service providers, paving the way for future collaborations.

Attendees also had the opportunity to learn how to create meetings that generate a positive societal impact, how to create an out-of-the-box meeting experience to deliver an authentic and unforgettable experience, and how to leverage a destination's sense of place and local culture to generate meaningful connections for meetings that matter.

ICCA also highlighted the importance of its Knowledge Hub, a platform which provides associations with a wealth of resources, research, and industry insights. Through the Hub, Association professionals can access a wide range of educational materials, case studies, and best practices, helping them enhance their knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments.

Fiona MacKinnon, Assistant Manager- Associations & Sectors, attended the forum, which is in its second year, on behalf of VisitScotland. During the event Fiona joined forces with other international destinations and association clients to take part in activities and gain insights into designing impactful meetings which put community, inclusion and belonging at the heart of the process.

Within the Innovation Challenge session, Elaine Miller from the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) presented on Edinburgh's BEST initiative (Business Events Shaping Tomorrow). Created in collaboration with Convention Edinburgh, EICC, The Kimpton Hotel, Edinburgh Airport, The University of Edinburgh Hospitality and Events Collection, Assembly Rooms and the National Museum of Scotland, BEST recognises businesses that are contributing to a more responsible Edinburgh and the wider community.

Speaking on her experience of the event, Fiona said: "The ICCA Global Association Forum generated plenty of through-provoking conversations between associations and industry, with lots of discussions on collaboration and how events can be a driver for positive societal change - something which aligns strongly with VisitScotland's ethos. I am looking forward to bringing back knowledge, connections and building on this over the coming months and years."

VisitBritain Ambassador Reception

On 13 September at London's Institute of Directors, VisitBritain hosted its inaugural Ambassador Reception to recognise city sector and academic ambassadors who continue to secure new international business events in Britain.

The event was attended by 50 attendees representing British nations, cities, local ambassadors, industry stakeholders and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

British Tourist Authority Chairman Nick de Bois CBE officially opened the reception followed by a welcome from Sir John Whittingdale, Minister of State jointly in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. 

Martin Fullard, Associate Director, The Business of Events moderated two panel sessions during the event. The first session saw representatives from Glasgow, Wales and Leeds convention bureaux discuss their experiences of creating leading ambassador programmes to secure new business events.

The second panel saw three city ambassadors from London, Sheffield and Edinburgh discuss their experiences of working in partnership with British cities and the impact these events bring to their regions.

As part of the panel session, Professor Gary Hutchinson from Edinburgh Napier University spoke with great enthusiasm of The Edinburgh Exchange initiative, of which he is chair. The Exchange is a cross city board of academics, who help the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and other city venues find an ambassador for an event, using their in-depth knowledge and connections, and providing encouragement and support to colleagues organising events for the first time.

Patrick Lamont, Business Events Policy Engagement Manager who attended the event on behalf of VisitScotland said: "Ambassadors are incredibly important to the success of Scotland and our cities as conference destinations - their hard work and willingness to go above and beyond, and their desire to bring their peers to their home city, is the connective tissue between destinations and associations."

PCMA Convening EMEA

Last week (20 - 22 September) the team attended PCMA Convening EMEA, the association's flagship European event, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event agenda focused on three core themes - belonging, impact and future.

Over 600 delegates from across the world descended on Copenhagen to discuss issues that are affecting the events industry. From the complicated nature of belonging to the risks we are collectively facing, including the reputation of destinations. VisitScotland joined a Pathfinders sessions with Destinations International where the importance and challenges of social and environmental sustainability and how much more we need to do as an industry was the key topic.

Rory Archibald, Senior Business Events Manager who attended the event on behalf of VisitScotland said: "PCMA Convening EMEA always encourages some incredible thought-provoking conversations between attendees thorough its extensive education programme and keynote speakers. One thing was clear to me, we need to look honestly at our environmental impact before we can make the real changes our industry needs to be part of the solution of the climate crisis.'

Paris Connect: A Journey to Change event

On the 19 September, members of our corporate and incentive team and five Scottish partners (HORIZONS by Tour Partner Group, The Gleneagles Hotel, IHG Hotels & Resorts, INSPIRED SCOTLAND DMC and the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa) hosted a networking event in Paris to showcase their sustainable options to selected French agencies.

The events were an opportunity for VisitScotland to promote the country's sustainability credentials, the passion that its partners have for sustainable events, and to show that in Scotland business events can create real change and impact.

Heather McNee, Corporate & Incentive Assistant Manager at VisitScotland Business Events and Marine Kerherve, Representative of VisitScotland Business Events in France, at Interface Tourism, detailed Scotland's sustainable direction of travel and the Journey to Change initiative and how business events can be used as a driver for social and economic change.

Speaking on the event, Heather McNee said: "Networking events such as this provide us with an excellent opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with key agents in European markets and promote the progress Scotland is making to highlight business events as a catalyst for social and economic change. Our partners' speeches were incredibly inspiring, and I look forward to seeing the results of conversations from this event."

Next month, our team head to Las Vegas for IMEX America. If you would like to learn more about Scotland's offering, book an appointment with a VisitScotland representative here.