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NEWSFLASH April 2018

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April 2018
In This Edition

Left Column

Australia: BESydney hails new Government Bid Fund a win for Australia

China – Business Update

Cyprus: 2017 Visitor Numbers Smash Records

Finland, Rovaniemi: The World-famous Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is expanding

France, Strassbourg: The latest innovations in Strasbourg

Germany, Hamburg to take planners behind the scenes at one of Europe's largest convention centres – at IMEX in Frankfurt

Switzerland Updates

Right Column

IMEX Group and C2 International announce powerful new joint partnership that pushes boundaries

UK, Leeds: ConferenceLeeds celebrates over £16million of venue investment across the city

UK, Wales: Wales leading the way to world class events at IMEX in Frankfurt

Publishers Note

Dear Reader!

This month, our business updates cover a wide variety of destinations, news about the new partnership of IMEX Group and C2 International - -please keep in mind that IMEX in Frankfurt is less than a month away – and the application link for MITM Americas Havana, Cuba will be available shortly!

In Australia, a new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund was announced by the country’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment with the purpose of adding a competitive edge against other international destinations.

China updates includes the announcement of the creation of the Ministry of Culture and the National Tourism Administration; the re-opening of the scenic Jiuzhaigou area 7 months after the magnitude 7 earthquake; the creation of a huge Giant Panda National Park and in Shenzhen’s highest skyscraper the top floor (116th floor) scenic outlook area ‘Freesky’ is now open to the public.

In Dubai, tourism growth is well on track for the Emirate’s 2020 tourism Goals – please see the article.

As we’re approaching Europe’s largest MICE trade show – please find a range of business updates from Europe. We’re looking at tourism growth in Cyprus, news from French Strasbourg, and an outlook on the Congress Center Hamburg which will reopen in 2020 following a substantial makeover. At IMEX you are invited to take a 3-D interactive experience of the new center.

Read about Switzerland’s smart group luggage solution; the world’s steepest mountainside Railway connecting the town of Schwyz with the Alpine village of Stoos and – did you know that Europe’s largest freshwater aquarium-vivarium is home to a great convention center – read about Aquatis in Lausanne!

In Finland, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Lapland is expanding and offers extraordinary experiences – see the coverage! And, lastly, we’re looking to the UK where Leeds sees huge investments in meeting facilities and – looking out to IMEX – for the first time the country of Wales will attend with its' own stand!

We hope you enjoy reading and you are invited to share this edition with your colleagues.

Best regards

Martina Warter
General Manager & Publisher
MICE Media Marketing
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Australia: BESydney hails new Government Bid Fund a win for Australia

Business Events Sydney (BESydney) has today welcomed the announcement of the new Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund by the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, The Hon. Steven Ciobo MP.

Delivering A$12 million over three years, the fund will provide a welcome boost to existing funding by Federal and State governments and the private sector.

Launching the new fund at the Tourism Australia Destination Australia Conference in Melbourne, Minister Ciobo said, “In the increasingly competitive global world of business events, we recognise that more needs to be done to ensure that Australia maintains a competitive edge against other international destinations.

CEO of BESydney, Lyn Lewis-Smith, has been one of the strongest advocates for the fund, and led lobbying efforts by the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) during her time as President (2014-2017). She was delighted with the announcement and said it would make Australia far more competitive when bidding for international business events.

“Business events are platforms for attracting trade, foreign investment and global talent, while showcasing the research, investment and innovation within our local industry,” said Ms Lewis-Smith. “The new fund will help Australia compete even more effectively for these events, particularly when we come up against other destinations in Asia, many of which already have bid funds in place.”

Recent research by BESydney and the University of Technology Sydney highlighted just how significant the legacies left by these international events can be. BESydney Ambassador Bill Bowtell AO reflected on the vital role of conferences in solving global health challenges. “The international AIDS conferences became the driving force behind massive changes in international and national policy that led to many people receiving treatment who otherwise would have died,” said Mr Bowtell, who is Director of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

China – Business Update

Tourism Administration

China plans to merge the Ministry of Culture and National Tourism Administration into a single ministry, according to the new institutional restructuring plan of the State Council delivered on March 13.

The plan was delivered at the fourth meeting of the 13th National People's Congress for national lawmakers to deliberate. According to State Councilor Wang Yong, this plan aims to "enhance and showcase the confidence of culture, balance the development of culture and tourism, escalate the nation's soft power and cultural influences, and promote integrated culture and tourism industry growth.

Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area Reopens to Tourists after a 7-month Hiatus

One of China's most visited tourist attractions, Jiuzhaigou, opened to the public on March 8 again for the first time in 7 months after a magnitude 7 earthquake struck this region.

As promised by the local tourism administration, some of the scenic park's most popular sites, including the Nuorilang Waterfall, Long Lake, Mirror Lake, Five-Colour Lake and Shuzheng Lakes, are now open to the public. To ensure the safety of the tourists, the administration stipulated a series of crowd-control and safety measures such as limiting up to 2,000 visitors a day and requiring insurance coverage of all visitors.

Sichuan to Build a Panda National Park Three Times the Size of Yellowstone

With a poverty-alleviation funding of over 10 billion Yuan (USD 1.58 billion) from the Bank of China Sichuan Branch, China’s Sichuan province government is planning to build a Giant Panda National Park three times the size of the U.S. Yellowstone National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, Pandas are slow breeders and their numbers can quickly drop if their way of life is disrupted. The park will hopefully help recover the endangered species while benefiting the low-income local residents financially.

Shenzhen's No. 1 Sky Scraper Opens Top-Floor Scenic Outlooks to Public

116 floors above the ground, the ‘Ping An Finance Center’ in Shenzhen was completed last year and now opens its top floor, named ‘Freesky’, to the public. It offers not only the incredible view of the city landscape but also blends high-tech elements into the experience.

According to the local news outlet Guangdong Yangcheng Evening News, starting on March 8, visitors can take the fastest elevator in China which goes up 541 meters (1,775 ft) in less than one minute and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from 36 outlooks with glass floors. The regular ticket to the scenic outlook is 200 yuan or about 30 U.S. dollars.

Cyprus: 2017 Visitor Numbers Smash Records

Cyprus is seeing record-breaking numbers of visitors to the island – along with corresponding revenues - with the trend set to follow a strong and steady course this year.

On the basis of the results of the Passenger Survey, which is conducted at the Arrivals and Departures halls of Larnaka and Pafos Airports - as well as from administrative sources, arrivals for 2017 (January – December) saw an increase of 14.6% compared to the same period of 2016.

The overall visitor and revenue figures for the whole of 2017 are the highest ever recorded in a year, with tourism revenues also increasing by 11.7%, as per the results published by the Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus.

Over 3.6 million visitors favoured the island for a mixture of leisure, sporting and business reasons - which includes those travelling for professional events such as conferences and forums; networking trips, and company-related training or incentive purposes.

Cyprus’ reputation as a quality destination that offers a complete package is further set to reach meteoric heights this year. The island’s location, favourable weather conditions and its status as a modern and progressive member of the European Union are just some of the reasons for its fast-gaining popularity.

Download your copy of MICE:destination now!Looking for destination features? Please check the list below and download your required edition with one simple click on the link!

And yes of course, you are welcome to pass a copy on to your colleagues too!

Africa  Edition Link
Ethiopia May 2016
Ehtiopia Sept 2015
Indian Ocean: The Maldives, Maurice, Seychelles Sept 2015
South Africa Oct 2017
Asia – On Promotion: Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand Jan 2016
Australia Jan 2016
Hong Kong July 2015
Malaysia May 2016
The Philippines Mar 2015
Philippine Incentives May 2015
The Philippines Mar 2016
The Caribbean  Edition Link
Anguilla  May 2015
Jamaica  Jan 2015
Saint Lucia  July 2015
Middle East 
Dubai, UAE  Jan 2016
Malta May 2016
Madrid, Spain  Mar 2015
Prague, Czech Republic Oct 2017
Stuttgart, Germany July 2016
North America  
USA - Greater Fort Lauderdale & Broward County Update  May 2015
Finland, Rovaniemi: The World-famous Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is expanding

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, Finland, opened in November 2016 and has become the place to stay in Lapland. During the first year, the hotel won the World Luxury Hotel Awards and has been nominated for the World Hospitality Awards.

This family-owned hotel offers guests a new way to experience the Arctic Circle and the beauty of the Northern Lights in the nest-like atmosphere of its thoughtfully designed Suites.

With spectacular views over the treetops, the suites offer an exclusive combination of local tradition, Lappish heritage and modern Scandinavian design. Atmospheric lounge area of the main building invites to relax, while the stylish panoramic Rakas Restaurant & Bar caters delicious local food in unique surroundings.

Due to the success and popularity of the location, Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is expanding its capacity summer 2018 by 14 more units. From July 2018 hotel will offer accommodation in total of 52 suites and 5 two-bedroom Arctic Glass Houses.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel has received acknowledgement from variety of incentive and leisure groups as well as individual guests. Its proximity to activity services and other infrastructure is convenient whilst calm surroundings and atmosphere of oneness with nature- unparalleled. Hotel offers variety of tailor-made itineraries for the guests with Lapland Luxury team of experts.

Lapland Luxury is a tour operator and a destination management company (DMC) based in Rovaniemi and a part of the same group of best Christmas and Lappish – experience providers as SantaPark, Official Santa Claus of Finland, Santa Claus Secret Forest, and Arctic Forest Spa. These above ordinary locations and services coupled with a thoroughly picked network of subcontractors ensure uniqueness and high quality of each and every offered product including luxury FIT and incentive programs. In addition the company offers a full range of services such as ground handling, private transfers, guiding / hosting services in a variety of languages, accommodation, in-house catering and shopping services, group / private activities and private experience-rich meals as well as constant support phone line.

France, Strassbourg: The latest innovations in Strasbourg

Award for Les Jardins de Gaïa

Les Jardins de Gaia won the 2017 CSR Social Responsibility Trophy for their creation of "militant" teas and rooibos.

Renewable energies

Fonroche and ES are launching three geothermal energy projects in Vendenheim, Illkirch-Graffenstaden and, soon, Eckbolsheim.

Automotive growth

The automatic gearbox manufacture Punch Powerglide Strasbourg is investing 70 million euros to diversify its production.

Health and research

Strasbourg's University Hospital Institute, IHU, received 3.5 million euros in European funding for the period 2014-2020, added to the regional budget of 15 million euros.

Innovation trophies

Eight local Alsace project-generating companies have been given awards, in particular for their involvement in such innovative fields as the digital and healthcare.

Fibres Energivie Cluster

The European Commission Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry has awarded the "Golden Label" to the Fibres-Energivie Competitiveness Cluster.

New urban adventures in Strasbourg

The design and activity production agency Insolit' Pro is offering new urban adventures entitled "Last Call", "Insiders" and "Escape Gaming" for groups of 6 to 600 people.

Contact Strasburg Convention Bureau for more information or visit

Germany, Hamburg to take planners behind the scenes at one of Europe's largest convention centres – at IMEX in Frankfurt

Visitors to Hamburg Convention Bureau’s stand at IMEX in Frankfurt can step inside one of Europe's largest convention centres and virtually explore the redeveloped venue’s 50 halls in advance of its official opening.

Specially developed VR headsets using new ‘unreal engine’ technology enable planners at the show to move through the Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) and interact with the space. The new CCH will be the largest of its kind in Germany when it reopens in 2020 with a 12,000 sqm exhibition area and 12,000 seats in up to 50 halls. The redeveloped centre will be able to accommodate several concurrent events and the entrance hall, rising as tall as the main building, provides an additional multi-purpose space.

Joining the CCH team at Hamburg Convention Bureau’s stand at IMEX are a vast range of hotels and venues. This includes three 5* hotels - the largest privately owned 5* conference hotel in Germany, the Grand Elysee; the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski and the recently-opened The Fontenay, which offers breath-taking views over the Alster Lake from its 131 rooms and suites.

Other hotels on the stand include the greenest hotel in Germany - the Scandic; hip design hotel Gastwerk and Jufa Hotel Hamburg HafenCity – a new four-star, 200 room hotel located in the heart of Europe's largest inner-city development project. It has five workshop and seminar rooms, hosting up to 500 participants.

TUI Cruises, one of the leading catering and event suppliers Nord Event and UNESCO World Heritage Site Lübeck, ensure there is a wide range of venues, destinations and suppliers from across the Germany’s celebrated maritime region for planners to meet.

Florian Gerdes, Marketing Manager Conventions at Hamburg Convention Bureau, explains: “We’re looking forward to showing planners a new way to experience the city’s show stopping venues. The use of innovative technology at our stand – combined with traditional Hamburg hospitality with curry sausage and tea cocktails – brings to life the city’s top credentials as a formidable location for meetings and events. Hamburg offers an ever-growing choice of venue and accommodation options - with 19 hotels scheduled to open this year alone.”

Hamburg Convention Bureau is at stand number G100 at IMEX in Frankfurt, taking place 15 – 17 May 2018. |

Switzerland Updates

Group lugage made easy

The service “Express Door-to-Door Group Luggage” was successfully launched on 1 January 2017 in the course of a market test and will be continued in 2018. This innovative, comfortable solution offered by Swiss public transport is available for groups from 10 to 50 persons who travel through Switzerland by train, bus and boat. The service is provided at an attractive flat rate for a price of CHF 200.00 per transport and can be booked for roughly 400 service points in Switzerland, including Zurich and Geneva.

New opening: largest freshwater aquarium-vivarium in Europe.

The largest freshwater aquarium-vivarium in Europe opened its doors in October 2017 in the city of Lausanne. This unique concept makes it possible to have cocktail receptions set against the backdrop of an amazing water world. The experience can also be combined with a seminar or event in the hotel facilities of the Conference Hotel Aquatis next door.

The conference centre, which is unique in terms of its capacity, consists of an auditorium that can accommodate 300 people and several modular seminar and meeting rooms.

The aquarium is not only an exceptional journey through our planet’s most fascinating freshwater environments, but is also the very first cultural and tourist destination in Switzerland dedicated to ecosystems and sustainable development.

Visitors can enjoy leisure activities, go on a voyage of discovery and become completely immersed in the different innovative and interactive technologies that create the unique scenography found there.

World’s steepest mountainside railway – Stoos

A technical wonder awaits visitors in Switzerland: the steepest funicular railway in the world. Connecting the town of Schwyz with the Alpine village of Stoos, the mile-long funicular climbs 2,440 feet along gradients as steep as 110%. Thanks to innovative technology, though, guests stay upright. Fourteen years in the making, the newly opened StoosBahn has a barrel design with an automatic levelling system that allows the cylinders to rotate while keeping passengers in place. A total of 136 passengers can fit in each car to enjoy the quick four-minute ride. At the top, magnificent views of Lake Lucerne and the inspiring Seminar- und Wellnesshotel Stoos with different meeting capacities await guests.

For more information:

IMEX Group and C2 International announce powerful new joint partnership that pushes boundaries

C2 International, the ground-breaking leader in business conferences, has partnered with the IMEX Group in a joint effort to drive innovation and creativity throughout the meetings and events sector.

The three-year agreement represents the first time that C2 International has partnered with another event. The partnership aligns the visions of both organisations through dedicated events at IMEX shows as well as on-going opportunities and content throughout the year.

The aim of the partnership between the IMEX Group and C2 International is to educate and inspire the meetings and event industry and to further the missions of both organisations, particularly in relation to driving innovation and creativity.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “We're really excited about the steps C2 International is taking to share fresh perspectives on running events. Both of our organisations share a firm belief in the power of face to face events and recognise the need for cutting-edge innovation in order for events to become even more powerful and relevant in the future."

“At IMEX, our mission is to unite and advance the meetings industry, helping every single audience within it to increase their skills and knowledge and to push for innovation that generates fresh value. Our partnership with C2 International certainly helps us to fulfil this. With everything we do, our goal is to offer new and creative experiences and education for all our show participants in Frankfurt and America, and we look forward to working with the ground-breaking team at C2 International to deliver this.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with IMEX, who has certainly earned its place as an industry leader in the global meetings sector,” says Martin Enault, President and CEO of C2 International, Asia Pacific.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for C2 International to share our expertise in creating transformative and immersive events in the cities of Frankfurt and Las Vegas around IMEX shows. IMEX and C2 share a similar vision; we are both dedicated to innovating in the event space and believe wholeheartedly that success stems from creating powerful connections between people.”

Watch our interview with Carina Bauer who explains how the new partnership will drive innovation in the meetings industry.

IMEX will take place in Frankfurt, Germany from 15 – 17 May, 2018.

UK, Leeds: ConferenceLeeds celebrates over £16million of venue investment across the city

ConferenceLeeds is celebrating several recent venue investments, which has seen a total of over £16 million going towards improving the city’s facilities. The investments include the introduction of a learning centre at Leeds Trinity University, a brand new, high-end spa at Rudding Park and significant bedroom refurbishments at the Holiday Inn Express.

Leeds’ conferencing venues have seen investment, enhancing the city’s appeal as a business destination. The studio has undergone an expansion worth more than £170,000, which includes four new state-of-the-art event spaces, doubling its capacity and offering an alternative conferencing venue to a traditional hotel. The Malmaison Leeds has launched its new meetings and events space, Work + Play, offering four meeting rooms and two soundproof glass pods, giving delegates the flexibility to work individually or that can be combined to create a larger space. Horizon has also invested in the reconfiguration of their meeting and event space. They have maximised the potential occupancy by adding in a retractable wall to the main plenary room which now provides two fully equipped conference rooms with the latest AV technology.

Leeds’ academic venues also continue to develop and thrive. Leeds Trinity University has invested £5.7million in a new learning centre; a building that offers first class and modern facilities ideal for not only teaching and learning, but also conferencing. Leeds College of Music has revamped its main performance space, The Venue, by adding a striking rooftop extension right in the heart of Leeds’ cultural quarter, offering increased capacity for more break-out facilities and catering provision.

Alongside this, further venues that have benefitted are some of Leeds’ most popular delegate accommodation destinations. One of the most significant additions has been the launch of a new spa at Rudding Park. Costing £9.5million, the new Rudding Park Spa has been recognised as the Best New Spa in the UK by the Good Spa Guide 2017 and features the UK’s first genuine Roof Top Spa and Garden, offering an extensive range of thermotherapy and hydrotherapy experiences. The Holiday Inn Express has also invested £1 million into refurbishing its bedroom facilities, with works due to be completed in March of this year.

Jennifer Young, Head of ConferenceLeeds, commented: “With Leeds as a top 10 UK conferencing city and the 2nd most popular in the North of England according the 2017 BMEIS report, it is extremely important that our venues offer the highest quality facilities. We aim to not only provide world-class conferencing venues, but to also provide exceptional accommodation and experiences to delegates to make a conferencing visit to Leeds truly remarkable in every way."

For more information, visit or follow ConferenceLeeds on Twitter @conferenceleeds.

UK, Wales: Wales leading the way to world class events at IMEX in Frankfurt

The UK country of Wales will be represented with its own stand for the first time at IMEX in Frankfurt this year (F350).

Crucial to Wales’s increased visibility at the show is the development of the purpose-built International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), part of the Celtic Manor Collection, which will be the only completely new UK venue to open in 2019.

Ian Edwards, Chief Executive of ICC Wales commented: “We are delighted to be helping to bring Wales to the forefront of the business tourism industry at IMEX in Frankfurt. It’s the first time Wales has exhibited as a country separate from Great Britain, and having hosted major events in the country, including the Ryder Cup, the NATO Summit and the recent Champions League Final at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales has proved its worth and continues to be a key player in the events industry.”

“ICC Wales’s design and facilities are truly world class and its location – adjacent to the M4 motorway, just over two hours from London and close to the international airports at Cardiff and Bristol – makes ICC Wales an accessible and attractive proposition for international and national association conferences, corporate conferences and exhibitions.”

Two large scale conferences have already been booked at the venue, years before its opening – Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference in March 2020 and the venue’s inaugural event – The Hospitality and Catering Expo in July 2019.

Building work began on the site in June 2017 and once complete in 2019, ICC Wales will provide total floor space for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and events of 26,000sqm – the equivalent size to nearly four international rugby pitches.

ICC Wales is located within the grounds of Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales. The new-build venue will accommodate 5,000 delegates and includes a 4,000sqm, pillar-free main hall.

The ICC Wales is an £83.7m joint venture between the owners of Celtic Manor and Welsh Government and is managed by Celtic Manor’s expert leadership team.

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the west and north and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of around 3 million and covers a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi).

Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit.

Find ICC Wales at stand number F350.


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