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International MICE Industry Consortium: new forms of communication in the modern reality

The session "International MICE Industry Consortium: new forms of communication in the modern reality" was held on January 18 in Saint Petersburg within the Europe-Asia Event Forum.

Members of the consortium and interested companies from Russia, South Africa, Portugal, Egypt, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Abkhazia, Tunisia took part in the event both in person and online.

They discussed possible formats of cooperation between the organizers from different countries, mechanisms of making the Consortium global, the plan of activities for 2024.

Sergey Alexeev, the International MICE Industry Consortium President, First Vice President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF), opened the session: “Recently we face global changes in the economy and geopolitics, a change in the international cooperation vectors, strengthening the role of the MICE industry as one of the most effective tools for building communications between countries and business communities. Russian exhibition and congress companies are interested in establishing cooperation with the business of «friendly» countries, namely with the BRICS, SCO, CIS members. That is why in June 2022 RUEF General Assembly supported the initiative of creating the International MICE Industry Consortium. The main objective of the Consortium is to organize interaction of national exhibition, congress, event and other organizations and associations of different countries to unite efforts in promoting international cooperation with the most effective use of exhibition and congress activities”.

In his speech Vladimir Bannikov, Vice-president of the Consortium, General Director of Exhibition Company «Mir-Expo» outlined the organizational bases of the Consortium’s activity: “As Sergey Pavlovich has already mentioned, the initiative to create the Consortium was taken by RUEF, and this is not a counteraction or alternative to existing international industry organizations. The Consortium is created to help to increase the number of participants of events, to intensify exchange of delegations visits, to increase the partnership base of the industry. We chose the form of the Consortium because it does not require official registration. However, it is possible in future, if the members of the Consortium make the appropriate decision. Commercial, state and public organizations can join the Consortium.
The founders of the Consortium include such major industry players as Expocentre, ExpoForum, and RUEF. Since the initiative belongs to Russian companies and is based on Russian legislation, a Russian legal entity may conduct legal and financial support for the activities of the association. The initiative group proposes Alexeev Sergey Pavlovich to the post of the Consortium President, as his contribution to the development of the industry cannot be overestimated.
For today, we have developed the Consortium Regulations, the form of the Agreement and the Activities Plan for 2024. They will be available at the Consortium website and in WhatsApp chat, and we accept suggestions and comments on these documents.
Main areas of work include:
- attracting more participants to the Consortium;
- joint activities in exchanging delegations visits (both exhibitors and participants);
- developing standards of operation, including collection of best practices and development of recommendations for their use;
- forming technologies and methods together with Rospatent for registration of intellectual property of both organizers and participants (problem of «exhibition priority»).
In half a year we plan to hold an official meeting of the Consortium participants to summarize preliminary results of 2024 and adjust the plan if necessary”.

Rustam Munasipov, CEO of SAYS Exhibitions (Uzbekistan), spoke about the most effective tools and formats of interaction of event organizers. Among them: collective stands, bayers packages, special conditions for exporters. The speaker shared the experience of SAYS Exhibitions in the application of these tools, and summed up his speech: “We are for beauty in business, for the introduction of the maximum number of formations in the exhibition space, for international collaboration. We have many partners in Russia and abroad, which indicates the unifying role of the exhibition industry”.

Ahmed Eldib, AUIEC Secretary General (Egypt), shared his vision of how to make the Consortium a truly global entity. He outlined five pillars:
1. Common vision and strategic planning.
2. Investment in exhibition infrastructure.
3. Cooperation and exchange of knowledge.
4. Marketing and promotion.
5. Advocacy and Policy Influence.

Andrew Binning, CEO of Inkanyezi Events Organizers (South Africa), focused on how to make international cooperation happen.
In his opinion, what prevents cooperation is:
- language and cultural barriers;
- financial issues,
- the unknown.
He offered the following steps to overcome the obstacles:
- Be intentional
- Build relationships & trust
- Understand benefits & incentives of governments / BRICS
- Establish a sub-committee to explore actual opportunities, needs & facts (A Business case).

Andre Septiyanto and Lubarto Sartoyo, founders of Maju Indonesia Rusia (MIR) (Indonesia), spoke about the peculiarities of doing business with Indonesia, the economic situation in the country, and opportunities in Indonesia for companies from other countries. Speakers noted that, for a successful partnership with Indonesians, it is necessary to take into account their national specificities. The tasks of MIR and the Indonesian diaspora network, represented by the speakers, are to convey the intricacies of doing business with Indonesia to a wide audience and to help to enter the country’s market.

Antonio Manuel Brito, CEO of NewEvents (Portugal), shared his vision of new approaches to sales. Key point: we do not sell square meters, we sell business opportunities. To meet the needs of customers, you need to be involved, be able to listen to them, invest in knowledge and research, and offer relevant content. Our clients expect us to meet their needs and solve their problems; they search for respect, trust and long-term relationships.

At the end of the session, special guest Johan Witt, President and CEO jwc gmbh, gave an overview of the industry.
Some abstracts of his presentation:
- more than 30 thousand exhibitions are held annually on average in the world
- more than 1,400 sites and about 42 million square meters of indoor exhibition space were involved in exhibition activities in 2023
- more than 100 million exhibition space rented per year
- 4.4 million exhibitors annually participate in exhibitions
- over 280 million visitors take part in exhibitions annually
- the global exhibition industry market is expected to exceed 30 billion euros in 2023
Global trends affecting the industry are:
- technical progress
- demographic change
- climate change and sustainability
- deglobalization.

Closing the session, Sergey Alexeev noted: “We thank EFEA for the opportunity to present the International MICE Industry Consortium and invite all interested companies to participate in our association!”

Speakers presentations: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ctKVlWymn8K0Nn4Mw-VU_SRDzshSc4Lw?usp=sharing

The Consortium documents: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1X04arqMCBlJOgey8rlc00mCPGWA9mfuh?usp=sharing

The session photos: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/_dki48O49p8oIg
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