AMERICAS – The 2015 edition of global convention centre association AIPC’s Annual Congress, taking place in Boston 5-8 July, underscored the need for community awareness of events at a time when the lines between business event disciplines are increasingly blurred.
Opening the event, Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh told delegates the industry was very important to Bostonians, and “certainly important to me”. His address began a day of presentations that made clear the fact meetings and incentives have a pressing need for not only reinvention and reconfiguration, but closer consultation with government and other parties with a vested interest in their success.
“If the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is doing well, then it means business is doing well,” Mayor Walsh told delegates gathered at the Hynes Convention Center.
Public sector support for the events industry will do more for events if the level at which they co-operate extends beyond being simply a staging ground for events.
“Cities should task convention centres with high value strategic priorities, not low level projects,” said cities expert Greg Clark. “And provide the government with the robust and accessible information it needs to support events.”
The issue of selling event ROI to the cities that can potentially stage them was a recurrent theme.
“Measure conventions in more than heads and beds…it’s what goes on around the city when the show’s in town,” said chairman and CEO of Mass Insight Global Partnerships William Guenther.
Boston Councillor Ayanna Pressley pressed home the point in her panel session: “When we talk talent attraction and retention, it has everything to do with a city’s culture and climate.”