Sitting at the big table

Expert Opinion
Sitting at the big table

Lesley Mackay from Ottawa Tourism considers the benefits of being a capital city, and why associations want to be close to Government.


Paris, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, London, Washington and Ottawa. What do these seven cities have in common?

Together, these cities govern seven nations that account for more than half of the globe’s net wealth. They are the beating heart of governments, policies and laws.  They are the G7 capitals.

Capital cities are also often the location of secretariats and headquarter organisations for national and international associations. Whether it is a need to lobby, gather key leaders or be “close to the action”, it simply makes sense for an association to locate itself in a nation’s capital. The upshot is that capitals, and especially the G7 capitals, are ideal for meetings, conferences and events wishing to be close to huge economic and political power centres.

There are, however, a number of other key reasons that make a G7 capital an ideal location for an event. Firstly, there is the VIP experience, from kings and queens and other heads of state, to trade delegations, politicians and global superstars. We understand the needs, security requirements and protocols of looking after the most important individuals in the world. This translates into the best possible levels of service for conferences, as well as the ability to achieve the unusual through a city-wide understanding of how to deliver for even the most demanding of attendees.

We are home to embassies and high commissions from around the world. This means on-the-ground experts and resources for any number of situations. At the simplest level this could involve translation services and cultural advice, right up to engagement with expat communities or even the attendance of trade or cultural officers at events. In some cases, it may even be possible to attract ambassadors or high commissioners.

In addition to these links with policy-makers, we are also home to national universities, scientists and research centres, as well as national institutions, historical and cultural sites, all of which can add to an events success.

Finally, there is the multiculturalism and diversity which we can offer. Here in Ottawa we have residents not just from across the whole of Canada, but around the world. 

Many other capital cities offer what I have so far described, but only seven sit so close to such influential global economic decisions. Beijing, Moscow, Brasilia and Delhi are all incredibly powerful in their own right, with vast populations to oversee. However, the G7 represents a gathering of diverse yet significant global powers, and as we in the event industry know, it is coming together as one that delivers the greatest impact. This is why holding events in G7 capitals can have such far and long reaching effects.

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