Business events, their economic and legacy impacts found a place amongst the discussion of carbon emissions, climate change and environmental politics alongside the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, when Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI) member cities showcased their model of “co-opetition” and a new perspective on the business events industry.
Exhibiting in the uShaka Marine World, FCCI member cities were represented by Sydney, Seoul, and Toronto and host city, Durban. The group welcomed visitors to the pavilion where they profiled the seven destinations including meeting and conferences facilities, and advances and achievements in sustainable industries.
Inaugural Chair of the FCCI and Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Sydney, Ms Lyn Lewis-Smith opened the exhibition at a breakfast function with the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism KZN, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu. The function was attended by local mayors, municipal officials and high-profile public entities eager to gain insight into the work of the FCCI.
At a cocktail function later that evening, Ms Lewis-Smith also formally introducing the FCCI and the industry-leading research the group is undertaking into the social legacies of business events to 120 leading South African and Kwazulu-Natal tourism stakeholders.
“Formed earlier this year, the FCCI is a group of seven leading business event cities: Abu Dhabi, Durban, London, San Francisco, Seoul, Toronto, and Sydney. The group embodies the global nature of the business events market, which was traditionally Euro or US centric, but now encompasses Asian, African and Middle Eastern destinations,” said Ms Lewis-Smith.
“The pavilion in Durban, alongside a high-profile global business event such as COP17, was an ideal platform to raise awareness of our industry and the benefits it delivers communities, economies and countries.”
Mr James Seymour, CEO of Durban Kwazulu-Natal Convention Bureau, said, “The Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism requested that we invite the other member cities of the FCCI to visit Durban in the last week of COP17 to raise awareness of business event legacies, and their value to the local economy and community.”
“The FCCI will be taking Sydney’s Beyond Tourism Benefits research global next year. This is an important step in understanding the true flow-on legacies of business events and their role in economic development – jobs, education, international collaboration and trade.”
Ms Maureen O’Crowley, Vice President, International Marketing at Seoul Tourism Organization said, “Seoul was proud to host the first FCCI action forum in March 2011. The Durban meeting was the second FCCI gathering in 12 months. This frequency demonstrates the commitment of the group to growing and cementing their alliance, and the benefit that we all get from our form of ‘co-opetition’.
Tara Gordon, Vice President, Meeting and Convention Sales at Tourism Toronto comments, “The FCCI collaborates to shape and accelerate the strategic development of our business events industries. This was an opportunity to not only share insights, but also for more established member destinations to support a fellow member – a newer business event destination – that is proactively developing their local industry. Durban did a great job hosting COP17.”
Whilst in Durban, the FCCI representatives were also welcomed to join a group of 30 international media as they toured the Isimangaliso World Heritage Site and Hluhluwe Imfolosi Game Reserve. This provided a valuable opportunity to discuss the FCCI and the far-reaching social legacies of business events with the high-profile media present in Durban for COP17.