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MICE Project

Italy to start National Convention Bureau

Mario Masciullo, eTN  Jul 27, 2011

ITALY (eTN) - The joint action of the Italian regions to revitalize the Italian congress system has been presented at BTC Rimini. Nine regions are initially involved, and new ones are foreseen to join, while the new director of the National Convention Bureau, Patrick Hoffnung, outlines the details of the start-up of the company.

The project has been approved by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, called MICE Italy, promoted by the Region of Tuscany, along with Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Puglia, Valle d'Aosta Campania, Sicily, Autonomous Province of Trento, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and in agreement with Federcongressi & events. The project foresees the joining of Lombardy, Lazio, and Liguria at a later stage. At the same time, the guidelines were set for the start-up of the National Convention Bureau.

The ceremony was attended by the Area Manager coordinating tourism and trade and Tertiary of the Directorate General of the regional competitiveness and development of skills of Tuscany Paolo Bongini, the Councillor for the Tourism Emilia Romagna Region Maurizio Melucci, the Director General of ENIT and Managing Director of the National Convention Bureau Paolo Rubini, the Director General of the National Convention Bureau Patrick Hoffnung, President of the Federcongressi events Paolo Zona, and the Coordinator of the mission structure for the re-launch of Italy’s image in charge at the Prime Minister's Office Eugenio Magnani.

"The National Convention Bureau is set off to strengthen the Italian congressual offer abroad," said Mr. Rubini in his introduction, "without overlap with other structures and focusing on the country rather than on individual locations. In this framework of complementarity, MICE Italy will concentrate on the offer supply, while the Convention Bureau (CB) will work on the demand."

"The Italian regions [have] support[ed] for years, with continuity and resources, the congressual system," echoed Bongini, presenting the inter-regional project recognizing the strategic value in this sector compared to the attraction of tourist flows qualified to seasonal adjustment, the extent and quality of economic income, and of active employment that it generates.

MICE Italy will qualify for services (community services and marketing support), training (for the public and private sectors), and animation (offer and contribute to the creation of opportunities and tools coordination between territorial levels). The aim is to launch a new model governance in the knowledge that Federcongressi & events is the privileged partner and that without this the association will go nowhere.

"We hope [for] the involvement of the regions in the Convention National Bureau," said Melucci, "not only because there are titles and expertise in this sector, but also for the spirit of service. And I think MICE Italy will enter positively in this context. [The] Emilia-Romagna region looks at the congress activity with interest being strategic for the numbers that it generate[s] and for the whole tourism industry, because it is the only sector that can operate seasonal adjustment."

"All the big countries that have an incoming tourism, have a national convention bureau," stated Hoffnung, while confirming that the conference sector is strategic for Italy, "The objectives of what will be called the Italy Convention Bureau will be many, such as promote and enhance the offer from Italy to foreign organizers and become the point of reference for international professionals on the markets for the organization of events in Italy.

"The structure of the Convention Bureau is (the only case in the world) a corporation (created by ENIT) for the purpose of carrying [out] business and [the] delivery of services. The ENIT provides its network of overseas offices, thus optimizing resources and costs but also making possible the continuous presence in the markets, the development of relations with the target of reference, and [the] organization of promotional-commercial activities on various markets.

"BTC turns out to be, from year to year, a milestone for the field. Here, the regions decided to restart a strong project in collaboration with business. Until now, the absence of a coordinated policy for the development of MICE has left little room for the use of resources - in this sense, I supported the need for a national plan for the CB, developed in consultation with companies that, in the case of Italy for Events, have shown the ability to play a technical role and contribute to the achievement of results. Today, there is a National Convention Bureau, there are regions, there are associations and stakeholders, [and] first of all, BTC. Let's get around a table, and we [may] all contribute [to] the growth of the conference sector. So to reiterate, [there is a] willingness to cooperate with the national CB, but I wish the employees of [the] ENIT foreign offices were formed on the MICE to talk about it with knowledge."

"If we let ENIT foreign subsidiaries become essential reference points," stated Mr. Magnani, "placing ambitious but achievable targets, we will meet next year in BTC, which has returned to be a driving force for the laboratory industry with great satisfaction."

Italy to start National Convention Bureau
LtoR: Lorenzo Cagnoni, president, Rimini Fiera & Paolo Audino, AD, TTG Italia / Photo © M. Masciullo

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