BARI, Italy – “Congressmen are not tourists but can become as such. Meetings may generate a relapse impacting on the income of the entire supply chain that supports the industry, thus becoming a strong attraction to Apulia as a venue,” states Maddalena Milone, CEO of Meeting Planners Ltd, a founding member of Meet in Action Italia, the first network of Italian companies in the meetings industry, just joining ICCA.
“But to bring conferences in Puglia we need an action plan specifically tailored for the meetings industry, as was expertly done for leisure tourism by Pugliapromozione, the Regional Tourism Board of Puglia Region.” Apulian companies, already successfully operating in this market, declare the need for specific support in promotion, education, infrastructure and innovation. And above all, they need concrete tools to promote Puglia and attract events through public-private partnerships. This is what emerges from the current debate on the draft of Puglia365, the Strategic Plan for Tourism in Puglia.
“Thanks also to the signing of the memorandum of understanding with Apulia Region and Pugliapromozione, we are all personally involved as entrepreneurs and feel committed to give our contribution. For the strategic plan we propose to create Puglia per il Congressuale, involving the whole chain of the congress industry.”
Goes in this direction Apulia2meet, the new division of Meeting Planner that promotes the destination Puglia based on the client’s needs and targets. “The key issue,” says Milone, “is monitoring the actions to guide and keep on adjusting the strategies. In this particular context a big deal could be a synergy with our local university for a permanent observatory detecting the business tourism segment and studying its trends as well. We should also evaluate a synergy with the associations that got to be recognized by the institutions and have as their mission the increase of the quality standards of the meetings industry, i.e. Federcongressi&eventi and Meeting Professionals International (MPI).”
Federcongressi&eventi is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Health for the professional path taken up by providers in medical training. It is furthermore alongside the National tourist board (Enit) with Convention Bureau Italia, of which it is a promoter, while MPI has initiated a process of supply chain certification, and since 2013 the Italia Chapter has turned to be the first Italian association in the communication, marketing, tourism and meetings industries to be registered in the Ministry of Economic Development list of the associations issuing quality certificates to professionals belonging to non-acknowledged industries.
To be noted that Maddalena Milone has been recently elected Vice President Finance in the Board of MPI Italia.