One of the speakers at the Associations World Congress in Antwerp was Anja Stas, chief commercial officer of Flanders Meeting & Convention Center – the unique venue that hosted the event and from which pink flamingoes can be seen strolling through Antwerp Zoo.
Stas said people who connected to nature during an event – or even during our busy working lives - would be more productive, efficient and could get more out of their day.
She asked delegates: "Why do we meet in person, why do we travel thousands of miles to sit together for days, exchanging information? Because in this digital age, nothing beats human to human connection."
But Stas also reminded delegates to take time to look around at their environment – and to use their congress passes to take a tour of the award-winning zoo, one of Belgium's most famous attractions.
"We are the only convention centre in the world with a zoo outside, and the only one that promises and guarantees an immediate CSR solution," Stas said before reminding the audience of the venue's slogan, 'A Room with a Zoo'.
Flamingoes at the Flanders Meeting & Convention Center
Antwerp is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the zoo this year, with a musical planned to tell the story of the port city’s love for the zoo.
Stas extolled the CSR virtues of the venue, whose profits are all funnelled back into conservation.
She said: "Antwerp Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world and is managed to the highest standards of animal welfare.
"All the profits from events at the convention centre, as well as from the zoo, go directly to the conservation programme.
"That includes education, award-winning and groundbreaking scientific research, international breeding programmes of endangered species, as well as conservation programmes and research."
The Associations World Congress from March 12-14 is now in its eleventh year. With more than 400 delegates it is the largest for professional, scientific and trade membership organisations in Europe.
Highlights on the agenda include governance, event tech, revenue, event development, membership, communication and effective CRM.
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