London: MPI Conference - In the spotlight

Susie Harwood looks forward to MPI's visit in 2008.

There can be few better ways for a city to showcase its C&I credentials than to host a major conference for event planners from around the globe. From 18-20 April 2008, London will get the chance to do just that when it welcomes the MPI European Meetings and Events Conference. It's the first time the capital has hosted the event and the city is keen to introduce a number of other firsts.

For a start, the name has changed from the rather unwieldy MPI PEC-E, to something more like the European Meetings and Events Conference, although the final wording is yet to be confirmed. Visit London's commercial director and co-chair of the event's host committee David Hornby says this is part of an objective to open up the event to other associations outside MPI and its members.

"We're going to make it a bit more association-neutral to encourage other organisations to get involved," he says. "The messaging will be around an open platform that allows other associations to support the event, created and organised from Europe and London, and with a theme that is all about connection."

Associations that have already signalled their support include the Events Industry Association (encompassing the AEO, the AEV and the AEC), the MIA, the BACD, the British Association of Professional Conference Organisers and the International Special Events Society.

Another key theme of the event will be sustainability. Vanessa Cotton, co-chair on the host committee and managing director of the conference and events division at Excel London, which is hosting the event, says she wants it to be the greenest-ever MPI conference.

The venue has committed to recycle 100 per cent of the waste produced by the event and will use the new draft BS8901 to help plan and manage this from beginning to end, encompassing the work of the marketing, sponsorship, logistics and hospitality committees. "MPI is right behind us on this important aspect of the event and, ultimately, intends to use this as a template for its other educational events worldwide," says Cotton. "It will really showcase that London is not just a great city, but a city where you can put on events to be proud of."

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