ICCA set to debate on industry trends

The International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) is urging the industry to pull together to market the UK, following the effects of the 11 September terrorist attacks. The association’s UK & Ireland Chapter will theme its summer debate on the major threats to Britain’s congress future. The threats include shorter lead times, the euro and pricing structures, and video-conferencing technology. The debate will take place on 18 June at the QEII Conference Centre. "Since 11 September, the industry has been tremendously volatile," said ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter chairperson Jenny Salsbury. "The bigger meetings seem to be settling down now, but there are still a lot of short lead times. Also, as key, high-profile speakers aren’t keen to travel, the use of video -conferencing has consequently increased. Technology is developing and becoming a lot cheaper, and therefore more accessible." Salsbury added that the euro was a threat because the UK pricing package at venues can sometimes be seen as more expensive compared to Europe and North America. The findings from the debate will be put to the Business Tourism Partnership to spearhead changes in the industry. "We need to address these issues as a whole and promote Britain as a united destination, rather than individual areas, to be more competitive worldwide," Salsbury said. ICCA’s winter debate on 13 December in Cardiff will look at purpose-built centres. Plans are in discussion for a centre in Cardiff and the possibility of a dedicated Wales Convention Bureau is also being mooted.

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