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Eventprofs set to welcome Global Meetings Industry Day

Successful live events are a prominent indicator of a thriving industry and economy. That’s why eventprofs get together every year to mark Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) and shine a light on the role meetings play in supporting communities, business and local economies. 

GMID 2024 will be celebrated this year on April 11. The Meetings Professional International (MPI) is hosting a 12-hour-long broadcast featuring industry leaders – read more about it below.

Here are the full headlines of this week’s event news updates:

Building a flourishing online community is essential to bring eventprofs together and celebrate achievements. Learn how you can set up one with the Community Blueprint – Associations edition. Read on for your full Week in Events roundup ⤵️

Eventprofs gear up for GMID 2024

The meetings and events industry is set to celebrate GMID – a day dedicated to showcasing the significant impact that business gatherings have on a global scale.

GMID 2024 takes place on Thursday and underscores the value conferences, exhibitions, incentive travel and other meetings bring to individuals, businesses and communities.

These events bolster local economies and foster innovation, forge long-lasting connections and promote mutual respect.

MPI to host live broadcast highlighting industry impact

The MPI will be hosting a special 12-hour virtual broadcast for GMID 2024. Featuring industry leaders and insightful discussions, the event will explore how meetings contribute to the global economy.

A day rooted in advocacy

GMID has a rich history, originating as Canadian National Meetings Industry Day. After expanding to North America in 2015, it became a global initiative in 2016. U.S. Travel’s Meetings Mean Business currently leads the initiative, though numerous industry organisations participate by hosting their own GMID events. MPI has hosted the annual 12-hour broadcast since 2018.

CloserStill Media makes purchase to bolster cruise ship sector

CloserStill Media has made a new investment to strengthen its cruise ship sector vertical.

The organiser bought a key stake in Elite Exhibitions to shore up its growing Future Transport and Infrastructure Group.

Co-founders Toby Walters and Sam Murray will remain as respective CEO and commercial director of the 30-member team based in Brighton, UK.

Toby said: “We are truly excited to be partnering with CloserStill Media – a company who share our passion for launching new products whilst taking a thoughtful approach to growing events.

“Sam and I have worked extremely hard to build a company that prides itself on an engaging and entrepreneurial culture; having observed CloserStill for some time it was clear that they were the perfect fit for Elite.

“This partnership will provide both our team and our business the ability to pursue new opportunities whilst accelerating our growth.”

Gareth Bowhill, CEO of CloserStill Media, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Toby, Sam and the Elite team into the Group.

“Elite is a dynamic, fast-growing business and the cruise ship sector is an attractive sector and is complementary to several of our existing shows in the transportation sector as well as broader design and built environment space.

“Toby and Sam are creative, talented leaders who have built a unique culture with their dynamic team and we are excited about what the partnership will bring to the expanded CloserStill group.”

Elite Exhibitions runs the CSI expo, a premier event for cruise ship design and construction, held annually in London and Miami since 2019.

This foray into cruise shipping aligns with CloserStill’s existing events (automotive interiors) and Influence Group (built environment design) in both Europe and North America.

Abu Dhabi unveils 2030 tourism plan

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince has greenlit an ambitious tourism plan, dubbed Tourism Strategy 2030 for the region.

An initiative of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, the plan marks a major push for growth and development in the emirate’s tourism sector.

Highlights of the plan 👇🏼

  • Aim to increase visitor numbers from 24 million (2023) to 39.3 million by 2030, targeting a 7% annual growth.
  • Boost tourism’s GDP contribution from AED49 billion (2023) to AED90 billion by 2030.
  • Create 178,000 new jobs in tourism by 2030 due to infrastructure expansion.
  • Aim to nearly double international overnight visitors to 7.2 million by 2030.
  • Increase hotel room inventory from 34,000 (2023) to 52,000 by 2030.
  • Enhance the holiday home sector to provide more diverse lodging options.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The Tourism Strategy 2030 marks a pivotal moment in Abu Dhabi’s transformative journey, representing a vital lever in our ongoing evolution.

“Delivered alongside our key partners, the strategy underscores our steadfast commitment to fostering sustainable growth and strategic development in the travel and tourism sector.

“Through carefully crafted initiatives that will unlock economic opportunities, amplify our distinctive culture and enhance the emirate’s value proposition, we are laying the foundation for a vibrant and prosperous future that transcends generations.”

To fulfill the strategy’s objectives, Abu Dhabi will focus on 26 critical initiatives within four strategic areas: Product and City Activation; Promotion and Marketing; Infrastructure and Mobility; as well as Visa, Licensing, and Regulation.

These areas are crucial to achieving the emirate’s tourism goals and ensuring sustainable industry development.

DCT Abu Dhabi will collaborate with government departments and private partners to bring the vision to life.

MIA names new operations director

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has promoted Katie Cotton as its new operations director, a freshly established role.

This move aims to sustain member benefits amid the organisation’s ongoing expansion and evolution.

Kerrin MacPhie, CEO of the mia, said: “We are delighted that Katie has stepped up to take on the operations director role.

“The promotion recognises both her experience and commitment to the mia over the past 16 years, and her passion for the wider business meetings and events sector.

“She has a proven track record of managing, growing and supporting mia’s membership.

“During what has been a challenging period for the industry over the past few years, her steadfast care and support of members has made her a valued and well-respected member of the team.”

Katie joined mia in 2008 and has gained considerable expertise in the organisation’s membership, accreditation and assessments.

Her experience in assessing member requirements will be a key factor in her new role, where she will guide the mia through transformative shifts to maintain its reputation for value and credibility.

UFI opens registration for 2024 Global Congress  

Registrations are now open for the 91st UFI Global Congress, taking place in Germany this November.

Koelnmesse’s new Confex Centre, featuring 22 conference rooms and a versatile Confex hall, will host this year’s event.

The venue in Cologne can accommodate over 6,000 attendees with room for innovative formats.


UFI president Geoff Dickinson said: “UFI’s Global Congresses are pivotal gatherings for our industry where we take the pulse of our industry with colleagues from around the world.

“This year’s edition in Cologne will offer opportunities to connect and learn that are second to none, and I very much look forward to navigating the industry’s future alongside you all in November.”

Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse, added: “With the opening of the future-oriented Confex, Koelnmesse is also celebrating an important anniversary this year.

“We have been bringing people and markets together in Cologne for 100 years now.

“Even established trade fairs and modern trade fair grounds require constant renewal.

“It is, therefore, a true honour to welcome the professionals of our industry to Cologne. We look forward to the exchange and inspiring talks.”

Register for the congress here.

New venture debuts for tradeshow entrepreneurs

A new initiative has been unveiled to support and grow startups in the tradeshows and events industry.

On Deck Ventures, launched by Greg Topalian, is taking off with key partnerships of the Fora Group and Yotta – a new data industry event.

Greg, who is also Clarion Events North America chairman,  said: “I am thrilled to announce the launch of On Deck Ventures.

“This venture fills a void of supporting entrepreneurs with both needed investment and advice and guidance.

“I have been in their shoes and know how challenging but rewarding the process can be.”

He added: “I am excited about the opportunities ahead for On Deck Ventures and the impact we can make within the events industry.

“The combination of my work with Clarion and with these early-stage business provides an opportunity to redefine industry standards, foster innovation, and unlock unparalleled potential.”

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