Governments should wake up to the role the meetings industry plays in the broader economic development of regions, a leading industry figure has claimed.
Rod Cameron, director of international development at AIPC, the international association of congress centres, said they should stop thinking of venues as, ‘a way to fill hotels’.
Instead convention centres should be treated as ‘strategic tools’ to support innovation and the knowledge economy, attracting global businesses and raising a destination’s profile.
Cameron was speaking at an open session of the Politicians´ Forum at IMEX, Frankfurt's meetings fair.
He said: "Centres should be seen as a doorway to the global expertise which drives the knowledge economy. Events create networks and stimulate research and collaboration."
He added: "The real value of meetings is not how much money delegates spend, it`s what they accomplish. People don’t attend meetings because they want to stay in hotels, they stay in hotels because they attend meetings."
He also called on governments to give convention centres better opportunities to engage in the economic development process and greater consideration in terms of policy making.