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Julia Rahman

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre Welcomes its First Conference

By | 2022

The inaugural conference was the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga Looking Ahead Symposium and this, kick starts for the centre, a full roster of more than 100 events scheduled remainder of the year.

According to Te Pae Christchurch general manager Mr.Ross Steele, of the events planned at the centre for the rest of this year, more than 60 are conferences, including eight international events – combined will bring over 67,000 people into the central city, and generate an estimated of NZD 37.2 million in direct economic value.

Mr. Steele further added that: looking beyond the end of 2022 the centre, has a solid pipeline of business. In total through to October 2024,146 events are scheduled, which will bring close to 150,000 people into the city; and generate more than NZD 74 million in direct economic value. This includes 88 conferences out of which 23 of are international.

Scheduled events in 2022 of the centre include:

  • Harcourts National Convention, May
  • New Zealand Dance Awards, May
  • Christchurch Art Show 2022, June
  • MEETINGS 2022, June
  • Roofing Association of New Zealand Conference, June
  • Bookeepcon 2022, July
  • House of the Year Awards, July
  • Maia Health Foundation FEAST 2022, September
  • Archipro – Meet, Greet & Eat 2022, September
  • Armageddon Expo, December

Bill Gates Visits Expo 2020 Dubai – Views Key Projects of Expo Live Innovation and Partnership Programme

By | 2021

Mr. Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist visited Expo 2020 Dubai, and toured key projects of Expo Live, the global innovation and partnership programme that supports innovators who develop extraordinary low-cost solutions.

Mr. Bill Gates accompanied by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai tour Expo Live Pavilion.

During the 20 minutes he spent looking at projects at the Expo Live Pavilion showed keen interest in Ideabatic, a low-cost innovation developed by Ms. Kitty Liao of the UK, keeping vaccines and life-saving medicines fresh during long journeys to remote rural areas. The smart last-mile vaccine and cooling system is basically a low-cost battery-powered carrier designed to eliminate vaccine wastage. It is portable and light, and can be carried by health workers, drones and other delivery mechanisms.  The simple design of the Ideabatic requires almost no training to operate, and thus saves money on in-field deployment.

The former Microsoft chairman was also impressed by Desert Control, a new technology developed by Atle Idland of Norway, to help create an agricultural revolution for arid regions. The invention uses Liquid NonoClay, a technology that converts poor soil into fertile land and works more quickly, uses less water than conventional agricultural methods.

Mr. Gates also toured the Sustainability Pavilion, which highlights technologies that consume zero energy. Speaking to Expo TV, Gates urged the world to speed up the implementation of its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with the deadline just eight years away.

He also said that the world was going through a difficult stage in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the success achieved, and called for more efforts for a fair distribution of vaccines.

Expo Dubai 2020 Opens with Star-Studded Ceremony, Fireworks and Live Streaming

By | 2021

The opening ceremony took place on Thursday, September 30 and was streamlined live to more than 430 locations across the United Arab Emirates, and on screens in New York Times Square.

City dwellers in New York were able to watch Expo 2020 Dubai’s spectacular opening ceremony with the event shown live on over sized screens at Times Square.

Both the 37-metre-high Nasdaq screen and the Thomson Reuters display that spans 23 storeys, with seven separate screens, showed the opening ceremony for one hour from 2030-2130 Gulf Standard Time Zone, which is just after midday in New York.

This was followed at the site of the event with spectacular fireworks displays seen in Dubai – marking the first full day of the Expo in visual celebration commemorating, the journey from winning the bid in 2013 – to opening the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

Audiences were treated to performances from: world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli; Grammy-nominated, Golden-Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day; platinum-selling British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding; international mega-star pianist Lang Lang; and four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.

The Opening Ceremony took place at Expo 2020’s Al Wasl Plaza dome, which is the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface, measuring 130 metres wide and 60 metres high.

Considered to be the largest global event held since the start of the pandemic, the Expo Dubai 2020 was postponed by a year due to the outbreak of covid-19. It was eight years in the planning.  The six–month long extravaganza expects to draw visitors worldwide to Dubai.


Images by Dubai Expo 2020.

Business Events Sarawak has a New Chief Executive Officer

By | 2021

Ms. Amelia Roziman has been appointed the chief executive officer of Business Events Sarawak starting from August 1. She will lead Malaysia’s first convention bureau, which was formed in Sarawak in 2006.

Regarding Ms. Roziman’s background in the industry, she has more than 20 years of experience in branding and marketing with 15 years in business events.  She is also, one of the pioneer team members of BESarawak where, she began her career as a sales coordinator for the convention bureau.

“It is such an honour to be able to serve and work with a dynamic team in BESarawak,” said the new chief executive officer. Ms. Roziman added: she is thankful for the support and guidance from her team, family, former chief executive officers and board members, including the local, national and international industry and it’s stakeholders.

The new chief executive officer will continue with BESarawak’s approach of aligning itself with the government’s aspirations of developing the community, society, trade and investment from business events through to its ‘Legacy Impact’. Sarawak’s post covid-19 ten year Development Strategy 2030 places business events as an economic thrust to promote prosperity, social inclusivity and environmental sustainability.

While convention planners in Sarawak are guided in their strategic actions by the ‘Legacy Impact’ for their long term legacy goals.

UAE and Israel Establish Partnership for Trade Development and Large Scale Conferences and Exhibitions

By | 2020

Dubai World Trade Centre has signed an agreement with Israel Export Institute to facilitate participation of Israeli exhibitors in large scale exhibitions in the UAE by end of the year.  It is estimated that commercial potential from the agreement between UAE and Israel is at about USD 500 million per annum.

The framework of the agreement was created based on: cooperation and participation in international conferences and large scale exhibitions; organising and exchanging business delegations; as well as support of significant business partnership opportunities between the two countries.

It will be facilitated by Israel’s Export Institute and Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs, which are actively engaged in the promotion of Israeli industry following the recent signing of the peace treaty with the UAE. The Israel Export Institute responsible for Israeli participation in international exhibitions will now take on this role for the first time in the Gulf States.

Signing of the agreement is part of a new engagement between the UAE and Israel to further peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation for sustainable development.

“The historic signing of the Abraham Accords agreement has opened new avenues for strengthened collaboration and exchange between the UAE and Israel. It has also established a framework for bilateral trade and economic ties to flourish between both states. Partnerships such as the one between the Dubai World Trade Centre and the Israel Export Institute will have a wide-reaching positive impact, as not only both nations stand to benefit, but so does the wider region, particularly through an inward flow of investment and trade, increased cooperation, knowledge sharing, and large-scale innovation,” said Abdulla bin Touq Al Mari, UAE’s Minister of Economy.

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavík Ready for Post-COVID-19 Era

By | 2020

The venue was temporarily closed when social distancing measures were put in place in Iceland on March 16.

Since April 5 however, there has been a steady decline in COVID-19 infections with only a handful of active cases in the country. On May 4, marked the start of substantial easing of the social distancing measures and on May 7, Harpa reopened becoming one of the first conference halls in Europe to do so during the pandemic.

When social distancing measures were put in place in Iceland on March 16, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavík had to close temporarily. Before the outbreak, 2020 was on track to be a record year for Harpa in international events.

“It was confusing and difficult for us, as for everyone in the event industry, to see things unfold when borders started closing down,” says Svanhildur Konradsdottir, chief executive officer of Harpa. “But we certainly appreciate that most of our clients chose to postpone their events rather than canceling them. That inspired us to start right away to plan for the post-COVID-19 era.”

The chief executive officer stated that the venue is working closely with the Icelandic health authorities to enable international conference guests to be safely brought together this summer.He added, the venue have implemented processes on dividing space into sections to fulfill current regulations on group size and social distancing.  Also cleaning procedures for the whole building with attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces such as microphones, pointers, keyboards and podiums are disinfected between speakers. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are available to all guest.

Last week Reykjavik announced that from June 15, the 14-day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavik International Airport. Instead, tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus.

ICCA and TCEB Announce Webinar Series to Navigate the New Norm

By | 2020

The two organisations are joining hands to present a series of educational webinars for the meetings community beginning from Tuesday, May 26.  The partnership will focus on education in response to the global COVID19 crisis with the objective to mitigate the disruption of activities.

ICCA, as the global meetings industry network, is aligning its strategic effort with TCEB to support the business community by means of continuing education and facilitating knowledge sharing. Both organisations will leverage each other’s resources to design customised webinars to meet the diverse needs within its membership, the association community and government sectors.

The ICCA-TCEB Webinar Series will consist of three webinars which will be presented at no cost. Both organisations will bring together thought leaders from across the global network to discuss broad topics on the future of conventions and behaviour change, expectations in the new business ecosystem and evolution of hybrid meetings.

Each webinar will be developed and designed to address the needs of different market segments. The first edition will focus on associations followed by the second one on intermediaries, and the third on government. The Webinar Series are scheduled on May 26,  June 2 and June 9 – running consecutively every Tuesday for three weeks in a row – are open to the global meetings community interested in the topic.

The first webinar of the series, scheduled to be held on May 26, has garnered voluntary support of experts from around the world to deliver virtual learning for associations.

TCEB Launches Hygiene Guidelines for MICE Venues after Easing of Lockdown

By | 2020

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has established under the new normal environment, five key measures on hygiene and public safety which has to be strictly adhered to.  It ranges from limiting the number of attendees (one person per two square-metre space), screening of body temperature, distancing practice within business premises in meeting rooms, elevator, restroom and canteen, establish a system to track delegate who becomes ill after visiting the premise and finally, a queuing system with the separation of waiting areas before entering the premises.

Thailand Convention Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in collaboration with MICE stakeholder associations launch, the MICE Venue Hygiene Guidelines targeting MICE entrepreneurs to be well-prepared for the resumption of businesses under the new normal environment following, the positive sign of COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country, and the gradual easing of lockdown by the government.

The MICE Venue Hygiene Guidelines however, have three key practices covering pre-event, onsite and post-event.

Pre-event practices include preparedness of staff, transport, setting up of screening point, self-screening application or website for attendees to feedback within 24 hours before the event. This as well as,  manual on permitted number of attendees, instruction on holding large scale activities and hygiene instruction for attendees.

While the onsite practice focuses on the use of information technology to mitigate risks. This includes the arrangement of venue to reduce touch points, regular cleaning of touch points and QR code for registration and satisfaction survey to ease congestion,  room layout for better ventilation, two-meter apart seating, microphone set-up at different points and regular cleaning after use.

In the case of speakers invited from location outside the host city safety measures taken to reduce incoming risks are by arranging shuttle service for speakers or provide accommodation near the venue for the speakers.

For exhibitions, advance booking technology for visiting exhibiting booths to lower gathering crowds or virtual exhibition technology should be employed to create experiences for those waiting in the queue. Product booking or purchases can be done through online platform.

Post event practices include the employment of waste management system that can prevent infection, producing a report on event organisation for authorities concerned in accordance with the orders and announcements of the Thai government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Iceland will Open its Borders on June 15

By | 2020

The Icelandic Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir has announced that from June 15, the 14 day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavík International Airport. Instead, tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus.

After being screened at the airport, arriving passengers will go to their overnight accommodations, where they await the results. In addition to that, every arriving passenger will be asked to download the COVID-19 tracing app ‘Rakning C-19’ which helps authorities trace the origin of transmissions.

Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation says: “When travellers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic. Iceland’s strategy of large scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us.”

The proposed border opening depends on the continued decline of cases in Iceland. At this point, only three cases of the virus have been diagnosed in May, only 15 individuals have the virus in Iceland with more than 15 percent of Iceland’s population have been tested. Authorities stated that it could also be implemented earlier than June 15 if preparations go well, and the number of cases remains low. The testing may be used toward further research of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

Meet in Reykjavík – Reykjavík Convention Bureau: Tel: +354 527 6666

Business Events Council Malaysia Appeals to the Government to Restart Crucial Sector

By | 2020

The Council is appealing to the Malaysian Government to make a clear distinction between business events and mass gatherings with a view, to establish a restart date for this crucial economic sector of the country. Currently under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which was enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conferences and exhibitions in the country, are prohibited from taking place

Chairman of the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM), Alan Pryor, said that it was important for the government to understand that the business events industry can operate safely under the comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Malaysia’s business events venues and facilities according to the chairman, can offer controlled environments with high quality operational standards to ensure the health and safety of people which, has always been the primary concern, of the business events industry. As such he mentioned the sector, should not be subject to the mass gathering restrictions that apply to other large-scale events such as weddings, religious gatherings, sports events and concerts.

Pryor commented: “Event venues are economic engines for their cities and communities, creating significant tax and travel revenues as well as jobs. That is why, in consultation with the industry, we have developed highly comprehensive SOPs, which demonstrate our focus on ensuring the safety of our employees, clients, suppliers and attendees.

Collectively industry stakeholders have submitted these SOPs to the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) who have in turn, submitted them to the government. We hope that these will demonstrate the proactivity from our industry in working with relevant government authorities to facilitate the reopening of the business events industry sector, which plays a vital role in stimulating Malaysia’s economy.”

Meanwhile the relevant industry sectors have developed a range of comprehensive SOPs with the support of industry associations which incorporate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, and physical and social distancing.

Based on the SOPs, Malaysian business event venues will also be required to implement a variety of other measures including temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touch-points, contactless transactions and daily monitoring systems. Specifics of these SOPs will be further customised for each venue and event to ensure the health and safety of all involved in the planning and execution of events on site.

“We do hope that the Malaysian Government takes this distinction into account moving forward, as has been happening in other international markets such as China and Germany. Gatherings and events are not all equal and come in many different shapes and sizes. Purpose-built convention centres are required to maintain international standards with controlled environments and stringent operational processes,” Pryor concluded.