Highlights in IBTM 2019 and my selected newcomers to the MICE industry

IBTM World is the leading global event for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry, taking place annually in Barcelona. Since 2004, and I have attended all the editions!
During the event, IBTM announced that it has signed a new three-year contract with Barcelona Convention Bureau and Fira de Barcelona that will see IBTM World take place in the city up to and including the 2022 edition
This is the place where I find the latest updates on MICE travel, new trends, and cool destinations and of course newcomers. And I am so happy it takes place in my own city!

The figures of this year:
- 74,000 pre-scheduled business meetings having taken place and a 3% increase in the number of visitors attending the three-day event compared with 2018
- 62% of Hosted Buyers participated in IBTM World for the first time this year
- 51% of them were completely new to the entire IBTM portfolio
- Over 2,600 exhibitors from 150 countries attended
- 450% increase in net space for exhibitors from China
- Over 2,700 Hosted Buyers were present representing 77 countries

After visiting the show since the doors opened on Tuesday and til they closed on Thursday, these are my selected highlights for IBTM World 2019:
- Thailand: is my favorite country for events, either congresses, exhibitions or incentives. If you want to read with more details about the Thai proposals, check this article or this one, and this one in Spanish.
Beside their stand is one of the most attended in the showfloor, always featuring Thai culture (even Muay Thai!).
I also attended the press conference of Khun Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB President who explained all the goals and achievements of the business events sector in Thailand

- Singapore: My other favorite country, showed itself as one of the best destinations in Asia. Its floor with "freshly" grass, was so confortable to walk on! I love the model of Marina Bay where you could choose an area and get the explanation on the big screen. 
It is on my top destinations in Asia for the great facilities for all kind of events, for its original activities proposals, its Peranakan tradition and its modern flair and perfection all around the country.
And of course Singapore is my most important Asian hub because flying directly from Barcelona with Singapore Airlines, makes my jetsetter life much easier.
Check #GraupixSingapore for my inspiring pics and this link for all my articles related to Singapore


- GICC: Stay tuned for the the Galaxy International Convention Center (GICC) to be finished in 2021 as Asia’s most iconic and advanced MICE destination. Together with the spectacular events venue Galaxy Arena, and Andaz Macau, a vibrant luxury lifestyle hotel seamlessly integrated into the property.
By now you can find 4.000 hotel rooms, in luxury hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, Banyan Tree, etc, and in the future there will be 12.000 hotel rooms. The Galaxy Arena can host 16.000 people. Can't wait to see it finished!

My highlights in Europe are:
- Nuremberg, one of my favorite German cities, being in a fairy tale city and so much business going on in there. The booth of Nuremberg Convention in IBTM is always one of the busiest in the showfloor and they always have yummy Lebkuchen to eat!
 Nürnberg Messe -the fabulous exhibition and congress centre- is for the first time number 5 in Germany by revenue, and number 13 worldwide. And Nuremberg is working hard, they did a huge invest in their buildings. That is why their new halls are the most sustainable in the world (Platinum Award by the strict German DNGB) and their Wifi can feed 60.000 pax at the same time. Also their digital signage is awarded-winning. All this combined with a touristical hotspot like medieval and picturesque Nuremberg City it makes Nürnberg Messe and Nürnberg Convention the perfect location for an event.
Read here my favorite hotels in Nuremberg
Read here my Nuremberg guide

- France: so close from Barcelona and so fabulous always, France is working very hard with local clusters to attract the different sectors to organise their events in France. As a reminder, the G7 Meeting in Biarritz was the very first event green certified, check this link.
France is the worldwide number 4 country and Paris is the worldwide first destination for congresses and conventions according to ICCA 2018.
One of the biggest exhibition venues in Europe, Paris Porte Versailles, has just added 40.000m2 in its facilities. An much more in a huge masterplan to update and get the venue greener. Check this link for further information

- Tel Aviv in Israel: I have so many friends travelling every year to Tel Aviv to enjoy its gastronomy, beaches and cultural life, because Tel Aviv is so well known as a city for commerce, culture and nightlife, Tel Aviv is also an excellent venue for MICE tourism - meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Tel Aviv offers an abundance of venue options for these important markets, and proposals for outdoor activites for an incentive or just when the working day is finished. And one of the most important ones is, no doubt, Expo Tel Aviv, perfect for bit events in the region.

- Brno: during IBTM I learnt about the Czech city, I was not aware at all about its proposals. Close to Prague and to Vienna, it is ideal for a an incentive or corporate, having lots of cultural and gastronomy proposal
Stay tunned because I will be there in 2020 and will be able to report and check all about this surely great destination. Another newcomer to keep in eye to!

- Luxembourg: beside the European Commission and lots of outdoor proposals, in Luxembourg there are plenty proposals for MICE. They recently created Business Event Luxembourg, in order to enhance events in the Grand Duchy: their ambition is to make on the top of 50 best destinations for events. By now only from the European Commission, they host 40 yearly A level meetings, and in the Luxembourg Convention Center they can host big events. Beside the 4.000 hotel rooms to find in the capital. 
By the way, did you know that 70% of the country is green/forests? Another reason to visit this tiny country!
I can't wait to visit this newcomer!

- Wales: surely the most hilarious presentation I have ever attended (and believe me, I have attended thousands in my life). I felt deeply sorry not to have visited Wales yet and I die to go there. This destination looked so exciting, so many cool proposals: they officially launched the Year of the Outdoors campaign. The thematic year aims to highlight the country’s strengths in outdoor pursuits, sports and adventure, in addition to wellbeing and mindfulness. The year also aims to celebrate the country’s outstanding natural landscape and wealth of outdoor experiences, including its three National Parks, 600 Castles and 870-mile Coastal Path which makes Wales the only country in the world with a continuous walking path around its entire coastline.
And do not miss the recently ipened ICC Wales and their mindulness proposals around the venue.
It is a newcomer for truly special events and can't wait to visit.

- Hamburg: my top city in Germany, so special to me, so many different proposals to enjoy the city and explore the area. 
There are many design hotels boutique hotels, plenty of them really cool, and the classical luxury hotels, where I also include the totally refurbished Grand Elysée with the biggest facilities in town within a hotel.
I will be back to Hamburg in May 2020 to witness the Maritime Parade, for the yearly port anniversary!

In Africa I checked two destinations: one where I have beent three times and a totally newcomer:
- Rwanda: the energetic and amazing team of Rwanda shared with me that according to Gallup, it is the 1st safest country in Africa and the 4th in the world; and Kigali is ranked the 2nd city for events in Africa according to ICCA 2018, and as well the cleanest in Africa. Big wow! 
Not only National Parks and Safaris, but also events and incentives: check the Kigali Convention Centre which a premium environment for conventions, exhibitions and other events.
Now luxury hotels like One & Only or Singita are investing and promoting the country as a luxury destination. These are stunning news, for a country that is redefining itself and looking for its place in the passport of the worldwide jetsetters. I am already practising "murakoze" which means thank you and "amakuru" which means how are you, can't wait to visit this newcomer!

- South Africa: I have been three times in this fabulous country. Truly top for experiences and truly professional for events. I chatted with Amanda Gotze-Nhlapo who shared with me her views on the MICE business in the country: with the campaign "Where great minds meet" they highlight why South Africa is on of the most exciting places on the planet for people to meet, thrive and and inspire business growth. Some important figures:
. Meetings Africa 2019 broke previous records, with 343 exhibitors – 37 more than last year – and 86 of whom are from African countries
. The local events industry directly and indirectly sustains more than 250 000 jobs.The business events industry contributes about R115 billion to South Africa’s GDP every year
. 2018 saw 721 hosted buyers applying for spots at Meetings Africa, with a whopping 462 from 65 countries accepted to attend surpassing last year’s total of 392
The South Africa National Convention Centre (SANCB) is a ‘one-stop solution’ for independent information and assistance, giving neutral advice on all aspects of hosting and organising any business event in South Africa.
Read my luxury experience in Johannesburg in this link
Read here my luxury experience in Cape Town with ILTM

I also attended an education session by Positive impact Events, about how to introduce sustainability in the press talks, which is the main key trend for the events in 2020. As going paperless is no longer a trend, and sustainaibility is slowly added in most of the RFP's of the industry. It is a culture change that obliges to engage the supply chain, the stakeholders, and the clients. The objectives are to be able to measure the green initiatives and to repport about them. Engage the global event industry in the The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Ensuring by 2030 the over 1.5 billion* people who attend events every year acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. There are two immediate actions that everyone can take:
1. Make a commitment to action on the survey 
2. Join the UN community of almost 400 global ambassadors who are using their voice to encourage action on the UN Sustainable development goals