Project leader and Principal Lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, Jackie Mulligan explains: "Whilst the meetings industry in Europe and the US is understandably focused on the economic difficulties confronting them right now - this is endangering the industry by overshadowing the longer term opportunities. Meeting planners need to consider and learn more about economies in the developing world as well as consider new industry growth areas where businesses will need to meet and collaborate - in bio and nanotechnologies for instance. Innovation is critical".
One of the first business tourism destinations to benefit will be Abu Dhabi where some of the research is being converted into professional development opportunities through sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. MPI has commissioned the UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan University to develop a wide range of bespoke courses informed by the research for the emirate to enhance its competitiveness long term.
Dr Emma Wood, co-author of Innovative Marketing Communications will be reviewing the results of MPI's research which she believes reveal some short-termism within the sector: "Understanding the values of consumers and demonstrating the value of meetings will be a critical factor in weathering the more challenging economic climate. This is a collective challenge and we hope that in our presentation and co-creation sessions, that the industry will share their views and understanding of the future to build a longer term view."
Papers and articles from both studies will be formally released at EMEC providing future insights on global trends and the drivers of CSR to the sector.