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NewsISSUE 65 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 9ICCA qualified meetings held last year in London by UK-based associationsicca report for confex group22KENYA - The Kenyan Government is looking at building a 5,000 capacity convention centre in Mombasa and a more modest conference facility in Kisumu, with the working title of Lake Victoria Conference Centre. The country is keen to expand conference tourism to supplement its wildlife safari and beach tourism business. Tourism Minister Najib Balala has instructed the Tourism Development Corp to proceed to the design stage in Mombasa. "I am hoping that by end of next year we will have the facility up and running," he said. Business tourism made up 14 per cent of tourists to Kenya between January and June 2011.Kenya to build new centre in MombasaUK - London is the most popular city for international meetings organised by UK-based associations. Amsterdam is a fast closing second choice, with 21 qualifying events against London's 22. The new figures emerge from an extrapolation of ICCA 2010 data paid for by the Confex Group.For country preference among the same group, the UK leads with 76 meetings, followed by Germany on 55 and Spain and USA tying for third on 40. Other data in the special report include venues used, favourite months for meetings, subjects and frequency."Associations are key visitors to Confex and it was important that we better understood their event cycle, format and importance to the destinations that exhibit at Confex," Confex Portfolio Director Jonny Sullens told CMW.Confex puts UK spin on ICCA statsIn briefInspiring Denmark winDENMARK - National convention bureau Inspiring Denmark has won its bid to host 600 robotic experts for the European Robotics Forum 2012. To be held in Odense in March, the event claims to be the largest robotic conference in Europe. Inspiring Denmark helped the Centre for Robotic Technology at the Danish Technological Institute in Odense pitch against Madrid and Paris for the event. Cedar Rapids breaks groundUSA - The new convention centre complex for Iowa town Cedar Rapids has broken ground, three years after a flood ruined most the city's downtown area. The new US$75.6m Cedar Rapids Convention Complex will have 6,700sqm of events space, a 1,200sqm ballroom and 460sqm of meeting space.An existing US Cellular Center Arena and former Crowne Plaza Five Seasons Hotel sit adjacent to the complex and a new hotel will offer an additional 1,800sqm of meeting space.The centre has already secured the 2015 Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference; and the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.Helsinki centre expansionFINLAND - The Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre has unveiled its new 15,000sqm multi-functional hall, part of a US$41m expansion plan launched in February 2010. The addition of the new Hall 7 on its eastern side increases overall floor space by 30 per cent.PATA names Craigs as CEOWORLD - The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has appointed Martin Craigs as its new CEO. He holds the post of President of pan-Asian non-profit advocacy group Aerospace Forum Asia (AFA) and is Managing Partner at Hillcrest International Advisory. PATA held its first conference in April 2011 in Beijing since cancelling its annual conference in 2007 due to "high hosting costs and a low turnout of paying delegates". One thousand delegates attended the 2011 conference.ITALY - The official opening of the new Rimini Conference Centre (Palacongressi) is set to take place 15 October, over a year later than scheduled and following two false starts. The ?117m venue's inauguration ceremony will be followed by an open day for the town on 16 October. The space-age design centre was originally due to open in May 2010, but The Fiera group, manager of the Palacongressi project, claimed "technical" difficulties with the construction were to blame for the first delay. Later, problems linked to permits for opening the facilities prevented a second inauguration ceremony from going ahead as scheduled on 25 September Third time lucky for Palacongressi2010. Venue Chairman Lorenzo Cagnoni said: "We all know how many obstacles have been faced and overcome to reach this point, but satisfaction and pride have now won."RankCity200920101London26222Amsterdam15213Berlin1720Paris10205Istanbul1215Lisbon10157Dublin914Vienna20149Barcelona2713Prague141311Copenhagen131212Beijing81113Singapore610Athens810Brussels1010Madrid1110Vancouver81018Edinburgh109No. of meetings

News10 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 65lent by China to Laos to build a new convention centre china post report$70mStarwood expandsSAUDI ARABIA - Starwood Hotels and Resorts is to expand its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the opening of two new hotels. Owned by Saudi Brothers Commercial Company, the Sheraton Medina Hotel and the nearby Four Points by Sheraton Medina are both scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Four Points by Sheraton Medina will have 178 rooms and the Sheraton Medina hotel will have 279 rooms.China to fund Laos centreLAOS - China has agreed to lend Laos US$70.3m for the construction of a new convention centre in its capital, Vientiane. According to a report in The China Post newspaper, the money will fund the construction of the Lao International Convention Center, which is expected already to host the ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) 4-6 November 2012. ASEM brings together the heads of state of the 27 European Union member states and of 16 Asian countries, as well as the European Commission and the secretariat of the Association of South East Asian Nations. Hilton launches in ChadCHAD - Hilton Worldwide has launched its first property in the Central African landlocked country of Chad. The international hotel chain has signed a management agreement with Salim Group to run the 195-room Hilton N'Djamena. The hotel is expected to open in 2013 and will have a health club, business centre, banqueting hall, swimming pool and four restaurants. Sarawak wins ICCA eventmALAYSIA - Sarawak outbid tough international competitors from Australia and India to win hosting rights of the ICCA Asia Pacific Client and Supplier Business Workshop and the Asia Pacific Educational Seminar. The three-day event, 4-6 July 2012, will welcome 15 ICCA members and their association clients to converge for a B2B session. In briefUK - The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has launched a campaign for free Wi-Fi for conference delegates. The Conference Cloud, as the campaign is named, aims to put an end to Wi-Fi fees for delegates by encouraging venues across the UK to offer free Wi-Fi access. The campaign follows feedback from the association's professional conference organiser (PCO) members regarding the negative impact of high Wi-Fi access prices for delegates and also calls from buyers for venues to review their pricing strategies when it ABPCO launches free Wi-Fi campaignwe know that delegates attending our members' events need to stay connected while on the move. "Even with the proliferation of mobile broadband coverage, quality Wi-Fi is still the preferred online access route, especially for overseas delegates keen to avoid excessive data roaming charges. "Wi-Fi is already being set up by certain cities. Our aim is to work with venues to develop revenue models that work for them as well as our clients. When it comes to listening to what buyers need to support their events and free Wi-Fi is top of their list."BI rebrands to BI WorldwideWORLD - UK-based conference and incentive agency, BI, has rebranded to the same name as its parent company, BI Worldwide. It has also adopted a new logo. Following the establishment of regional hubs in 2010, the business is integrating under one brand.EUROPE - Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train between the UK and continental Europe, has launched a free smartphone application (app) for both Android and iPhone devices. The app is to help business travellers book tickets on the go and allows users to receive barcoded tickets direct to their handsets and amend to their bookings. Members of Eurostar's loyalty programmes can also use the app to earn points. Other functions include live service updates and a personal profile page, which provides an option to store seating preferences.Business travel The rebrand represents the app for Eurostarnext stage of integration of BI Worldwide businesses in Australia, Canada, China, India, the United States and the United Kingdom. "We are now a truly global business," said Managing Director of BI Worldwide, Mike Davies. mPI Turkey ClubTURKEY - Istanbul CVB GM Elif Balci Fisunolu has been appointed Vice-President of Communications of Meeting Professionals International's (MPI) newly-established Turkey Club, which was approved by the MPI Board in May. The news comes after a two-year campaign by industry leaders in Turkey to gain access to industry education and secure MPI representation in Turkey.The club has 31 members with plans to increase membership to 75 by the end of June 2012. comes to separate Wi-Fi charging. A debate on the topic at the recent UK meetings industry association Summer Summit in Belfast backed the PCO campaign. ABPCO Chairman Michael Foreman said: "Online access is a fundamental part of everyday working life and AUSTRALIA - The New South Wales government has been warned by an industry delegation its plans for a new convention centre in Darling Harbour need to be revised.Government plans include a 12,000sqm exhibition and banqueting hall, but now there are calls for dimensions to be increased. "It really doesn't do what Sydney requires to meet the needs of international conferences," said MD of Australia's largest organiser Arinex, Roslyn McLeod.Questions in Sydney