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INTERNATIONAL 13JAVITS crIme fIghTer ouTUSAThe president and CEO of the Jacob K Javits Convention Center, responsible for removing organised crime from the venue, has resigned after 15 years in the post.Gerald McQueen, who has been at the New York venue since 1997, will continue in his position until a successor takes up the role. Heidrick & Struggles International has been hired to conduct a search for his replacement.McQueen was a police executive and specialist in organised crime before his time at the venue. He served as inspector general fighting against corrupt union practices at the centre in 1995.Thailand battles on despite floodsThe Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has reiterated the country's ability to continue hosting exhibitions, meetings and events business despite experiencing some of the worst flooding in half a century.TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart said business is still operating actively in key destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai even as floods affect parts of Bangkok and surrounding provinces in Thailand's central region."Thanks to steps we are taking with the co-operation from the industry, we expect Thailand's MICE business will remain stable for the entire fiscal year of 2012 as most events affected by the situation have been rescheduled to next quarter," Sorasuchart said.In the fiscal year 2011 ending 30 September, Thailand's MICE sector attracted 720,000 business travellers and generated 57.6bn Baht (£1.18bn) in revenue, compared to 679,585 travellers and 55bn Baht respectively in fiscal 2010.Several exhibition organisers have however been forced to reschedule exhibitions in Bangkok due to fears of flooding in the capital.The Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre told EN six of its events were postponed because of the floods.ASIAVeNueS No LoNger SImPLy SqmAssociation heads at the ongoing 78th UFI Annual Congress in Spain have claimed international venues can no longer be seen only as covered space for events, but as strategic partners for organisers of international events.A panel at the congress to discuss the state of the international exhibition industry argued that despite the increase in gross square metres in Europe and the US, and the accompanying fall in event space requirements, the balance has not shifted into a straightforward buyers-market dynamic."It is a misconception to see venue space simply in terms of a commodity or as providers of square metres for our shows," ICCA CEO Martin Sirk (pictured, second from left) told delegates at the UFI congress in November. "Venues should be strategic partners for organisers."Despite the oversupply of space in Europe and the US it is simplistic to claim organisers can name their price when negotiating with venues to host their shows, Sirk claimed."High quality venues are not competing with venues around the corner that trade purely on space as a commodity," he said. "Are organisers really looking at second and third tier venues as alternatives for their major international events? I don't think so."The panel, which included International Association of Congress Centres' Rod Cameron and AMR International founder Denzil Rankine claimed there is no one-size-fits-all solution to today's venue requirements. Flexibility in modern venue design, they argued, means it is now fundamental to the success of events that venues tailor their facilities on a case-by-case basis.They suggested transactional, educational and information-gathering and networking as three possible models for events. "The random meeting model is indeed dead," added Rankine, referencing a speech given by Reed CEO Mike Rusbridge.WORLDWin brings sMg sQM total to 1.4 MillionsMG has won a contract to manage the new Jekyll Island Convention Center, set to open in the second quarter of 2012. The deal brings the company's total venue management portfolio to more than 1.3m sqm of exhibition space.Jekyll Island Convention Center marks sMG's fourth consecutive win in the past 12 months. Earlier this year sMG was selected to manage the McCormick Place Complex, North America's largest convention centre, as well as the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Jamaica. In late 2010 the firm was appointed manager of Detroit's renovated Cobo Center."we are proud of the reputation we have built in this space and appreciate the municipal clients who recognise the value of our brand and our leadership team," said sMG president and CEO wes westley. USAeuro Debt fears steMs groWtH Ongoing uncertainty in the Eurozone is threatening the launch of new events in spain as organisers and venues wait for a more stable marketplace.spain is being held alongside stricken Greece and Italy as one of the three countries in direst need of financial assistance from its European neighbours as a result of soaring debt, the housing industry bust and record unemployment.The country, like Italy, is considered too expensive a proposition for the eurozone to bail out, which has pushed up borrowing costs and led to the introduction of prohibitive austerity measures.The impact is being felt in the exhibition sector, according to Jose Miguel Corres, CEO of Bilbao Exhibition Centre, commenting for a feature in the latest edition of EN's sister title Exhibition World."we are aware that the 'early bird catches the worm' but we also know that a good project could be ruined by bad timing," he said. "we are aware of the situation spain is facing and it's not the best for our industry. At the moment we have two projects ready to be launched. The big question is when? Firms need to cashed up before attending shows."SPAIN

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