International experts examine the future of the corporate events industry


Special MICE edition of International Advisory Board in April 2021

The events industry has been hit hard by the corona crisis, and the long-term repercussions are uncertain. International experts from the events industry and other sectors will meet virtually in mid-April 2021 to advise Rotterdam on the future of the MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions). The experts are part of a special MICE edition of the International Advisory Board Rotterdam (IAB). The IAB provides the City Council of Rotterdam with economic perspectives, and the consequences thereof, for the MICE sector worldwide. The advisory board also examines the specific impact on the city of Rotterdam. The IAB will be carried out by Rotterdam Partners, in close collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam and representatives from the sector.

Wilbert Lek, Director of Rotterdam Partners: ‘Attracting conferences, trade fairs, meetings and business events is of great value to the Rotterdam economy. The industry promotes employment, provides considerable support for the tourism sector and profiles Rotterdam as a high-quality knowledge city. It is, therefore, extremely important to investigate what the long-term transformation of this industry means for Rotterdam and how the city can capitalise on opportunities. Given the importance of the sector and the severe effects of the corona crisis, we need to focus on the long-term perspective.’

Tangible impact

The corona crisis has had an enormous impact on the MICE sector. The consequences are felt not just in Rotterdam but worldwide. Work came to an abrupt halt, conferences and events were called off or postponed, business hotel stays were cancelled, and creative online solutions were needed fast. The long-term consequences for the sector are unclear and not just affected by COVID-19. The MICE industry has been transforming for some time, partly due to an awareness of the impact of the industry on the climate and to the digitisation of events and conferences. The corona crisis has helped several of these trends and developments gain momentum.

IAB conference MICE industry

The City Council of Rotterdam decided to organise a virtual International Advisory Board conference in mid-April. A team of international experts from various sectors is responsible for advising the city on the future of the MICE industry. The idea is to determine how the crucial changes within the MICE sector affect the most important business and revenue models. This includes examining the shift from physical events to more online and hybrid forms and the impact this has on the global ecosystem of the MICE industry. Rotterdam will also receive advice on what this specifically means for the city and what it can do to take advantage of opportunities now. The IAB’s explicit aim is to provide advice with a long-term perspective. The chairman of the IAB is entrepreneur, facilitator and investor Lars Crama. Crama is active in various innovative ecosystems where established companies, entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions work together. The advice will be presented on the last day of the conference by the IAB members to Vice Mayor Roos Vermeij and the local MICE sector.

The Rotterdam Experiment

The IAB conference is just one way in which Rotterdam Partners is exploring the future of the MICE industry. It also recently launched The Rotterdam Experiment. In a series of seven hybrid collaboration experiments, innovative solutions within and outside the sector are shared and tested with the industry. The experiments are taking place until November 2021. The first experiment was dedicated to the exciting possibilities mixed reality offers the event industry and took place last December.
The next Rotterdam Experiment explores the world of gaming and how it can be used to collaborate effectively, build a community and strengthen the resilience of the events sector. The experiment will take place online, on 18 February, and will be broadcast live from the Cruise Terminal Rotterdam. All this takes place under the guidance of Rotterdam futurist and bestselling author Yuri van Geest.

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