The forum drew a record number of attendees from more than 50 countries that represented a wide variety of event disciplines. 54% were from Europe; 37% from North America; 10% from Central/South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 68% were members of MPI, SITE or both associations; and over 100 attendees were attending either an MPI or SITE conference for the first time.
The education program included more than 30 sessions, with separate tracks for incentive travel and meeting management professionals as well as concurrent sessions designed for both meeting and incentive professionals. The event also incorporated several corporate social responsibility initiatives, including working with Food for Good and EquoEvento to donate 390 meals to Voreco Onlus, an organization that provides support to the destitute in Rome.
And being in the city that saw the first deal marking the birth of the European Union, both organizations announced the Treaty of Rome of the Incentive and Meeting Industry, a joint declaration of collaboration and cooperation which commits them to work together around future events, mutual education and content delivery, as well as investigation of new ways to serve members of both associations around the world.
There were significant news for SITE: Didier Scaillet, who was a few years ago director of European operations for MPI, was introduced as the new SITE CEO during the conference. SITE also announced it has named specialist agency SoolNua as the association’s new strategic marketing partner, with SoolNua managing partner Pádraic Gilligan taking on the role of chief marketing officer for both SITE and the SITE Foundation.
And as a good sign of the importance of our industry, for the first time a minister of tourism, Italian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was present at the opening ceremony.
SITE rotates its conference between Asia, Europe and the Americas, and announced that SITE Global Conference 2019 will be held 11-13 January in Bangkok, Thailand. MPI announced its European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) will be in The Hague, Netherlands in February 2019.