Travel broadens the mind, so they say, although they also remind us that it increases the carbon footprint.
So, what to do? Stay at home and do no business, create no wealth, but save the planet in the process? Or get out there, move it and shake it, create trade opportunities, some wealth, employment and, hopefully, put something back into the environment by way of off-setting, too.
The business impact of travelling to meetings trade shows and conferences and exploring new avenues, can be more leads and more deals, as our own sales team at Mash Media found in the Gulf recently.
I also attended two global events for the price of one out there in Abu Dhabi: Reed Travel Exhibitions’ expanded third edition of the GIBTM show and also the MPI Gulf conference in the same city.
These are both projects that many international meetings professionals have put a lot of work into developing and a critical developmental mass seems to have been achieved as the meetings profession becomes recognised throughout the Gulf states. Local suppliers also seem to ‘get it’ and an event organising committee is coalescing, as the latest research released at GIBTM showed.
Managers at the huge ADNEC venue facility, that has emerged out of the ground in Abu Dhabi in double-quick time, are bullish in their plans for further expansion. As well as moving through the phases in ADNEC’s own development, which now make it the largest fully connected exhibition space in the Middle East, the Excel London acquisition and plans for another centre in Al Ain are more evidence of intent. CEO Simon Horgan tells me that ADNEC is certainly active in looking at further acquisitions as it builds a global venue brand.
And, with the news that the UK Government is to sell off the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster as part of its plans to plug the yawning public finance gap, dare one imagine that the QEIICC could become a target for Emirati capital? Stranger things have happened.
Finally, it was good to hear Boris Johnson tell Conference News at the London Book Fair in Earls Court London that London still needs an international convention centre.
Time maybe, as attention turns to springtime gardening for many, to get out the strimmer and cut down some of the long grass now surrounding this ‘parked’ project.