ICCA Iberian Family and the “wonderful experience” of Gijón
Christoph Tessmar, President of ICCA’s Iberian Chapter, describes the three‑day annual meeting in Gijón this way: it was a “wonderful experience”.
Once again, following a model that has shown interesting results, the ICCA’s Iberian Chapter turned inward, in Gijón, and sought ideas, knowledge and experience from its own members. An example of this was the sharing of three very different cases:
The creation of DNA – Destination Network Alliance, a platform that allows you to manage accommodation in multiple hotels, for large-scale events, whose management can become a real headache, while offering the skills of local experts, who know very well each of the host cities of these great events;
The Algarve Tech Hub, and how it is possible to create a network from the academy and the universe of start ups, to build, in the first instance, a strong community, and from there, leverage the Algarve as a preferred destination for events in this area of technologies;
And, finally, a project linked to sustainability, promoted by the Madrid Convention Bureau, which provides those who prove they have an event in the city with an online tool to assess the carbon footprint caused by their event, but more importantly, it provides clues on how to offset this impact locally. For example, a list of partners, NGOs and other types of associations is available, and even more interesting, through the profile of each event, suggestions are presented on what can be done to make each action more sustainable.
In another session, the about 50 Chapter members present were organised in six working tables, and each group was given a topic for reflection:
1. What is a Smart Destination and what is its impact on the Meetings Industry?;
2. An ethical code for this industry. How far are we willing to go? Our members agree not to accept… ?
3. How to innovate in the proposals we present? How to make a difference?
4. Tips for holding memorable events. What is the legacy and how can we make a difference by working on this topic?
5. How can destinations take advantage of hybrid events?
6. How can members best take advantage of ICCA? And what more can the association’s headquarters do for its members?
Each group then had a few minutes to present their ideas to the others.
A destination with open arms
This was the permanent feeling, throughout the three days of the meeting, that we were very welcome, and that the local authorities were committed to giving us and showing us the best of the city: amazing venues, such as Laboral, the utopian city, built as a technical university and which, during the Spanish dictatorship, housed a thousand boys from all over Spain to study there, preparing them for the professions that local industries - fishing, metallurgy and mining, in particular - so badly needed. The gastronomy, which includes fish and meat, equally appreciable, as a result of this being an area where the mountain ends abruptly in the sea, with almost no transition. And the wine and cider, of course – a well-preserved heritage.
Part of Asturias, which then borders on the Basque Country, in the northernmost part of the peninsula, Gijón is certainly a destination worth experiencing.
In a short statement, the President of the Chapter, Christoph Tessmar, highlighted the “wonderful experience”, the “family” spirit, the “interesting exchange of experiences”, and thanked all the local and regional leaders who supported the initiative – the participants were even received by the mayor of Gijón, in a short audience.Tessmar was also pleased to announce that the next edition will take place in Portugal, in Alentejo, in 2023.