RUSSIAN CONVENTION BUREAU, A TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR THE MICE INDUSTRY, HAS FOR THE FIRST TIME REPRESENTED RUSSIA AT IMEX 2018, EUROPE’S LARGEST INTERNATIONAL EVENT INDUSTRY EXHIBITION IN FRANKFURT. ALEKSEY KALACHEV, DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION, TOLD US HOW THE EXHIBITION WENT AND TALKED ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL DEVELOPMENT
IN RUSSIA.

TEXT: ANTON SEMENOV

Alexei Kalachev.
Alexei Kalachev.

-Aleksey, how did the exhibition go?

– Our national exposition RUSSIA OPEN TO THE WORLD provoked great interest among our colleagues in the profession, buyers, organizers of international events, and representatives of the trade press. More than a thousand event industry professionals visited the exposition, and more than 600 meetings and discussions took place at our stand.

– Your association represented our whole country. Isn’t that level of responsibility frightening?

– That was the purpose of establishing the association last November. Our main goal is to develop and promote a positive image of Russia as a country with a favourable business and investment climate, in order to attract international business events.

We are going to promote the infrastructure capabilities of the Russian regions, with the aim of getting major conferencing events hosted there and developing business travel to these areas. This provides a signifi cant economic eff ect both for the state budget and for companies involved in the meetings industry.

More than 1,000 event industry professionals visited the ”Russia Open to the World” exhibit.
More than 1,000 event industry professionals visited the ”Russia Open to the World” exhibit.

– Was there a need to create an organization like this?

– Russia’s share of the international business events market is less than 1%, and the Russian conventions,
conferences, and business meetings sector is valued by experts at about $200-250 million. To put that in context, the worldwide turnover for the industry is $900 billion. Th e industry accounts for only 0.02% of Russia’s GDP, while in Europe’s leading economies that figure reaches 2% or more.

The “Russian Open to the World” stand at the IMEX Expo in Frankfurt.
The “Russian Open to the World” stand at the IMEX Expo in Frankfurt.

We represent the whole country rather than any particular region, providing a “one-stop service” for international event organizers. We also provide marketing solutions, and develop strategies to promote the country at the international level. Th e Convention Bureau participates in a variety of prominent events and arranges familiarization tours in the Russian regions for foreign buyers.

The Russian exhibition stand at the IBTM International Exhibition in Barcelona.
The Russian exhibition stand at the IBTM International Exhibition in Barcelona.
Photos from FIFA Russia 2018 at the Russian stand at IMEX.
Photos from FIFA Russia 2018 at the Russian stand at IMEX.

– Who are the members of your association?

– The association works with regional government departments and with market participants in the meetings industry—regional convention bureaus, event organizing companies, convention and exhibition venues, hotels, and transportation companies.

– What can Russia offer foreign clients?

– We have more than 100 cities that could potentially host major conventions and forums. Moreover, the top ten of them – Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, St.Petersburg, Sochi, Ufa, and Chelyabinsk – are ready to host major high-level events right now.

Convention Bureau took part in the opening of the VII Eurasian Event Forum in St. Petersburg.
Convention Bureau took part in the opening of the VII Eurasian Event Forum in St. Petersburg.
More than 600 business meetings and discussions took place at the Russian stand at IMEX.
More than 600 business meetings and discussions took place at the Russian stand at IMEX.

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