FIEXPO Latin America 2022 Sets the Scene for the Industry to Rise in Panama

11th Jul, 2022

The 15th edition of FIEXPO Latin America held in Panama City a few days ago proved to be a very special edition for the Meetings Industry, a great celebration of its 15 years that included days of intense networking, top level academic exchange and high quality business.

During FIEXPO Latin America, the main destinations focused on the meetings, incentives and business industry met in one place. The outstanding event attracted remarkable MICE professionals, convening more than 390 exhibitors, 860 hosted buyers and commercial visitors. There were over 9,200 business meetings, which generated a business potential estimated in 391 million dollars. It is estimated that the fair results in the spending of 6,723,149 dollars in the destinations.

Educational activities were a key pillar at FIEXPO Latin America

One of such activities was the SITE Iberoamerica Meet, an activity led by SITE South America. For the first time, it convened all the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking chapters to enhance the dynamics of cooperation and achieve a solid integration that may enable us to face the challenges of these times together. After a morning of training, focused on sustainability, all participants put their new knowledge into practice and participated in a day of teamwork with the Emberá indigenous community, to learn about and contribute to that community. The day closed with the first SITE NITE Latina, continuing with the great tradition of camaraderie that makes SITE stand out.

At the 1st ICCA Panama Summit 2022 that was also held there, they presented tactical and quality content, featuring high-level international speakers. This was an event aimed at all professionals, public organizations, private companies and tourism students of meetings and congresses in Panama and Latin America.

At the FIEXPO Connecting Minds, the presentations focused on the current trends that are taking hold, and offered a broader understanding of what the coming months will bring, current behaviors and profound changes in the base structure of our industry. More limited sales and project execution times; emphasis on sustainability and the consolidation of strictly focused niche events, as well as the community members’ well-being and usefulness for society, issues already consolidated as a center of the concerns of the entities and core reason when organising an event.

For its part, the Convention Bureau One Day Challenge provided a unique dynamic, starting with a specialised workshop on Sustainable Destination Management led by Guy Bigwood and Alejandra Hernandez of GDS Movement. Martin Boyle, CEO of IAPCO, made a presentation focused on the key aspects that customers need from destinations, clearly showing the post-pandemic trends, as observed in the studies that the entity carries out worldwide. This was followed by the presentation of the different working models implemented by the Conventions Bureau, counting on the valuable experience and vision of people like Gabriel Sader, Eduardo Chaillo representing Destinations International, and Noor Ahmad Hamid COO of Malaysia CVB, who represented the Asian vision and methodology. Finally, Monica Garcia, Associations Manager of Barcelona CVB. presented her experience working in one of the most successful destinations in our industry, which surprised the attendees with their model of work at a global level.

The Forum of International and Latin American Professional Associations brought together more than one hundred association leaders on a historic day for the Latin American community. World speakers shared their knowledge and generated great debates and working group discussions. Amy Hissrich on behalf of ASAE gave the audience an excellent view focused on the governance of entities and the importance of communications; Juliano Lissoni, of MCI Canada, gave us compelling reasons why we should plan for the future and exercise our “genetic motivation” to foresee and adapt, while Alejandro Ramírez Tabche, spoke on behalf of IAPCO about our power to turn our events into community building tools, and underscored the strategic role of OPCs. Finally, Genevieve Leclerc of Meet4Impact provided some insights on how partnerships can drive social progress through SDG strategies.

MPI was also present with the MPI Foundation at FIEXPO Latin America under the slogan ¡Contribute, Connect and Celebrate! Latin America is partying. MPI Foundation held Rendezvous Latino, its traditional fundraising event, the proceeds of which go directly to individual scholarships and educational grants to MPI members around the world.

9th edition of the Latin American Politicians Forum for the Meetings Industry

This was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated moments. More than thirty Tourism authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean were present, representing 13 countries of the continent. There were Ministers, Vice Ministers, Undersecretaries, Directors of Tourism along with undisputed leaders of the Industry worldwide.

During the Policians Forum, powerful messages were heard, as that of Pedro Heilbron, Executive Director of COPA Holdings, who highlighted the importance of the travel and tourism industry reactivating back to pre-pandemic levels for the early recovery of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean. Connectivity is essential for the growth of investments, employment, and social development.

Senthil Gopinath, CEO of ICCA, said the Meetings Industry can move quickly, demonstrate knowledge and skills and support the local economy. He expressed ICCA's support for the resurgence and organization of events worldwide.

Under the academic coordination of Arnaldo Nardone, Chairman of the FIEXPO Exhibitions Group and Past President of ICCA, international speakers were especially invited to speak on the three central themes that kicked off the debate between the authorities present.

  1. Enhancing Investment and developing strategic promotion for attracting meetings and events” – Keynote Speaker: MARTA GOMES – (Deputy Executive Director Sales Division at VIPARIS and 1st Vice-President ICCA) – Paris, France 

  2. Destination Branding” - Keynote Speaker: DREW HOLMGREEN – (MPI - Vice President of Brand Engagement) – Dallas, United States 

  3. The meeting destinations as engines of economic growth” - Keynote Speaker: NOOR AHMAD – (Chief Operating Officer at Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau - MyCEB) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Two activities were held in conjunction with ICCA and PCMA

The Next Generation Summit brought together more than 25 young professionals from the industry from very diverse areas. Over the course of the day, selected applicants were given the opportunity to network, participate in educational sessions, social activities, and receive invaluable guidance from some of the most influential figures in the global meetings industry.

PCMA Leaders of Tomorrow, an event under the slogan: “TODAY: The commitment of PCMA & Panama with the future” was convened jointly with PROMTUR Panama and APPCE (Panamanian Association of Professionals in Congresses, Exhibits and Events), bringing together the main universities in Panama (professors and students), committed to promote students as future leaders of the meetings industry. During the event, a contest was held with the universities participating in the 2022 Global Student Competition held by PCMA. The winners were awarded with an all-paid trip to Columbus, USA, to participate in Convening Leaders 2023, the most important annual event of PCMA and the most significant in the global meetings industry.

The appointment for a new face-to-face edition of FIEXPO Latin America will be in the city of Panama again from June 19 to 22, 2023.

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