UNWTO and WTTC speakers confirmed for IMEX Politicians Forum 2014

The IMEX Group has announced two influential speakers from the world’s leading global tourism organisations for its forthcoming Politicians Forum, which takes place on May 20th during the IMEX in Frankfurt trade show.

The presence of Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialised Agency for tourism and Mr David Scowsill, President & Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), signals a further strengthening in authority of the IMEX Politicians Forum, which is now in its 12th year.

Taleb Rifai will also make the keynote address at the IMEX Opening Ceremony.

Their attendance will provide a valuable opportunity for meetings industry leaders to come together with these respected global tourism organisations to explore mutual interests, debate a unified position and integrate objectives. This follows a growing acknowledgement that, in order to make a better case in front of governments all over the world, greater industry integration and co-operation is essential. The 2014 Politicians Forum programme will concentrate on showcasing how business events add value to the tourism economy – and beyond – illustrating how politicians can influence change and support the industry.

Rifai and Scowsill will present and talk to a prospective 30 regional and national political representatives together with 80 meetings and events industry leaders during the Forum, which once again takes place at the Villa Kennedy Hotel, Frankfurt.

At the same time a number of destinations and meetings industry suppliers have stepped up to provide vital on-going funding for the annual advocacy event. The key sponsors are: Amsterdam Rai, Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jakarta Convention & Exhibition Bureau, West Sweden Tourist Board, Vienna Convention Bureau and Visit Mexico. The event’s Host Sponsors are Villa Kennedy, Messe Frankfurt and the German Convention Bureau (GCB), while Sixt, Brahler and International Meetings Review have also committed support.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai commented: “The meetings and events industry is a key part of the tourism sector, increasing competitive advantage and diversifying source markets for destinations around the world. UNWTO research clearly shows that this industry is a crucial driver of tourism development and, as such, a much needed generator of income, employment and foreign investment around the globe. I look forward to attending the IMEX Politicians Forum to explore further synergies between the meetings industry and other tourism segments, joining forces to bring the benefits of a stronger tourism sector to all.”

David Scowsill, President & Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) added: “The role of WTTC is to promote the economic and social contribution of the Travel & Tourism industry to governments and wider society globally. Events such as the Politicians Forum at IMEX are an important part of the outreach of our industry and support the aligned advocacy work of the tourism bodies across the globe.”

In response, IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, said: “I am thrilled that both Taleb Rifai and David Scowsill are taking part in this year’s IMEX Politicians Forum. Together they will add an important and highly informed perspective to the day’s debate and will undoubtedly share valuable experience and insight. Their attendance takes us a step closer to achieving unilateral understanding at the highest levels of government, that although leisure tourism and meetings and events each deliver discrete economic impacts, there is a great deal of common ground which needs to be clearly expressed and understood.”

Declaration of support nears 100 signatories

Since being launched at IMEX in Frankfurt last year, the IMEX Meetings Industry Declaration of Support has gathered political signatories from all over the world. The declaration aims to provide destinations with a simple, tangible device that can be used to encourage visible patronage from their local MPs, mayors or other political representatives. Recent signings by Mayor Philippe Augier, President of France Congres, on behalf of all 54 member cities of the Congres plus those of 20 members of European Cities Marketing bring the number who have now signed the Declaration to 99.

Explains Ray Bloom: “This brings us just shy of the landmark 100th signatory so we’re calling for more destinations or associations to come forward and show their support so that we can hit that 100 mark together and celebrate that achievement publicly. We’ve just launched a free Political Advocacy Toolkit plus a new promotional video for destinations to use to enhance their own local lobbying or communications campaigns.”

Destinations or convention centres interested in inviting their local politician to the IMEX Politicians Forum should email Debbie.woodbridge@imexexhibitions.com for further information and support.

Links for this story: – More information about the IMEX Politicians Forum


About the IMEX Politicians Forum
The IMEX Politicians Forum is organised by IMEX in collaboration with European Cities Marketing (ECM) and the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) and under the auspices of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC).