• 17 July, 2012

    Spanish conference centres sound out the event tourism market at their 10th Congress

    On 12th-13th July, the heads of 27 Spanish conference centres met up at the Castile and Leon Conference Centre in Salamanca to celebrate their 10th Annual APCE Congress. This event rounded off a decade of meetings which have brought together almost 500 delegates since 2003.

After ten years of meetings, the Congress has become the reference point for member centres to share ideas and experiences and update their knowledge of specific subjects related to the event tourism market thanks to conferences given by recognised speakers in the field.

On this occasion, the scientific programme featured leading speakers such as Amalio Rey, head of the eMOTools project and marketing expert in R&D and in building bridges between think tanks and the market; Pedro Rocha, Chairman of the Iberian chapter of the Green Meeting Industry Council and Director of the Estoril Congress Centre; and Carlos Aguiló, marketing and branding expert and managing director of Katapult.

The content of the speeches focused on the need to creatively tackle innovation as an opportunity to find an optimistic response to the crisis, the impact of the current economic situation on scientific and medical societies, and the tactical sustainability strategies that can be implemented in our facilities. These conferences were complemented by forums for sales and technical managers in which varying subjects of interest, such as taxation at international events, changes in legal regulations which affect conference centre management and 2.0 tools for congresses, were put to debate.

During the congress's traditional gala dinner, the APCE Award was given to Dr. Manuel Castaño, the Deputy Chairman of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology, in recognition of the Society’s repeated endorsement and use of our member centres to hold their events. The choice of these venues helps to promote activities in the conference industry and create a powerful economic multiplier effect on the area in which they are located.

In fact, since 2003 when the APCE held its first congress, its member centres have welcomed over 38 million people to their facilities which have held a total of 50,000 events, of which 4,800 were congresses and almost 3,500 were conventions, with 4.6 million and 2 million delegates respectively.

According to the latest ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) statistics, Spanish conference centres host over half of the major international congresses held in Spain and this activity has helped Spain to climb the world ranking from 5th place in 2003 to 3rd place in 2011, with a growth rate of over 50% in the number of international meetings.

In the words of the APCE Chairman and CEO of the Valencia Conference Centre, José Salinas, “The commitment of over 1,000 professionals who work in the Spanish conference centres helps to create an excellent brand image for our country, and establishes a firm link to innovation, specialisation, professionalism, respect for the environment and a constant desire to improve. Holding events such as our annual congress encourages the creation of forums to share ideas and trends amongst members and increase our know-how.”

About the APCE
The Spanish Association of Conference Centres (APCE) is an essential tool in promoting the venues’ role as the driving force behind local development. Its objectives include defending the collective interests of its members in their dealings with the relevant authorities and enabling the exchange of ideas and experiences on event tourism issues.   

Over the last ten years, the number of APCE members has increased by 30% from 29 to 37. €1,500 million were invested to build these centres and they have become important players in the urban transformation of the cities they are located in.

In 2011 alone, member centres hosted 4,981 events and welcomed 3,918,629 visitors which helped to generate an economic impact for their cities of around €1.2 billion.