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Vancouver To See Long-Term Benefits From Hosting Thousands Of Influential Meeting Planners

Approximately 2,600 meetings industry professionals from all over the world gathered at the Vancouver Convention Centre from July 24 to July 27 for Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) 2010 World Education Congress (WEC).

In addition to injecting over $3 million worth of direct spending into the BC economy over the four-day event, this congress is one of the most influential Vancouver has hosted in recent years, representing millions of dollars of potential future meetings business for the city. MPI is the world’s largest association for meeting and event planners. Many of the delegates attending this year’s WEC are responsible for planning and executing their organization’s events – the type of business that Tourism Vancouver, the Vancouver Convention Centre and Vancouver’s hotel community work to bring to the city.

“Hosting MPI’s World Education Congress is equivalent to the largest client ‘site inspection’ Vancouver has ever hosted,” said Dave Gazley, Tourism Vancouver’s vice president of Meeting and Convention Sales, and co-chair of the local host committee. “With the expansion of our spectacular convention centre, early on we identified the WEC as an industry event we needed to host because of its potential to generate future business for our city. It’s a big win for Vancouver.” According to Ken Cretney, general manager of the Vancouver Convention Centre and co-chair of the local host committee, “The impact of hosting the WEC extends far beyond the four days of the event.” Meeting planners from around the world experienced first-hand why the award-winning facility and spectacular city are the ideal location for their future meetings, claims Cretney.

Jeff Busch, vice-president of strategic communications for MPI, said that MPI planner members represent a collective buying power of US$16.9 billion in their event-planning businesses. “There is no better way to sell your city than to have this group of meeting planners visit and experience it. So that next time they have to schedule a large event or meeting, all the benefits and beauty that Vancouver has to offer is fresh in their mind.”

“Thanks to the recent expansion of the Vancouver Convention Centre, BC is able to host larger meetings than ever before, contributing millions of dollars to the province’s economy,” noted the Honourable Kevin Krueger, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. “With the success of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we have just demonstrated our ability to host world-class events. Now, more than ever, we are well positioned to benefit from the Games-time exposure and host large international events in our province.”