Set in sunny Antalya, overlooking the Mediterranean sea, the ICCA Mediterranean chapter's annual meeting took place during February 17th -19th.
Hosted by Antalya CVB and the Cornelia Diamond Hotel, the annual meeting was attended by 35 representatives from Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Serbia, Algeria and Italy. The theme for this meeting was titled 'The Power of Stories' and presented a wonderful opportunity for members to come together and share stories, experience and inspiration.
The meeting kicked off on Sunday night with a bountiful dinner at the Cornelia Diamond Golf Club, boasting excellent Turkish cuisine, as well as a local wine tasting and an opportunity for attendees to get to know each other.
Monday was a day with a full programme, opening with a warm welcome message from the Governor of Antalya Mr. Munir Karaloglu, the Vice President of Antalya Convention Bureau Mrs Yeliz Gül Egeand, and the chair of the Chapter Mrs. Eliza Tsolakou.
The above were followed by a session of stories and sharing experiences in the dynamic world of associations, which ICCA members are all familiar with, as well as a panel discussion led by Prof. Tomris Ozben – Board member of the International Federation of chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Prof. Gurkan Kumbaroglu, Board Member of the International Association for Energy Economics, and Mr. David Macadam, CEO of the Middle East Council for Shopping Centers.
The panel focused on the challenges associations face and how the members of the Mediterranean chapter, can better serve them.
Later that day, attendees learned about the world of digital marketing technology, with Aaron Nissen from Simpleview providing examples from the tourism industry which can be applied to conferences and meetings. Igor Kovaceciv , CEO of the Serbia Convention Bureau gave attendees a look into the complex work of the bidding process. Igor gave the example of the bidding process for the Association of Beekeepers, demonstrating how bids are an essential tool for creating successful and long-lasting legacy for a destination, affecting all parties of interest, from the CVB to the final honey consumer. The afternoon was then dedicated to exploring Antalya, with a tour of ancient Perge. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to visit the historic ruins and end the day wining and dining at Arma Restaurant, a local restaurant specialising in fish and sea Food.
Tuesday opened with the NEST presentation by Ahmet Sahin – Sales Director of the Cornelia Diamond. The presentation exposed the new NEST conference center located within the Cornelia grounds, scheduled to open towards the end of 2019. The new conference center will allow for large meetings as the main plenary halls is 6,000 square meters and can easily be divided into smaller convenient meeting spaces.
The final day was full of new announcements, as Bashar Demirel, MICE specialist from Turkish Airlines, gave the delegates news about the launching of the new and improved ICCA Mediterranean website. Members are welcome to share important and relevant information on this website, such as: bid wins, blog posts about exciting things happening in their destinations, job opportunities and much more.
Tuesday also presented an opportunity for attendees to participate in a collaborative workshop: 'Building bridges over the Mediterranean'. Attendees divided into groups and were requested to create a collaborative bid between destinations. This was a demonstration of the unique advantage of the power of collaborating with various destinations and a showcase of all the Mediterranean has to offer. The day closed with a lecture about the Mediterranean diet as a key to a healthy life by Doctor Mustafa Ozdogan and a presentation of such a Mediterranean diet and ingredients by local Chef Mehmet Akdag.
The summit was an overall success, bringing the Mediterranean Chapter attendees closer once again and strengthening the ties and relationship between destinations, as well as positioning the chapter as one of the largest and most diverse regions within ICCA.
A huge thank you is due to the wonderful hosts of this short and much enjoyed meeting: Antalya CVB and Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort, as well as to Elif Balci Fisunoglu, Regional Director Europe and Eliza Tsolakou chair of the Mediterranean Chapter. This meeting is the kick-off to many more successful meetings and hopefully more regional collaborations to bring exposure to the Mediterranean. All Chapter members are encouraged to stay engaged and attend meetings, as well as share information on the ICCA Mediterranean website, which was presented and will be launched live soon.