INTERVIEW BASEL CONVENTION BUREAU
CEO Basel Tourismus & Convention Bureau
Head of Convention Bureau Basel
Basel – a record year ahead
An interview with Ramona Debus and Daniel Egloff on the status of MICE in Basel
How did 2019 begin for Basel?
Ramona Debus: The year started with a particularly important congress. The 50th edition of the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO) was held from 14-17 February 2019 at the Congress Center Basel. In terms of the number of participants – 130 – this is quite a small event but it is still one of the most important ones of the year as the participants are the world’s best professional congress organizers who usually have significant influence regarding the choice of venues and are therefore key multipliers.
What is the further outlook for the 2019 congress year?
Daniel Egloff: Basel is looking at a record year. Beginning in May there will be one congress after the other: starting with the German and Austrian Societies of Epileptology and the Swiss League Against Epilepsy. These are followed by the 43rd ICCM World Congress on Military Medicine which will require the entire infrastructure of the Congress Center. In summer – when traditionally not many international congresses take place – we are particularly looking forward to staging several high-calibre events. One example is the Regional Congress of the ISBT, which will be held at the end of June with around 3,500 participants. Another key congress for Basel will be the European Aids Conference in November.
What’s the secret of this success?
Ramona Debus: Several factors are involved. Years ago, the Convention Bureau Basel decided to focus on international association meetings. We are still pursuing this strategy and are deploying our resources and funds specifically in this area. Our partners do an outstanding job of acquiring corporate meetings so that we as a convention bureau no longer need to handle this segment proactively
Daniel Egloff: In addition, a congress promotion strategy was established by the Canton of Basel-Stadt in 2013. The Canton of Basel- Stadt promotes the development and staging of congresses directly in Basel, meaning that congress organizers can request financial support for the development or staging of congresses for events to be held until 2023. The Congress Board Basel, which comprises stakeholders from the fields of science, infrastructure, tourism and politics, takes decisions based on clear criteria such as the topic of the congress or the touristic added value on the amount of the financial support.
Which are the main congress topics that are supported?
Daniel Egloff: It is mainly the city’s target cluster that is supported. This includes life sciences, the chemical industry, logistics, finance and creative industries as well as precision technologies, ICT, medical technology and nanotechnology. In addition to these, congresses in the development phase and which require start-up funding are also considered.
Won’t this congress year be a hard act to follow?
Ramona Debus: It will certainly be a challenge. However, we have already introduced some measures in order to continue being successful in the acquisition of large-scale events. In addition to the aforementioned clusters which we specifically handle we will support Basel-Stadt’s Location Marketing in contending for international sports events. We have already chalked up some successes such as the awarding of the tender for the Badminton World Championships 2019 and the Artistic Gymnastics European Championships, which will take place in April 2021 in the St. Jakobshalle.
Daniel Egloff: Moreover, we have extended our research activities for this year and have expanded our Convention Bureau team in order to continue being very active in the field of congress acquisition.