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MICE Industry Development Discussed in Belarus

The Global Event Congress – the first international event forum in Minsk – took place on 21 February. More than 100 industry players from Belarus and Russia participated. ExpoForum International was represented by PR Director Elena Ublieva.

The forum was opened by Valery Poroschenko, Head of the National Tourism Agency in Belarus. He noted that the event industry was key to the development of domestic and inbound tourism, and said that the Agency was fully committed to that.

Anatoly Akantinov, head of the MICE in MINSK project and a board member of the Marketers’ Guild, noted that there were a lot of restrictions to developing this area of interest in Belarus. These included a lack of a congress and exhibition complexes, heavy real estate taxes and VAT compared to those of competitors, the monopoly of national airlines, a lack of tax whose revenue could be used to promote the country, and insufficient advertising on foreign markets. “It’s important that we understand these problems and see opportunities. That’s half the battle. The only thing that remains is to solve them,” the speaker concluded.

The Russian perspective was presented by Elena Ublieva, PR Director of ExpoForum International and Executive Director of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF). In her speech, Elena discussed the contribution of both RUEF and ExpoForum in developing the exhibition industry. She noted that in Russia, there was an emphasis on cooperating with international and affiliated organizations, establishing an industry-wide standard and providing education within the industry. Moreover, a regulatory framework was actively being implemented. The speaker also shared RUEF’s development prospects: “We’re currently considering widening the Union’s scope of activities. In future, we will participate in developing the MICE industry as a whole, not just via fairs and exhibitions.”

Alexey Urban, Head of EventMedia (organizer of the International Event Forum), suggested that the Event Academy should be created in the Republic of Belarus to refresh the skills of event market employees and establish industry standards in the country.

As part of the forum, a cooperation agreement was signed between the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs and the Union of Exhibition and Fairs Organizers of Belarus.

EventMedia acted as the organizer of the forum. The organizational partners included the National Agency for Tourism, BTS-Group, the Union of Exhibition and Fairs Organizers, Marketing Systems Center of Strategic Development, Rabota.TUT.BY portal and Druk-S. The forum was held with the assistance of the Marketers’ Guild, the Union of Designers, the Association of Advertising Agencies, the Information and Tourist Center Minsk, Litviny restaurant, Golub event group, and TOTEM agency. Office Life, Unterfax.by, Myfin.by, Realt.by, mogu.by, news.21.by and Event-live.ru acted as media partners.

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