Destinations around the world are increasingly looking to create their own international business events as a sure way of avoiding the disappointment of losing out at the bidding stage in a crowded marketplace.

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association), said the MICE market is now in a ‘third wave’ of its evolutionary cycle whereby cities are seeking to launch their own global events.

He told delegates at the inaugural Business Events Leaders’ Summit, at the SEC in Glasgow on March 21, that destinations are taking the risk on creating a new event to circumvent bidding against multiple other locations around the world, only to lose out.

“Destinations, companies, are trying to not have to compete with everybody else because it’s so expensive,” he told the audience.

“And if you’ve got a dozen really great destinations bidding for the same business event, imagine the sheer cost of having to bid and being one of the 11 who don’t win that piece of business. It’s really, really a challenge. So, creating your own world-class events [is the way forward]. Singapore was a very good example of coming up with Water Week, way back before everyone else was doing this sort of thing.”

He added: “Everywhere I go, I see PCOs are creating their own events; if they’re based in the Middle East they’re looking at what are the hot events in Europe, and creating a Middle East version of that. That’s a very typical tactic. That’s happening in Latin America as well. And we’re also seeing the academics, the doctors, the scientists themselves, taking their own initiative to create their own events. Sometimes they’re working with destinations, sometimes with PCOs, sometimes they’re just running out and not talking to anybody in our business at all.”

He said: “There’s a very, very cool example that we’re going to feature at our congress in Dubai in November called Social Media and Critical Care, which came from zero to – I think they’re up to 2-3,000 delegates now talking about critical care and social media interactions, all self-organised by a bunch of guys in their spare time. [They’re] not working with professionals in the conference business. So there are huge opportunities around creating new events in this third way.”

Sirk said the first evolutionary cycle of the MICE industry was focused on business events as being an adjunct of tourism and the second was around the ‘bidding rules’.

He added that also destinations are starting to internationalise their own events to attract in a worldwide audience to an existing event they may already host for the domestic market.

A full report on the Business Events Leaders’ Summit will be available in the June issue of EventsBase; for updates on forthcoming events visit