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BestCities Convention Bureaux Meet in Cape Town

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In order to further strengthen its commitment to convention best practices, Tourism Vancouver recently met with BestCities Global Alliance convention bureau partners in Cape Town.

 The meeting, which will be held in Vancouver in 2010, also included sales workshops and educational seminars for key clients of the eight member bureaux.

BestCities, a convention bureau alliance was created to deliver the world's best services for the meetings industry. In addition to Vancouver, the group consists of a further seven members: Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Juan and Singapore.

In line with a commitment to deliver best practice across 36 service standards, as audited by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance, the BestCities meeting included an Alliance Management Review (AMR), and client and sales workshops, bringing together the eight BestCities member bureaux and targeted clients.

Richard Yore, Tourism Vancouver's director of Sales, Meetings & Convention, said the recent meeting had reinforced the value of the BestCities Global Alliance to the business events industry.

"BestCities offers a great opportunity for Tourism Vancouver to work with other top meetings and convention destinations to share best practices, learnings and client information," said Yore. "In July 2010, we'll host the same group here in Vancouver, as well as a number of the bureaux' key clients from around the world, giving us the chance to educate these meeting planners as to what our city can offer."

The Vancouver client workshops will be held just prior to the city hosting the Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress.

Ramón L. Sánchez, chair of the BestCities Management Committee and the representative for San Juan, said the main focus of the AMR was the discussion of an 18-month action plan that would guide the BestCities strategy through to the end of 2010.

"In keeping with BestCities' four pillars - brand development, business development, knowledge exchange and service standards - one day of our meeting was dedicated to a brainstorming session with our sales group representatives so that our partners could leverage existing programmes and pool resources," Sánchez said.

"While in Cape Town, we had the opportunity to meet with the local meetings industry and discuss various common ground issues on how to face challenges and opportunities in the present global economy. We were also pleased that Cape Town hosted our 2009 BestCities Client Workshop, where key decision makers from seven international associations were invited to participate in a one-on-one business session with each partner."

Dr Les Chappell, executive secretary for the World Federation of Parasitologists, a client who attended the meeting, said, "everything was exceptionally well organised and presented, and the discussions were useful. After meeting with each bureau representative, I believe all eight cities in the BestCities Global Alliance provide superb venue options for future conferences."

As part of the BestCities' CSR commitment, the Cape Town programme also included a visit to the Baphumelele Children's Home, where BestCities representatives were invited to donate an item of clothing or blanket to the project, which provides refuge for orphaned, abandoned or abused children.

Sánchez, who is executive vice president and COO of Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, will lead the Alliance's Management Committee until the end of this year, with Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Convention Bureau manager of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the incoming chair.

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