On April 16, 2015, history was made as National Meetings Industry Day (NMID) events were held not only in Canada, but across North America. Events in thirty-seven US, eight Canadian, sixteen Mexican and two Latin American cities shared the common goal of showcasing the impact of meetings and events on businesses, economies and communities. In Toronto, over 300 attendees gathered at the Liberty Grand for the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Toronto Chapter’s event.
Guests were welcomed by Lynda Hoff, Board of Directors Chairperson of the Business Events Coalition of Canada (BEICC). She began the day by sharing the great strides made in terms of membership. New association members include the MPI Foundation and the Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME). New relationships are also being forged with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). A core strategic pillar of the continued success of these associations is to continue building awareness.
Michael Coteau, MPP, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, spoke of the value of the events industry and the impact that the PanAm Games will have on the Greater Toronto Area.
Following Michael Coteau, MPP, the 2015 Influence Award was presented to Tourism Toronto This award honours an individual or organization that has made a difference to the meetings industry. We were also honoured to have Darren Temple, the Chief Business Development Officer from MPI offer words of welcome and explain the impact of North American Meeting Industry Day. It was also announced that the 2019 MPI World Education Congress (WEC) would be held in Toronto.
NMID’s keynote speaker was Glen Hodgson , Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at The Conference Board of Canada . A passionate and dynamic presenter, Mr. Hodgson led the audience through a brief snapshot of the Canadian and U.S. economy. He also participated in the debate, Oil, Gas and the Economy - How Fluctuations Affect our Industry. Mr. Hodgson noted that the Canadian dollar is expected to remain at 85 cents on the American dollar. Canadian companies have been hit harshly with 20% drop in currency and are finding it difficult to compete. He advised to focus on Asia as an indicator of the business future.
Les Selby, CMP, CMM, Director Meetings and Events of Aimia Inc. also shared in the debate. He pointed out that that food and beverage costs have increased overall and that those who work for US-based companies will be faced with a decrease in profitability, due to the exchange rate.
On the debate topic of new technology, Patricia Brusha, Director of Marketing at Checkmate, commented that the new trend of People to People Networks is here to stay. Meetings and events professionals need to find ways to work with these networks and services and incorporate them into their business plans.
Terry Mundell, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) also noted that companies such as Airbnb are not subject to the same taxation laws and regulations as hotels, which makes for an uneven playing field.
Representatives from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) shared how travel between the U.S. and Canada is being made easier with the Nexus card. They discussed the process of getting the card and its advantages, including saving time at the border.
New this year, the mentor café was a huge success, attracting thirty mentee participants. Sixteen mentors volunteered their time to share their passion and offer advice. Lots of lively discussion and positive feedback indicated that it was an extremely beneficial component of the event.
The MPI Toronto Chapter would like to thank all NMID participants for helping to make the event a success. MPI Toronto is proud to have been a part of the North America-wide celebrations in this landmark year and to have helped raise awareness about the value and economic benefits of meetings and events in Canada.