The cities of Florence, Gothenburg, Ljubljana, Lyon, Salzburg and Valencia have launched a European collaborative network. The aim is to share knowledge and experiences, and to highlight the cities’ strengths as meeting destinations for potential customers. However, the network also offers other opportunities for mutual support.
The initiative for the network was first taken in 2019, when the cities’ convention bureaus saw how cooperation would benefit them. Although the cities sometimes compete for the same international meetings, there are obvious advantages of close cooperation such as joint activities, sharing knowledge and experiences, concrete business insights and using resources in a time- and cost-effective manner.
As an initial joint activity, the network invited associations and organisations to a networking meeting in Brussels in early March. Brussels is an important hub where many international and European organisations are headquartered. The various organisations expressed a high level of interest and recognised the advantages of getting to know several cities at the same time.
The coronavirus pandemic broke out shortly
after the activity in Brussels, putting the member cities – and the rest of the
world – to the test in an entirely new situation.
“The conditions for planning our continued cooperation changed dramatically,” says Ulrika Scoliège from Gothenburg Convention Bureau. “The focus of exchanges within the network is now on sharing strategies and good practice for the cities to get up and running again quickly as meeting destinations, as soon as circumstances allow.”
By working together, the network hopes that the participating destinations will be able to strengthen each other amid the global competition for meetings, and to act as a one-stop shop for organisations looking for cities in which to hold their meetings.