San Diego. From a warning that the global economic concerns are far from over to the kinds of specific strategies and actions that centres should be taking in response, this year's AIPC Annual Conference in San Diego USA addressed both the challenges facing the industry and the opportunities that are available to those who respond appropriately. "There are a lot of questions about where we are in global recovery, what kind of industry is now emerging from the crisis and what we should be doing about it," said AIPC President Edgar Hirt. "Our Annual Conference in San Diego was intended to use the very latest industry intelligence and insights to answer these questions and due to the extraordinary efforts by both the global experts and AIPC colleagues who contributed to our program it succeeded far beyond our expectations."
The tone was set for the Conference theme "It's All About Change" by opening keynote speaker David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, and Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College named 'Business Person of the Year' by the Daily Telegraph. As the first policy-maker from the Bank, Treasury or Financial Services Authority to warn that the UK faced recession, he outlined his concerns for the current state of global economics and advised delegates that a return to robust growth should not be taken for granted and that a long period of slow recovery punctuated by periodic setbacks was much more likely. During this period, governments will be looking desperately for economic stimulus tactics and centres need to keep that in mind as they plan both their business prospects and the ways in which they interact with government owners.
Blanchflower's strategic advice was followed by a series of reports on both major geographic areas and key sectors including association business, the exhibition industry and event planners interacting with both corporate and association clients. The common themes were modest growth combined with an ongoing need for flexibility and caution. Presenters also identified the need for a greater effort to look for new services that can generate value for both suppliers and clients and new ways of organizing business relationships that can again benefit both parties in times that are financially challenging for everyone.