Centres are vehicles for global interface and knowledge transfer 
Geoff Donaghy, President of AIPC (International Association of Convention Centres)
On 2 July you will kick off the AIPC Annual Conference. Is there a specific theme for your congress?
Our theme this year is “Reinvention” which is a process that centres, as with so many other businesses today, are discovering is a continuous process. That theme will not only address centre-specific issues but also areas with which centres interface like hotels and suppliers as well as evolving global issues that are impacting future centre business prospects.
Is your conference also of social and cultural resonance?
We believe that centres are above all vehicles for global interface and knowledge transfer and that, by hosting key events, they are facilitating critical exchanges and attracting new skills, talent and insights into their respective communities while supporting global advancement. This means they are not just supporters of economic prospects and policies but overall community development and advancement as well.
For your congress you have chosen Sydney. Why?
Our conference rotates internationally in response to our global membership and it is important for us to host events in areas where we have a strong membership base – Australia is one of these – as well as where there are good and current examples of centre development that our members can learn and take inspiration from. The venue for our conference will be the ICC Sydney, which is a state of the art facility that only formally opened late last year, so it definitely qualifies as an inspirational location, and Sydney itself is a destination that exemplifies some of the most progressive thinking in our industry.
For those delegates who cannot join you in Sydney, can they participate remotely?
We make all session presentations available to our members along with an overall synopsis of the event; however, we do not as yet have real-time broadcasts, which is something we are looking at. Above all, our members value the face to face interactions and networking the conference offers, so this is our main priority.
What are the main challenges for the AIPC?
AIPC itself is a very stable organization, with growing membership and a very modest member turnover, so our primary challenges are really all about addressing those of our members. Amongst these today are responding to strong and growing competition, adapting to changing client needs and expectations within the confines of a largely fixed building structure and maintaining the kind of government and community support that is essential to the continuing investment that is required to remain competitive.