Florence Convention bureau: “National public institutions should give more support to private companies and help them in relaunching the meeting industry”. Florence Convention Bureau

After an exciting career in the event organization as marketing director of an important Italian DMC, Carlotta Ferrari started to work for Florence Convention Bureau in 2010 as a congress developer. After almost one year she became director and started a new destination marketing strategy, creating new services for event organizers and involving more and more members and partners of the Florentine tourism chain. She is now vice president and Representative of the Destination and Conference Venues category of Federcongressi & Eventi. She is taking care of the new Italia Convention Bureau project.

Please tell us a few words about Florence Convention Bureau?

Florence Convention Bureau, Carlotta Ferrari

Florence Convention Bureau (FCB) is the official organization of Florence aimed to promote the city as a destination for national and  international conferences and events. As a completely non-profit consortium, FCB aims exclusively to increasing quantity, quality and scientific importance of events and conferences held in the city.

Which are your main points of excellence?

Teamwork and professionalism. FCB is a tightly-knit highly professional network able to find the best solutions for any event planner requests! FCB can rely on about 175 private members as hotels, event agencies, venues and support of public institutions, such as the Tuscan government, the Chamber of Commerce of Florence and Florence municipality.
Representativeness of the destination. Thanks to the support of our private members – that include the most important hotels and professionals of the meeting industry-  and public institutions that allow us to offer very unusual locations (usually closed to the public) we are able to represent the entire destination!
Innovation. We always try to find new services and tools to offer to event organizers and associations and host their events in Florence. An example? The brand new accommodation booking portal – Florence Congress Booking – the only example on the international scene!

How important is the MICE industry for your country and for economy, in general?

The MICE industry is a very important sector for Italy which is in the TOP 10 of the main MICE destinations in the world (6th position) with 447 meetings in 2013, according to the ICCA country & city rankings. The business tourism (which include meetings, incentive, exhibitions and conferences) is 19,5% of tourism in general. In particular, the congress tourism employes about 300,000 people and produce a turnover of 15 billion euros and accounts for about 1.4% of the Italian GDP. And also, a new private national convention bureau will be constituted in the next months to better represent the MICE offer of our country.

What advantages does your destination have?

Organizing an event in Florence is EASY! And, of course, there is a lot of accessibility. Not to mention beauty, culture and a varied offer,  combined with a huge congress centre located in the hearth of the city. I would also add high professionalism and competitiveness of our hotels, which are the main advantages of organizing events in Florence.

How do you think you can turn your city into one of the most important conference destinations?

Our mission is promoting Florence and offering the best services and advantages to bring events and conferences in the city and we always try to do it in the best way! In these days there are also important projects on the airport extension and the congress center renovation that have to be approved and could turn our city in a very competitive conference destination.

Please describe your destination in three words.

  • PEOPLE FRIENDLY (walking distance)
  • ACCESSIBLE (strategically located and well connected to the main Italian and International cities)
  • INSPIRING (an open-air museum, a genuine lifestyle experience ​and a treasure with lots of different venues for events!)​

What would you change in the meeting industry?

I would like that national public institutions give more support to private companies and help them in relaunching the meeting industry.The international offer is bigger, there are a lot of new conference destinations, very competitive in term of infrastructure. This means a more arduous competition! Furthermore the international economic crisis put price in the first position, rewarding the cheaper destinations instead of the more “qualified”.

​What plans do you have for your Convention Bureau in the future?

We have just changed our company in a private consortium and we continue to increase the number of private members, becoming a public company that represent the destination. We are also investing on a B2C promotion, giving lots of services to delegates arriving in Florence. We hope this could strengthen our role in the destination and help us to change in a convention & visitors bureau.