Future Convention Cities Initiative selects first chairperson

The Future Convention Cities Initiative has announced that its first chairperson will be Lyn Lewis-Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Business Events Sydney.

The Future Convention Cities Initiative (FCCI) has announced that its first chairperson will be Lyn Lewis-Smith – Chief Operating Officer of Business Events Sydney.

Lewis-Smith was the unanimous choice of the seven member cities – Abu Dhabi Travel Authority, Business Events Sydney, Durban KwaZulu Natal Convention Bureau, London and Partners (formerly Visit London), San Francisco Travel Association, Seoul Tourism Organization and Toronto Convention Bureau.

“I was honoured to get the unanimous support of my fellow members to become the first chairperson of FCCI,” said Lewis-Smith. “They are a great group of people to work with – everyone has a genuine belief in the value of what we are trying to do. We know nothing like this has ever been done before in the industry and I’m very excited to be the first chairperson helping to steer FCCI through the launch of our first strategic research projects.”

The founding goal of FCCI is to bring together leading future focused cities that want to secure or establish their positioning as leading destinations for key knowledge economy meetings and events.

The members should be committed to developing and delivering on strategies to help grow the local knowledge economy and to maximising the long term benefits of business tourism through:

Using business tourism, and meetings in particular, as a tool to help drive economic development and transformation, facilitating inward investment and helping to establish or enhance a clearly differentiated brand and sense of ‘place’ for their destination.

“At the First FCCI Action Forum in Seoul in March we agreed an exciting research agenda but we were also clear that implementing the findings quickly would be the real source of competitive advantage. When the idea of appointing a chair came up in discussions, Lyn Lewis-Smith was the natural candidate,” said Samuel Koo, President and CEO of Seoul Tourism Organization. “She has the relevant research experience, commands massive respect in the industry globally, and from our first meeting in Hyderabad has shown real commitment to the FCCI project.”

Vice President, Meeting & Convention Sales – Tourism Toronto’s Tara Gordon said, “FCCI’s ambitions and the resulting programme of research are growing rapidly. Through the cutting edge innovation program she is leading at Business Events Sydney, Lyn Lewis-Smith has hands-on experience of conducting this kind of research and implementing the findings. This expertise will be very valuable to the other members as we venture into what is pretty new territory for most of us. We know Rohit and the team at Fast Future will deliver us great research material – Lyn’s experience will help us implement it in the most effective manner.”

“I think the growth in interest in FCCI has surprised everyone, and it made sense to have one of the members serve as chair of the group and act as a spokesperson for the members. When we discussed what the role might entail, Lyn was an obvious candidate to be the first chairperson. The other members clearly have huge respect for her experience, creativity and passion for research. I look forward to working with her,” Rohit Talwar – CEO – Fast Future and executive director of FCCI said. 

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