Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Head of the Convention and Association Bureau at visit.brussels discusses Brussels as a MICE destination
An interview by a reporter of Globe Network, and organiser of the annual PURE MEETINGS & EVENTS trade show for French event organisers
Globe Network: “Brussels is clearly popular as a MICE destination. What are the latest key figures?”
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem: “Brussels has built up its considerable reputation as the top MICE destination by maintaining its popularity within the MICE sector. For the 5th consecutive year, Brussels has been crowned the most popular city in Europe for organising non-profit congresses and sits in second place in the world rankings for this (2018 UIA report). Bids for organising events in Brussels come in from everywhere, putting us into competition with Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona and London. With 8.5 million overnight stays in 2018, the rising trend observed for hotels over recent years has very largely been confirmed. Brussels is an appealing prospect!
Our experts in the Convention Bureau at visit.brussels have directly processed 889 requests and bids for events involving between 50 and more than 5,000 people in 2018. The number of applications has increased by 57% in just one year.”
Brussels as a destination with a buzz in the air!
Globe Network: “Why would you choose Brussels for your congress, conference or event over another destination?”
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem: “There’s a special kind of atmosphere in Brussels. As a centre of power, a business hub, a central strategic location, a popular base for international organisations to place their headquarters and a site for centres of excellence, Brussels boasts a cosmopolitan feel, quality of life and many really wonderful green spaces. Beyond these highlights, Brussels also has hundreds of really unique event venues. And, with more than 20,000 hotel rooms of all categories, we have a number of convincing arguments that play a decisive role when people are choosing their destination.
And, of course, Brussels isn’t an unfriendly city, which just focuses on business. Each year, more than 18,000 cultural and celebratory events are organised in the city. Brussels is a city of celebration and more than ever, a city which has a buzz in the air and sets the tone.”
The heart of Brussels plays host to around 18,000 cultural events per year...
Globe Network: “Are there any ‘musts’ that you’d like to mention for group activities and incentives?”
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem: “From chocolate culinary workshops (you are in Belgium, after all!) to yoga sessions in peaceful parkland within walking distance of your meeting room, to open-air dinners beneath starry skies, Brussels has everything that you need to put on the most memorable event that you have ever experienced. Organising an incentive or a team-building event in Brussels opens up huge opportunities. With possible themes like Art Nouveau, Art Deco, comic books, Europe, culinary experiences, Art Moderne, urban culture, ecology and sports, you can play host to almost any member of the public, who will also come away especially pleased.
And just for that, there are a wide range of easy ways to get around Brussels. These include walking and running, cycling on a traditional and an electric bike, catching a bus, touring the city on a Segway, riding through its streets on an electric scooter, or perhaps even travelling by boat. You can even go for a horse-drawn carriage, a vintage car or a tuk-tuk! Whatever you choose, you will be accompanied by a guide or a host who speaks your language. This is what Brussels is all about too!”
Unique opportunities to discover Brussels in incredible ways...
Globe Network: “ And could you give us some tips about what you should choose for social activities and team-building events?”
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem: “Discovering the essence of a city in just a few hours is difficult wherever you go. For 2019, our team has put together a new selection of activities, tips and recommendations of what to do in Brussels for groups and incentives. These activity programmes are tailored to your interests, carefully put together and available permanently or on a seasonal basis, and are far from boring!
Our programmes are intended for everyone, such as sales executives, creative spirits, scientific researchers, sport fanatics and chaperones. This advice is available in the 2019 edition of “Let’s Meet in Brussels”, which has recently been published and can be obtained in a hard or digital copy by contacting us.”
To receive a hard copy of Let’s Meet in Brussels 2019, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity programmes tailored to your participants...