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Lead the global debate

In the competition between knowledge-based societies throughout the world, international congresses are considered to be something like display windows. They highlight the contents, ideas and innovations distinguishing a region. As a consequence, an increasing number of destinations are therefore emphasizing their fields of excellence in their bids.

idely recognized as the "Olympics" of the oil and gas industry, the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) attracts more than 6,000 delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 ministers and 25,000 visitors for the World Petroleum Exhibition. Houston was awarded the 
World Petroleum Congress (WPC) 2020
. "Houston is the epicenter of energy on the global scale and this is where the new technologies are being developed", said the city's mayor Sylvester Turner on the occasion of that announcement in Bahrain. "We spent six years building relationships with WPC delegates and it paid off". He is the more delighted as the Texans had lost against Moscow in 2014 and Istanbul in 2017. The US metropolis estimates WPC2020 will have an economic impact up to US$80 million and will attract about 10,000 international oil executives.

"We are looking forward to welcoming WPC National Committees from around the world to our home where much of the energy industry innovation, technological development and safety initiative work is done”, confirmed Ashley White, Greater Houston Partnership. Houston is one of the world's energy capitals and US energy headquarters with 26.6% (46,900) of the nation’s jobs in oil and gas extraction as well as home to BP’s Center for High Computing und Dow Chemical’s Texas Innovation. 25% of the nation's refinery capacities with an output of 4.5 million barrels of oil per day are based here in the Houston gulf region. "We annually host the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), CERA Week and currently Houston is home of the Secretariat Office for the World Energy Cities Partnership (WECP), a multinational partnership, comprised of 19 of the world’s leading energy capitals", said White. WECP is seeking intercommunication in sectors beyond energy industries such as education, environmental engineering, medicine and biosciences. She announced: "We plan to have these resources available for WPC2020 delegates in Houston".

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Houston is among the world's energy capitals, US energy headquarters and home of the World Petroleum Congress 2020.

“For WPC 2020 Houston has invested a lot to put the city on the international map”, declared Jorge Franz, Senior Vice President of Tourism for Houston First and the Greater Houston CVB. US$1.5 billion have been invested in the new Downtown Convention District

including the refurbished George R. Brown Convention Center (GRBCC) – more on page 6 – the new 1,000-room Marriott Marquis Houston and the new 1,200-room Hilton Americas Houston, both linked to the Convention Center. Thus, more than 7,600 rooms are within walking distance to the GRBCC surrounded by the three arenas Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and BBVA Compass Bank. "In addition to a walkable convention district with easy access to the Opera, Ballet, Symphony and Performing Arts, more than 80,000 hotel rooms, direct air access from 187 cities from around the world, we are ready to provide an unequaled experience to congress attendees during WPC 2020", Ashley White added.

“Visit Houston assists association and corporate meeting planners by identifying local stakeholders willing to work with them”, said Visit Houston's Daniel Palomo. He knows: "International associations need to create strong scientific and local organizing committees. Corporate meeting planners need support to identify potential corporate sponsors.” Moreover, Visit Houston arranges participation at technical tours for conference delegates to learn about new technologies being developed and scientific innovations. This applies not only to the energy sector. White emphasized: "Houston is much more than energy. It is also America’s third coast for life sciences, thanks to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest. Because of our strengths in these key industries and the technology that supports these sectors, Houston is increasingly recognized as a hotbed of innovation.”

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World Future Energy Summit 2018 will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Convention Centre (ADNEC).

As member of BestCities Global Alliance with twelve partner convention cities such as Berlin, Dubai, Melbourne, Singapore and Vancouver, Houston seeks to offer the best quality of service to international association meeting planners.

Vancouver congratulated its alliance partner Houston to the WPC2020, even if Canada's candidate had lost in the finals. “At WPC2017 in Istanbul, Vancouver was encouraged by members to bid again in the future”, said Chantal Sturk-Nadeau. The Executive Director of Business Events Canada emphasized: "Tourism Vancouver remains committed to their strong supporters at WPC Canada and will re-evaluate the congress bid options in the future." Canada is in fact strong in the energy sector, and there is Vancouver’s accessibility to the Asia-Pacific region und its focus of sustainability. The city has the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America, draws 90 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and has set a goal to be the world’s greenest city by 2020. Tourism Vancouver is presently bidding for the International Gas Union 2024, as is the 'City of Energy' Calgary, home to many of world’s largest international oil and gas companies, driving more than $75 billion in energy related projects currently active in the province. Business Events Canada since 2013 has been focusing its bids on seven key vertical sectors such as information and communication technology (ICT), clean technology and life sciences.

In Europe, Luxembourg is making a name for itself in the field of information and communication technology, which is demonstrated by the ICT Spring Summit 2017, which will take place for the ninth time next year from 15 to 16 May. This year, the Global Tech Conference registered more than 5,200 participants from 72 countries. Among the 100 international speakers were Gary L. Martin, Director of Partnerships at NASA Ames, Julie Demarigny, Vice President International of Warner Bros and Clive Cookson, Science Editor at Financial Times. Some of the focus areas included fintech, space, artificial intelligence - and even sports. As Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, said on day one “These days, talking about tech means talking about society and technology,” as everything is interconnected. On day two the Space Forum touched on topics from “space application to space exploration”.

Space is a hot topic in Luxembourg at the moment as our country moves closer to being a leading hub in the global space race, a stated goal of Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Etienne Schneider. At the event he announced that, “Luxembourg will be setting up its own space agency.” Schneider also announced Luxembourg Cyber Security Week which will position Luxembourg as a leading European location for cyber security startups and talents to be held October 16 to 21, 2017. The Luxembourg Convention Bureau connects meeting planners with local experts.

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The "Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision" includes twelve key technologies such as energy and petrochemistry, biotechnology and life sciences, transport and telecommunication. International congresses and business events staged in one of these fields and driving the emirates' social and economic development are supported by the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau's "Advantage Abu Dhabi" Program. "In the scope of our promotion program, we support planners in all phases of event organization", said Frank J. Müllauer. The Senior MICE Promotion Executive, Germany, Austria, Switzerland & the Netherlands with the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority referred to energy as one of the most relevant themes for conventions. The largest of the emirates ranks among the world's richest countries in terms of oil and gas reserves, which is substantiated by the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) and the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2017. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals are also prominent convention and congress themes owing to significant medical tourism. Müllauer: "We had submitted ten bids till now in 2017 on the sectors Medical, Infrastructure, Tourism, Statistics & Information. We won three bids till now.” Among the winners are the World Congress of the International Federation of Esthetic Dentistry 2021 and the World Urban Forum 2020.

It's some time ago that the World Energy Congress 2019 from September 7 thru 14 was awarded. "We won it in 2014 and we are working closely with the committee", Müllauer remembers. The flagship event of the World Energy Council’s triennial World Energy Congress has gained recognition as the premier global forum for leaders and thinkers to debate solutions for energy issues since the first event back 1924. It brings together Heads of State, Energy Ministers, as well as global energy leaders and stakeholders to lead the global energy debate. UAE Ministry of Energy His Excellency Suhail Al Mazrouei stated: "When the UAE decided to enter the bid to organize the 2019 World Energy Congress, it did so to with the vision to deliver the best Congress in its more than 90 years of history."  KERSTIN WÜNSCH

The "Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision" includes twelve key technologies such as energy or life sciences.
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Christoph Huber is professor emeritus and former Head of the department of Hematology and Oncology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Medical School in Mainz.