reta Thunberg decided not to fly to the UN Climate Summit in New York, she took a sailboat instead. 'A race we must win – climate action now' is the striking message emblazoned on the sails of the racing yacht 'Malizia II' flanked by the colors of the 17 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The media reported, they made sustainability a front-page issue, putting us in a thought-provoking mode: Where are we going? And how? And does that have to be?
For the meeting industry, this is a matter of survival. Flying across the globe is a matter of course for us, people travel by air to attend all kinds of events. As soon as we've arrived, we take a cab or bus. But what will happen if climate concerns have negative effects on delegate traveling, if overbooked flights, crowded trains or congested roads make traveling a genuine strain? All over the world, considerable efforts are being made to develop future mobility concepts, but autonomous driving, sharing models, e-bikes and e-scooters are only any good if we change our habits and behavior. According to a survey conducted in context with a German mobility award, only 33 percent of those questioned would do without their own car and make use of sharing schemes.
Here's where planners of congresses and their host cities must lead the way to present alternatives to make sure they're part of the solution and not of the problem. For example, the award-winning 'ioki Hamburg Shuttle': after placing an order via app, an algorithm will group passengers with similar routes. Hamburg put a whole bundle of innovations out on the street – the ITS World Congress 2021 on intelligent transport systems is coming up soon. Its main topics such as automated and networked driving are also in the focus of the International Motor Show IAA.
"The entire automotive industry is transforming, and the overall understanding of mobility is changing more radically than ever before," said Dr. Martin Koers, the German Automotive Association (VDA) managing director. The IAA is intent on co-defining this new mobility, and it needs to do this or else it will become obsolete. Mercedes, for example, has cut its presentation budget and will instead invest into its own congress. At this 'me Convention', they want to advance from one-way communication to a dialog mode. The Frankfurt Convention Bureau sponsored public transport system tickets for the 3,000 delegates. Jutta Heinrich did this in reaction to the increasing significance of sustainability. Hopefully she earmarked a ticket for Koers, as he regularly uses the most efficient traffic means: in Frankfurt, that's the subway.