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Associations World Congress, AWC, is the largest annual conference for employees and officers of professional, scientific and trade membership organisations in Europe. In 2019, AWC is coming to Sweden – and Gothenburg and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre comprise a natural choice for the event.
Every year, 400 decision-makers from international organisations gather at the Associations World Congress (AWC). The conference is arranged by the Association of Association Executives, whose members represent 9,000 meetings worldwide, and at AWC, people gather to discuss the hottest industry issues.
The conference is held at a different location every year. When the 2019 Associations World Congress is held from 7–9 April, it will be hosted by the city of Gothenburg and partners, MCI Nordics and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.
“Our members frequently work with annual conferences, which are huge events. They are therefore always searching for the very best facilities – and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is one of them,” says Damian Hutt, Executive Director of the Association of Association Executives.
When AWC comes to Gothenburg, it will be the first time the conference is held in Scandinavia, and Damian Hutt is very much looking forward to it.
“We’ve been familiar with both Gothenburg and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre for a long time, and now is the right time for us to come here. Gothenburg is an incredible city for many reasons.”
One of the greatest contributing factors to the choice was indeed the fact that the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre has such a unique location in the heart of the city, and a comprehensive offering with everything under one roof.
“Our conferences begin at 8:00 am, so if you’re going to have your delegates present in the morning, it helps for everything to be in one location. We have fantastic hotel rooms and restaurants in the same building as the actual conference here, which gives our participants even more opportunities to meet and network,” says Damian Hutt. He continues, “It also makes a huge difference that the entire event is located in the city centre. Europe has many large-scale facilities, but they tend to be situated outside of the city. Here, it’s all located right in the heart of Gothenburg, which means our guests can have a great overall experience.”
Another advantage of Gothenburg that Damian Hutt points out is that it is Sweden’s second largest city – and second cities are often particularly compelling destinations.
“Our members have been to capital cities often, but not to second cities. This makes second cities especially interesting destinations. It is also clear that this kind of event is incredibly important for Gothenburg: everyone collaborates to make great things happen. I’ve been working with conferences for 32 years, and I can say that Gothenburg is absolutely world class when it comes to collaboration.”
The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is also particularly proud of the collaboration with the city and business community. The fact that Associations World Congress is now coming to Gothenburg is entirely consistent with the work approach of the congress centre and is the result of a close partnership with Göteborg & Co and MCI Nordics.
“Congresses are never quick fixes; what’s happening now is a result of long-term strategic efforts. From an international perspective, Gothenburg is a small city, which means we can’t take meetings for granted. While bigger and better known cities can sit back and wait for inquiries to come in, we have to work together: the city, academia and the business community, and help out in order for something to happen. But we’ve also become really good at that, which we’re extremely proud of,” says Malin Erlandsson, Director of Congress & Events at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.
The fact that Associations World Congress is now coming to Gothenburg is a success in itself, but the opportunities the congress entails are even greater. An event like Associations World Congress leaves numerous impressions, which also means the whole city will join in and reap the rewards.
“Association meetings are unique because they attract individual delegates and often exhibiting companies. Visitors have different needs, including everything from bed & breakfasts to five-star hotels – and that means the entire city benefits from a congress like this,” says Malin Erlandsson.
Read more about the city as a meeting city in 5 strengths of Gothenburg.