Solid forecast from FutureWatch 2008


FUTUREWATCH 2008, the market trends study for the global meeting and event planning industry, says in its sixth annual international study that meeting and event professionals expect a 19 percent rise in attendance in 2008.

Conducted by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and sponsored by American Express, the study surveyed 1,643 meeting and event professionals and suppliers from around the world, which is the largest response in the last three years to a FutureWatch study.
Overall, the finding was matched by a prediction that interest in webcasts and other complements to live meetings will also rise, but clearly will not displace the strategic value of face-to-face meetings.
“FutureWatch 2008 is further evidence that there’s no substitute for the power of human connections through live interaction,” says Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI. “This year’s study showed that while meeting and event professionals are embracing technology, its greater role is in enhancing events, not replacing them.”
FutureWatch 2008 also found there was a rapid move toward globalisation expected in the coming year. Also, at a time when MPI is extending its own presence in new regions of the world, 14 per cent of respondents, including 16 per cent in Canada and 31 per cent in Europe, said they had seen increased interest in holding meetings in the Middle East.
Among its economic findings, FutureWatch found all respondents expressed concern about an economic downturn in 2008. Despite this perception, corporate planners remain bullish on budget expectations, predicting a 27 per cent rise in 2008.