The global meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry generates billions of dollars worldwide, and individual countries benefit from not just the revenues to their hotels, conference centres and local agencies, but also in terms of prestige and business connections.

That’s why Turkey was so keen to hold the sixth edition of ACE of M.I.C.E in late February 2018. As a country, they are determined to showcase the skills and creative potential of their local suppliers, as well as their stunning venues. And it was in one of those venues that the vibrant (and comprehensive) exhibition took place: the Istanbul Congress Centre.

It’s an impressive complex which isn’t far from the Bosphorus and the narrow straits where East and West meet. I spent a wonderful few days in Istanbul and it was a kaleidoscopic experience. The city is a riot of colour, noise, old and new, ancient tradition and cutting-edge progress. It engages all your senses, and it’s a place that’s in constant transition. You can see a new world being built, and it’s a fitting venue to show off the art and science of bringing people together to collaborate and exhibit their wares.

So, what was I doing there apart from having a good time and meeting lots of interesting people? Well, I’m Vice President of Knowledge and Education for the Middle East chapter of the International Live Events Association (ILEA). ACE for M.I.C.E was a great opportunity to meet and discuss how we can help boost the knowledge of ILEA not just in Turkey, but across the world.

We convened a panel discussion during the event at the Congress Centre which offers all the modern facilities you’d expect across its 120,000m² of modern spaces on eight floors. ILEA is a truly global community and representatives from many countries came together to talk about how we can foster creativity and excellence within our business. The panel included Meltem Tepeler, President of the Turkish branch of ILEA, and Dr James Morgan from the UK Chapter.

We discussed how we can evolve with the times and leverage the experience, skills and creativity of ILEA members to take the industry forward, especially across the Middle East and beyond. That’s why meeting in Istanbul, amid all those colleagues, was so powerful. It maximised the potential of collaboration, and that’s what really drives our business. The ACE of M.I.C.E. exhibition proved to me that the Turkish M.I.C.E sector has a lot going for it, from creativity to sheer professionalism. I predict great things for them, and Meltem and his ILEA team are working hard to deliver them.

It’ll be fascinating to see what we can achieve over the next year, and I’m already looking forward to speaking at the 2019 conference.


Emma Clark, Event Director

Emma’s diverse work history brings together over ten years of event management, production and client communication experience within the live communications industry. Emma leads the agency in-house event teams from Producers to Production Managers and has successfully produced events for conferences, public forums, road shows, product launches, awards ceremonies and live events from conception right through to completion and on-site delivery.