Anki Sandberg of the Trollhättan Convention Bureau is excited about the future for Sweden’s network of convention bureaus.
Anki Sandberg of the Trollhättan Convention Bureau has been elected as the new chairman of the Swedish Network of Convention Bureaus, a union promoting Sweden as a meeting destination, at the network’s annual meeting in Stockholm earlier this month.
Besides Sandberg, the other members of the board are Karin Mäntymäki from Stockholm, Petra Palm from Gothenburg, Pernilla Körberg Törnqvist from Örebro, Elisabeth Hugg from Gävle and Nico Nauta from eastern Sweden.
The association brings together 22 convention bureaus across the country and works primarily around two focus areas – benefiting business and exchanging knowledge.
The role of convention bureaus in attracting meetings has been directly linked to the economic impact of tourism, as hotels, conferences, commerce, restaurants, cafés, and other local businesses benefit from having more meetings and congresses nearby.
But the Swedish Network of Convention Bureaus says that an exciting and important development happening now is that this role is evolving into being part of the city’s strategic work to strengthen its brand name.
Convention bureaus are moving away from being part of tourism marketing departments to being strategically placed under, for example, a business unit or being directly linked to incoming investments and included in the city’s development goals.
“A convention bureau focuses on attracting meetings as a specific need in the city, strengthening business within a particular area or raising specific strength areas that a site represents,” explains Anki Sandberg.
“Another important part of the job is to really make use of the incredible knowledge exchange that takes place about, for example, a scientific, medical or organisational meeting – to take this exchange home to other colleagues in their own departments, to their research group, unit or business.”
The website meetintrollhattan.se, which Sandberg represents, describes Trollhättan, located north of Gothenburg, as “a small town at heart, with a metropolitan feeling”.
“Obviously we are biased,” it continues, “but the fact remains that there are not many small towns that can boast of having produced so many different products as Trollhättan: trains, turbines, aircraft engines, automobiles, space rocket components and feature films.”
The “international and multicultural town […] has always been a town of entrepreneurs and, as such, has attracted creative and innovative people full of new ideas.”