I didn’t make it to the 2015 COCAL Congress in Florianopolis, Brazil, as originally planned, but I know someone who did: Michelle Crowley, PCMA’s director of global development, who can actually read a flight itinerary and act on it accordingly. Michelle has taken time away from COCAL’s first day of programming to answer some questions for us:
How was the opening reception last night?
Great! There were caipirinhas (a famous Brazilian cocktail) and local cuisine, including lots of seafood. There was “Floripa” entertainment, which has a German influence (not what I expected) because of settlement by Germans in this part of Brazil in the 19th century.
What programming have you seen today that has really resonated with you?
I participated in an activity (led by a facilitator) where you focus on listening during a networking exercise. The facilitator was trying to make the point that sometimes professionals don’t listen, they just talk when networking. I’ve also been impressed by what I’ve learned about the economic impact of meetings and events in Brazil. For example, Brazil hosted about 600,000 events in 2013 for a total economic impact of R$209 billion. There are 800 fairs every year in São Paolo alone for a total impact of R$16.3 billion.
On the logistics side, what language(s) are sessions being conducted in?
Mostly Portuguese and some Spanish, with translation available into Portuguese, Spanish, and English. I’m not having trouble following along — I just have to focus a bit more.
PCMA helped put together a session that will be presented tomorrow. What’s that about?
The speakers are Bruce MacMillan, executive director of Bandwidth Management; Paul Vallee, executive vice president of Tourism Vancouver; and Alisson Batres, president of COCAL. Using Tourism Vancouver as a case study, they’ll discuss the relationship between CVBs and PCOs, and how they can better work together to win business and have successful client events. This is a challenge in Latin America, where in some cases there are very strong PCOs or PCO organizations that have a lot of power locally, while bureaus have to report to the government.
What’s been the best food and drink you’ve had down there so far?
A strawberry caipirinha and doughy little cheese balls/bread. My fav!