The Knowledge Alliance

Until recently, leveraging the knowledge economy has been a mostly local initiative for the meetings industry, with individual CVBs and DMOs using the intellectual and academic assets in their immediate area to help attract group business.

But now it’s moved to the international level with the launch of the Global Science & Convention Alliance (GSCA) — a partnership among four CVBs that is based specifically on their destinations’ educational and scientific infrastructures.

Unveiled at IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany, this past May, GSCA is made up of the Adelaide Convention Bureau, in Australia; the Daejeon International Marketing Enterprise, in South Korea; the Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau, in India; and the Toulouse Convention Bureau, in France. The partner cities all have “strengths in scientific innovation and research,” according to GSCAs mission statement, and are committed to “collaborating to promote their respective destinations to conventions relating to these industries.”

Daejeon and Toulouse first broached the idea of an alliance “two years ago during IMEX,” said Francois Lafont, Toulouse’s vice president of business development. “We tried to find similar cities for university, for science, for IT,” and eventually linked up with Adelaide and Hyderabad.

[pullquote class=”pull­lright”]Each city is home to world-class universities as well as specialized areas of science and research.[/pullquote]

In a twist on the typical DMO alliance, whose members usually share certain characteristics related to geography or conference logistics, GSCA places its partners’ intellectual assets front and center. Each city is home to world-class universities as well as specialized areas of science and research.

Thus, part of GSCAs mission, as detailed in its marketing collateral, is classic destination sales: “To exchange and share leads and information pertaining to relevant convention opportunities between alliance members to secure future events and enhance destination experience.” But the alliance’s efforts go beyond leads and room nights: “Promote the alliance and its members to our target audience of convention organizers, scientific organizations and potential alliance members.”

For GSCA, the partnership is good business — and also an opportunity to change the world. “Innovation is about science,” Lafont said. “Science is in each city, and we have to improve the knowledge of students of [the] industries around the cities.” That could happen, Lafont said, if the GSCA cities were to attract scientific conferences that area students then would be invited to attend — and that would draw on local educational resources. “We could involve our industries, our laboratories, our researchers, so we improve the universities,” Lafont said. “This is a virtual circle.”

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.