New president of ABEOC analyzes Brazilian market

Elected ABEOC (Brazilian Event Companies Association) President in December 2014, Ana Cláudia Bitencourt shares with Event Point her expectations and challenges for the mandate. She also comments on the World Cup heritage and the prospects for the next big event Brazil will host: the 2016 Olympic Games.

What are your main challenges, and the Association's, for this mandate?

One major challenge is to continue the work that Anita Pires carried out in the previous management. We will need to maintain the high level and strengthen a very well done job, from an institutional point of view, regarding our qualification and certification program, our seal of quality and strengthening our Eventos Brasil magazine. We also have the challenge of facing issues related to event professionals, to seek qualification, partner with entities, courses, seminars, all focusing on strengthening the professionals who work with event organizers. Another major challenge to our mandate is to have an ABEOC Brazil representation in all federation states.

In addition, we have important issues from our business point of view, the invoicing (to avoid double taxation) and bids for technic and price, rather than just theprice, as it is done in most of the government contracting today. The event companies in Brazil are investing in quality but we are seen as "price" by public authorities and city halls. We will work strongly for this context to change. Without valuing technique and quality, we believe results are not satisfactory and undermine the market.

We will also work to internationally promote ABEOC Brazil. Today we are a reference in the country, but internationally we are able to expand our contributions. We want to place ABEOC among the main international event agents and to participate in major international exhibitions, using our own magazine to interact with the international trade, promoting Brazil's actions abroad.

What were the main conclusions from the ABEOC congress, held late last year?

Eventos Brasil, the 26th Brazilian Congress of Event Businesses and Professionals, involved representatives of various entities and joined the sector, prompted broad networking and exchange of information with relevant themes and high-level discussions. At the end of the event, we launched Carta de S.Paulo (S.Paulo's Charter), a document with a summary of the discussions from the 26th Congress, positioning of the events sector in society. The Charter emphasizes the importance of the sector that moves R $209.2 billion [71 billion euros] in 590 000 events held throughout Brazil and declares that "events are more appropriate to new professional relationships and experience exchange. The results generated by a well-run event reflect on the image of promoters, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, participants and therefore of the whole society." On the other hand, it also emphasizes the need to reduce bureaucracy at a governmental level, besides the regulation of temporary work, self-regulation of event market and review of the General Tourism Law.

To what extent can ABEOC play an important role in boosting the stadiums built for the World Cup, especially those in regions with less cultural / tourist activities?

In a meeting with the Minister of Tourism in 2014, ABEOC Brazil was invited to participate in a working group to address this issue. The purpose of this group is to survey the structures and the economic potential of the 12 host cities to develop a schedule of events for these and other regions of the country.

Now in 2015, we will seek to increase the dialogue with those responsible for the arenas built for the World Cup so we can see só how we can work together with the Conventions & Visitors Bureaus, that work in destination promotion, and with other trade entities. With both the support of government agencies and partnerships with the private sector, these cities which have excellent equipment can strengthen the ability to attract new customers and expand the organization of events.

What has the Brazilian market won with the World Cup?

No doubt we won huge international visibility, the whole world turned its gaze to Brazil and saw that it is possible to hold major events here, as we have both the technical capacity and infrastructure, friendly people with a rich culture, which made a very special Cup. The infrastructure legacy is also important, because without the World Cup we wouldn't have made major advances in airports and hotels, for example.

Como está o Brasil a preparar-se para os Jogos Olímpicos? How is Brazil preparing for the Olympics?

The football World Cup was a great experience and definitely will contribute to the country successfull hosting of the Olympic Games. Like the World Cup, the Olympics are an event that comes to the country "ready", with little interaction with local organizers.

The Olympic Public Authority and the Brazilian Olympic Committee are making the necessary preparations in facilities, infrastructure and, along with Embratur, promoting the country. Throughout 2015, Embratur has announced there will be participation in events, exhibitions and international media to "call" the tourists for the Olympics. About a million people are expected in Rio de Janeiro guring the games period, of which 400,000 are visitors. In addition, Brazil will be seen by two million people from 205 countries during the Olympics.

To what extent are Brazilian event companies intervening in this mega-event?

In 2013, ABEOC Brazil met with the Agemar Sanctos ambassador, Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) Institutional Relations Director, to open a channel with the Committee and analyze the possibilities of integrating both institutions, but there was no progress after this contact in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympics are a world reference, both the government and the COB can get much better results if they discuss with the industry entities how the private sector can be involved. It is important that entities are heard so that we can all make better use of our legacies with the 2016 Games.

How do you analyze international events companies settling in Brazil? Is there room and opening in the market for them?

If the major international event companies are coming to Brazil it is because the Brazilian market is strong and promising. It is a sign that Brazil is growing, which was evidenced in the Economic Design of Event Industry study that ABEOC Brazil conducted in partnership with Sebrae and that can be accessed through ABEOC website. We would be concerned if no international companies wanted to enter the country.
These companies have global experience and it can benefit domestic firms. ABEOC Brazil, in this context, assists the networking with these companies and works to strengthen the market. The internationalization of the market also makes Brazilian companies seek more quality, and this reinforces the importance of initiatives such as the Qualification and Certification Program for Event Companies, a partnership between ABEOC Brazil and Sebrae, supported by the National Confederation of Goods Trade, Services and Tourism (CNC) and the Brazilian Federation of Lodging and Food (FBHA). In December 2014, the first cycle of this program came to an end, with 247 companies from 12 participating states, 99 of which were certified with the ABEOC Brazil quality seal. We are already negotiating to start a second cycle this year and expand the scope to other companies.

Tags: Associations, Events