02/05/2008Cancun to Host PCMA Education Foundation’s First International Partnership Summit

Over 200 top meetings executives will attend annual networking and educational event

CHICAGO, IL—The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Education Foundation will hold its first international Partnership Summit in Cancun, Mexico, May 1 – 4, 2008, at ME Cancun. The Partnership Summit is an annual education and business networking event that draws over 200 high-level meetings professionals and executives.

For four days, attendees of the event will participate in executive-level educational programs, roundtable discussions, networking events, and off-site adventures designed to reinforce ties between the industry leaders. By hosting the event, Cancun will strengthen its profile as a full-service, world-class destination among these select PCMA members and meetings executives.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the 2008 Partnership Summit to Cancun,” commented PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton. “Through our strategic partnership with Cancun, PCMA has come to recognize Cancun as an extraordinary setting for meetings and events. We’re confident our members will feel the same way about this first-class destination, and that this year’s Partnership Summit will be a huge success.”

In addition to the traditional education and business networking programs associated with the Summit, a focus group and town hall meeting will take place during the event to gauge
the attendees’ views on hosting meetings outside of the U.S. and, specifically, in Mexico.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting the Foundation’s Annual Partnership Summit,” said Arturo Escaip, President and CEO of the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to ‘show-off’ all that Cancun has to offer to this group of
highly-respected meetings industry executives. Additionally, the focus group and town hall meetings will provide us with some candid insight into the needs of meetings professionals, while also giving us a unique opportunity to demonstrate the many advantages of planning a meeting in Cancun.”

At the focus group meeting, attendees will come prepared to discuss topics that include: their experiences planning international meetings, their perception of Cancun, and their process for assessing international destinations as meeting locations.

At the informal town hall meeting, Summit attendees will have the opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with the local hospitality community of Cancun. Deborah Sexton will moderate the conversation between PCMA members and the group of local hospitality members.

PCMA members represent meetings professionals who work in association, corporations and independently, as well as faculty, students, and industry suppliers. 68% have 10+ years’ experience in the industry, 78% are key decision-makers for their organization, and the average member plans 29 meetings per year.

Cancun is among an elite group of partners that are PCMA Strategic Partners. As a Strategic Partner, Cancun is focused on assisting PCMA in delivering high-level education through both the grassroots, chapter level and the PCMA Annual Meeting. The partnership provides Cancun with year-round access to key decision-makers in the meetings and convention market.

PCMA is also partnering with Cancun and Mexico to tailor an educational program that focuses specifically on better serving associations: the Certified Association Sales Executive (CASE®) Online Course™ and designation. The CASE® designation is earned through a 12-week course, which includes a special one-day orientation and one-day final review and exam customized for Mexico. A PCMA CASE® course facilitator is provided to guide participants through the process.

For more information on PCMA, the PCMA Education Foundation, or Foundation events, visit www.pcma.org.

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The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the professional resource and premier educator for the meetings and convention industry. Founded in 1957, PCMA represents the interests of meeting management executives from associations, non-profit organizations, corporations, independent meeting planning companies, and multi-management firms who recognize the importance of meetings to their organization. PCMA empowers members with the tools they need to succeed as meeting professionals and to promote the value of the industry to their organizations and the general public. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 16 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at www.pcma.org.

The role of the PCMA Education Foundation is to support the mission of the PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on education and research that will benefit the meetings and conventions industry. Established in 1985, the Foundation supports educational programs to improve professionalism in the meetings industry and to provide a university-level meeting management curriculum. The Foundation provides educational programs for meeting managers, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, and other members of the meetings industry. It also conducts ongoing research of industry issues and concerns. The Foundation continually designs and creates new programs to encourage the highest levels of professionalism in the meetings industry.