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  • Winnipeg joins Ottawa and Edmonton as members of the international Hybrid City Alliance strengthening Canada’s readiness to host hybrid business events

    Published on July 7, 2021

    Vancouver: Destination Canada is pleased to share that three Canadian cities are helping to lead the way for a brighter future of meetings, events and conventions as members of the Hybrid City Alliance.  

    This innovative global partnership of forward-thinking cities is taking hybrid multi-hub events to the next level. A multiple city hub event is an event designed so that attendees can meet face to face in hubs located in different cities/countries, but also be connected via an online platform.  It adds value for delegates and organizers, while allowing host cities to showcase their business and sector expertise, event hosting capabilities, culture, cuisine, and other attractions on the world stage.  

    In December 2020, Ottawa joined The Hague, Geneva, and Prague to launch the Hybrid City Alliance. Since then, it has grown to a network of 18 member cities worldwide, including Edmonton and now Winnipeg. Canada is now one of only two countries worldwide to have three cities within the alliance.  

    “We’re pleased to see three Team Canada partners join this dynamic alliance, showcasing Canada’s spirit of innovation. Of the 18 cities who have joined, our three Canadian destinations are helping ensure international meetings in the future are inclusive, collaborative and offer seamless solutions for meeting planners, aligned with Canada’s sector expertise and values that create meetings with purpose in Canada,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, Executive Director, Business Events, Destination Canada.  

    As a new member, Winnipeg sees the possibilities of raising its event-hosting profile alongside other world class cities like Ottawa, Edmonton, Sydney, Zurich and Seoul.  

    “Winnipeg is thrilled to be part of this international alliance,” says Natalie Thiesen, Vice President of Tourism, Tourism Winnipeg. “Our collection of convention partners, Team Winnipeg, has always valued collaboration, partnership and creative ideas. This remains critical more than ever as we work with our colleagues in other destinations on different continents to provide real solutions to clients for hybrid events.” 

    Hybrid meetings have been growing in popularity in recent years. According to Explore Edmonton’s Director of Business Events Anna Look, the hybrid city alliance showcases the expertise, infrastructure and meeting event support available in the city and region. “Throughout the past 15 months, Edmonton’s business events industry has come together in remarkable ways to provide innovative event solutions for our partners which will now be shared with cities across the hybrid alliance,” says Look.   

    “Being part of this alliance opens up opportunities that we did not have before to showcase our city on an international stage,” says Stephanie Lynch, Manager, Partnerships and Projects at Explore Edmonton. “If the planner includes Edmonton as one of their hubs or spokes, this shines a spotlight on our destination.” 

    Lynch says the Alliance gives Edmonton a unique platform to exhibit not only its bandwidth for technical and logistical event support, but also some of the qualities that make this Albertan city unique, such as the local Indigenous talent, or world-leading academics from the University of Alberta who are able to present on their research at event breakout sessions. 

    Over the past 18 months, as destinations and organizers have been navigating the multiple challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business case for hybrid events and conventions has grown even stronger. Though each member city is unique in flavor, culture, and economic profile, Alliance members share similar event hosting capabilities that make them ideal partners.  That means event planners will be better able to organize conferences and meetings spread across multiple city hubs that are aligned in terms of destination size, offerings, specializations, welcome, and feel. 

    “It is sincerely gratifying as a founding member of the Hybrid City Alliance to see other Canadian cities joining the ranks of this innovative and world-class approach to bridging global interests and in-person meetings. As new cities around the globe join together to encourage, promote, facilitate and deliver hybrid and multi-city events, our offering to meeting planners grows stronger and more seamless. And since I’m originally from Winnipeg, it gives me an extra boost of delight to see my hometown added to the mix! Along with our partner cities, Ottawa is ready to welcome hybrid meetings with open arms.” Michael Crockatt, President & CEO, Ottawa Tourism 

    And this is only the beginning. The ongoing vision for the Hybrid City Alliance is to be the world leaders in developing ways for people to gather together in safe, flexible, and effective ways.