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ABPCO cultural roundtable  header internal
October 6th 2016

ABPCO cultural roundtable

Heather Lishman image by Heather Lishman

A recent roundtable hosted by the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has highlighted future international opportunities, especially in the expanding Chinese market.

The event, which was held at One Wimpole Street, the home of Royal Society of Medicine, welcomed three guest speakers who discussed doing business in the Middle East, USA and China. It comes at a time when the UK, more than ever, must be open for business and ready to work with clients from diverse cultures.

“I think a PCO would be wise to know some of the things brought up in this roundtable so they can tailor their own offering – particularly for the expanding Chinese market,” commented Heather Lishman, Association Director at ABPCO. “We are thankful to all of our guest speakers for opening our eyes on the do’s and don’ts and cultural understanding of doing business with these three huge markets. Brexit is underway so we must now all look to the future and these markets will play a key role for the UK’s meetings and events industry. We’ll be making the presentations available on the ABPCO website in the near future so all of our members can benefit from the information discussed.”

The three sessions were presented by, and included:

  • Doing Business in the Middle East – Cultural Do’s and Don’ts – led by Hamish Reid, Senior European Manager, MICE – UK & Europe, Dubai Business Events
  • Encouraging more Chinese business to come to the UK, understanding the culture of China, ensuring a smooth event – what do we need to put in place to make this happen? – led by William Brogan, Catering and Conference Manager, St John’s College
  • “The USA and the UK – Two different countries with a shared common language” or maybe not so common!– led by Sue Etherington, Head of International Sales and Industry Relations, QEII Centre

“Britain is a great country and the industry we work in is a strong one so it is important to recognise the opportunities when they are presented to us,” said Sue Etherington, Head of International Sales and Industry Relations at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. “In the UK we benefit from an open and liberal society so we have a head start in understanding and working closely with different cultures – it is a necessity going forward for the industry. The roundtable event gave us a real insight into these global opportunities and it’s something PCO’s everywhere should recognise in the years to come.”

The three presentations will shortly be available on

ABPCO is the UK’s leading organisation for professional conference and event organisers, industry associates and those studying for, or seeking a career in the conference and meetings industry. For more information about ABPCO visit

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