Volkan Ataman

Volkan Ataman has been the chairman of Tourism Media Group for 11 years, company which organizes ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition by Turkish Airlines, ACE of M.I.C.E. Awards and owns the leading publication of MICE industry in Turkey, MICE Magazine. ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition is the leading MICE industry trade show of Turkey and the surrounding region gathering the industry under the same platform for 6 years now. Volkan Ataman has several consultant roles within the industry as he has been working as the Main Consultant to the Presidency of Association of Turkish Travel Agencies for MICE.

Q: What are Ace of Mice’s highlights this year?

ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition by Turkish Airlines is the leading MICE industry tradeshow of Turkey and the surrounding region gathering MICE professionals for six years since its launch in 2014. The show is gearing up for its sixth edition on 20-22 February 2019 at Istanbul Congress Center (ICC) – Istanbul, Turkey. ACE of M.I.C.E. will welcome around 300 exhibiting companies, and 250 International and 500 local buyers will be hosted to engage B2B meetings with the exhibitors.

Q: What’s new for Ace of Mice in 2019?  

For its sixth birthday, ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition by Turkish Airlines has renewed its face and will be hosting the global MICE industry with a new design that has developed under the motto of, ‘Connecting Dots’. As being the foremost B2B platform of the regional MICE industry, the trade show will be gathering professionals in an intensive 3 day program which is full of networking and business interactions. Besides thousands of B2B appointments will take place during the show, participants will enjoy fascinating sessions in the Speakers’ Corner and various networking events.

“The traditional trade shows are in need to change themselves in the light of rapid development of communication technologies.”

Q: How are numbers looking for this year compared to 2018? 

Numbers are very good in comparison with the last year. In terms of International Hosted Buyers, we are going to host 250 professionals coming from 41 different countries. The annual meetings and events budget of the hosted companies exceed 7 Billion Euros and 75% of them are new to the ACE of M.I.C.E. The Speakers’ Corner Program also extended as there will be 45 speakers in 25 different sessions.

Q: What are you most excited about?  

Our Speakers’ Corner Program and International Hosted Buyer Program are most excited pillars of this year’s exhibition. The Speakers’ Corner will be covering very excited themes. Globally known professionals and leading companies within their sector will deliver their expertise on the themes of Experiential Marketing & Experience Design, Destination Marketing, Event Technologies and Esports.

Professionals of the top global event companies and organizations are lined up to talk at the Speakers’ Corner and to deliver their unique expertise on various topics. Speakers include Jason Popp, International Executive Vice President at GES; Gregory Crandall, Brand Engagement Director at PICO Global; David Adler, CEO of Bizbash; Anna Ratala, Head of SLUSH Singapore; Johanna Marsal, Senior Producer at Moment Factory; Caspar Mason, Creative Strategy Director of Jack Morton Worldwide; Tahira Endean, Author of Intentional Event Design; will be there at the Speakers’ Corner to address the ACE of M.I.C.E. audience.
In addition, ICCA Destination Marketing will gather the top-level professionals from Russia Convention Bureau, South Africa Convention, Seoul Convention Bureau and Serbia Convention Bureau in a panel that will be moderated by Elif Balcı Fisunoglu as the Regional Director of ICCA for Europe. Due to our extented partnerships with Turkish Airlines, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, we became able to reach greater audience for the hosted buyer program as it contributed to progress in both – in terms of quantity and quality.

Our participants will have greater knowledge on the latest innovations of event industry while enhancing their network to increase their business volume.

Q: Who are your strongest competitors?  

Actually we do not have any competitor in Turkey as we are the only MICE industry tradeshow to be organized since 2014. We do have regional competitors though such as, Conventa, Convene and global competitors, IBTM World and IMEX Frankfurt.

Q: Why Ace of Mice? Why are clients returning every year?  

Well since we are a B2B platform, the most fundamental reason behind these returns is that they do extend their business network through our program and meet with the right companies and professional which helped them to increase their business volume.
On the other hand, we have been offering great content and networking to our participants to make the most out of their experience at ACE of M.I.C.E.

Q: How is Turkish meetings business performing this year? 

Turkey’s meeting business has been in the process of a strong recovery. After years of disastrous events, terror attacks and coup attempts our industry was affected very badly. However, especially starting this year, the statistics are very positive.


Q: What have been some challenges you have faced over the past years?  

The most important challenge we faced over the past years has been the decreasing interest in Turkey as MICE destination due to the terror attacks and coup attempt in July 2016. Istanbul was the top 10 cities in 2015 for hosting global conventions according to the ICCA statistics. However, we saw a dramatic decline in the interest after these incidents happened over the years. Our exhibition was cordially affected by the decreasing interest in Turkey and Istanbul.

Q: How can your event contribute to success of meeting destinations?  

We are offering a great opportunity for destinations to exhibit and engage B2B meetings with the buyers coming from all over the world. On the other hand, through our Speakers’ Corner Program, hosted global experts contribute with their intellectual process to market the destinations better.

Q: Is there space for new regional trade shows in Europe?  

I believe there is always room for trade shows in Europe. However, we do need to acknowledge the fact that the traditional trade shows are in need to change themselves in the light of rapid development of communication technologies which has been affecting the marketing strategies and network building channels. I do believe in the philosophy of ever-changing for better and to be well prepared for the future; we and my team are constantly looking to channel technological advancements into our show.