Faced with the current crisis, the MICE industry has got its thinking cap on. From anticipating changes and the implementation of new technologies in their events to choosing a location that is closer to home – there are many paths that lead to new, innovative solutions. To help the sector, the Brussels-Capital Region, European destination leader for organising international associations’ conferences for the seventh year running, has just launched a fund of 2 million euros to encourage organisers to choose Brussels as their destination for future events. A fantastic way for Brussels to give its firm support to the sector.

Since March 2020, the cancellation or, at best, the postponement of thousands of events has meant that the global MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry has faced difficulties on a large scale. Having only gone completely digital a few weeks ago, events have had to turn themselves into remotely-held meetings or courses. However, the key features of a conference or professional event (networking, informal exchanges, etc.) do not work well in online meetings, no matter how many participants there are. That is why today, Brussels, in its capacity as leader of organising conferences and international events, is supporting new initiatives and giving its firm support to organising real-live events.

Meet brUSsels

Brussels has many strong points. From its ideal geographical location and its vast network of associations to the European institutions that are based there and its multilingualism, the capital has numerous advantages for the organisers of conferences and BtoB events. And these organisers understand it well. The European capital features in many top events destinations. For the seventh year running, Brussels has achieved first place in Europe and second in the world, according to the annual report published by the Union of International Associations (UIA), with an increase of 30% in conferences organised there compared to the previous year.


Grants for conference and international BtoB events organisers: a long-term investment Brussels has just launched a call for projects, which is open until September 2020. The aim of this is to give financial support to B2B event organisers (with at least 200 participants, and an overnight stay in Brussels) by granting them a subsidy. This must be injected into the rental payment of their event venue, whether it takes place now or in the future. Two million euros have been budgeted, with up to 50,000 euros per eligible event.

“Brussels is ranked first in Europe and second in the world for congresses, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA ). Business tourism accounts for 52% of overnight stays in the Brussels-Capital Region. It is clear that the congress and associations sector is crucial to Brussels’ economy and influence. The coronavirus crisis has had a very negative impact on the latter with the cancellation of fairs and exhibitions. With’ relaunch plan and the creation of this support fund, we are doing everything in our power to boost the industry and support its actors,” says Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the BrusselsCapital Region.

Photo Credit: David Plas/Brussels Observer


This call is aimed directly at national and international associations and federations, NGOs, public interest foundations, event agencies and private companies who have many reasons for choosing Brussels over any other destination for their next international event.