Junior Chamber International (JCI) chooses Bruges as the host city for its 2022 European conference

The election of Bruges as the host city for Junior Chamber International’s 2022 European conference provides opportunities for companies located in the Bruges area. Indeed, many Bruges- and West Flanders-based companies have focused their activities around the theme of the congress: 'Food for generations'. For two years, JCI Bruges and JCI Houtland worked together closely with Visit Bruges Convention Bureau to prepare the bid for this major congress, one of the first to take place in the new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre. "This will be a major boost for congress tourism in our city", says Alderman for Tourism Philip Pierins.

Last Saturday, during the digital general meeting of JCI Europe, JCI Belgium presented its candidacy to host this European congress in 2022. 250 enthusiasts followed the virtual election online from their home. The theme, which was presented by members of JCI Houtland and JCI Bruges, was very well received. In June 2022, Belgium will put forth its best effort to inspire approximately 2000 European JCI members to help create a better future for food, and to change the way we deal with food. The Bruges area is home to numerous companies focusing on innovation in agriculture, fisheries, food production, and food processing. In keeping with its daily mission to strengthen the economic fabric, JCI wants this conference to offer innovative companies a platform to promote themselves. The intention is to work together with the industry to define trajectories around four themes: Sustainable Food Production, Nutrition, Gastronomy and Heritage. Many European countries still think of Belgium as the country of beer, chips, chocolate and waffles. "We are proud of these culinary assets," says Jonas Maes, leader of the team that will be realizing this project. "However, the four defined pillars will help us appeal to a wider audience and create a link with companies based in West Flanders. We are also integrating the annual network event B2BnB and invite partners such as De Hanze Business, Voka and Unizo to organize a business forum at the conference. Business and networking are in JCI's DNA."

"This congress will be a major boost for congress tourism in our city. We are proud that JCI chose Bruges as its destination", says Alderman for Tourism Philip Pierins. “There was no reason for doubt,” says JCI Belgium’s national chairman Tom Staelens. "With the support of the national board of directors and following the advice of experts, a team of dedicated members has been working on this project for months.

The beating heart of the European Conference will be the new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre, which is currently under construction. "We are honoured that JCI decided to host this event at our new Bruges Meeting and Convention Centre. This state-of-the-art venue will show participants from all over Europe that Bruges is the ideal congress destination", says burgomaster Dirk De fauw. In addition, several hotels and other venues, such as the Concertgebouw, will be used as venues for this beautiful conference.

The organizers are convinced that the programme will convince many people to participate. "There are many ideas and we can count on the broad support of all Belgian JCI members. We are very much looking forward to showing what we Belgians are capable of in 2022", says the satisfied project director Jonas Maes.

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