During the summit, Rui Amen of the Azores Tourism Office talked about a CSR initiative on São Miguel Island.
Planting some trees in such an idyllic and solitary place as the green crater of Furnas, on the remote Island of São Miguel (Azores), without anything else but your bare hands and a small hoe, does not at first sight seem all that innovative (when taking into account the event’s rusticity and the tools used). It does not appear to have much of a marketing initiative about it either, although it is undoubtedly an example of sustainability: a small-scale reforestation of a protected natural space.
But appearances are deceptive, as Rui Amen of the Azores Tourism Office demonstrated at the last edition of the Event Innovation Summit, held last week in Barcelona, an event focusing on the importance of cutting-edge technology in the meeting and event industry.
The reforestation in question, as Amen explained, was a CSR initiative. Those doing the work were the participants in the ICCA Iberian Chapter’s annual meeting, held last April, who planted a number of trees forming ICCA’s logo, with a 30m diameter, which – when they grow – will be visible on Google Earth. And this is where technology comes into it.
The aim – and this is where marketing takes centre stage – was to encourage meeting professionals to discover new destinations and be aware that the Azores offers a lot more than meeting rooms and indoor activities.
So the idea was to (literally) place the Azores on the map of professional meeting planners and reach out to them in an innovative fashion. This marketing strategy had more to it than that. As Amen explained: "It has also been an ecological and socially responsible experience, as well as being symbiotic, educational, interactive, propitious for team building, interesting, fun and satisfactory for those who took part."
Rui Amen (Azores Tourist Office) during his keynote at the Event Innovation Summit