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TAKE5 gives you an update on the latest Meetings, Incentives, Congress, Events and related news. It contains short and to the point information on venues, people, happenings, lifestyle and general news that cannot wait to be told!

Enjoy BBT Online's 118th Take5 edition. Our Take5 newsletter is completely advertorial free.

Wish we were here!

Bolivia’s otherworldly Uyuni Salt Flats now have their very own boutique hotel. The Kachi Lodgeopening this May – provides travellers looking to complete their bucket list with an option to stay on the flats for a longer time.

Kachi consists of a couple of white domes rising up out of the landscape. All of the “igloos” are set on a wooden platform above the salty surface, and inside they are outfitted with a luxurious double bed positioned to provide maximum views out of the clear panelled windows. A wood-burning stove will keep you warm during a magic (and who knows) romantic night in a fairy-tale landscape.

Kachi Lodge Kachi Lodge
Kachi Lodge Kachi Lodge
Dinner under the sea
Unique places for lunch
Dinner under the sea

Norway’s southern coast has a new and exciting attraction in the form of restaurant Under. Here, you will literally eat your dinner “under the sea” – like in the Disney classic – five meter under the surface of the Skagerrak (the part of the North Sea that separates Norway and Denmark).

Built and designed by the same people that created the beautiful Oslo Opera House, the venue will allow you to watch fish swim by the large windows, while they look on in horror as you eat their brethren on a plate with some lemon.


Looking for a new and original way to have your English high tea brunch in London? Why not book a Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus tour? These vintage double decker buses will drive you through the streets of the English capital, taking in some of the best sights, while you indulge yourself in a hot cup of tea and an array of sandwiches, cakes and pastries.

More into Vienna? Why not enjoy an authentic schnitzel while you get to see the beautiful city centre from the world’s one and only culinary horse-carriage. Don’t worry about spilling anything – the table was specifically designed for a moving dinner.

Interesting new venues on Ibiza


W Ibiza – opening this summer – will be the newest addition to an impressive range of luxury hotels on our favourite island. It’s located in Santa Eulalia del Río, right on the beachfront. It comes with a rooftop sunset bar, an adults only WET Deck (we wonder what that means), a large Spa and 162 guest rooms and suites.

Ibiza Ibiza

Is pink your favourite colour as well? Book a room in Paradiso Ibiza then. The entire hotel is mostly pink: which means the building, the pool, the bar and most of the interior walls. If this place doesn’t get you happy, nothing will.


It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
South Africa in the Netherlands
The added value of artificial intelligence – Inside report

Ubuntu is a Bali-Ibiza style beach bar with a South-African name in Zandvoort (close to Haarlem) in the Netherlands. You can come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and they cater to groups as well.

They have a separate space for events as from 60 people and you can even order some of the exotic furniture for your own home or office. Looks like the perfect venue for a stylish start of the summer!

The Global Meeting Industry Day was upon us once more on April 4th last month, and with it came hundreds of happenings worldwide. One of them was an event held by MPI The Netherlands in Hilversum, focused on the added value of artificial intelligence to the MICE industry: from robots responding to meeting requests to the benefits of algorithms.

Monica Rijpma attended the event for us, and came back with the following story.
Anti-foodie museum
Join BBT Online to Bangkok

Looking for the ultimate anti-foodie museum? Better go to Malmö then. The Disgusting Food Museum showcases all sorts of dishes most people would find utterly repulsive, but are delicacies in some part of the world.

It goes from maggoty cheese and fermented fish to roasted guinea pig. You can even bring a group here and go for a tasting challenge – not for the fainthearted.

Join us as a hosted buyer to IT&CMA in the Bangkok Convention Centre from 24 to 29 September 2019.

Visit one of Asia’s most lively cities, meet tons of interesting suppliers from all over the region and beyond, and enjoy a wide variety of networking activities and post-tours.

Send us a mail at for more info about the registration process.
We publish much more news than you can read and see in our monthly Take5 Newsletter. Follow us on our Facebook page.
BBT Online in Corsica – Destination report

BBT Online’s publisher Karin de Graauw joined a group of Belgian MICE agents for a four day famtrip to Corsica.

Organised by Atout France and Visit Corsica, the trip allowed the group to discover the French island’s most exciting spots: from visits to Bastia and Ajaccio to exploring beautiful private domains.

Click here to read the whole story.

Corsica Corsica Corsica
Discovering South Africa – Destination report

From February 24th to March 2nd, 2019, the South Africa Tourism Board - with BBT Online as the only Belgian media partner - invited 18 travel & event agents from the Netherlands and Belgium to go on an educational trip to learn more about South Africa's MICE opportunities.

They crossed the African country from East to West, visiting Johannesburg, Durban, St. Lucia and Cape Town. Among them was Viviane Vaz, freelance journalist and communications manager at the Belgian travel & event agency ID International. She wrote a guest article about the experience for us.

Click here to read the whole story.

South Africa

It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
Homely meetings
Homely meetings

Townhouse 24 is a unique meeting and event space in Gent, on the ground floor of a renovated townhouse. It’s located on the former grounds of the 1913 World Expo, and is a stylish combo of warm homeliness and modern facilities.

It comes with several rooms, a kitchen and a very cosy garden to hang out in. Catering can be provided in cooperation with several local partners.
BBT Online’s bucket list – Elke Van Zaelen

Every month we ask some prominent MICE personalities to share their bucket list.

What are the five things they desperately want to do or achieve before they seize to be, push up the daisies, kick the bucket or go to meet their maker? In short, what would they definitely want to do before they die?

This month we asked Fame Travel Designer’s Managing Director Elke Van Zaelen.

Elke Van Zaelen Elke Van Zaelen Elke Van Zaelen
Join BBT Online’s b2b summer workshop

Register now for our 16th b2b speed-date workshop! It will take place on 24 June in the Felix Pakhuis. This historic warehouse is a multifunctional event space right next to the MAS Museaum and the marina. Secure your spot now, as we only have place for 160 MICE planners and the registrations go fast.

A lot of you are probably wondering why we changed the location of our workshop. Well, there’s one simple reason for it. JJ House is a brand new venue, and part of it hasn’t been officially checked and approved by the fire department yet. This will of course happen very soon, but not before our workshop.

This left us with too little space, so we had no choice but to look for another venue with the capacity we needed.

Click here for the invitation and the registration form.

workshop workshop
workshop workshop
Real Short !!

Consult BBT Online's MICE agenda, and don't miss any event.
9 May, La Grande Abbaye de la Ramée, Jeaudogne: Food and Beverage trends overview. MPI Belgium invites you to attend this complimentary seminar on trends in the food and beverage industry. It will allow members to get together before the GA to approve the new board and learn about the plans for next year.
31 May – June 2, roofs all over Rotterdam: The Rotterdam Rooftop Days. On this annual event, several buildings in the Dutch city of Rotterdam open their rooftops for guided tours. Discover hidden rooftop gardens, admire the city from above and enjoy a rooftop concert or dinner.
14 June, Golf Club d’Hulencourt, Vieux-Genappe: TM Golf Trophy. Travel Magazine invites you to the 11th edition of its annual golf trophy. Afterwards during dinner, there will be plenty of time for networking. Only travel professionals can apply. Click here to register.
14-17 October, Havana, Hotel Nacional de Cuba: MITM Americas. Join the 23rd edition of one of the most influential trade shows in the Caribbean, this year held in the emblematic Hotel Nacional.

As from 1 January this year, Aruba is banning all disposable plastic, this to reduce the amount of garbage in its seas. There will be a one year transition period. In 2020 the total ban will be permanently in place.
The annual tomato throwing festival in Buñol, Spain, became quite famous in the last few years, but did you know there’s a wine splashing festival as well? The Battala del Vino takes place in Haro, Northern Spain every year in June. Wine tour specialist Smooth Red runs 4-day trips allowing you to take part in the fun while you’re there.
The Easter holidays were extremely successful for the Brussels tourism industry. Room occupancy rates were almost at 80% for the entirety of the holidays – Easter Saturday being the busiest day with a 98.7% occupancy rate. The Belgian capital is growing as a tourist destination. 8.54 million overnight stays were booked in 2018.
In for a city trip to Amsterdam? Better bring your wallet. Following Venice’s example, the city will ask for an entrance fee of everyone looking to visit the centre. As from 1 January next year, the ‘Touristic Payment Zone’ will only be accessible when you have a legitimate entrance ticket. Parking costs have risen with 50%, basically overnight. An hour of parking on the street in the historic centre will cost you € 7.50 now.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah decided to make Sharia law the official code of law in Brunei. The new law – implementing for example the public stoning of lgbt-people – has already caused a lot of international protest. Meanwhile the Sultan – who is of course a very pious and modest man – lives in a palace larger than the Vatican and owns about 7,000 cars.

Belgian event agency New Balls Please is moving to a bigger location in Ghent after five years of success and growth. They found a new home in Loods 22, just a kilometre away from where they used to be. Visitors are always welcome.
VVR is organising ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ courses. They will teach you all you need to know to make your company GDPR-proof. The next courses are on 7 May in Wilrijk and on 4 June in Hasselt. Rates are €180 for members. Register here.

Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport comes with a unique summer concept, and will transform its sunny terrace into a garden of secrets once the season starts: there will be a luxurious dome tent, a sandy beach, music, a bbq and cocktails to enjoy, perfect for a summer event.
Crowne Plaza Bruges completed the renovation of its meeting rooms. The large Burgh hall – able to accommodate 370 people (the largest capacity of any hotel in Bruges) received a complete make-over and is once again ready for business.
Novotel Wavre Brussels East is a new four star hotel close to Brussels, with 102 rooms, six meeting rooms of various sizes and a parking lot with 16 tesla super chargers available for clients (one of the biggest in Belgium).
Every hotel in the world throws away hundreds if not thousands of soap bars on a daily basis. Clean The World is an organisation that gives those discarded soap bars a new life, recycles them and gives them to those in need. More than 4,000 hotels have already joined the initiative. More info, click here.
The number of overnight hotel stays in Belgium rose to record heights in 2018. 41.6 million people spent the night in a Belgian hotel last year: a growth of 7.46%. Very positive, considering the crisis following the 2016 terrorist attacks.
Pentahotels is back in Russia after a 20 year absence. Pentahotel Moscow Arbat is a prime example of the company’s neighbourhood lifestyle concept, and should be a combination of the cultural aspects of the host country and the unique aspects of the location. It comes with 228 rooms, a bar/lounge and conference facilities.

TIO3 is an event location in Ronse offering multiple multifunctional halls, including a big aula for 120 people, a foyer for receptions, two panorama rooms on the top floor, a bistro and several meeting rooms.
O’Leary’s – a sports bar in Dok Noord, Ghent, now also offers brand new meeting rooms suitable for product launches, workshops and conferences, all in an American sports bar theme. You can even go for some bowling and an all American lunch.

Brussels Airport started construction of 2,088 extra parking spots in their P3 building – right next to the arrival and departure hall. This will almost double the current capacity of the parking lot when finished.
Belgian passenger and freight airline companies have suffered over 10 million euro of damage following the social conflict at air traffic controller Skeyes. The conflict has still not been settled at this time.
Passengers on Brussels Airport will now be transported to the plane on new electrical busses. The airport is working towards the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.
SWISS is introducing a new Premium Economy Class on its long-haul flights in early 2021. More comfort on wider seats that will allow you to lean back more.
Icelandair increases its capacity on the Brussels-Reykjavik connection this summer. From 17/5 till 17/9, ten flights a week will connect the two capitals. This means an extra evening flight on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
After four years of construction, Jewel Changi Airport was officially opened on 17 April. This is a completely new zone in the existing Changi Airport in Singapore – most likely the world’s best. It’s an impressive building, with a 40m high indoor waterfall to enjoy, as well as jungle gardens and even a cinema complex. Don’t forget to check out the free massage chairs at the gates.
Boeing suffered financial damages of over one billion dollar due to the problems with the B737 MAX. The planes are still grounded after two recent (and fatal) accidents. A software update for the plane is being certified and more than 135 test flights with the update have already taken place.
After the disappearance of Jet Airways this April, several other Indian airline companies are trying to fill the gap in capacity that followed. Big players on the Indian market are Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet. Both of the latter are expanding their fleet.

AIM Group International announced that Belgin Topkaya is joining AIM Group and assuming the role of Country Manager of the Brussels Office. Belgin will manage the office with the aim of further developing the business, in particular in association, congress, corporate and DMC markets.
Corinne Aertsen will take on a new challenge as Sales Manager at Pillows Grand Reylof Hotel in Ghent.
Maarten ter Bogt became the new Benelux Sales Manager for Singapore Airlines, taking over from Kardien de Werker, who became Regional Offline Manager Europe.
Event Masters welcomed three new team members recently. Mieke Festjens and Nel Watty (ex Warwick Hotels) will strengthen the Incentive & Travel department, while Sebastien Nolens (ex will join the PCO & DMC department.
Stéphanie Raskin became the new Commercial Director for Radisson Blu Astrid & Park Inn Hotel in Antwerp.
Patrick D’Hoore was appointed as the new GM of Radisson Blu Bruges: a brand new hotel that opened to the public just six months ago. It comes with 109 rooms and is located right next to the train station.
Belgian Stijn Oyen, GM of W Hotel Barcelona, won the prestigious award for Best General Manager on the European Hotel Awards 2019. The event took place in Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva.
Ella de Mathelin is looking for a job in event organisation or project management. She has experience managing countless weddings and festivals, worked with teams under her and is a creative thinker. Click here to see her CV. If interested, contact her at:


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Av. Louise 279 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium
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