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Dixie, the snow king!

Famous Belgian Polar explorer Dixie Dancercour introduced his latest project: the exhibition (Ant)ARCTIC Matters. With the help of 8 artists he shows us the beauty and fragile wildness of the North and South Pole areas.

The exhibition not only shows us enchanting images but also tells us about the catastrophic results of global warming. After a successful run in Bruges, the exhibition will tour in Belgium and other European countries. Exclusive nocturnes: The venue can be rented after 19 hrs for groups.

Novotel Belgium shows its heart!

For the 8th consecutive year, Novotel Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Louvain, Malines and Ypres show their heart on Saturday January 9th and invite people from their selected charity to participate in a 3-course meal.

In total over 500 people will be served a hot meal on that day, ‘Midi du Coeur’ is an action that has not stolen its name and a leading example in these needy days! Bravo Novotel!

Some latest dining trends

- Snack food goes glam. In Rotterdam you can have lobster croquettes. At Hot Doug’s in Chicago you can eat hot dogs with foie gras, and Burger King experimented with Kobe beef, foie gras and blue cheese…
On the other hand starred chefs start ‘downsizing’: Paul Bocuse with Ouest Express, Daniel Boulud with DB Burger and Ferran Adria with Fast Good.

- Futuristic: In the Inamo restaurant in London an interactive ordering system allows diners to place orders from an illustrated food and drinks menu projected onto their table surface (www.inamo-restaurant.com). The Blue Frog Lounge in Mumbai (India) incorporates a bar and restaurant within a complex of sound recording studios (www.bluefrog.co.in). The restaurant has a futuristic look.

- Another trend are the temporary restaurants. They prefer to get known only by word-of-mouth advertising and invite top chefs to take command of the kitchen. They often occupy exclusive venues, but only for a short time. Info: www.specialbite.com

The coolest hotspot this winter! Even cruise ships have an ice bar…. Absolut Icebar

‘Zuidpool’ is the ‘winter name’ for the famous Strandzuid, a hip and trendy meeting place in Amsterdam. This indoor venue has been transformed in winter wonderland with ice skating rink and all for corporate parties and events up to 1.000 people! www.strand-zuid.nl

Norwegian Cruise Lines have introduced the first Ice-Bar on the seas in their new generation cruise ships.

More info, click here.

Absolut Vodka were pioneers in introducing the Ice Bars, today we recommend the Absolut Icebar Stockholm at the Nordic Sea Hotel or the Absolut Icebar London, Below Zero, make sure to dress warmly!


Ice Hotels: The Lake Balea Ice Hotel in Romania!

Although it has now been 20 years since the fall of the Ceausescu Regime in Romania and the country may have – slowly – evolved in a democracy, the fact it is an unusual destination, especially for incentives. This does not mean that there is nothing to see, on the contrary and the Faragas Mountains is one of these exceptional nature beauty spots. They provide a perfect backdrop for the stunning Lake Balea Ice Hotel. Its remote location, at over 2000m can be reached only by cable car in the winter, making it an exclusive 10-room hotel. The Ice Hotel is rebuilt every year - so no two years are the same.

Typically temperatures range from -2 to +2 degrees, the ice beds are covered with reindeer fur, with mattresses placed on top for comfort. Bedding, further furs and specialist sleeping bags are all provided.
This all makes for a surprisingly cosy night's sleep, especially if you indulge in a nightcap at the sub-zero Ice bar. There is a special Ice Hotel set menu in the evening or you can defrost with a meal at the Lake Balea Chalet.

There are plenty of activities on offer from sledging to riding on a snow mobile, and the splendid Ice Church is a short walk away for anyone in the mood for an icy prayer. www.icehotelromania.com

… and in Quebec Canada... ‘l’Hotel de Glace’ !

It is from January 4 to April 4, 2010 that the 10th anniversary celebrations of the famous Hotel de Glace will be held, a chance to live a unique and magical experience. Whether for sleeping, visiting, take a corporate event, or get married, the Hotel de Glace is the place to be this winter.

The big news this year is unquestionably the igloo: The Hotel de Glace innovates once again by creating an igloo 7.62 meter high and 12.20 meter in diameter. Unheard of! This igloo is a media room where projections, conferences, exhibitions and demonstrations will follow. www.icehotel-canada.com

And in Scandinavia..of course!

For a selection of the best Scandinavian Ice Hotels, click here.

BBT Online readers share their top favorite restaurants, hotels, destinations, personalities, and so much more with you ...

Today’s BBT Online reader
sharing his favorites with you is Simon Dufaur. Simon is Director of Operations at GCO, a leading Dutch meeting management company. Simon lives close to Brussels. Simon is a much traveled man and therefore have dined in many restaurants around the world. Let yourself be taken on a trip around the world and take pen & paper to note a couple of places we are sure that tickled your fancy and will be on your list of places to visit.
Simon also comments on his favorite countries, airlines, MICE secret, people he admires, people who he should like to meet up around a dinner table, etc.

Click here to see Simon Dufaur’s selection.

Tips for driving in snow!
‘Meet in SE Europe’ directory now electronic!

We have already been treated to our fair share of snow this winter and many of us brave the wintery roads to go skiing, so a few tips on safe driving are never remiss!

1. Keep double the distance you would normally keep.
2. Drive in the highest possible gear and avoid sudden breaking or turning.
3. Look far ahead and anticipate.
4. Slipping? Push in the clutch and steer to the opposite side.
5. ABS will help you!

Why not learn some more? Courses available. Also for B2B events and incentives. www.jesco.be

Kongres Magazine of Slovenia has put the very complete ‘Meetings in SE Europe’ (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia) directory online, thus avoiding having to send it per mail to all interested and of course contributing to saving the planet by saving paper, energy and so many other things!

Excellent green initiative, go consult on to the direct link for the directory (version for web browsing) here:


Durable meeting facility,
a first in Belgium
A Meeting Room with a View

De Basis’ (The Base) in Westerlo, Belgium is the first conference centre built 100% following the principles of durable building was recently opened.

The building uses only 30% of the energy used by a regular conference building, this because of energy saving lighting, solar panels and alternative heating systems. Situated in the heart of the Antwerp province it offers 3 meeting rooms and an auditorium. www.provant.be/binaries/brochure

26th member of Star Alliance

9 December marked an important milestone for Brussels Airlines. On that day the Belgian airline company became a full member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline group.

It holds almost 4,000 aircraft, 460,000 member of staff and it serves each year some 586.6 million passengers, flying them to in 19,700 flights per day to 1,077 destinations in 175 countries. Click here for more info.

Situated along the Ring road of Brussels and literally on the approach to Brussels Airport Van der Valk Hotel boasts one of the more original meeting rooms of the capital. A meeting room with a view so to say.

Situated on the top floor, the big bay windows are facing towards the airport and aircraft seem to actually fly through the room at certain times! …and all this in complete silence as the room is exceptionally well isolated as are the rest of the facilities of this fine new hotel. Definitely a newcomer who is well on his way to become a favorite in the airport area.
More info. Click here.

Secrets of effective Meetings & Events
International Associations less touched by crisis?

Anyone active in the M&E industry will today undoubtedly be confronted with the question into the ‘effectiveness of meetings and/or events’. What do they bring in? How do they achieve the intended objectives? Are they ‘effective’?

In his newest book, Steve De Wit brings up many innovative ideas to improve the meeting effectiveness. The book ‘Secrets of Effective Meetings & Events’ combines field experience as a planner with a number of additional fields.

It is a practical book that serves as a resource during the various phases of the development and production of an effective meeting or event. It is a practical guide for anyone involved in conference, meeting and event management. PCO-, DMC-, hotel- and convention bureau professionals will find many useful and easy to implement tips and tricks. http://www.stevedewit.com/Home.html

Congresses of international associations seem only to be touched lightly by the economic recession says a survey by IMEX and ICCA amongst leaders of said associations.

Even with a third of the interviewed declaring having attracted less participants, only 1 in 10 speaks of significant reductions in numbers. On the contrary, a quarter of the interviewed leaders declared having seen an increase in the number of participants, 9% going as far as to speak of a significant increase.

The income from sponsoring is of course a different ballgame: only 14% speak of an increase, the majority report a decrease, 14% even go as far as to announce a major decrease. When asked for their predictions for 2010 a small majority expect an increase on 2009.

New Hotel: Rough Luxe in London!

A listed house, lovingly restored by a renowned designer, in a rough luxury, that is what Rough Luxe is all about: a bit of rough and a bit of luxury…innovative concept to say the least.

Guests at a Rough Luxe hotel might share a bathroom or have a small room or a small shower cubicle, but the luxury is in the choice of the wine, the bed linen, the art on the walls and the people looking after you.

The look is a mix of old and new, furniture and art; combining colors and beautiful fabrics with cheap materials and existing distressed original walls. Cheap materials are treated as precious items and preserved for their beauty and memory of the site. The philosophy is simple: You are staying with us in our home, so just ask us for anything you need. www.roughluxe.co.uk

Brussels: New restaurant – bar lounge Kwint is open
Tax Simplication Law
The Dutch events world was shaken to the core by a new tax law that limits the taxfree status of staff parties and incentives severely. The ‘Fiscale Vereenvoudigingswet 2010’ (Tax Simplification Law 2010) was passed in an effort to give administrative relief to companies which in se is a laudable initiative if it were not for the limit put on the amount that is tax exempt where parties and incentives are concerned.

As from January 1st 2011, employers can only use 1.4% of the total wages of the company for expenses, any moneys spent above this sum will be taxed at 80%!! The industry is aghast as this law has clearly not taken into account the implications for the industry and could mean the end of the road for many companies already suffering hard today because of the recession. We sincerely hope that this new Dutch law will not inspire the Belgian authorities…

Making your Destination more competitive

Today's competitive environment for large scale meetings and events is causing destinations to have to increase their service offerings to create a competitive advantage. A good working relationship between the parties is critical to buyers, especially when comparing one destination to another.

But just what is it that makes for good co-operation between the PCO, the convention bureaux and the conference centres?   A frank discussion resulted at the recent DMAI-led seminar. Read more….

Square’s new public restaurant, Kwint is open. Seated amid Arne’s Quinze’s timeless décor, guests can enjoy a sumptuous dining experience. On the menu: caviar, truffles, wild salmon and king crab from La Maison Kaspia, a renowned brand, originally Russian and established in Paris since 1927.


Sofitel Bayerpost Munchen:
exceptional new suites

After renovation works that lasted a total of 2½ years Sofitel Bayerpost Munchen is presents 10 completely renovated master suites.

Harald Klein is the designer responsible for the project representing a total of 835 m². He designed each suite around a well defined theme, which then is visible in the choice of colors, fabrics, pictures etc;… Ten suites, ten styles, ten stories…

For more info click here.

Looking for Solutions?

As we all know, the
MICE industry is a very seasonal industry.
Projects – whether they are incentives, seminars, events or meetings - seem to be concentrated on certain periods of the year, and this often results in
logistical inconveniences.
Incentive houses are
understaffed in spring and fall due to heavy workload, and tend to be overstaffed in summer and winter when business slows, while the regular travel agencies are sometimes faced with requests they cannot deal with due to a lack of know-how or manpower.
In the actual economic situation all companies hesitate to hire permanent staff, which puts extra work on the shoulders of the existing team and tends to influence the quality of the work produced and can have a very negative effect on the clients perception of your services.

The Solution is
outsourcing. Click here for more info.


The MPI Belgium Winter Business Event takes place on January 14th at the Hilton Hotel Brussels. € 10 for both members and non-members, register here: www.mpiweb.be - mpi.be@arnautspartners.com
A new MICE Trade Fair in the Low Lands: MICEContact which will take place on February 2nd 2010 in Amersfoort (the Netherlands), unfortunately on the same day as the MPI-BE Conference. With more and more people shouldering Benelux responsibilities it would have been better to separate both events. www.micecontact.nl
On March 19th 2010 the next Horeca & Meetings industry Job day is organized at Autoworld, Brussels in collaboration with BITC. More details on www.jobdays.eu
Save the Date and Join Colleagues in Brussels for the 2010 ACTE/BATM Executive Forum on 22 February 2010 at the Van der Valk Hotel Brussels Airport in conjunction with BATM. The theme: Eyes wide open: Embracing uncertainty in Business Travel. View the event website, click here.
Reed Exhibition GIBTM 2010 – 29 - 31 March 2010: the industry recognizes the expanding business opportunities in the Gulf. www.gibtm.com
Consult BBT Online’s agenda, and don’t miss any MICE event - http://www.bbtonline.eu/agenda.php
Currently running until the 28 March 2010 at Tour & Taxis is an exhibition of the more personal side of President John F Kennedy’s life encompassing his passion for golf and the elegance of his wife, Jackie. Event space is available for hire by contacting 0900 87 900 - www.jfk-expo.be
Taking place between 15th and 19th March 2010, the programme for the 5th annual Brussels Meeting Week is taking shape. Brussels’ new meetings venue, Square, takes centre stage with visits to the Musée Magritte Museum and Casino Viage amongst the other attractions delegates will experience. Don’t miss this premier event for meetings professionals, DMC’s, PCO’s and TMC’s that coincides with the European Meetings Industry Fair (www.emif.be) - www.brusselsmeetingsweek.be

Business Solutions, the corporate events of Disneyland Paris, introduces 16 new private Theme-Park dinners for groups. This options offer variety and affordability for meetings and events. Info: Marie.emmanuelle.llinares@disney.com
Need more snow? Rent the fabulous new snow machine of Snow Productions: go to www.snowproductions.be
As from now, travel visas for India can also be obtained in Antwerp (Vestingstraat 62, 2018 Antwerpen) and in Brussels (Avenue Louise 350, 1050 Brussels)
Helsinki has won the title of World Design Capital for 2012 - www.worlddesigncapital.com
Are you a Management assistant? If you have not discovered it yet, the website www.assistantplus.be can be a useful tool at all levels.
The latest harvest of Michelin stars has proven it again, Holland is a good place for excellent food nowadays! The website lekker.nl gives the top 100 of excellent restaurants with Oude Sluis as absolute top. http://www.lekker.nl/top_100/
For Football fans the recently opened “Voetbal Experience” by famous trainer Guus Hiddink is a must visit in Middelburg, Holland. www.voetbalexperience.nl
For the latest on good ideas in Holland and an invite for planners to visit Amsterdam & Rotterdam, go to http://www.bbtonline.eu/newsletter/holland_122009/index.html
The latest venue in Brussels is about to open. This month sees Viage open its doors to a spectacular entertainment arena above the new shopping mall, Galarie Anspach. Viage includes a rooftop restaurant, concert theatre for up to 900 people, themed bars and gaming rooms.

Sunday January 17th Sheraton Airport plans a unique Sunday Jazz Brunch with the great Toots Thielemans, an opportunity not to miss out on! Reservations: frieda.catteeuw@sheraton.com
NEW. Enjoyment in the heart of Antwerp. Hotel les Nuits has 24 rooms and has been kitted out by Flamant Home Interiors. There’s also Flamant Dining and a shop in the same building – www.hotellesnuits.be
Another lovely & small hotel in Retie, Province of Antwerp, Belgium is Villa Tilia: 9 original rooms in a beautiful house & garden. www.vilatilia.be
Looking for an original venue for a small team meeting? “Dans les Yeux de ma Mere” near Bruges can be the solution! A little gem! http://nl.belvilla.be/vakantiehuizen/BE-8310-03.html
Les Trois Forets is with an investment of 250 million euros the largest tourism project in Europe in 2010 and the 4th parc of Center Parcs in France. Watch the video, click here.
The Efteling in Holland has recently opened park Efteling Bosrijk with 125 houses and 75 apartments. Also for meetings and trainings. Click here for more info.
Ibiza is still attractive. Should you go there do not miss out on a visit to Sa Punta. Think chiled Ibiza beach restaurant by day and cosmopolitan hotspot after dark. A real topper for your events and special occasions.

United Airlines will inaugurate a new daily service between Chicago O’Hare and Brussels Airport on March 28.
Finnair recently opened a sauna in the Via Spa at Helsinki airport for all passengers flying to non-Schengen destinations.
The Inflight E-Reader has been elected invention of the year for airline passengers. It permits passengers to read papers and magazines of their choice electronically thus avoiding the extra weight of papers on board the aircraft!
The Dutch government announced the use of full body scanners on all transatlantic flights within three weeks. The step-up in security at Schiphol comes five days after a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound plane.

Georges Janmart announces his departure from the Belgian Incentive House Preference Travel Team as Director/Partner. He has now started his own company ‘Travel Dedicated’ and can be reached on georges@traveldedicated.be.
Rimmert Gryseels is the latest victim of the economic crises and has had to leave Austrian Airlines. He can be reached on rgryseels@hotmail.com
Anja Loetscher, Director of Geneva Convention Bureau, has joined the DMAI European Advisory Council.
William van Wassenhove left just before Christmas the Royal Windsor Hotel Grand Place.

Every take5 edition we publish a small funny video clip from YouTube. Click here.

Karin de Graauw – Editor BBT Online
Rue Van Eyckstraat 29 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium