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TAKE5 gives you an update on the latest Meetings, Incentives and Business Travel 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 our 99th edition. All of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Invitation: BBT Online's 12th B2B Workshop

bbt workshop

Come enjoy our summer vibes in the Kruitfabriek in Vilvoorde on Monday 3 July!
Because summer is for fun, leave your suit at home and put on something more colourful instead. 'In the spirit of Burning man' is our theme this edition, so let your creativity flow! Surprise us with your wildest outfit and you might just win a great prize!

Of course there will be a brand new selection of A-list suppliers waiting for you. The list is complete as we speak. There are a lot of promising newcomers to talk to, like Greece, Croatia, Vienna House, DMC Cox & Kings, DMC Norway, etc. Check out the full list here.

Register now, more info and registration form behind this link. This event is meant for national and international professional incentive and event agents and PCO's only.

Note that we will hold a separate event for corporate and association planners at noon on July 4 in the completely refurbished NH Hotel Sablon. Click here for the invitation.

Join BBT Online to Budapest
Jazzy famtrip to Nice

Budapest, one of the most majestic capitals in Europe, is a fantastic destination for meetings, incentives and events. To completely convince you of this fact, Ovation Global DMC, Microcosmos DMC, SN Brussels Airlines, Ritz-Carlton Budapest and BBT Online organised a famtrip for you from 26 to 28 June.

Enjoy splendid venues, amazing sights and surprising activities on a wild three day ride through Hungary’s finest.

Are you a professional MICE agent and are you interested to attend? Mail or

Eight places are available. The participation fee of €100 will be used for the flight ticket.

Want to discover the MICE potential of sunny Nice in the French Riviera? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!

Nice Convention Bureau in partnership with BBT Online is organising a famtrip from 17 to 19 July.

The trip won’t only lead you to some of the greatest and most surprising venues and activities on offer, but you’ll also get VIP access to the famous Nice Jazz Festival taking place at the time.

Are you a professional MICE agent and are you interested in joining the trip? Mail or

Nine spots are available. The participation fee of €100 will be used for the flight ticket.
Antwerp’s new congress centre finally ready

This April, the long awaited Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre (FMCCA) finally opened for business. Next to the Central Station and in the actual Antwerp Zoo, it became the city’s new flagship venue for meetings and conventions, and will put Antwerp more firmly on the map as a MICE destination. FMCCA is the only meeting and convention center worldwide that offers a room with a zoo. In total there are 30 of flexible breakout rooms. 7,500m² total meeting room space. The total venue sizes 25,000m².

Today, 25% of overnight stays in Antwerp are linked to conferences and events. A lot of the 4,438 rooms the city has on offer are located within walking distance of the new conference centre. FMCCA will be able to accommodate congresses of up to 2,700 people – boosting the entire industry.

Antwerp Antwerp Antwerp
New fancy venue in Antwerp
Comic book heroes in Antwerp Central Station

Offsite is a new venue in Antwerp ran by Fosbury and Sons. It’s located close to the Albert Park and the De Koninck Brewery, not far from the city centre.

offsite It serves as a joint-working space, but several spaces can be booked for events as well.

There is a lobby bar available as well as a space for lunch, a salon, focus booths, a library and even showers for when work gets a little too stressed.

Right next door from the new congress centre – in the back of the Central Station – another new attraction opened in Antwerp. Comics Station is a massive amusement park focused on our national comic book heroes.

It comes with rides, interactive games and the biggest indoor slides in the world. You can also book it for groups. There’s a theatre in the venue, and the entire site can be rented for family days or other events. The restaurant can be privatised as well.

It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
Home for rent in Antwerp

There’s a beautiful house available for rent in the Leeuwenstraat in central Antwerp, able to accommodate up to ten guests. The ground floor has a private café/bistro where you can either cook or have food brought over by a catering company the owners work with.

It also offers a cosy living space with an open fire, and all of the bedrooms have their own bathroom.

Note that you have to rent it for at least three nights. Click here for more info.

Home Antwerp
Rooftop event venue in Brussels
Take a pit stop from work

Located on the rooftop of the shopping district Docks Bruxsel, Docks Dome is an exceptional 3,000m² venue with two panoramic terraces, a modular space that can be separated into three units and a public parking lot with 1,700 places.

Able to accommodate 1,400 people, Docks Dome is perfect for meetings, seminars, conferences, presentations and everything else. The venue will open this May.
pit stop

This March, Frame21 opened a brand new ‘urban classic’ flex work concept called ‘The Garage’.

Here, in a completely refurbished old garage next to the E313 in Herentals, you can avoid further traffic and enjoy breakfast, Italian coffee or lunch while you start working.

The venue can also be rented as a location for events.
We publish much more news than you can read and see in our monthly Take5 Newsletter. Follow us on our Facebook page.
A beer castle for events
Camping with Jesus
beer castle

The Beer Castle is a new and impressive brewery complex in Izegem, owned by Brewery Van Honsebrouck.

It serves as a multifunctional event, leisure and experience space teaching you all you need to know about the brewery life (and allowing you to sample some of the products of course).

It’s suitable for meetings, degustations, parties and dinners (there’s an on-site restaurant). The Beer Castle offers three multifunctional halls for up to 250 people and a huge parking lot as well.
Camping with Jesus

We’ve all heard of glamping by now, but what on earth is ‘champing’? Champing is essentially camping in a church – and it’s becoming pretty popular. There’s an organisation in the UK offering a catalogue of 12 churches all over the country for you to spend the night in. Keep your hands above the sheets though, the lord is watching.

Looking for something more luxurious and close by? There’s an old nun cloister in Breda that was turned into a 95 room hotel after the last of the sisters left. It comes with a neo-gothic chapel that can be used for events.
Building a better Belgium
Hack Belgium

Hack Belgium, organised in Tours & Taxis on 4-6 May, is the country’s largest so-called Hackathon. 1,000 of the smartest minds in the country will gather here for a giant brainstorm session on how to make Belgium a bit better.

Hack Belgium wants to be a driving force behind creativity and a platform where companies, the academic world and smart minds in general can find each other.

We publish much more news than you can read and see in our monthly Take5 Newsletter. Follow us on our Facebook page.
Wish we were here

Los Enamorados is a brand new hotel on Ibiza that just opened last year. It’s a creation of Dutch Rozemarijn de Witte and her French husband Pierre Traversier. It’s located in the little harbour of Portinatx on the North side of the island, right on the seaside next to a beautiful lighthouse.

Far from the party scene, it’s an unpretentious place where you can hang out and be yourself. It has a boutique hotel, a restaurant, a beach bar and even a bazaar: almost everything that makes Ibiza great on one fantastic location. This small boutique hotel - 9 rooms are available - can be privatised as well.


Shanghigh in Shanghai – Destination report

Our reporter Jonathan took off to a surprisingly chilly Shanghai last month, to attend the 11th edition of IT&CM China - the country’s most important trade show for the MICE market.

It came with a lot of new exhibitors, a lot of info on the growth of the Chinese meetings industry and two interesting pre-show tours revisiting some of the city’s most exciting venues.

Click here to read the full story.

IT&CM China
Swiss incentives – Destination report
Swiss Swiss Swiss

In a joint venture with BBT Online, Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau organised a famtrip for Belgian incentive organisers this March. Destinations to be visited were the city of Geneva and the Valais region.

The three day trip would give the group of six meeting and incentive planners the chance to discover some of the region’s most interesting venues and activities. Testing the slopes was of course encouraged as well.

Click here to read the full report.

Swiss Swiss Swiss
I see salespeople

Why are so many sales people still making the same, classic mistakes nowadays? What are these mistakes exactly, how can you avoid them and what are the basic rules of selling?

Guest writer’s Ovation DMC’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Hugo Slimbrouck will tell you all about it.

Click here to read the full article.

BBT Online's Bucket list

Every month we ask some prominent MICE personalities and members of BBT Online's Club 100 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 Iris Mertens of Iris Mertens Destination Promotion. Click here to see Iris' bucket list.

Iris Mertens Iris Mertens Iris Mertens Iris Mertens
Real Short !!

Consult BBT Online's MICE agenda, and don't miss any event.
6-7 May, Brussels: Iris Festival. All sorts of festivities will once again fill the streets of Brussels during the Isis festival. Many free activities are scheduled: concerts, parties in the park, guided tours and more. Something for everyone!
11 May, Grand Café Horta, Antwerp: Meet the Dominican Republic. The tourism office of the Dominican Republic invites you for an interesting evening where you’ll meet local DMCs, hotels and tourism offices. There’s a dinner and an after party to be enjoyed. Register via
30-31 May, Brussels: EAS 2017. The European Association Summit is the biggest annual event for association professionals in the country. Network with your peers, share knowledge, learn and enjoy.
26 June, Place Saint-Géry, Brussels: Event Street Brussels. Several Belgian event and communication agencies found each other organising this event to showcase the creativity of the event sector. Clients, prospects, suppliers, colleagues and students are welcome in the bars on Place Saint-Géry starting from 5 pm.
29 June, Club Cabane, Antwerp: St-Canneke. An evening to celebrate the outstanding performances of Belgian event and communication agencies competing for international awards.
26-28 September, Bangkok Convention Centre, Bangkok: IT&CMA 2017. Join BBT Online as a hosted buyer to Bangkok and visit the largest MICE tradeshow in South-East Asia. More info on: If you want to come, mail us at

Last month, Jada Events celebrated its 10th birthday with a fantastic party in the new J&M Catering ateliers in Schelle – transformed into a magical forest just for the occasion. Lots of faithful clients and partners were invited, as was BBT Online. Want to relive the evening? Check out the movie, click here.
Did you know you can check out all of our previous Take5 editions on our website, as well as every destination report? Check out our archives, here for destinations, and here for Take5.
Event organiser The Outsider opened a new water ski cableway at Donkvijver in Oudenaarde last month, pulling water-skiers around with a cable instead of a boat. Before noon, the cable-way can be booked exclusively for groups. Go check it out!
EventMB just posted an article listing ten ways to make your event badges more creative and memorable. Check it out here.
72,000 Belgians booked a cruise last year. According to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), this is a 5.8% growth compared to 2015. Most popular were cruises in the Mediterranean.
BTS now offers a professional photo and video report for every incentive with at least 30 participants confirmed as of 1 April. Nice gesture, isn’t it?

Nine cultural and tourist initiatives in Brussels that had an impact last year were recognised during the Awards & networking night. Check out the list here.
2017 marks the 50th year since the death of René Magritte. Brussels takes this opportunity to put its most famous surrealist in the spotlight. In addition to several temporary exhibitions, people will have the opportunity to walk in Magritte's footsteps, visiting his private residence and favourite haunts, the Greenwich and Het Goudblommeke in Papier.
Frunch (FRiday – lUNCH) started its fourth edition on Friday, 21 April. The upper town of Brussels now has another nice and cosy lunch spot until the end of September. Every week, Frunch has three different food trucks on offer, as well as live music, a bar and a fantastic place to chill on the courtyard of the BIP, overlooking the Place Royale in the centre of Brussels.
Tourism Flanders appointed three association experts to attract more international congresses to the region. Two of them, Gemmeke de Jongh en Tuya Beyers, started their assignment on 3 April.
Liesbet Billiet, Regional Manager Coast at Westtoer, says the Belgian coast is making efforts to attract a hipper, younger and more dynamic crowd. Beach clubs and bars are an important factor in doing so.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders reversed the negative travel advice for Tunisia a while ago. This is why the two biggest Belgian tour operators TUI and Thomas Cook have started offering packages to the country again starting this April.

Martin’s hotels organises a new and innovative way to (re)discover Martin’s Hotels – and Belgium – through 9 varied and entertaining parties in a 100% Made in Belgium way.
Sheraton Brussels found itself a buyer. The venue went bankrupt last year, but now Primecity Investment PLC took over – a real estate investor with a portfolio of 60 German hotels.
Here is a question we received from Steve Desmidt, Westtoer: ‘Is there literature or a checklist available to grade a hotel’s professionalism/suitability for the meeting industry? And are their people who would want to counsel West-Flemish hoteliers as a MICE-Coach?’ Mail your ideas to
Hotel Elisabeth is a new hotel in the centre of Mechelen. It’s housed in a hospital built in the 1930s and offers 62 comfortable, contemporary rooms as well as two meeting rooms with a nice view over the city.
Hotel Marcel on the other hand, is located in Bruges, on the main market square. It’s a three star boutique hotel offering 20 rooms – all of them with a unique wall mural.
Park Inn by Radisson Hasselt just opened as part of a multifunctional complex combining shops, living space and offices. It offers great views over the city, and ten different meeting rooms – the biggest one able to host 200 people.
West End will become the location of the first Hard Rock Hotel in London. The new venue will open up near Marble Arch, looking out over Hyde Park. The old Cumberland Hotel serves as the basis for the new venue, and will be completely refurbished. The new Hard Rock Hotel will offer no less than 900 rooms and is planned to open in the summer of 2018. Click here for more info.
The Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus won the prestigious EHMA Sustainability Award – mainly for driving the implementation of a number of energy reduction projects: heat recovery and water saving systems.

Wiffee, created by Bruxelloise Axelle Minne, offers a handy online map gathering every place offering good coffee and good Wi-Fi. Find it on
On 20 March, awarded the Brusselicious label to 36 Brussels-area establishments for the quality of their cuisine. Read the list here.
Star chef Sergio Herman opened a third restaurant last month. AIRrepublic, found in the Cadzand Marina, was already fully booked for the entire first month of its run before it even opened. Patience is in order.
The Avocado Show in Amsterdam is Europe’s first avocado restaurant. It just opened and is already extremely popular. All dishes on the menu are made with this mean, green superfood: from mains to deserts. Worth checking out, lovely interior as well.
Gå nord is a beautiful new business restaurant in Antwerp’s Park Spoor Noord offering a mixture of Scandinavian and Eastern influences.

Brussels Airlines made a net profit of € 15 million last year, despite the heavy financial impact of the 22 March terrorist attack on Brussels Airport. Employees will receive a bonus of around 2.5 million in total as recognition of the huge efforts made after the attacks. Five new destinations will be added this summer.

Marcel Buelens (CEO of EGIS, running the airports in Antwerp and Ostend) received the personality of the year award on the Night of the KMO in Hilton Antwerp. He was granted the award for the efforts he put into revitalising the Antwerp Airport throughout the past two years.
Jeroen Cauwelier started a new travel company called UniQuest. You can reach him at and via
Alessandra Albarelli was appointed the new President of Federcongressi&eventi, the Italian association of meetings industry companies and professionals. Albarelli has decades of experience in destination and conference centre marketing.
Jeroen Kuyper was appointed as the new Director of Rotterdam Partners, an organisation promoting Rotterdam and its economy.
Dominique Rongé became the new General Manager at Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof in Ghent.
Kim De Becker left Amex to take up a new challenge as sales and marketing coordinator at the recently opened Hard Rock Café in Antwerp.


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Rue de l'Aqueduc 149 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium
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