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World Tunnel Congress: How to make a congress truly unique

The innovative programme of World Tunnel Congress 2019, strongly linked to Naples and its professional community, attracted a record number of attendees, a rich scientific program and an increase in exhibitors. 

Imagine a group of engineers descending 40-metres underneath the historic centre of Naples, conference attendees having a working lunch at a seaside archaeological site or their surprise when they discovered that the World Tunnel Congress featured a group of sessions dedicated to Archaeology, Architecture and Art. These were some of the elements that made the WTC 2019 congress quite original and definitely engaging. How it happened?

It was due to the winning decision to establish a strong connection with the destination and build around it a personalised, innovative, scientific congress programme. A particular “cultural mixture” was one of the event’s stand out features. Engineering-related topics were combined with typical elements of Italian culture, such as Archaeology, Architecture and Art, which are themes very evident in Naples.

This smart approach enabled AIM Group International, as appointed Professional Congress Organiser, to manage a complex event and ensured that the programme had engaging, scientific sessions coupled with exclusive experiences in unique locations. The WTC 2019 had some signature features:

  • The innovative programme. The 2019 programme was unprecedented as it highlighted the multiple connections among the tunnelling world and other disciplines considered so far unrelated, namely in the AAA – Archaeology, Architecture and Art sessions.
  • Off-site Events and Technical Visits. Delegates have been involved in a series of off-site events and technical visits to some of the local significant tunnel projects: the Greek-Roman tunnelling system, the just-restored Galleria Borbonica and the award-winning Metro station in Naples. Furthermore, it provided an opportunity to visit other interesting Italian projects such as Rome’s Metro construction site, the high-speed railway Naples-Bari and even the Brenner Base Tunnel, the longest underground railway tunnel in the world!
  • Outstanding social moments with a truly local taste. Some working lunches were organised at the remarkable archaeological Pausilypon site of Seiano Caves; the Gala Dinner was hosted at the Pietrarsa Railway Museum; a special concert was organised at the prestigious San Carlo Theatre. These were just a few of the unique and immersive experiences delegates could live.
  • Local community partners. WTC chose to support the local not-for-profit Arché Foundation and its project of building a community house to host mothers in need with their children so to get out of the tunnel. Furthermore, WTC participated in the Food for Good Program and donated all the excess food to local charity organisations.

The results achieved are just stunning: the number of attendees increased by 80% attracted by the rich scientific programme and the appeal of a renowned destination. The number of countries represented increased, surpassing 70 countries. The exhibitor numbers were boosted by more than 50%, attracted by the opportunity to present their services and products to such a huge gathering.

You can read the full Impact Story online or watch a brief video of the event on Youtube.


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