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 January 22, 2014
Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO To Lead BestCities In 2014

 BestCities Global Alliance has announced Ms Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) as the 2014 Board Chair.

With more than 20 years industry experience particularly in high level marketing and branding, Ms Bolinger brings a wealth of expertise to the role.

As well as leading the very successful and busy bureau team in Melbourne, Ms Bolinger is the Australia Chair for the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Treasurer and Board member of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), Board member of Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and a member of the Victorian Advisory Board for the Starlight Children's Foundation.

Since joining MCB in 2011, Ms Bolinger has been deeply involved with the bureau's partnership with BestCities and is an active exponent for the continued growth of the alliance through her existing role on the BestCities Expansion Committee.

"As a BestCities founding partner, MCB has strong ties with BestCities and we value the power of the strategic relationship with our nine partners," Ms Bolinger said.

"As such I am delighted to take on the role of Board Chair for 2014 and look forward to continuing the excellent work of my predecessors."

One of Ms Bollinger's first roles will be to host a breakfast for visiting media at the MCB-owned Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne next month.

"More face-to-face meetings with clients and media are a key focus for the alliance this year and AIME will provide the first opportunity for us sit down and talk to PCOs, meeting organisers and media about what's in store for 2014.

"Following the successful launch of the Business Events Centre last year in Houston, we will also focus on developing additional client benefits that offer practical value to an association as well as to continue expanding into new markets through our Regional Affiliate Programme. For partners there is the annual internal quality audit in March as well as media and client events to attend at IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America.

"One of BestCities' most important business development activities is the Client Workshop which will be held, this year, in Cape Town in December, providing an amazing opportunity for meeting planners and partners to come together and experience the best that South Africa's most dynamic city has to offer."

Supporting Ms Bolinger on the 2014 board are senior representatives from all BestCities bureaux -- Berlin, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Chicago, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Singapore and Vancouver.

In addition, Ms Heike Mahmoud from the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin takes on the role of Alliance Committee Chair and Mr Daniel Palomo from the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau is the new Alliance Business Development Chair.

The BestCities Board Chair is selected on a rotational basis and each of the board members brings a wide range of expertise to the board table cultivated through strong management roles at their respective bureaux and many years' experience in the broader international meetings industry.

www.bestcities.net

BestCities is the first global alliance to put in place a certification programme -- with standards certified by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) - to ensure a consistent level of convention bureau service excellence from all partner cities. BestCities Partners are Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Melbourne, Singapore and Vancouver.

www.bestcities.net