Innovative World Tunnel Congress Program Digs into Naples Locations

Author: Curt Wagner       

World Tunnel Congress

The underground areas of Galleria Borbonica house ruins from ancient Roman times all the way to World War II and more recent eras. (All photos courtesy AIM Group International)

Best in Show 2019: World Tunnel Congress 2019
May 3-9, 2019Mostra D’Oltremare Congress Center and off-site locations in Naples, Italy2,700 attendees
World Tunnel Congress

Rosangela Quieti

The annual World Tunnel Congress gathers worldwide experts on design and construction of underground works, focusing on tunneling, engineering, and innovation. For their 2019 congress, organizers —International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES) and the Italian Tunnelling Association (SIG) — tasked Professional Congress Organizer AIM Group International with adding disciplines previously considered unrelated to engineering. The result was an innovative pro- gram that also tapped into Italian culture and all that Naples has to offer as a host city.

AIM organized the event around two increasingly important trends — personalizing events and ensuring that they provide attendees with a sense of place. The PCO was able “to personalize the congress program by leveraging the local heritage and professional community,” Rosangela Quieti, managing director of AIM’s Congress Division, told Convene via email. “The off-site events at and technical visits to unique locations gave a strong identity to this edition [of the WTC].”

For the first time ever, some sessions focused on art, archaeology, and architecture, all of which are abundant in Naples, and gave organizers a chance to connect attendees to unusual local experiences, many of which included visiting underground spaces — of the ancient and recently built varieties. Participants visited a Greek-Roman tunneling system, the underground sections of the Galleria Borbonica, and the Toledo Metro Station, which won an award in 2015 for its innovative use of underground space. Social occasions included working lunches at Pausilypon archaeological site and the Seiano Caves, and a historical train ride to the gala dinner at the Pietrarsa Railway Museum.

“Being able to manage the complex mechanism of large congresses and offering personalized experiences to delegates are the right answers,” Quieti said, “to the clients’ needs and participants’ expectations.”

Curt Wagner is an associate editor at Convene.

World Tunnel Congress

A WTC 2019 delegate snaps a photo at the Seiano Caves on the grounds of the Pausilypon archaeological site.

WTC By The Numbers

  • 2,700 attendees
  • 73 countries represented
  • 2,500 square meters of exhibition space
  • 230 exhibitors and sponsors
  • 280,000 post views on social media
  • 750 scientific papers presented
  • 180 oral presentations

Best in Show 2019: More Inspiring, Creative Ideas for Events

World Tunnel Congress 2019

World Tunnel Congress

World Tunnel Congress delegates enjoy the gala dinner surrounded by antique trains and other treasures at the Pietrarsa Railway Museum. Guests rode aboard a historical train to get to the event.

World Tunnel Congress

WTC attendees view a restored ancient cistern from the 15th-16th centuries during a visit to the Galleria Borbonica — an underground passage constructed in the 1800s that links to ancient tunnels and aqueducts.

World Tunnel Congress

WTC attendees tour the underground areas of the Galleria Borbonica, or Bourbon Tunnel, a historical site.

World Tunnel Congress

Participants take photos of the Exedra Fountain at Mostra d’Oltremare Congress Center in Naples during the welcome reception.

World Tunnel Congress

Musicians perform a special concert at San Carlo Theatre to entertain World Tunnel Congress attendees.

World Tunnel Congress

Indoor and outdoor areas of the Mostra d’Oltremare Congress Cente serve as exhibit sites for the World Tunnel Congress.

World Tunnel Congress

The underground areas of Galleria Borbonica house ruins from ancient Roman times all the way to World War II (shown here) and more recent times.

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