tmf talks to MICE industry leaders: Andrea Zacchera, president of Lago Maggiore Conference

Andrea Zacchera, Copyright: Lago Maggiore Conference

In this series of interviews tmf gets up close and personal with leading experts in the MICE industry.

The beautiful region around the Lago Maggiore includes the provinces of Novara and Varese and the Canton Ticino (Switzerland). Quality, hospitality and the varied and beautiful scenery make it one of the preferred destinations for visitors from all around the world. Today, these advantages are the basis for Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry. Meeting planners can rely on the professional services of “Lago Maggiore Conference”, “Varese Convention & Visitors Bureau” and the “Convention & Incentive Bureau” in Locarno.

We are glad to have Andrea Zacchera, president of Lago Maggiore Conference as well as congress manager of the family group Zacchera Hotels, as interview partner. He tells us among others about his favourite place in the Lago Maggiore region, about the biggest success regarding the “Green Meeting Project” and about the next steps in this thing.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself on a personal level (who you are, your hobbies, your background)
I was born and raised in a family who has made tourism and hospitality part of their live and am now the congress manager of our family group Zacchera Hotels, on the Piedmont shores of Lake Maggiore. I have been in the event industry for many years, and, thanks to this, MICE has become one of my main interests. Since I live in a very naturalistic area, as a good sports person, I follow football and like to go skiing in the surrounding Alps.

We have been publishing content about the meeting industry in the Lago Maggiore region for six months now and have the feeling that we now know the destination extremely well. What is your favourite thing about or place in the Lago Maggiore region and why?
Among the many beautiful places we have, my favourite place around of the region is on the hill just above Baveno and Stresa, where I can take some relaxation, walking or mountain-biking, whilst enjoying the beautiful view of the Borromeo Islands.

What is your role in Lago Maggiore’s meeting industry (how/why/when did you become involved and what do you currently with regards to the Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry (LMMI)?)?
I became President of Lago Maggiore Conference in 2005, and since 2009 LMC has been part of the LMMI Project, in partnership with the local institutions.

Please sum up the meeting industry in the Lago Maggiore region in five words and with five facts.
The meeting industry on Lake Maggiore is: international, multitasking, professional, engaging and really to be experienced.

Can you give us an insider’s tip about the region for German speaking event planners who are interested in organising a meeting in the region?
Bring your event to Lake Maggiore where you will find beautiful weather, tasty Italian dishes and the natural, cultural and historic environment typical of the region.

What do you currently really enjoy about your work in the LMMI? Is there anything that you would immediately change about the meeting industry in general, if you could?
LMMI is a project of co-operation, so the main thing I like about it is the creation of a chain of suppliers that work together to develop new strategies, i.e. the Lago Maggiore Green Meeting Project, recently activated.
For the MICE industry in general I would change the way of communicating and making communication, that has become a bit sterile with all the emails we are now used to and should get back to the human contact.

Work in this environment can mean lots of travel, little sleep and long days. How do you make sure you keep a good work-life balance?
Since I mainly work in hotels, my free time comes up after the 10-month summer season when we are open and winter becomes the time when I finally get my holidays. I really do enjoy my job and this is a choice I have made for my life.

The LMMI’s green meeting initiative “Green Meetings on the Blue Waters Lake” is quite an innovative project for a conference destination. What has been the project’s biggest success/achievement so far regarding sustainable meetings?
Last autumn, on the Piedmont side of the Lake, we developed, during an educational, some green-sustainable activities, throughout the three days of stay of the guests. They were hosted in one of the hotels of my family, where we arranged a km0 breakfast (only products from the territory), a bike ride to the adventure park where the guests were welcomed with an organic fresh drink selection, and the minimal use of car and bus transportation, together with keeping an eye on waste and the reuse of many materials.

What are the next steps in the project and what do you hope for its future development?
Our next steps on the project are to definitely have a stable supply chain that follows agreed issues on the sustainable actions to take, such as avoiding the daily bed linen change, and have it on the clients’ request, the separate collection of waste, the reduced use of water and light in bedrooms and meeting rooms, etc.

Imagine we were an event planner. How would you creatively persuade us to choose Lago Maggiore as a destination for our next meeting?
The beauty of the destination is made practical by the extreme proximity to the International Airport of Milan Malpensa which collects flights from all over Europe; the facilities we have are so well established and since they all are family owned, they are constantly renovated and kept with the love of a private home. Historic villas and natural beauty together with many sports facilities offer an alternative out of the congress centre.

Many thanks Andrea Zacchera, we look forward to continued cooperation with the Lago Maggiore Meeting Industry.

Your contact at tmf for any questions or queries you may have about the Lago Maggiore region as a MICE destination is Susanne Hertenberger, E-mail:, Tel: 0049 (0)931 9002 110

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