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WTSC - Creating a Worldwide Laundry Industry Buzz

Click Here to Register for the WTSC

Click Here to Register for TRSA’s Pre-Tour Program

More than 200 textile services industry executives from linen and uniform supply companies from 15 countries have preregistered for the World Textile Services Congress (WTSC), this Oct. 5-7 in Bruges, Belgium. WTSC organizers expect a larger final attendance count as laundry operators will participate in the Congress to learn about business opportunities common to the industry in every nation.

Representatives from more than 60 textile services companies will be joined by leaders from 14 event sponsor organizations (i.e., industry suppliers) to share education, networking and social events. Discussions of economic, political and legal trends will inspire attendees to improve company strategies. Presentations by laundry executives will provide ideas to enhance everyday business practices to immediately increase profitability. In the evenings, participants will enjoy food and drink while networking with other WTSC delegates as they explore Bruges, with its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings.

TRSA is co-sponsoring this program along with the European Textile Services Association (ETSA) and one national association, FBT (Belgium).

The event begins Oct. 5 (Wednesday) when the boards of directors of seven participating national associations meet during the day. Board members will participate in social activities that evening.

Keynote presentations are Oct. 6 (Thursday). Speakers will include:

  • Herman Van Rompuy, 2010 to 2014 European Council president, the master negotiator who facilitated cooperation among Eurozone countries to help Greece (and later Ireland and Portugal) stabilize borrowing costs while preventing economic contagion throughout the EU.
  • Marc Herremans, the World Champion Ironman triathlete whose strong spirit and dedication did not stop him when he became disabled when training accident. He became an exceptional wheelchair athlete, coach and philanthropist.
  • Dominique Persoone, the “Shock-o-Latier,” who is revolutionizing the chocolate industry by collaborating with scientists to uncover new flavor combinations. His business is a case study in differentiating from competition and approaching everyday operations with a “rock and roll” perspective.


Presentations will be held in the Belfry and Market Halls, where much of Bruges’ wool and cloth trade was conducted in the 13th to 16th century. The Belfry provides panoramic views of Bruges and the surrounding countryside all the way to the sea. Thursday’s agenda also includes panel discussions featuring textile services executives from across the globe. Topics will include:

Corporate Social Responsibility. Laundries everywhere can increase revenues by promoting the industry’s increasing contributions to customers’ sustainability, cost control and image. Other industries will be discussed as good models for our industry to become recognized for its good works.

Global Trends Overview. Learn about revenue-building and cost-control techniques to address challenges common to laundry companies around the world due to regulation, globalization and competition. There will be discussion of supply and demand for key products required for your business such as textiles, energy, chemicals, electronics and more. Legal and ethical constraints, especially regarding environment, safety and health, will be discussed.

Textile Services Market Dynamics. Launderers in every nation are faced with a different combination of challenges to profitability based on market conditions. Participants on this panel will explain how laundry performance in their countries s affected by supply concentration (chain vs. independent laundries), demographics (population, workforce), economic mix by industry (product- vs. service-producing) and supply costs.

Executives who travel to the WTSC are encouraged to bring spouses/partners with them. A spouse/partner program, “Walk with the Chef in Bruges,” is slated for Thursday. The guide will share recipe secrets and discuss Bruges history as participants hit the tastiest spots in the city, stopping in markets and shops to sample local products. The itinerary features encounters with an airbrush artist and chocolatier and lunch at a historic home with a painter’s studio.

Spouses/partners will also enjoy the social activities on Wednesday and Thursday night. On Wednesday, the opening reception will be at the WTSC hotel, the Hotel Dukes’ Palace, the same ground where lavish festivities were staged nearly 550 years earlier to usher in the reign of Duke Charles of Burgundy. After the reception, a Beer Tasting Dinner will be held at Bruges’ former provincial palace. Led by a Brugean town crier, you’ll stroll with the group to this neo-Gothical building that opened in 1876 and was built in phases until 1921.

On Thursday night, activities begin with a short walk to the City Hall (built in 1376) where the group will be greeted by the mayor of Bruges and have a drink in the building’s Gothic Hall, featuring late 19th-century murals and a colorful vaulted ceiling. The remainder of the evening will be in the city Concert Hall for a reception, gala dinner and after-dinner drinks. This building’s rooftop provides a unique view of Bruges’ historic center. When seated for dinner, attendees will be treated to a breathtaking panorama featuring the lighted towers of this World Heritage city.

On Friday morning, executives participating in the WTSC will visit two nearby laundries, observing how Belgian plant operators achieve high productivity and efficiency. Participants have a choice of healthcare, hospitality or workwear laundries, stating their preferences at registration. TRSA is offering a laundry tour before the WTSC, beginning in Brussels on Sunday, Oct., 2, and arriving in Bruges on Wednesday. See links above for more on the tour and registration for the WTSC.

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