The 46th ICCA Congress in Pattaya, Thailand, has broken last year’s record for the greatest number of attendees. Although registrations were fractionally down on last year’s figures - 818 in 2007 compared with 820 in 2006, the number of participants attending actually rose from 811 in 2006 to 814. The number of countries represented increased from 60 to 64. There were 268 first time attendees. Two thirds of the delegates were at CEO, company President, or senior director level. One third of the attendees came from Asia Pacific region.
Sirk said a stronger educational programme with greater resources allocated to sourcing expert speakers from across the globe was the primary reason behind the increased numbers. "ICCA's networking and business exchange opportunities are always a big draw for senior meetings industry directors", says Martin Sirk, ICCA CEO, "but this year we have paid particular attention to the strength of the education programme and this has really caught the attention of our membership in Asia and beyond. The post-congress evaluations for educational content are the best we have ever recorded"
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility was a key topic at the recent ICCA Congress, where as well as talking about the issues involved, delegates made direct contributions by planting trees and donating over EURO 12,000 towards a local orphanage (which was raised from the new ICCA charity event, the I&MI Media Golf Classic and other initiatives and donations).
Royal Cliff Resort & PEACH
The venue of this years conference, the Pattaya Exhibition & Convention Hall (PEACH), takes its corporate social responsibility extremely seriously. As well as introducing major environmental initiatives such as treating all its own waste, it has taken a lead role in cleaning up the environment throughout the Pattaya area. They directly support local charities, and regard the venue’s success as being a way of producing sustainable and high quality jobs for local people.
From top to bottom: Pic1: ICCA CEO Martin Sirk (left) and PEACH Director of Sales Trevor McCartney give their opinion regarding the olfactory appeal of stage one of the treatment process; treated water (used for flushing the toilets and watering the venue’s extensive gardens) is sampled (Pic 2) and approved (Pic 3) by Martin.
Main Congress programme
Highlight of this years education programme was Martin Lindstrom’s keynote “Copenhagen Lecture” on the power of branding, which was rated “excellent” by two-thirds of the participants and “good” by an additional 22%. A newly introduced range of skills and techniques workshops averaged 86% excellent or good, whilst innovative formats such as an “experiential” session on disability awareness which exposed delegates to what it was like to experience a meeting as a disabled delegate achieved superb levels of positive feedback. Overall, the education session ratings were higher than for any previous ICCA Congress.
ASIA for ASIA Summit
Unique for 2007 was an ASIA for ASIA Summit on Challenges and Opportunities of the Meetings Industry in the Next Decade, a brand new initiative by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau with the support of ICCA, which took place just before the Congress opened, involving 40 industry leaders from around Asia.
Young Professionals Conference
This event was organised by Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau with support from ICCA, aimed at giving back some of ICCA’s global expertise to young delegates from Thailand in particular and Asia in general. It was run simultaneously with the ICCA Congress and attracted over 30 delegates. By using ICCA delegates and Congress speakers as this event’s faculty, ICCA was able to deliver an exceptional programme.
ICCA supports Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau initiative to educate young meetings professionals in Asia.
Seen here are some of the students and faculty (and Martin Sirk, ICCA CEO, centre front) from the Young Professionals Conference organised in parallel with ICCA's recent 2007 Congress in Thailand. "We invited more than 20 of our senior delegates and some of the expert guest speakers to volunteer their time to provide a uniquely high-powered faculty for this initiative" said Sirk. "Our aim was that this year's Congress should make a contribution towards improving the education of young meetings professionals in Asia".
The ICCA Congress took place in a self contained convention resort property with all bedroom accommodation on site, so that the networking could take place around the clock. ICCA was the first meetings industry association to use the new generation Spotme networking tool, winner of this year's EIBTM Worldwide Technology Watch competition. And it was used quite fanatically by the delegates: 13,000 digital business cards were exchanged, over 21,000 messages were sent and participants completed more than 2,000 electronic feedback forms. LOG ON’s Mobile Events Assistant was also extensively used by the participants via their mobile phones and added an extra dimension to their networking. Each delegate received a Delegate Handbook which included delegates’ photos, enabling easier recognition and providing an excellent long-term resource for taking back to the office.
The business exchange enabled ICCA Members to bring back some high potential leads for future congresses to their office. 135 ICCA Members participated in the Business Exchange, sharing detailed information on major international association conferences they have recently hosted or organised.
Industry leaders gather in Thailand for ICCA Congress
There were so many CEO's and Presidents from leading meetings industry associations in attendance at this year's ICCA Congress that it was impossible to fit them all on one photo! "Seriously though, the reason we couldn't get everyone together at the same time for a photo was that each of us had such incredibly tight business appointments and speaking engagements throughout the Congress. This was a superb opportunity to discuss new joint projects and to demonstrate the collaborative power of our industry's leading associations," said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk.
ICCA General Assembly
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk and ICCA President Leigh Harry reported a continued strong growth in membership levels from all regions of the world and all meeting industry Sectors, reports on ICCA’s financial stability and plans for future innovations and improvements to member services.
Mrs. Handan Boyce and Mrs. Anne Wallin Rodven were elected as chairpersons for the Destination Marketing Sector and Mr. Juriaen Sleijster and Mr. Lars Christensen were elected as chairpersons for the Meetings Management Sector. Mr. Bart Heinrichs is elected unopposed as chairperson for the Meeting Support Sector chairperson.
The election for the North American BOD representation was won by Mr. Eduardo Chaillo of the Mexican Tourism Board. Mr. Anthony Wong for the Asia Pacific region and Mr. Lutz Vogt for Europe are re-elected unopposed, and Mr. Mariano Castex is elected unopposed for Latin America.
Future ICCA Congress destinations
At this year's General Assembly in Thailand the ICCA Board confirmed the selection of Hyderabad, India as the host destination for the 2010 Congress. This will be the first time that ICCA has ever organised a Congress in the Indian sub-continent, and the event will be timed perfectly for members to see the multitude of new meetings industry developments around the country, as well to experience the superb new facilities which have been built in Hyderabad itself. "This was a thoroughly professional and highly creative bid proposal by an enthusiastic team of ICCA members, and we are confident that ICCA's 2010 Congress will mark a major milestone in the development of the meetings industry in India" said Martin Sirk, CEO.
The ICCA Board has selected a shortlist of three destinations to be considered for the 2011 Congress. They are: Leipzig, Germany; Dubai/Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Pittsburgh, USA. Site inspections and detailed consultation meetings will take place over the next few months, and final bid presentations will be made to the ICCA Board at their mid-year meeting prior to IMEX 2008.
Best Marketing Award
The ICCA Best Marketing Award, established in 1997, recognises the excellence and outstanding achievements of organisations in their effort to market their destination or product. The winner of this year's Best Marketing Award was announced at the closing session of the ICCA Congress: Promo Leader Service, Italy!!!!
On winning the award, Luigi Cammi, Chief Executive Officer of Promo Leader Service, said:
"We live in a society that reduces desire to something that can be calculated, whereas what men truly desire is not to comply with any calculation or limit. We always aim to desire something more, something better, something happier for our families, our friends and our work. Thanks to the opportunity of presenting our project to the ICCA Assembly, I tasted part of that happiness and I now look at the future to experience more and more.”
The other finalists were Congress Frankfurt, Germany, Conventions Australia, Australia and Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, Australia.
Delegate feedback is still being received, but initial analysis indicates that over 75% rated this years education programme good or excellent, 90% of the particpants rated the SpotMe networking device as a good or excellent networking tool and 90% rated the social programme as good or excellent.
ICCA Silent auction
The Silent Auction raised over EUR 12,000 at the 2007 congress. The ICCA Silent Auction is run in support of ICCA’s Education Fund, established in 1992 to create more educational opportunities for young people within the international meetings industry and help raise professional standards. The fund also financially supports the Forums for Young Professionals at EIBTM and AIME.
ICCA Member news and initiatives
Several ICCA Members used the ICCA congress to promote their new products and services and to announce new initiatives, such as the formation of an Energy Cities Alliance between three leading convention bureaux and a convention centre; Aberdeen Convention Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre and Perth Convention Bureau. In creating the strategic marketing alliance, the partners are aiming to obtain a competitive edge in the international marketplace, particularly in the field of energy-related conferences.
The following new products and services were announced by ICCA Members:
Amlink - APEC 07
BEXCO - 5 Press Releases
Cape Town Routes Unlimited - 2010 Conference fever runs high in Cape Town & Western Cape
Germany - Prime Destination for Meetings and Conventions (GCB)
Glasgow City Marketing Bureau Press Release
Hawai'i Convention Center Officials to attend ICCA Congress
IMEX - IMEX announces sustained growth
Istanbul CVB - Istanbul: Two Continents, Two Conference Districts
Nürnberg Messe - CCN CongressCenter Nürnberg goes international
Sandton Convention Centre - SCCs efforts to stay green are paying off
SECC – Record year for conferences at the SECC
Star Alliance - Star Alliance Conventions Plus set to expand
Thebe Exhibitions & Events - Meetings Africe on a growth path
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For more information please visit the ICCA Congress 2007 website: http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/congress2007
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