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Largest ICCA Congress ever held in North America kicks off in Houston, U.S.A.

Meetings industry professionals from across the globe have descended on Houston, Texas, U.S.A. this week for the 58th ICCA Congress, one of the most prestigious events in the international association meetings industry’s annual calendar. With almost 1,000 senior meetings industry professionals and association meeting planners from 75 countries in attendance, the International Congress and Convention Association’s 2019 Congress is the largest ever held in the North American region.
Over the next four days, delegates will experience a cutting-edge programme of education, networking and business opportunities. Bringing together a world-class roster of global and local speakers from in and outside the meetings industry, sessions at the 2019 edition of ICCA’s annual flagship event will explore collaboration and meetings industry advancement from multiple perspectives. The education session also plays a key focus on knowledge transfer and host destination impact.

Expertise from in- and outside the industry on Innovation and Technology
This year’s Congress theme is “Innovation and Technology”. Leading figures from various industries are appearing as keynote speakers, bringing delegates into contact with an even more diverse range of subject areas and depth of expertise than ever before. 
Such speakers include Houston local Scott Parazynski, a former NASA astronaut and the first man to have both flown in space and summitted Mount Everest; Soulaima Gourani, who as one of Denmark’s most inspiring business women will lead the annual Copenhagen Denmark Lecture; and Scott Stratten, an expert in viral marketing who will be sharing his knowledge of how organisations can embrace disruption.
Interdisciplinary association Pumps & Pipes, who specialise in creating interactions and knowledge transfer between unconnected professional groups and are based in Houston, will share their expertise on facilitating innovation through cross-industry collaboration as part of the programme. 
“Out of the box sessions” include technical tours of Houston Spaceport, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and TMCx, a healthcare and life-science incubator located within the world's largest medical center in Houston, shaping the future of health care by uniting promising innovators with the best minds in academia, science and medicine.
In an examination of how association clients view collaboration, a panel of association executives and destination marketers will also debate the successes and failings of how the two sides work together.
Facilitating active learning and legacy-driven knowledge transfer
With an emphasis on increasing educational return-on-investment for each delegate, the meetings design of each session is based on a philosophy of active learning and include a way for delegates to work with each topic on an interactive basis for improved information retention. A professional team of moderators are working alongside the ICCA team and Educational Committee to support the learning experience, guiding each session’s direction and ensuring delegates receive useful and impactful takeaways. 
Senthil Gopinath, ICCA Chief Executive Officer, said: “At each annual Congress, ICCA seeks to break new ground with an innovative, up-to-the-minute programme, providing answers to our global membership’s most pressing questions regarding the evolution of the international association meetings industry and addressing its futuristic topics.” 
“The changing face of our industry is a constant source of debate and discussion. Through the unique opportunities for knowledge sharing on offer at the ICCA Congress in Houston, we aim to cement our industry’s vital role as a driver of global progress, with our members as the leading innovators.”
Furthering the growth of the U.S.A.’s and North American association meetings market
This is ICCA’s largest Congress ever in North America. Through its 58th Congress, ICCA aims to supports its members in the North America Chapter in advancing the importance of their region’s international association meetings market. Maximising the knowledge transfer opportunities and educational legacy for the benefit of the host destination plays a significant part in how ICCA plans to increase the market’s footprint and influence in the U.S.A.
Daniel Palomo, Director of Global Sales, Visit Houston said: “The ICCA Congress has been long awaited in Houston and now is finally here. It will be a great platform to help position our destination even further among the leaders in the international association meeting market, especially in the US. We are very proud and excited to host 50 international associations clients and at least 100 global PCOs that can potentially bring additional business to our city.” 
“Also, the Congress will be a great platform to educate our local industry and community through a series of engagement programs mainly focusing on the relevance of the meetings industry beyond the tourism impact.”

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About ICCA
The global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry
ICCA (The International Congress and Convention Association) represents the world’s leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and now comprises over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide.
ICCA has specialised in the international association meetings sector since its establishment in 1963, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.
ICCA members represent the top destinations worldwide and the most experienced specialist suppliers. International meeting planners can rely on the ICCA network to find solutions for all their event objectives, such as: venue selection; technical and strategic advice; assistance with delegate transportation; full convention planning or ad hoc services.