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BestCities partners Dubai and Houston collaborate to maintain ICCA Congress momentum

At IMEX America, BestCities Global Alliance partner-cities Dubai and Houston promised continuity between the record-breaking 2018 ICCA Congress, which will take place in 11-14 November 2018 in Dubai, and the 2019 ICCA Congress, which will take place 27-30 October 2019 in Houston.

Steen Jakobsen of Dubai Business Events and Daniel Palomo of Visit Houston joined Paul Vallee, BestCities Global Alliance Managing Director and Dennis Speet, Interim CEO of ICCA to discuss legacy and knowledge transfer for associations, analysing the winning submissions from this year’s Incredible Impacts grant programme which were announced earlier this month.

Final preparations are being made for this year’s Congress in Dubai, which will be the first edition to take place in the Middle East in ICCA’s 55-year history. Beyond the core educational programme, delegates will have the opportunity to visit some iconic locations in the city, engage in CSR activities and explore Dubai’s growing knowledge economy.

The next theme for Houston’s ICCA Congress, Innovation and Technology, will be announced at IMEX. Also, the final countdown to the #HoustonLaunch will begin, as next year marks the first time in 32 years that the ICCA Congress takes place in the US, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the NASA moon landing.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities Global Alliance, said: "It’s fantastic to see two of our member cities hosting the ICCA Congress back-to-back, and collaborating to share knowledge, promote eachother and inspire other associations to create their own legacies.

“Both Houston and Dubai have a wealth of knowledge to share on science, technology and innovation, with aspects of these industries reflected in the education programme of the ICCA Congress and in many features of the winning Incredible Impacts submissions."

Daniel Palomo, Director of Global Sales at Visit Houston, said: "We use the #HoustonLaunch campaign to look forward, with leading suppliers and association meeting planners from all over the world, to the ICCA Congress in Houston, but also, we use it as an angle to profile Houston as innovation, technology and one of the energy capitals of the world.

On top of that, 2019 is the perfect year for Houston to take the reigns as its the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, in which Houston’s NASA mission control played a huge part. The education programme will include out of the box sessions at Space Center Houston where astronauts follow trainings."

Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President of Dubai Business Events, said: "As a member of the BestCities Global Alliance, we understand the crucial role collaborations can play in this industry, and how knowledge sharing can benefit all parties involved.

The upcoming ICCA Congress in Dubai has been many years in the planning, and there are numerous learnings that we will be eager to share with Houston. As we focus on showing meetings industry professionals and association executives the best Dubai has to offer, and putting on a world-class event, we look forward to welcoming ICCA delegates next month and creating a strong legacy."

Interim CEO of ICCA, Dennis Speet, said: "In all these years that ICCA has organised Congresses around the world, we have never had the chance to promote two Congresses in different years at the same time. Best Cities, Dubai and Houston came to the conclusion that this year should be an exception.

For the first time in history, ICCA is promoting two Congresses in different destinations in the same period, with the hosts joining forces to showcase the ICCA Congress as a leading event in the meetings industry calendar. This is a fantastic example of cities looking beyond their own interest at the benefit of the organiser and symbolises the collaborative spirit of our both industry and the ICCA community."

The Incredible Impacts case studies on the legacy of international association meetings are included in the ICCA's recently-published industry report, "A Modern History of International Association Meetings - Update: 1963-2017", which is available for public download on the ICCA website at


For further information, interviews or imagery for BestCities contact:

Daniel Glendinning at Wire, on or +44 (0)141 648 9610


For further details on Incredible Impacts:

About ICCA

The global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry

ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) represents the world's leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide. Since its establishment over 50 years ago, ICCA specialises in the international association meetings sector, 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: venue selection; technical and strategic advice; assistance with delegate transportation; full convention planning or ad hoc services.

About BestCities
BestCities Global Alliance is an international network of 12 leading convention destinations around the globe. They are distinguished by the commitment of the members' convention offices to offering special standards of service. Members include Berlin, Bogotá, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Madrid, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo and Vancouver.

By working together, BestCities adds a unique value to its member cites. This ‘Alliance thinking’ not only brings a level of creative client solutions no individual partner city could deliver on their own, but in turn helps BestCities’ members achieve their own objectives, better than they could alone. @BestCitiesGA.