ICCA Unveils 60-Year Report

ICCA, the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, has unveiled a reflective and forward-looking report featuring video interviews with leaders from the business events and international association sectors, with animated graphics to illustrate how international business events have grown over the period.

Beginning with David Goodger, managing director EMEA at Tourism Economics who anticipates stubborn recessionary pressures due to mounting costs, long term higher interest rates and global inflation compounded further by staffing pressures, he warns of the geopolitical and safety concerns that impact future planning. On a positive note, travel continues to rise, while ‘slower travel’ to accommodate ‘bleisure’ is being driven, in part, by demand for more sustainability.

Frank Murunga, Director of Destination Marketing, Rwanda Convention Bureau, cites the impacts in foreign exchange, supply-chain employment, and the multiplier effects on sectors servicing business events and the welcome foreign investments into meeting infrastructure in emerging markets.

The Iceberg Ambassador, and ‘Man on the Hill’, Tommy Goodwin of the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance stresses the importance of advocacy from the smallest town Mayor, to the United Nations. The industry must illustrate value to the strategic agendas of government using case studies and illustrate how business events contribute to transforming skills, develop trade and investment, and adaptation to the digitization of economies and societies. Most importantly, Goodwin stresses the importance of the industry to act collectively and consistently.

IMEX chief executive, Carina Bauer, insists on the need to integrate career and educational opportunities into the curricula of academic institutions with CPD embedded into the industry associations to ensure a cradle to grave pathway into the industry. Adaptability will be key, she stresses, citing the need to learn from other sectors and the future generations. Anita Mendiratta echoes Bauer’s commentary, emphasising the need to market the Travel, Hospitality, and Event sector to academic and vocational institutions and to sow the seed of today to protect the industry tomorrow.

Mendiratta also emphasises the need to maintain the community and connective tissue of the industry through the relationship capital of meetings and events.

Rodney Cox of the International Gas Union (IGU) and director of DELAPRO Pty Ltd, claims that no-one need ever attend a meeting again to source information, but that the new proposition should centre on the exchange of knowledge and wisdom. This will require forward thinking and a focus on the future challenge facing the community in question, a redesign of future meetings to facilitate technology-enabled wisdom sharing, and a far more collaborative relationship with the host destination beyond the outdated RFP. Cox also encourages the narrative of the ‘Efficiency Dividend’ of meetings to echo the advocacy call of Goodwin.

And Fernando Fondevila of Promtur Panama and Monica Fontana of the European Rental Association conclude the Global Perspective with an emphasis on sustainability demands of association communities, accessibility and inclusivity most notably in association gravitation to new markets and regions such as LATAM as associations pursue growth and legacy creation.

Whilst a positive report in sentiment, the lack of hard data shared within it illustrates the advocacy gap which needs to be addressed through measurement of association meeting impacts and the legacies derived from both individual events, and collectively as an industry. The first ICCA Association Impact Masterclass in Kuching, Sarawak, launches in April to address just that. The Iceberg will be on site to capture the framework devised to assist ICCA members and international associations in partnership with #MEET4IMPACT.

View / download the Report here:

Beyond Borders: How association business events bring the world together

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