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ICCA Congress lifts off in Houston

ICCA President James Rees welcomed almost 1,000 attendees at the opening ceremony of the 58th ICCA Congress in Houston, Texas, USA – a record number for North American hosts.

Delegates from 75 countries are in attendance for a four-day programme of education, networking and business opportunities.

This year’s congress theme is ‘Innovation and Technology’, and the congress has leading figures from a variety of industries as keynote speakers. They include Houston local Scott Parazynski, a former NASA astronaut; 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.

Some delegates will take 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 centre in Houston.

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 programmes mainly focusing on the relevance of the meetings industry beyond the tourism impact.”


The ICCA Assembly

At the ICCA Assembly on 27 October, it was announced that Calgary, Canada, will be the host of the sixth ICCA Association Meetings Programme (AMP) on 28-30 June 2021. This will be the first time the ICCA AMP will be held in North America.

The AMP is one of ICCA’s  flagship events, bringing members and association executives from across the globe together for open exchange through small-scale networking and interactive knowledge transfer about bidding, designing, organising and promoting international association meetings.

Calgary’s bid was strong and attracted major support from 23 Canadian ICCA members in addition to the ICCA members represented in the Energy City Alliance.

ICCA Chief Executive Senthil Gopinath said of Calgary’s selection: “It’s very significant for ICCA to host the AMP in Calgary. The entire meetings industry of Calgary has shown phenomenal support and enthusiasm. We are excited to visit Calgary and are sure there will be a huge interest from suppliers and associations from all over the world to join us and deepen their knowledge about association meetings research, bidding, sales and marketing.”

The 2020 edition of the AMP will take place in in Tirol, Austria from 29 June until 1 July.

Other business decided at the General Assembly included the awarding of the Moishes Shuster Award to Vienna CVB’s Ulrike von Arnold and a budget passed including an 18% growth plan.

New launch initiatives included an ICCA Association Community and a Future Leaders Council.