Hybridised 59th ICCA Congress a blueprint for future association meetings

ICCA managed to incorporate the majority of the meetings industry associations as a part of the Congress

ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association has concluded its six-week-long Congress, which was headlined by the signing of the Kaohsiung Protocol, a framework of macro and micro trends and strategies for meetings.

The entire event comprised a series of online and in-person sessions in Kaohsiung and eight hubs, attracting 1,500 delegates, 280 associations, and featuring 220 speakers in 100 hours of content.

ICCA managed to incorporate the majority of the meetings industry associations as a part of the Congress

The six-week programme included four days of live broadcasts on September 22, October 22, and November 2 and 3, which were open to the wider ICCA community providing speakers and topics beyond the meetings industry, from macroeconomic trends, to health and safety protocols and certifications, and trends in technology and education, to diversity and inclusion.

These live broadcasts featured outside the industry experts and world-renowned speakers such as Bob Bejan – Microsoft, Yasmin Poole – Plan International Australia, Lars Oskan-Henriksen – Copenhagen Pride, and many more. With a total of 220 speakers and 100 hours of content this ICCA Congress was by far the richest ever in terms of speaker profiles and content. All the content is available to delegates until the end of the year.

There was also three weeks of Topic Weeks, where each of the weeks covered one topic for each of the ICCA sectors reserving the Monday for associations. With nearly 280 associations registered for the ICCA Congress, it was by far the highest number of associations ever at an ICCA event and they were the key focus of this years’ Congress. They had not only specific days reserved for them during the Topic Weeks, but also played an active role in the rest of the programme, as well as in the Kaohsiung Protocol providing the base group for the research done prior to the Congress, and providing continued input in live sessions in shaping the framework.

Finally, the programme offered in the hubs were all designed in collaboration with ICCA to ensure the consistency of the messaging while including the local flavour and needs.

Another first for ICCA was the support of government and politicians in Kaohsiung or in one of the hubs. Speakers included the mayor of Kaohsiung, the Chinese Taipei digital minister Audrey Tang, and the Colombian president Ivan Duque.

Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO said: “In a time when our industry has been suffering more than any other, it was heartwarming to see such great support from the governments in our host destination and hub locations. This is a sign that the authorities are recognising the importance of our industry to the economic recovery of destinations, and are supportive of this new hub-and-spoke model as a safe way to meet even during the pandemic.”