ICCA plans to form Mideast chapter


An international meeting association is looking at forming a Middle East chapter as part of its efforts to raise awareness of the meetings market in the region.

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which will be taking part in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, also aims to recruit professional meeting suppliers from the Middle East, who are interested in getting involved in international meetings and provide statistics on the international meetings market in the Middle East.

"Good publicity during last year's event resulted in great interest of companies to join ICCA. The Middle East shows a potential growth in the meetings market. ICCA can provide the business leads that help in attracting more international meetings," said Ksenija Martinec-Polla, ICCA's manager membership.

ICCA is also organising a seminar on "Maximising Meetings Business" at the ATM.

ICCA is an international association with over 600 members in 80 countries, comprising all suppliers to the international meetings industry: congress travel and destination management companies; airlines, PCO's, convention bureaux, meetings hotels, convention centres, meetings associations, meetings information specialists - such as marketing consultants, publishing houses, audio-visual equipment, conference insurance etc.

All members offer a comprehensive service to organisers of international conference and other events.

Winner of the prestigious ICCA Best Marketing Award 2000 was the Palais des Congres de Montreal, Canada, which was presented in November in Hong Kong at the closing ceremony of the 4th ICCA Congress incorporating the 39th ICCA General Assembly.

The purpose of the award is to recognise outstanding achievement within the ICCA membership and give examples of successful strategies which might inspire others in their own marketing and promotion.

The entries received were whittled down to three grand finalists who were invited to Hong Kong to present their campaigns during the Congress

"The quality of submissions was the highest since the award's inception. Selecting one winner from the finalists was very difficult," said Andrea Shamoian, chairman of the judges and vice president of group sales at the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, US, the first winner in 1997.

The judges awarded points in four categories: Overview, Objective, Campaign and Results, the last two comprising 70 per cent of the score. They felt the winning campaign had to be not only creative but also effective in producing the results outlined in the objectives.

With the slogan "Twice as many reasons", Todd Chartebois, director, sales and marketing at the Palais des Congres de Montreal, revealed how the centre was hoping to recapture its market share with a three-phase campaign during an extensive expansion programme.

The programme highlighted the acceleration of progress in the meetings industry at the start of the new millennium.

Technology was the recurrent theme as many sessions focused on ways to conduct business 21st century style, using leading edge marketing tools and strategies.