We are 10 years old, and more active than ever

We are 10 years old, and more active than ever

10th Assembly and Education Forum on the Algarve (15-18 April)

The meeting in Lisbon in 2005 to push for the Iberian Chapter

The meeting in Lisbon in 2005 to push for the Iberian Chapter

Participants at the 2008 Assembly in Mallorca

Participants at the 2008 Assembly in Mallorca

Ten years ago, in the spring of 2005, a group of professionals from the MICE sector in Spain and Portugal got together in Lisbon to give an added boost to the Iberian Chapter of ICCA. They believed that the importance of the Spanish and Portuguese markets – the Iberian market – justified the need for leading businesses and institutions in the sector from both countries to come together more actively within a joint chapter. A year later the first Assembly and Education Forum was held in Malaga and, since then, the Chapter has kept growing in terms of the number of associate members, activities and presence in the meetings market.

The annual gatherings, which include the Assembly of members, to give it its proper title, and the Education Forum, where the main trends and challenges for the sector are debated, were soon joined by another, the Client/Supplier Workshop. This meeting between suppliers and the client organizers of major conferences is a proven formula when it comes to winning new business. Also added to the annual programme was a Corporate Social Responsibility activity and support for sustainability. Finally, it was decided to open up participation at these meetings to professionals who are not members of ICCA but who want to find out more about our association and the advantages of belonging to it.

 

Protagonists in the sector

Session on the ICCA Database during the Gran Canaria Assembly in 2012

Session on the ICCA Database during the Gran Canaria Assembly in 2012

CSR activity (reforestation) during the Azores Assembly in 2013

CSR activity (reforestation) during the Azores Assembly in 2013

The Chapter has gained a central role at fairs like the EIBTM (our sponsor), which organizes the ICCA Spanish Seminar (in Spanish), and has joined platforms in the sector such as the Forum of Associations, which also includes the Spanish Federation of Professional Conference Organizers (OPC España), the Spanish Fairs Association (AFE), Meeting Professionals International (MPI España), SITE España and the Spanish Association of Destination Management Companies (Spain DMCs). The Chapter attends all the professional gatherings it is invited to, taking part in seminars and round tables where it offers its views and experience. Also, several specialist magazines in Spain and Portugal work with the Chapter as Media Partners, publishing news releases and helping us to promote our activities. Lastly, we have set up a bi-monthly Newsletter to tell the news about the Chapter itself and its members.

Training programme

The 10th Assembly to be held on the Algarve from 15 to 18 April will include a highly interesting training programme:

ICCA Spanish Seminar (EIBTM 2014)

ICCA Spanish Seminar (EIBTM 2014)

The current board of directors

The current board of directors

Essential technology for our industry will be very much to the fore at the meeting. We will be looking at how to make the most from new communications and social networks as applied to the world of events. It won’t be the first time technology has been discussed, but the sheer size of the phenomenon and the continual developments mean we need to keep up with the opportunities it presents, among them marketing strategies to be handled via the web. We will also be able to learn about ICCA’s new tool for getting the most out of Big Data at work, one which opens up some unexpected possibilities.

Another session, with the suggestive title of “Neuroevents, or the art of mobilizing audiences,” will enable us to learn how neuroscience is demonstrating efficient ways of getting a public to react, to mobilize them and to effectively influence their attitudes and their behaviour. As has become a tradition at our assemblies, there will be a Corporate Social Responsibility event that our host, the Algarve tourism board, will be complementing with a swift presentation of a destination that is so attractive for meetings tourism.

We hope the meeting will be well attended, as we have achieved in so many of the activities we have carried out over the past 10 years since the Chapter was formally constituted in 2005, either solo or in partnership with other associations in the sector. Of course, at the last Annual Assembly, in Girona in 2014, we set a new record attendance.

This year will also see the election of a new board of directors to replace the one that has been running the Chapter for the past two years.