Global associations and meetings industry professionals came together for the 2021 ICCA Congress across five different cities and via a virtual platform.
Twelve hundred from 83 countries were united at the Congress 24-27 October and enjoyed 100 hours of live content and 120 speakers to the stages.
Hopes for one big unifying Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, were dashed by Covid travel restrictions but ICCA still convened its delegates under the theme ‘Forward to our Future’.
The Congress content demonstrated what delegates could anticipate from business meetings of tomorrow. The hub-and-spoke model featured live events from main host city Cartagena as well as from Abu Dhabi, Paris, France, Nagasaki, Seoul, and Johannesburg.
Sessions were tailored to the regional business events industry of their Congress Hub.
“We are very pleased with the success of the 60th ICCA Congress, which was a showcase of building global communities. More than 300 of the world’s leading international associations have now experienced the new possibilities in event organisation,” said Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO.
“With the re-opening of business in certain parts of the world, it’s evident that our industry is getting back faster than expected in organising face-to-face events. While the tools and strategies will continue to evolve, we do anticipate associations to include best practices and technological advances in future meetings. As such, our aim for this Congress was to blaze a trail for our industry’s way forward, together, into our revised future,” Gopinath said.
The educational programme honed in on current meta trends shaping the business events industry and the world. Meta trends are drivers of change that influence trends and megatrends. The panel sessions brought together experts from diverse fields and leading companies such as McKinsey, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., bestselling author Josh Linkner, and Chilean activist Julia Martinez. Speakers provided global and regional perspectives into eight meta trends: innovation, agility and collaboration; sustainability; organisational culture; the future of work; consumer choice and event experience; future generation; diversity and inclusion; community building; and the impact of technology.
“The crucial and eye-opening conversations revealed that our industry is at the forefront of the critical issues that are shaping our future. Not only are we aware of the meta trends, we are leading the charge and catalysing real change. For example, our industry is deepening our commitment to becoming a more inclusive and sustainable industry,” stated Gopinath.
“The outlook of ICCA’s global community through the current challenges has been one of optimism, collaboration, flexibility, and openness to change. The present situation created an opportunity for the meetings industry to reassess our core values and mission. The time is now for us to build it back, better, and the 2021 ICCA Congress has proven that we are doing just that.”