International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) President James Rees released the following Presidential Message, 20 April:
Over the Easter weekend, when many ICCA members traditionally celebrate with family and friends, we will have spent time connecting with each other in a way very different to our usual gatherings and using technology to maintain some semblance of normality. The desire to see and hear from loved ones becomes even more powerful when we are forced to be apart.
In our working environments, we are using digital technologies on a day-to-day basis and gradually coming to terms with to our ‘new normal’.
Over recent weeks, I have had the pleasure of speaking with countless ICCA members and throughout these discussions there is one consistent message; we are missing the camaraderie, interaction and face-to-face contact that we take for granted and this is having an impact on our learning and knowledge-sharing. The physical presence, the sense of belonging and the building of trusted relationships by meeting in person is irreplaceable.
The team at ICCA HQ have been increasing educational content via digital channels and these online activities have been extremely well received.
Our diverse membership appreciates a nimble approach in adapting to sudden changes in how we operate. However, our longer-term actions will require input and guidance from the wider ICCA membership. For this reason, we are looking to engage you all in an invaluable ‘State of the Industry’ survey which will seek to uncover new ways in which ICCA can support you and the associations we serve. I urge you all to respond to this survey with honest and open comments.
Using the insight gained, ICCA members will work together to map out a pathway for our industry, looking at ways we may need to change our businesses and event formats and how we can all adapt to new societal pressures and priorities. The changes we make will be fundamental to the global recovery of our industry, but I am confident that through collaboration we will return together, stronger once global restrictions are lifted.
For now, we continue to stand together while we are far apart.