The president of the International Congress and Convention Association Nina Freysen-Pretorius unveiled a five-year strategic plan for expansion for the global association at its General Assembly in Buenos Aires, 1 November.
The association’s chief executive Martin Sirk told delegates meeting in La Rural convention centre in the Argentinian capital that 766 attendees from 66 countries were attending the 54th ICCA Congress, an all time record for the Americas.
The congress opens on 2 November with a ceremony at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires.
Freysen-Pretorius told the General Assembly her leadership would mean a more active association, one that had to change to meet the challenges of the time. “ICCA should be an actor, a shaper of events not a member of the audience,” she said.
She laid out the framework of the new Strategic Plan that the board has been working on for several months and underlined ICCA’s mission statement: “To be the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, creating competitive advantage.”
The big idea to come through from the new plan was investment in a push to bring association executives into the association, rather than continuing to promote the supplier-client relationship alone.
The new direction, Sirk added, was based on a 33% membership response rate to a survey (34 members), which also showed members wanted ICCA to play a bigger role in advocacy for the industry.
In other financial and budget reports, Sirk said the association continued to grow, with membership up last year from 962 to 995. He expected membership to hit, 1,030 in the New Year.
The chief executive reported a surplus of €41,00 and reserves now standing at €1.13m.
The expansion of the association’s administration continues, with Sirk announcing new regional offices in Dubai and South Africa, with new directors to take up their posts in January 2016.
The General Assembly voted to hold membership fees’ increase at 1%, although 25% voted against the small rise, which Sirk said was in line with Dutch inflation.
New technology efficiencies and more members, Sirk said, rather than any above inflation hikes in fees, were the route the board had taken to expand the association’s reach and efficiency.
The General Assembly also heard Houston named as the host of the 2019 ICCA Congress.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: “ICCA should not simply be an observer or an extractor of data from what’s going on in the international association field. This vision places us as a key actor at the heart of what’s going on in the sector.
“It implies that we will be much more active in helping international associations extract value from their events and to help those meetings deliver the outcomes that the associations are striving for.”
The plan also includes a new mission statement, which sets out ICCA’s position as the ‘global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings sector’.