Asia Pacific Chapter now ICCA’s largest; members draw up laundry list on things to do to take it forward

From left:

Once said to be too European, the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) largest global chapter is now in Asia-Pacific, with the region making up 25 per cent of the 1,100-strong worldwide membership pool.

During the opening address at the inaugural ICCA Asia Pacific Summit 2019 in Penang on December 5, Jason Yeh, a member of ICCA Board of Directors and chair of the Asia Pacific Chapter, described his chapter as “a big Asia-Pacific tribe”.

From left: ICCA’s Noor Ahmad Hamid; K&A International’s Kitty Wong; Business Events Sarawak’s Amelia Roziman; PCEB’s Ashwin Gunasekeran; and Anderes Fourdy’s Fu Kei Cheong

Since the birth of ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter in 1995 with 97 members, there are now 291 members from across 16 countries and territories. According to Yeh, numbers are climbing steadily.

To take the ICCA Asia Pacific Chapter forward, the Summit created two sessions for members to discuss how they could work together to leverage their expertise and diversity for business opportunities; how they had benefitted from their membership; and what else they hoped the larger association, as well as the local chapter could do to remain relevant and strong.

Members identified rich networking opportunities, access to meetings experts and congress database, and business development among the many benefits they have enjoyed through their ICCA membership.

At the same time, members have also expressed strong desire to see various structural improvements, such as the creation of a multi-tier membership to suit different industry segments, the appointment of multiple directors to support the large and diverse Asia-Pacific region, and an end to chapters working in silo.

Another popular request was the launch of an ICCA-driven congress management education programme built with regional professionals in mind.

Speaking to TTGmice on the sidelines, Noor Ahmad Hamid, ICCA’s regional director Asia Pacific, said: “With this Summit, a new president, a new CEO and 80 per cent of new faces on the Board, ICCA has a huge opportunity to start new things. The two sessions have given us a long list of things our Asia-Pacific members want. We will have to go back and look very carefully into what we can make happen.”

When asked which items on the wishlist were mostly likely to be fulfilled, Noor said: “Greater collaboration among members, enhancements to our future summit to provide the networking and business development opportunities our members seek, and education.”

Noor revealed that a Board working group has been formed to look into developing an ICCA-led certification programme.

“ICCA has been running many training seminars and workshops, but they are not certification or accreditation programmes. The Board working group is seriously considering the possibility of creating a certification programme, but this isn’t so easily done because we need to create a complete module, identify trainers and then train them so they are ready to teach the programme,” he said.

“ICCA was never an organisation that sells education. Our forte is our database and intelligence but if education is in demand, we will look into it,” he added.

As creating a certification or accreditation programme “is a complex process”, Noor was unable to offer a timeline as to when it would materialise.

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