ICCA was formed in the days when one could not imagine the now omnipresent connectivity. The idea came in 1962, when international air traffic growth started and with it the growth in the number of congresses of associations. The basic idea of exchange of information stayed in focus of the Association throughout its existence. 

How the idea developed shows the growth in the number of participants at ICCA congresses. The first one in Paris was attended by 7 participants. In less than fifteen years, the number of participants increased to over 300, today it is more than 1000.

A key turning point in the functioning of the Association is represented by the year 1972, when ICCA began to collect data on congress organisers into the today legendary database ICCA Data. This was the first database that was soon digitised, which ensured a competitive advantage to the Association. ICCA also followed the Internet boom with the first web site, which went live in 1996.

In the region we have been following ICCA developments from the very beginning. We asked a few meetings providers from Slovenia, who are members of the Association, on the role and importance of ICCA.

Miha-Kovacic-2MIHA KOVAČIČ –Slovenian Convention Bureau

What benefits do ICCA members have from the diverse activities of the Association?
First of all, congratulations to the industry association ICCA for such glorious success on the celebration of its 50th birthday. ICCA is undoubtedly the crucial association of all meeting service providers who are active in the global marketplace of scientific and expert associations. ICCA connected providers from around the world, set the basic standards, implements continuous education and provides marketing opportunities for its members. Undoubtedly it is one of the most important associations of our industry which, despite its ripe old age, is still very popular, as shown by a steady increase in its members. The biggest added value of the association is, of course, its database of scientific and professional associations. To all of us who are active in this field it is a basic tool in the search of potential events for Slovenia. The annual statistics prepared by the ICCA are the only global statistics in the field of conventions and congresses. This data is used both in the strategic documents of countries, destinations, companies in the meetings field and performance analysis as well as in the promotional sense.

What role has ICCA played in the promotion of Slovenia as a meetings destination?
As stated previously, the statistics carried out by ICCA are the only such statistics in the world. Slovenia, despite its small size and very limited funding for international marketing, is well positioned. The capital city Ljubljana is also achieving good results. Of course we are ambitious and we want to improve them, which, given the infrastructure of our capital city and the proactive providers under the auspices of the Convention Bureau Ljubljana, with the establishment of the project ‘Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team’ is very possible. The results will be seen after several years, which is typical for the area of scientific and professional conferences. Personally I believe that inclusion on the global ICCA list contributes to the positive promotion of the destination and increases its visibility.

What is your greeting to the ICCA on its 50th anniversary?
The meetings industry needs such a trade association and it is important that it breathes with the industry and assists it in its development, progress and its success.

Tatjana_Radovic-LJ-CVBTATJANA RADOVIČ –Ljubljana Convention Bureau

What benefits do ICCA members have from the diverse activities of the Association?
Destinations focusing on the international association meetings recognize ICCA as one of the best global business networking and knowledge platforms across the entire industry, offering a vast portfolio of services and creative solutions. Market research through the ICCA database and statistics, destination promotion and benchmark, custom-designed education programmes at different levels –from senior to junior, marketing events and opportunities, knowledge resources and specialised media database to enhance the B2B communication are just some of the benefits that can be outlined. However, to maximise their potential, a proactive approach from the member’s side is essential.
What role has ICCA played in the promotion of Slovenia as a meetings destination?
ICCA has definitely played a positive role in helping promote Slovenia as a meetings destination and develop the related products. It has been an access point to international business and peer-to-peer contacts and a valuable platform for tapping new knowledge. In the recent years, ICCA has lent its support as an international partner to Conventa – the South East European Exhibition for Meetings, Events and Incentives, whose “home town” is Ljubljana. This has helped to develop its brand and communication about the event via the ICCA global channels.

What is your greeting to the ICCA on its 50th anniversary?
50 Years… And Still Rolling!

ICCA 50 - Luka ZajcLUKA ZAJCLjubljana Convention and Exhibition Centre

What benefits do ICCA members have from the diverse activities of the Association?
– Membership provides access to the database of potential meetings, which is an invaluable source of information on international associations and their events.
– The exchange of knowledge and information and networking with other members of the Association, which are linked to specific events (so called ‘business exchange’).
– Education at the Annual Congress and smaller events within RSMP and events in the context of EIBTM and IMEX.
– Networking with representatives of international organisations.

What role has ICCA played in the promotion of Slovenia as a meetings destination?
Being a member of ICCA means to be a part of the meetings industry, bringing together the best meeting services providers from around the world. Through its membership in the ICCA Association the Ljubljana Convention and Exhibition Centre was put on the map of meetings services, and so contributed to the promotion of Slovenia as a meetings destination.

What is your greeting to the ICCA on its 50th anniversary?
To ICCA Association we wish and hope it will continue to do their work so professionally and efficiently as up to now, to refine the meetings database with new and quality data, and to host many more successful congresses, conferences and trainings.
In short, we wish to ICCA success for at least the next 50 years!

BREDA PEČOVNIK  Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre

What benefits do ICCA members have from the diverse activities of the Association?
ICCA with its diverse activities offers a lot to its members. Cankarjev dom, as the main convention centre and professional congress organiser uses the extensive ICCA database as a starting point for international events that could come to Slovenia, we attend numerous educational events organised by ICCA as well as the General Assembly, where every year in short programme we pace ourselves with other expert co-workers and the industry in the world, we also use statistics data as an information on how successful we are in the world market.

What role has ICCA played in the promotion of Slovenia as a meetings destination?
Slovenia stepped out from the multitude of destinations, which offer venues for the meetings industry, a bit more than a decade ago, when ICCA G Workshop was held in Slovenia, which brought clients, organisers and members of the ICCA from abroad. Of course every year we ICCA members are exposed by country, which is also a kind of promotion.

What is your greeting to the ICCA on its 50th anniversary?
We wish all the best to the team and the Association. We are hoping they will continue to work so well, if not even better. Members need you!

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.