Only four years after joining the meeting industry Anja Stas, CCO of Flanders Meeting and Convention Center Antwerp joins the ICCA board as co-chair for the Sector Venues. She was elected with a vast majority of the votes. The board of ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association, has never had a female member from Belgium before.

ICCA is internationally one of the most important players in business tourism, also known as the MICE sector. They are the reference for policy and knowledge exchange. The association deals with challenges such as ecology, safety, economic impact for the cities, etc. Under the coordination of ICCA, various parties such as hotels, destinations, transport organizations, conference centres, conference organizers, tourist offices, airlines, etc., discuss the challenges for the future. The fact that someone from a congress centre in Antwerp joins the board of ICCA creates opportunities, because the interests of conference venues are now even more strongly represented.

Anja Stas on her election:

“ICCA has given me a lot and I’m happy to be able to give back, to contribute to furthering ICCA’s strengths as a thought leader, educational facilitator, global meeting expert but also as an innovative force to guide us into future waters, with venues playing a strategic role.”

Live meetings are still gaining importance in these digital ages. Real connections cannot be replaced by virtual meetings. Anja believes that there is more to venues than square meters. Venues should go ‘beyond space’, beyond the operational part and be redefined into meeting spaces according to the needs of the customer. The future of venues in the meeting sector lies in working across disciplines for a truly integrated approach built on a better understanding of processes and proactively creating better solutions.