The ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter Annual Conference 2020 was held at the ICC Wales on 11th and 12th March. Over 100 venues, destinations and suppliers attended the event, including more than 40 first time attendees.

The event, which took place against a backdrop of increased challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak, provided an opportunity and outlet for positive discussion and forward-looking debate amongst the attendees.

The International Convention Centre Wales hosted the two-day conference on the 11th and 12th of March. The two days included education, personal development and case studies of successful association events. It also provided significant networking opportunities.

In addition to the busy programme, the conference included the final of a competition created to reward newcomers to the industry. The winner was from Jill Sinclair from VisitAberdeenshire, who will receive registration, travel and accommodation to the 2020 ICCA World Congress.

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Dennis Speet, Chief Operating Officer of ICCA also attended the event and added that: “ICCA has just announced a significant campaign in partnership with AIPC, UFI and SISO to tackle the threat of the coronavirus. This conference was a superb opportunity to highlight the fact that events are still happening and delivering great outcomes for attendees. As an industry, we are sharing stories, ideas and best practice that will ensure long term success. Events remain the best possible option for knowledge sharing and it was a pleasure to see the UK & Ireland Chapter so resolute.”

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Diane Waldron, The ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter Chair and Sales and Marketing Director from The QEII Centre said: “It would be impossible to meet as an industry now and not consider the challenges we are all facing due to the coronavirus. It was incredibly important for us to gather at this time, share experiences and identify both solutions and opportunities that can help us all move forward. The atmosphere and attitude amongst delegates were one of resilience and a desire to look ahead. Through a combination of flexibility and a supportive approach to the wider industry, clients and each other as individuals, we can forge ahead with plans for the future. Whilst there was talk of cancellations and immediate impact, it was recognised by all that many association events are booking two, three, even five or ten years ahead. The immediate future undoubtedly holds challenges, but we must remain focused on long term success and this conference demonstrated an industry-wide desire to do that.”