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Largest ICCA Congress ever held in North America kicks off

Event professionals from across the globe have descended on Houston, Texas for the 58th ICCA Congress. With almost 1,000 senior meetings industry professionals and association meeting planners from 75 countries in attendance, the International Congress and Convention Association’s 2019 Congress is the largest ever held in the North American region.

Over four days, delegates will experience a programme of education, networking and business opportunities. Bringing together a roster of global and local speakers from in and outside the meetings industry, sessions at the 2019 edition of ICCA’s annual flagship event will explore collaboration and meetings industry advancement from multiple perspectives. The education session also plays a key focus on knowledge transfer and host destination impact.

ICCA president James Rees and Daniel Palomo, director of global sales at Visit Houston, welcomed attendees at the opening ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Houston.

This year’s congress theme is ‘Innovation and Technology’. Leading figures from various industries are appearing as keynote speakers, including Houston local Scott Parazynski, a former NASA astronaut and the first man to have both flown in space and climbed Mount Everest; Soulaima Gourani, who will lead the annual Copenhagen Denmark Lecture; and Scott Stratten, an expert in viral marketing who will be sharing his knowledge of how organisations can embrace disruption.

Interdisciplinary association Pumps & Pipes, which specialises in creating interactions and knowledge transfer between unconnected professional groups and are based in Houston, will share its expertise on facilitating innovation through cross-industry collaboration as part of the programme.

“Out-of-the-box sessions” include technical tours of Houston Spaceport, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and TMCx, a healthcare and life-science incubator located within the world’s largest medical centre.

In an examination of how association clients view collaboration, a panel of association executives and destination marketers will also debate the successes and failings of how the two sides work together.

Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO said: “At each annual congress, ICCA seeks to break new ground with an innovative, up-to-the-minute programme, providing answers to our global membership’s most pressing questions regarding the evolution of the international association meetings industry and addressing its futuristic topics.”

“The changing face of our industry is a constant source of debate and discussion. Through the unique opportunities for knowledge sharing on offer at the ICCA Congress in Houston, we aim to cement our industry’s vital role as a driver of global progress, with our members as the leading innovators.”