(Pictured L-R: Diane Waldron, Suzanne Singleton and Dennis Speet)

The ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter Annual Conference 2020 was held March 11-12 at the ICC Wales with more than 100 venues, destinations and suppliers attending 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 among the attendees.

“It would be impossible to meet as an industry now and not consider the challenges we are all facing due to the coronavirus,” says Diane Waldron, chairwoman of ICCA UK & Ireland Chapter. “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 was 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 recognized 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.”

Dennis Speet, chief operating officer of ICCA, adds: “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.”

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

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

Speakers at the event included: Diane Waldron, chair of ICCA UK&I; Sven Bossu, head of innovation, European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology; Ian Edwards, CEO, Celtic Manor and ICC Wales; Heledd Williams, head of business events, Visit Wales; Lowri Morgan, athlete, adventurer, presenter; and Jon Davies, Levy UK managing director.

ICCA represents the main specialists in organizing, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 950 member companies and organizations in 88 countries worldwide. ICCA specializes in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivaled data, communication channels and business development opportunities. For more info, visit https://www.iccaworld.org/

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