58th ICCA Congress

The 58th ICCA Congress was staged in Houston on 27-30 October. Poland was represented by delegates of Polish Tourism Organisation - Poland Convention Bureau, Copernicus Science Centre, Grupa MTP, Lubelskie Convention Bureau, Łódź Convention Bureau, and Polish Airlines LOT.


ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) dates back to 1963. Today it represents close to 1,000 member companies and organisations from 86 countries, involved in the organisation and coordination of meetings, transportation and accommodation. Each year ICCA uses collected data on association meetings to compile the ICCA Statistics Report Country & City Rankings. Covered by the publication for many years, Poland maintains a stable position and is the only member state of the Visegrad Group to be ranked in the top twenty (

ICCA now features 15 members from Poland representing different sectors of the meetings industry. Ever since Poland Convention Bureau was set up as part of its structures in 2002, Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna - POT) is a member of the association. International Congress Centre in Katowice and Łódź Convention Bureau joined in 2019. Delegates of the member companies were greeted during the General Assembly and had an opportunity to give brief presentations during relevant sector meetings.

There is no question that ICCA Congress is an excellent platform of knowledge and inspiration plus an event that reinforces people-to-people contacts and builds confidence in particular members of the organisation. I am delighted that each year Poland is increasingly active in the international forum and that more and more domestic organisations perceive benefits in cooperation with ICCA. Łódź joining the international community demonstrates our business maturity and skilful application of the global trend of growing significance of second-- and third-choice cities”, said Aneta Książek, a delegate of Polish Tourism Organisation – Poland Convention Bureau.

The four-day congress in Houston was attended by close to 1,000 professionals of the meetings industry and representatives of international associations from 75 countries worldwide. Participants took advantage of a comprehensive education programme and - as part of a business exchange workshop - had a chance to exchange information about customers and their conferences.

With innovations and technology as the leitmotif of this year’s congress, particular sessions were dedicated to, i.a. good practices in securing events, cooperation with the scientific milieu as part of the Congress Ambassadors programme, and new trends affecting the sector of meetings and events. In addition to experts and topics originating from the meetings industry, the diverse congress programme was based on crucial figures representing a wide range of sectors, including Scott Parazyński, former NASA astronaut who also climbed Mount Everest, Soulaima Gourani, one of Denmark’s most inspiring women, and Scott Stratten, viral marketing expert.

The Congress also saw the announcement of winners of the ICCA Marketing Award competition recognizing special accomplishments in efforts to market a city, a region or a product. With destinations from all over the world competing for BMA, the international judging panel pays particular attention to the innovative character of projects and a distinct business approach. This year the award was presented to Estonia Convention Bureau. In the past Poland was also a winner of the competition - in 2012 recognition was won by the Gdańsk Christmas Baubles CSR project, implemented by Gdańsk Convention Bureau at the Barcelona-based EIBTM 2012, one of the largest European trade shows of the meetings industry, and in 2011 Poland Convention Bureau POT advanced to the final round with a wrap-up of the “Polska. Move your Imagination” competition. Actions of this kind unquestionably contribute to better recognisability, especially as the award is complemented by the option of an additional advertising campaign via the ICCA platform.

It is worth mentioning that James Rees, ICCA President, expressed his deepest appreciation for Anna Górska, Chairperson of the ICCA Central European Chapter, and presented her with a special distinction in recognition of six years of cooperation (three two-year terms).

Next editions of the ICCA congress will be staged in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2020) and Cartagena, Columbia (2021).

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