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About ICCA

Shaping the future and value of international association meetings

ICCA - the International Congress and Convention Association - is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry.
ICCA is the global association leader for the international meetings industry and specialises in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, education, communication channels, and business development and networking opportunities. Since its establishment in 1963, ICCA represents the world's top destinations and most experienced suppliers specialised in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises of over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries and territories worldwide
As of 2020 ICCA encompasses all major stakeholders in the world of association meetings, by opening its doors to associations with the launch of the “ICCA Association Community”, offering education, connections, tools and resources to associations to organise more effective meetings.

ICCA Benefits for suppliersICCA Benefits for associations

ICCA's Head office is based in the Netherlands. ICCA's Regional Offices are based in Malaysia, South Africa, U.A.E., U.S.A. and Uruguay. See Contact us for details.

About the international association meetings market

The main criterion a supplier uses to segment the market is by the initiator of the meeting, since the initiator determines what kind of meeting is organised and the kind of supplier services needed. When segmenting the international meetings market by initiator, two primary markets can be defined: Corporate Meetings and Non-corporate Meetings. The latter consists of international governmental organisations and international non-governmental organisations or associations.

ICCA’s area of expertise is in the international association meetings market, but it also assists ICCA members to share knowledge on the other segments.

The association market covers a wide range of meeting types and categories: medical meetings (the largest segment); scientific; other academic; trade organisations; professional bodies; social groupings. In terms of size, budget, duration and complexity there are massive
variations between and also within categories. However, some similarities can be identified:

  • Almost every ‘specialty’ has an association which holds one or more meetings.
  • Most associations have meetings that are repeated at regular intervals. These can be annual, biennial etc.
  • The destinations rotate. They rarely return to the same destination within a very short time-span.
  • The initiative to host a meeting often comes from the local counterpart, e.g. the national association. If that body is difficult to motivate to organise the meeting, the chances are high that the meeting will be scheduled elsewhere.
  • Association meetings have a very long lead-time; it is not unusual to find lead times of 5 years or more.
  • It is estimated that a growing minority of about 25-30% of the decision-making processes no longer include an official bidding procedure, but have a “central initiator” who selects the location and venues based on pre-determined and strict criteria.

It is estimated that there are approximately 24,000 different association meetings organised on a regular basis.The ICCA Association Database has collected information on approximately 80% of them.


Two of ICCA's founding fathers: Jean Claude (Left) and Moises Shuster (right).
Two of ICCA's founding fathers: Jean Claude (Left) and Moises Shuster (right).

ICCA was founded in 1963 by a group of travel agents (see full ICCA History). Their first and foremost aim was to evaluate practical ways to get the travel industry involved in the rapidly expanding market of international meetings and to exchange actual information related to their operations in this market. This initiative soon proved to have been taken at the right moment: the meeting industry expanded even more rapidly than foreseen. As a result of which representatives from all the various sectors of the meetings industry from all over the world applied for ICCA membership. 

ICCA now is one of the most prominent organisations in the world of international meetings. It is the only association that comprises a membership representing the main specialists in handling, transporting and accommodating international events. With its new strategic plan, launched in 2015, ICCA aims to get closer to association meeting planners and make them truly part of the ICCA community.

ICCA's membership network of over 1,000 suppliers to the international meetings industry spans the globe, with members almost 100 countries. All companies and organisations which have a strategic commitment to provide top quality products and services for international meetings should consider ICCA membership as part of their long term plans.

Vision & Mission

Vision: Shaping the future and value of international association meetings

Mission: To be the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, creating:

  • competitive advantage and business opportunities
  • successful outcomes for association meetings

Why ICCA membership

  • If international association meetings are an important part of your business mix, there is simply no better nor more cost-effective way to win business from this sector!  
  • If you're looking to join an effective, global, business networking platform which brings together the top directors and thought-leaders from all regions of the world and all sectors of the meetings industry, look no further: ICCA is where they link up and do business.
  • If you want to encounter unique, stimulating, forward-thinking, strategic-level education and debate, join us at the annual ICCA Congress.  And if you want your research, sales and marketing teams to win more business, ICCA has great educational opportunities for them too.
  • If your organisation is genuinely committed long-term to the international meetings industry, we believe you have a role to play in our global business community.  And ICCA membership is the clearest possible way to tell the market about your commitment and professionalism.
  • If you want to belong to a trade association that aims to deliver creative solutions for each member's unique meetings-related objectives, ICCA is your answer.

Each ICCA member company/organisation creates their own unique value-mix from ICCA’s extensive range of member benefits to deliver specific business objectives within their international meetings strategy. 

View all benefits for suppliers

Why ICCA membership in times of global economic turbulence?

The international association meetings market is recognised as the most resilient and dynamic sector of our industry when the global economy faces difficult conditions, and should be an essential element in any destination's business mix.  ICCA is quite simply the perfect solution to penetrate this market and to build long-term protection against economic turmoil!