I Was There in Person

Our editor-in-chief Marcel Vissers attended the last ICCA World Congress in Krakow and reflects on its significance for the meetings industry.
30th Nov, 2022

What a satisfaction to attend another conference in the flesh. After three years of being cut off from direct eye contact with soulmates and being completely wrapped up in digital pulses, I finally saw the real world of meetings, greetings and embracing again.

The beautiful Polish city of KrakoĢw was the perfect place to experience the long-waited, in-person, most important annual event of meetings industry − the 61st World Congress of ICCA, the association serving the world of international conventions. Around 900 delegates had registered for the congress according to the ICCA staff. With my 4-day attendance, I experienced first-hand how much damage the Corona atomic bomb had done to the meetings industry. Friends from the past and colleagues from the publishing world I longed to revisit with were no longer there. Many anchor contributors of ICCA had disappeared and new faces appeared in their places.

It brought out a remark from a well-known Asian DMC that she was no longer recognised by the younger crowd. It made me note that much of the ego culture in the meetings industry had also disappeared down the same route − and I’m glad it did by the way. Still, one thing I have to get off my chest is how expensive the ICCA membership fee has become! Suggested new rate is about €3,450 per year from 2023!

If I make a comparison with SMEI − the Global Sales and Marketing Professional Association, I no longer know what standard fees are and what value members get from that price. I also notice more and more that members are struggling with the membership bill... moreover, the registration fees for congress and meetings are not cheap either. All added up, it results in a small sour burp for many associations. I would still urge a little soul-searching about “how far can we go.”

By Marcel A.M. Vissers, HQ's editor-in-chief

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