top of page
  • rdalessandro

Transforming global events together in a new way at ICCA’s 59th Congress

Part of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)’s strategic plan is to create and deliver a world-class Congress each year for its members and this year, more than ever has been a year when the Association needed to be brave and take risks in the knowledge that the Congress could not be business as usual. So in 2020, ICCA re-imagined the future of global events and did it collaboratively. This year’s Congress programme spanned a full 6 weeks incorporating knowledge exchange and on-demand education before the event itself on 1-3 November.

ICCA took the decision back in March to stage this year’s Congress in a hybrid format, seeing it as a rare opportunity to extend the life of the event through additional knowledge exchange across their Topic weeks that included Storytelling, Crowd-sourced topic week and the Kaohsiung Protocol strategy week - each designed to provide great content to all sectors and all regions.

September 22 kicked off the interactive Congress ‘Road to Kaohsiung’ programme, which ended with the Congress event itself and finally ‘Kaohsiung Protocol’ - a framework identifying major trends and key strategies which will enable the international meetings industry to thrive - created jointly with delegates.

ICCA Congress 2020 was a unique event that took on a life of its own, requiring decisions to be made along the way in response to the fluid situation with the pandemic, but the ICCA community was at the forefront of all those decisions and couldn’t wait for the start on November 1.

The event was different in many ways from previous iterations, mainly due to the hybrid format which allowed delegates to attend in the host destination of Kaohsiung, from one of the 8 regional hubs, or virtually. This flexibility was a decision to allow as many delegates to join as possible, given the circumstances.

In Africa, the Regional Event was hosted by the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau at the Century City Convention Centre, with all safety protocols in place. ICCA Africa is one of 14 Associations that have come together to form the SA Events Council, an industry-wide coalition focused on regenerating the struggling events industry in South Africa.

This year’s Congress required huge effort and support from all stakeholders. From the Board of Directors to ICCA colleagues and external support from Martiz and DRPG in terms of the event design and broadcasting platform, and all involved in the organisation of the regional hubs, to the delegates themselves through their contribution to the Kaohsiung Protocol.

The programme contained some of the best, world-leading speakers and educational content in ICCA Congress history. It was a record-breaking event which delivered over 100 hours of live and on-demand content to over 1500 attendees; via more than 100 sessions and 220 speakers over the 6 week period.

“This was uncharted territory for everyone in the context of the pandemic which forced the entire world to embrace technological solutions and revise the ways in which we traditionally do business."

"Challenges across this event ranged from health and safety barriers affecting travel and opportunities to meet in person, to modifying the way education is delivered and selecting the correct tools to achieve this; however, it was also a chance to be innovative and rethink the way we do things so that we can fortify the future of the events industry,” said Regional Director for ICCA Africa, Esmaré Steinhöfel.




Robyn D’Alessandro

Cell: +27 (0) 76 684 3376

36 views0 comments
bottom of page