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ICCA CONGRESS 2010ICCA Chief Executive Officer Martin Sirkmarks the 49th ICCA Congress card for this month'sHyderabad gathering of the association:Martin SirkDevdutt PattanaikOctober 2010 Conference+Meetings World 27ICCA gathers the clansEntering the final, frantic preparationstages for Hyderabad this month, wewere expecting final delegate numbersto be around 750, not quite a record forAsia (that was Thailand in 2007), but on apar with our 2008 Congress in Canada.The finalists for the ICCA Best MarketingAwards have been selected, and we've gotan intriguing competition in store betweenIceland Convention Bureau, SandtonConvention Centre from South Africa, andthe UK's Excel London ICC. The first roundjudging panel believes we've got one of thestongest line-ups ever in a competition thatis renowned for the quality of creativity andexecution on display.The speaker line up includes topinternational association executives fromorganisations such as SoroptimistsInternational, World Allergy Organisation,European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), theFederation of European NeuroscienceSocieties, SIGGRAPH Asia, the InternationalDiabetes Federation and the InternationalFertiliser Association. There will be businessleaders, marketing innovators and brandingexperts from outside our industry; specialistsin fields such as business culture, mediarelations and advanced presentationtechniques. And that's before we include thedozens of senior ICCA members who havevolunteered to share their expertise andexperience as panellists, speakers, anddiscussion forum leaders. Highlights include the Copenhagen-Denmark Lecture by Devdutt Pattanaik, oneof the star speakers from the TED Indiaconference, who will give an Easternperspective on what success means in aglobalised economy; and we're thrilled tohave Svend Olling with us. He is now theDanish Ambassador to Bangladesh, but lastyear he was the Danish government's topman involved with organising the massiveCOP15 climate change conference inCopenhagen.Session topics range from Mobile Apps tocountry branding; from how to create majornew events, to what the most cutting-edgedesigner clients are doing at their parties;from association strategies, to riskmanagement. Every time slot has at leastfour sessions to choose from, almost allcreated exclusively for the ICCA Congressand its demanding audience.We've launched a major innovation tosignal a radical shift in how the Congressworks: 'Expert Advice Appointments' thatenable delegates to design a personalisedagenda throughout the Congress, with morethan 30 experts on tap and more than 120topics to choose from. Hundreds ofavailable one-on-one appointments havebeen filling fast as delegates book online.And we're expecting about 150 of thedelegates to be swapping vital insideinformation on events they've recently heldvia our traditional Business Exchange.Delegates will hear the latest findings fromthe Convention 2020research project, andthey will attend a variety of discussionforums to debate the implications for thefuture direction of, and challenges facingour industry. We know the hosts are geared up andready to welcome everyone; we know we'vegot some fantastic business opportunitiesand unique intellectual content, and we'recertain that every delegate will have anexperience they'll never forget.The 49th ICCA Congress takes place 23-27 October in Hyderabad. Details: www.iccaworld.comIn a response to negative PR related toThe Commonwealth Games in Delhi,ICCA called for a coordinated PRresponse in defence of India as adestination for events, while not denyingthere had been organisational problems.A statement on the ICCA website said, inpart: "India is just starting out as aninternational meetings destination. It'simportant to realise that the HyderabadICC was the first world-class facility to bebuilt in the country, and it's only beengoing for three years, and similarstandard facilities are only just starting toemerge in other cities. The country'sairport infrastructure is going through arevolution as well, which is essential forany destination that wants to be aserious player. "They've got some great professionalsin their hotels and PCO/DMC companiesand they realise they need to trainthousands more. They know there arechallenges relating to Indianbureaucratic practices, which can becomplex and frustrating."Holding the ICCA Congress in India isgoing to help accelerate many of thesepositive trends, as we help to educatemore senior policy makers in India aboutthe economic development potential thatmeetings help to unleash."

Hyderabad ICC's GM Paul Archersays hosting the ICCA Congress is the best thing that has happened to both India and Hyderabad's meetings industry.Hyderabad heads the wayICCA CONGRESS 201028October 2010 Conference+Meetings Worldwww.c-mw.netThe history of the HyderabadInternational Convention Centre(HICC) goes back to 2003, when theAsian Development Bank decided to host aconference in India. The Government ofAndhra Pradesh (state of Hyderabad)volunteered to host the event, but it neededto build a modern convention centre. Thus,the HICC project was born, opening forbusiness in 2006. Today, HICC is managed by Accor and isjointly owned by Emaar Properties PJSCDubai and the Andhra Pradesh IndustrialInfrastructure Corporation. It claims to bethe first purpose-built convention facility ofits kind in South Asia.In terms of infrastructure, services andtechnology, HICC can be compared with thebest in the world and is leading the way inIndia. Its main hall offers 6,480sqm of eventspace, which can be partitioned into sixsmaller halls. The plenary space can hold5,000 delegates and there is a foyer spaceof 6,400sqm that can be used for pre-function hospitality.HICC has won the Incredible India 'BestConvention Centre' National Tourism Awardthree years in a row. Fifteen per cent of the centre's businesscan be considered international and 70 percent of the total meetings and eventbusiness has been drawn from organisationsin the Indian medical sciences sector, so far.General Manager Paul Archer, says Indiahas emerged as a force internationally inmany areas, with biotechnology, spaceresearch, IT, telecoms, geophysics andclimate change related areas all very strong."Hyderabad has research bases in all thesefields," Archer notes and says the centre hasplayed host for world and Asia-Pacific eventsin all those sectors. "The HICC has alsobeen instrumental in clinching nationalevents in the IT, banking, and batterymanufacturing sectors," he adds.HICC's main international conventionbusiness comes via Europe, withophthalmology, paediatrics, dermatology,gynaecology and gastroenterologyassociations, along with the bio-technologyrelated associations based in the UnitedStates, becoming another focus. India now has many experts in these fieldsand association membership is growing fast.This means local ambassadors are keen tobring their congresses to India to showcasetheir country. Archer is also expectingnational events connected to the aluminiumindustry, geophysics, banking and dentistryin Hyderabad over the next couple of years.Of MICE and IndiaIn the World Travel Tourism CompetitivenessReport 2009 India figured as host for 33international trade fairs and exhibitions andthe latest ICCA statistics for 2009 sawHyderabad move up from 146th to 82ndplace in the city rankings.Meetings industry professionals, HICC'sArcher believes, "are ready to ride this waveand position India as a MICE destination tothe world". Archer points out association business hasgrown 200 per cent, year on year, since2006 and expects India to double its shareof meetings in the next five years. He claimsHICC has spearheaded a unified approachto handling conventions across variousrelated businesses in Hyderabad. "All of us have learnt to work collectively:hotels, airport, airlines, ProfessionalConvention Organisers (PCO), eventmanagers, advertising companies, the retailsector and many more. "The government of Andhra Pradesh, theAirport Authority, Culture Department andthe Department of Tourism all now offergreat support in terms of facilities andresources to ensure that major events arewell received. The world has seen the Indian economyopen up, and the country emerge as one ofthe preferred destinations for new businessinvestment and connectivity.Archer says hosting ICCA is "the best thingto happen to India's MICE segment. This isIndia and Hyderabad's opportunity to shineand show we can deliver a truly world classHyderabad International Convention Centre, jewel in India's meetings crown, awaits ICCAInternational event".Paul Archer