Vancouver has yet again been ranked North America’s top destination for international meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
The Amsterdam-based organization releases an annual report ranking cities according to the number of international meetings hosted in the previous year. In 2010, Vancouver hosted 58 international meetings – more than any other city in North America. The city placed 33rd overall, ahead of other renowned meetings destinations like Montreal, Washington and Chicago. ICCA’s report is distributed to more than 6,000 meeting planners and suppliers worldwide, assisting them in identifying potential destinations for future events.
“The events and meetings that Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre host contribute millions of dollars to B.C.’s economy,” said the Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. “Being ranked as the top meetings destination in North America will focus even more attention on the city, creating significant economic benefits for the province and, in turn, more jobs for British Columbians.”
“This distinction is yet another example of Vancouver’s strong presence in the meetings industry, not just in North America but around the world,” added Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver’s combination of world-class livability, exceptional tourism and conference services makes a compelling case for organizations around the globe. ICCA’s report not only acknowledges the range of facilities and resources Vancouver has to offer, but also shows the entire world that our city is a great place to host meetings and conventions.”
ICCA’s ranking reflects the strong relationships between professional conference organizers, Tourism Vancouver, the Vancouver Convention Centre and the hotel community, as well as the tourism industry’s collective efforts to promote Vancouver as a global meetings destination.
Ken Cretney, general manager at the Vancouver Convention Centre, noted that the ranking further speaks to the impact of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West building expansion. “We’re now attracting more high-profile international conventions, many of which could not have been accommodated in our original facility,” he explained. “Our world-class facility, located on the city centre’s waterfront and coupled with exceptional service delivery, always leaves a positive and memorable impression on our delegates, and further contributes to our reputation as a leading global convention destination.”
“Many organizations chose to host their international congresses in Vancouver during our Olympic year, when the city was receiving so much additional exposure,” said Richard Yore, director of sales, Meetings and Conventions for Tourism Vancouver. “Most of these conferences could not have taken place, or been so successful, without the efforts of Vancouverites who volunteered hours of their time. Through Tourism Vancouver’s Be A Host program, we’re able to identify and support these individuals in their endeavors to showcase our city as a leading conference destination.”
Tourism Vancouver’s focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. The organization’s brand essence is about “exceeding expectations.”
The Vancouver Convention Centre is the only two-time winner of the International Association of Congress Centres’ APEX award for “World’s Best Convention Centre.” Since its inception in 1987, the facility has demonstrated a constant commitment to service, technical and culinary excellence, as well as environmental sustainability. With its expansion complete, the Centre has tripled its size to cover 1.1 million square feet (or four city blocks), for a combined total of 466,500 square feet of pre-function, meeting, exhibition and ballroom space.