VANCOUVER, BC: Vancouver has once again been named North America's top destination for international meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).  The city has been previously awarded the prestigious title in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

The Amsterdam-based ICCA releases an annual report ranking cities according to the number of international meetings hosted in the previous year. Vancouver hosted 55 international meetings in 2011, placing first in North America and 35th overall. The distinction reflects Vancouver's attractiveness to planners and delegates both in North America and internationally, with the city outranking major meetings destinations like Washington, Tokyo and Mexico City. ICCA's report is distributed to more than 6,000 meeting planners and suppliers worldwide, assisting them in identifying premier destinations for future events. 

"The distinction speaks to the strength of Vancouver's reputation as a leading destination for North American and international meetings," said the Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. "Conventions generate significant economic spinoffs for the city and province, and the efforts by the Vancouver Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and their hospitality partners to attract these major events should be commended."

ICCA's ranking showcases the strength of Vancouver's conference and travel services, along with the tourism industry's collective efforts to promote the city as a global meetings destination.

"With an expanded, world-class facility coupled with the awareness generated by the 2010 Olympic Games, Vancouver's appeal as a convention destination is stronger than ever," said Claire Smith, vice president of Sales and Marketing at the Vancouver Convention Centre. "Over the past year, we have hosted an unprecedented number of meetings and conventions representing an array of industries. Along with our partners, we are focused on delivering exceptional experiences, ensuring we are able to capitalize on future opportunities to bring these conventions back to Vancouver."

"We are extremely pleased that Vancouver has once again been recognized as one of the world's leading meetings destinations," said Richard Yore, director of Sales, Meetings and Conventions, Canada and International, for Tourism Vancouver. "We like to say the city sells itself, but in reality there's a lot of work that goes into researching, attracting and planning national and international conferences. It's gratifying to know the efforts of our tourism partners and local hosts are being recognized by organizations, meeting planners and delegates."

Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. The Meeting and Convention Sales and Service team actively promotes Vancouver worldwide as a premiere event destination and services hundreds of meetings each year. Through the successful Be A Host program, the bureau also identifies and supports the meeting bids of locally-based members of national and international associations. Tourism Vancouver's "service edge" strives to deliver the best combination of customer sales, service and destination value anywhere in the world.

Located on the downtown waterfront with a dramatic mountain backdrop, the Vancouver Convention Centre's two connected buildings feature 466,500 ft2 (43,340 m2) of flexible function space. As the world's first LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified convention centre, the facility is committed to environmental sustainability as well as unparalleled service, technology offerings and culinary excellence. Recognized globally, the Centre is the only two-time winner of the International Association of Congress Centres' (AIPC) APEX award for "World's Best Convention Centre", and the recipient of the AIPC 2011 Innovation Award and International Association of Venue Managers' 2011 Venue Excellence Award.