April 28 marks the 20th anniversary of Tourism Vancouver’s Be a Host program, an alliance of local professionals committed to strengthening research and innovation in their respective fields. The Be a Host program unites trailblazers from industries spanning medicine, technology and beyond, supporting them in bringing their professional colleagues to meet in Vancouver.

Local hosts play an invaluable role in showcasing Canadian research excellence on a global stage, contributing to Vancouver’s advancing knowledge economy, and boosting the city’s visitation. In partnership with the Vancouver Convention Centre and the hotel community, the program launched in 1996 and is a forerunner of similar programs now taking off in meeting destinations worldwide. Be a Host has worked with more than 1,000 industry leaders to bring their associations' meetings, conferences, and congresses to Vancouver.

In celebration of this milestone, the City of Vancouver has proclaimed April 28, 2016 “Be a Local Host Day”, recognizing the efforts of these individuals and their contributions to Vancouver’s meeting and convention industry. Tourism Vancouver also hopes the proclamation will inspire more local leaders to join the network and raise awareness of this pioneering program.

Be a Host by the numbers:

  • 65 - number of conference bids submitted using local hosts in 2015 for future meetings in Vancouver
  • 34,000 - number of delegates brought to Vancouver in 2015 for city-wide international meetings with local hosts
  • $45 million - direct visitor spend in 2015 resulting from city-wide international meetings with local hosts
  • 350 - number of international meetings held in Vancouver since 2008 that required a local host for the conference bid
  • 800 - approximate number of active local hosts in the Be a Host program (either currently bidding, or have recently bid on a conference)

“Our local hosts demonstrate determination, leadership, and a passion for their work that, over the last 20 years, has helped to strengthen Vancouver’s reputation as one of the world’s top meeting destinations,” said Andrea Caesar, manager of Be a Host for Tourism Vancouver. “Bidding on and securing conventions is a highly competitive business, and it’s the work of these industry leaders, paired with our close-knit hospitality industry and professional conference organizers, that have helped to attract international congresses to Vancouver.”

Local hosts are also fundamental in calling attention to Vancouver and British Columbian-born research, technologies and academic advancements. Tourism Vancouver is proud to have supported some of Canada’s brightest minds over the last 20 years, and the Be a Host program is committed to continuing this service for the next 20 years to come.