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May 11, 2015

Portugal: Annual Meeting of ICCA's Iberian Chapter Sees Record Attendance

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It was a sunny Algarve which so well hosted the 2015 edition of the Annual Meeting and General Assembly of the Iberian Chapter of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association). The Epic Sana Algarve was the event's headquarters that brought together the Portuguese and Spanish ICCA members. Alexandra Torégão, who said goodbye to the Chapter presidency after two years of leadership, could not be more pleased with the congress outcome, the most attended ever. "People were very satisfied with the entire organization, with the destination, with the Epic Sana Algarve hotel, which was fantastic, with the Tourism Association of the Algarve, which did an excellent job in the person of Alexandra Ramos, and also with the educational aspect, which had great speakers," said Torégão.

One of the key issues addressed at the conference was how most tourist destinations, famous for their sun and sea, could compete in this sector. The topic aroused great interest in the audience, because there were several representatives of these destinations, and ways to overcome, on one hand a certain stigma, on the other real compliance issues of companies and associations were discussed. Other discussed topics included social media and technology, neuroevents, and new specifics of ICCA's database were also presented, features that will be launched at IMEX.

Another highlight of the event, according to the outgoing president, was the Client-Supplier Workshop, since clients were "very interesting" and the feedback from the participants was "very positive".

Luís Correia, a college professor, participated in such an initiative for the first time and was pleased with the experience, especially because he has realized that there is a set of services that can be provided by companies and institutions that make life easier for those organizing an academic or techno-scientific event. Daniel Coelho, Roland Portugal, is more related to corporate events, and he was equally pleased with the outcome of the workshop. "That was fantastic! I had no idea about the facilities we could have when in contact with such institutions, how much they can help a company that wants to set up an event, how much they can be useful," he emphasizes interviewed by Event Point.

More notoriety and members

Alexandra Torégão also makes a positive assessment of her two-year presidency. She highlights the work done on the promotion of ICCA's activities and the Chapter in particular, the production of promotional material, the database improvement and, not least, the increase in the number of members.

Francisco Quereda leads the president candidates list

The Convention Bureau Malaga Director leads the only application for the Iberian Chapter presidency. It ill be at the next meeting of the association, held a day before IMEX, on 18th May, that the new board will take office. Quereda will be heading a team that includes Ricardo Vieira, Madeira Promotion Association; Christoph Tessmar, Barcelona Convention Bureau; Sandra Antunes, Azores Promotion Board - Visitors & Convention Bureau; Carina Montagu, Feria Valencia; and Eva Sanchez, Hotel Auditorium Madrid - Centro de Congresos PPE Felipe.

"The Algarve has much more to offer"

Dora Coelho, ATA - Algarve Tourism Association Executive Director, was pleased with the course of the event and the possibility to show the destination to ICCA's Iberian Chapter professionals. "It is extremely rewarding to show that the Algarve is not just sun, beach, golf, and that in fact we have much more to offer," she says. Stepping away from this stereotypical image is a challenge to overcome. "We must redouble our efforts and increasingly promote this other Algarve, not only that typical sun and beach Algarve," says Dora Coelho. The MI sector is important, not only to break the seasonality, but because the destination has unique conditions for incentives, for example. "The diversity of what we have to offer in the incentive segment and the value for money, compared to other European destinations, makes the Algarve more and more recognized and increasingly sought not only for incentives, but also for conferences."

Next destination: Marbella

In 2016, the event, which alternates between Portugal and Spain, heads to Marbella on the Costa del Sol. Renée Kachler, Business Development Director of Costa del Sol MICE Tourism, was naturally delighted to host the Iberian Chapter of ICCA in 2016. "We are very happy to host this great event. Marbella is used to receiving congresses and we want ICCA to rediscover the destination and all its possibilities", she underlines.

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