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New video sheds light on the business of bringing meetings and events to Vancouver 

New video recognises the central role ‘Local Hosts’ play in bringing major international meetings and events to the Canadian city

Vancouver has released a video celebrating the efforts of its ‘Local Hosts’ in attracting international events and helping build its meetings and conventions industry, on a high having generated more than $302 million in economic impact for the city last year – a feat which contributed to the city being ranked the top North American city for hosting international meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association.

From tradeshows such as the 2014 Travel Expo and corporate meetings such as California-based Polycom’s 2014 sales conference to academic conferences such as the 2014 annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, hosted events attracted thousands of delegates to the Canadian city last year.

The direct, multi-million dollar benefits of hosting these events was further bolstered by the downstream benefits such as the amount spent by delegates at the city’s world-ranked hotels, restaurants, shopping venues and attractions.

As Dave Gazley, Tourism Vancouver’s vice president of Meeting and Convention Sales explains,  the new video aims to shed light on how these major international meetings and conventions end up in the city.

"There is a misconception that international associations simply spin the globe to pick their next congress location, but that’s not the case," says Gazley. "For most international associations, the process of picking the host city for their major congresses requires a formal bidding process with competitive proposals put forward by cities around the world.

“In most cases, a city’s bid must be led, in part, by a local member of that organisation or association. This person often lives in the city and is very experienced in their field of expertise. We call them ‘Local Hosts’, and they are central to Vancouver’s success in winning international congresses."

Gazley pointed to the important role played by Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre’s Be A Host program which works to identify these local industry leaders and to support and encourage them through the often daunting bid processes. Now in its 19th year, the programme has helped to bring some of the largest events Vancouver has ever hosted – including SIGGRAPH (14,000 attendees, August 2014); World Congress of Dermatology (10,000 attendees, June 2015); and the World Diabetes Congress (an estimated 15,000 attendees, November 2015).

Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre are constantly aiming to expand the Be A Host programme by identifying new Local Hosts with the potential to bring a meeting or convention to the city. The benefits to the city are obvious, but there are advantages to being a Local Host, too. 

"Bringing the World Congress of Dermatology to Vancouver was one of my career highlights," said the University of British Columbia’s Dr. Harvey Lui, now president of the International League of Dermatological Societies. "It elevated the status of the dermatology research we are doing here in Vancouver and contributed to some stellar advancements in the field. The Be A Host programme was absolutely critical to our success in winning the congress bid. And Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre helped us put on a truly spectacular event in Vancouver."

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