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GAHP cities home to 9.6% of association headquarters and regional offices, according to UIA 2017 report

The report also revealed that association offices were growing in GAHP cities at three times the rate of the global average. The Global Associations Hub Partnership (GAHP) revealed today in its second anniversary report that its four member-cities – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – are home to 9.6 per cent of association headquarters and regional offices. The 2017 report of the Union of International Associations (UIA) outlines the significant success in attracting associations to the four GAHP member-cities, with growth rates three times the global average.

In the past year, 35 associations have opened offices in GAHP cities, representing 30% of all new headquarters and regional offices. During that same period, a total of 119 offices opened up worldwide. According to the report, cities around the world welcome new associations at an average rate of 0.3% per year, while GAHP cities have experienced annual growth rates of 1%.

The GAHP was founded in October 2015, bringing together four major associations markets in an increasingly decentralized industry. The four cities are key hubs that have come to represent their regions of America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Hervé Bosquet, GAHP International Advisor, said: “As GAHP marks its second anniversary, this report reaffirms the vision and mission of the GAHP as an innovative response to the decentralization of international associations. The trend of associations growing and expanding internationally is very clear, and the global metropolitan hubs that our members represent are clearly well-positioned to respond to these developments. The GAHP partnership is going from strength to strength, and these latest figures demonstrate a healthy growth as well as confirming our members positions as the preferred hubs for their regions.”

A total of 25 associations now use two or more GAHP cities as a regional base. The International Union of Public Transport (UITP), the International Trade Mark Association (INTA) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) have offices in three GAHP hubs.

GAHP cities each apply policies to grow innovation locally and drive economic activity regionally, and this is a major success factor according to partner cities.

Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events, said: “The Dubai government is fully committed to its economic diversification strategies, and associations play an important role in realizing these agendas. In the past three years, the Dubai Association Centre has facilitated the opening of fully-operational offices or chapters to 42 associations. These successes have been possible through the innovative approaches encouraged and applied by government initiatives.”

Dubai has experienced sustained growth in its business travel and tourism sectors, becoming the fourth most-visited city in the world in 2016, with 14.87 million international overnight visitors throughout the year.

Melissa Riley, VP Convention Sales and Services, Destination DC adds: “In the US, being in Washington DC is looked upon as being a thought-leader. There is a direct correlation between think-tanks and the start-up culture in areas such as medical, biotech and pharma, technology, education, and other high priority sectors supported by the city government. Meetings and tourism are more than ever seen as an economic driver that fosters innovation and job creation, and adds to the economic impact of our tech hub.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC is the most educated city in the U.S. With 25,000 professionals employed at education institutions, it is also the city with most Bachelor’s degrees, higher to any city in the U.S. according to the Washington Post.

Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, said: “International associations are increasingly looking to serve the needs of the growing membership in the Asian region and Singapore remains dedicated to support this growth by offering insights, training, best practices and standard setting. Home to more than 140 International Non-Profit Organisations, Singapore’s knowledge economy and focus on innovation make it the ideal Asian hub and meeting destination for those who share a passion for transforming the world.

As the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) top international association meetings city in Asia-Pacific and Middle East for the 15th year running, we will keep working to inspire associations on the exciting possibilities Singapore has to offer.”

Singapore’s tourism sector achieved record performance in 2016, with the city-state welcoming 16.4 million visitors and netting S$24.6 billion (approx. €15.4 billion) of tourism receipts. In addition to the ICCA rankings, Singapore also topped the charts as the Union of International Associations (UIA)’s international meetings city for the region.

“With record attendance at our recent European Association Summit and a Brussels Association Bureau that is now fully operational, we are now all set to get the Association Club successfully up and running in 2018. Brussels is home to more international associations than any other city and is the primary destination for association meetings in the world. Like all our partner cities in GAHP, we benefit from our government’s support to grow our associations platform and related meetings and business activities” concludes Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director of the Brussels Convention & Association Bureau in visit.brussels.

Besides it being the decision heart of Europe, Brussels is also a pivotal center in life sciences. Belgium has the highest concentration of life science professionals and is the second largest pharma exporter in the world. It is also the second country for clinical trials on a per capita basis.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Bosquet noted that the GAHP will continue to support research, training and education, networking and community building for international association executives who share the drive to grow and expand globally.

The GAHP hosts sessions during partner events that highlight success stories, as well as providing a platform for the international association community to discuss the latest trends and developments affecting the sector.