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Beleaguered Istanbul joins ICCA’s ARP programme

The bureau tasked with bringing international association meetings to Istanbul has signed a two-year partnership agreement with a major convention association to strengthen its hand.

Istanbul CVB has become an Association Relations Partner (ARP) of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in an attempt to get closer to potential association clients.

Launched in 2016, ICCA’s ARP programme helps the organisation deliver online services and networking opportunities for association executives at events sponsored by their partners.

By acting as hosts, the partnership model allows ICCA members to strengthen their own ties with association executives and increase their profile within the not-for-profit community.

Istanbul’s standing as a destination for international association meetings has collapsed in recent years. Conflict in neighbouring Syria, reports of mass purges, terrorist attacks, and what many see as a power grab by President Erdogan, appear to have damaged the country’s credibility.

Once a meetings powerhouse, the city dropped 94 places to 133 in the 2017 ICCA Rankings, having hosted just 20 international association meetings in 2017, putting it on a par with Marrakech, Poznan, and Lund.

The president of Istanbul CVB and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Sekib Avdagic, (pictured right) and the ICCA Regional Director (Europe), Elif Balci Fisunoglu signed the ARP agreement.

Avdagic said: ”This is an important step for Istanbul’s visibility and it will strengthen our relationship with both ICCA and international associations. I believe that it will have a positive impact on Istanbul’s position as an international congress destination.”