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Vancouver Tops List as Most Popular North American City for International Meetings

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The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has once again ranked Vancouver as North America's top destination for international meetings.

In their annual International Association Meeting Market statistics report, Amsterdam-based ICCA ranks cities based on the number of international meetings hosted in the previous year. Vancouver hosted 54 meetings in 2008, placing it in the top spot in North America, (ranking ahead of renowned meetings cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Washington, DC and Chicago) and 31st internationally. In 2007, Vancouver was ranked slightly higher in 26th position, but with a lower number of meetings (49 in 2007).

"This ranking demonstrates the high-profile that Vancouver has earned among North American meetings destinations," said Bill Bennett, British Columbia's Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. "The opening of the Vancouver Convention Centre's expanded facilities will allow us to attract more of these important international conferences, bringing significant economic benefits to Vancouver and the entire province as we strive to reach our goal of doubling tourism revenues by 2015."

Tourism Vancouver chair, Geoffrey Howes echoed this sentiment, adding that the designation benefits all areas of the tourism industry.

 "Being ranked the top North American destination for North American meetings is result of the tourism industry's collective efforts to sell Vancouver as an international meetings destination," Howes said. "Tourism Vancouver has committed additional resources to building business from key European markets - where many of these international associations are based. Along with the strong relationships that we have with the Vancouver Convention Centre, professional conference organizers and the hotel community, this is really producing results."

Tourism Vancouver has been actively soliciting international association business in recent years through its own Be a Host program. The organization researches, identifies and supports local community members in bringing their association's international conference to Vancouver.

In 2007, the meetings and conventions industry contributed $585 million in direct visitor spending to the Vancouver economy.

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