The BestCities Global Alliance of convention bureaus has admitted its first new members in a couple of years, with Houston and Berlin welcomed into the fold subject to audit.
The Alliance’s Gary Grimmer introduced the two new preliminary members at IMEX America in Las Vegas, 13 October and said he expected the Lloyds audit to be complete by February 2012.
Grimmer told CN the Alliance had decided to “go looking” for new members, specifically from the USA and Europe.
“There were more than two candidates,” Grimmer said, “but the cities needed to return our interest and commit the time and effort needed”.
The Houston CVB has a US$15m budget and 75 employees and represents the fourth largest US city.
Houston CVB CEO Greg Ortale described qualifying for BestCities membership as “a major coup”.
“We’re in great company with these incredible cities, and we look forward to showcasing Houston to the world through this global alliance,” he added.
Currently the alliance is made up of partner cities: Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Juan, Singapore, Vancouver and Berlin.
All partner cities are proven international meeting destinations and meet the BestCities criteria for membership which includes international class convention facilities and a minimum of 10,000 hotel rooms and a track record for holding international conventions.
Berlin also joins, having spent a year working towards becoming a part of the network.
“Our membership will help us attract further international conventions to Berlin,” said VisitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker.
VisitBerlin Conventions Director Heike Mahmoud said it was a “big moment for Berlin and we are thrilled”.
The German capital already boasts 8.5m congress participants a year and 115,800 beds to accommodate them.
The city is No.4 in the ICCA city rankings and number one in Europe for medical congresses.
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