The Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP) was founded in October 2015, bringing together four major association hubs to represent their regions of America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As it marks its third anniversary, its members – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – are experiencing growth in the number of associations located in their cities at a significantly faster rate than global averages. More specifically, in 2018, the number of association headquarters and regional offices located in the four cities grew by 2.5% reaching 3,769, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA), a significantly higher number when compared to worldwide growth of 0.9%.
In this past year, the partnership has continued to get involved in industry meetings and events the world over. This included organising and powering sessions at the inaugural Dubai Association Conference, the European Association Summit in Brussels, the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Chicago, and the ASAE Association Leadership Forum-Asia Pacific in Singapore. GAHP has also provided research to feed into studies by the likes of the Union of International Associations (UIA), International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA), Association Laboratory and AT Kearney.
Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events, said: “Dubai remains committed to facilitating the growth of associations, recognising their importance to developing key industries and sectors and further diversifying the economy. The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) provides a powerful platform for international and regional associations to expand their reach, influence and membership, and at the same time contribute to and tap into Dubai’s growing knowledge economy. In December, DAC will host its first Association Leaders Getaway, offering a unique platform for networking, education and discussions.”
Melissa A. Riley, Vice President, Convention Sales and Services, Destination DC, points out the impact of new investment in the region: “The recent announcement that Amazon will establish HQ2 in the DC metro region exemplifies how the investment in technology, talent and innovation intersect in our region.”
Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau recognises the growth of her country as the regional Asian hub for international associations to anchor their events and offices. She says: “Singapore was again ranked as ICCA’s top international association meetings city in Asia-Pacific for the 16th year in a row. We believe we can continue to contribute meaningfully to the growth of associations both at the regional and global level.”
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director, Brussels Convention and Association Bureau, said: “In March, visit.brussels will organise the 7th edition of the European Association Summit, confirming its commitment to association professional development. The event gets into a new dimension by linking it closely to the sustainability activities undertaken by the Brussels Capital Region actors allowing to combine education for associations and promoting what the destination may offer them in this important field.”