Incredible Impacts Programme

NEW! 2021 Criteria Update

We are also open to any other proposal covers the general objective of this programme. This year’s programme also responds to the industry challenges faced as a result of the pandemic by welcoming applications from associations who have successfully delivered legacy programmes through virtual or hybrid event formats and are planning future programmes.

What is the Incredible Impacts Programme?

The Incredible Impacts Programme celebrates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings to create a powerful platform to advocate their positive societal impact. A panel of independent judges form the association world will determine which meetings have proven impact to award three grants of USD 7,500 on behalf of BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA.

The partnership is a direct result of ICCA’s five-year strategic plan which was launched at the end of 2015, compromising of six strategic goals. With a number of these goals, including full engagement with association clients and more effective global knowledge sharing, closely aligned to BestCities’ own ambitions, discussions commenced in July 2016 to explore potential opportunities. The result is a strategic partnership that celebrates and directly advocates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings.

Lesley Williams, Managing Director of BestCities said: “At BestCities, we’ve always believed that the ‘beyond tourism’ impact of international association meetings is far more valuable than just delegates through the door.

The Incredible Impacts programme shines a global spotlight on the innovative thinking and creativity in the meetings industry, demonstrating the beyond tourism impact and lasting legacy we can leave behind us. It’s not just about rewarding associations who are showcasing examples of excellence, but also to inspire others to incorporate their own legacy initiatives into future events.

Every year we are inspired by the legacy-making, often life-changing work showcased through our programme, and we look forward to shining a light on associations who are helping to shape tomorrow’s world”.

ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath stated: “The biggest shift in the global meetings market over the last decade has been the mindset change from “part of tourism” to “economic and societal impact”.  It’s now broadly accepted that even though meeting delegates are one of the most valuable tourism sectors in terms of their direct spend in a destination, the biggest value from international association meetings comes from the vast quantities of knowledge that are created and shared, the inward investment and business connections that are stimulated, and the societal, healthcare and economic challenges that are addressed and solved. Incredible Impacts has been designed to celebrate some of the best examples of projects that showcase the wider impact of these meetings, and more importantly, to encourage greater awareness and new projects.  We’re grateful for BestCities generous support, and look forward to hearing some amazing stories about the power of meetings.”

Who can apply?

Any international association whose meeting fits any of the following criteria:

– Knowledge and/or skills transfers to developing countries – especially if carried out in a creative manner or with very high impact.
– Knowledge and/or skills transfers to disadvantaged groups.
– Facilitating attendance and active participation by delegates from developing countries or disadvantaged groups (eg ex-refugees).
– Public awareness-raising of an environmental, healthcare, or societal challenge or potential solution.
– Policy-maker awareness-raising of an environmental, healthcare-related, or societal challenge or potential solution.
– Educational outreach in the host destination (eg to schools or universities, or even the general public).
– Advancing or empowering young, future intellectual and/or societal leaders – from within the association or beyond.
– Long-lasting legacy programmes delivered within the host destination (could be charity, investment, R&D, scholarships, etc).

We are also open to any other proposal covers the general objective of this programme. This year’s programme also responds to the industry challenges faced as a result of the pandemic by welcoming applications from associations who have successfully delivered legacy programmes through virtual or hybrid event formats and are planning future programmes.

Nominate your association

Associations can nominate themselves or candidate associations can be nominated by any ICCA member. 

Application process

Qualifying criteria – 1st round

If the association meeting meets any of the given criteria, please sumbit the contact information a and the general description and argument why you believe your entry should be considered through this link. The deadline for the first round of submissions is 1 June 2021. 

After this first round, all shortlisted associations (a maximum of 12 entries) will be requested to submit more information for the 2nd round. All applicants will be contacted to receive notification whether they have been selected for the 2nd round or not by 15 June 2021.

Qualifying criteria – 2nd round

Shortlisted candidates are requested to complete a form with back-up documentation or links to websites for the following:
1.    Objective(s) of the programme/project
2.    Clear description (including history, how it works, who participates, etc)
3.    Particularly creative, innovative, or impact elements in the programme
4.    Evidence of impact/success
5.    Testimonials by participants, or from other stakeholders, or links to where this info can be obtained
6.    How they would like to expand or enhance the programme if their association received the grant of US$7,500.

The deadline for the second-round submission is 30 June 2021.

Judging panel

– Pippa Powell, European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European
  Respiratory Society
– Tamara Torri, International Aids Society, Switzerland
– Pragathi Tummala, The International Society for the Prevention of Child  
  Abuse and Neglect, USA
– Jennie Moore, BCIT Centre for Ecocities, Canada
– Sarash De Wilde, International Society for Microbial Ecology, Netherlands
– Deborah Thomas, Soroptimist International, UK


The jury will select three grant recipients from the maximum of 12 submissions and announce three winners. The three winners will be requested to present their case study at the ICCA Congress* in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia 24-27 October 2021.  * Cost of attending the ICCA Congress (registration fee, travel and accommodation) will be covered by ICCA.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions about the Incredible Impacts Programme please contact:

-Ksenija Polla, CMP, ICCA, Regional Director ICCA North America, email
-Nigel Brown, BestCities, Director Marketing & Partnerships, email

Incredible Impacts Winners 2020

Trailblazing Legacies Rewarded – ICCA & BestCities Global Alliance Announce 2020 Incredible Impacts Winning Associations:

Ecocity Builders and the BCIT Ecocity Centre
International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME)
Soroptimist International (SI)

Read the full press release

You can also view the Incredible Impacts Live Chat series on ICCA’s Youtube channel.