Incredible Impacts Programme

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.

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.”

2019 Incredible Impacts Winners

European Lung Foundation
International AIDS Society
The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect 

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.

Nominate your association

International associations can nominate themselves or candidate associations can be nominated by any ICCA member. Nominations should be sent to ICCA’s Director of Association Relations Mrs. Ksenija Polla, CMP by email. Please note, the legacy programme should be tied to an international conference.

Application process

Qualifying criteria – 1st round

If the association meeting meets any of the given criteria simply send through a general description and argument why you believe your entry should be considered, with a link to any online information or evidence. This should be submitted to Ksenija Polla, CMP by Friday 24 July 2020.

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 at the end of July 2020 to receive notification whether they have been selected for the 2nd round or not.

Qualifying criteria – 2nd round

Shortlisted candidates are requested to complete a form with back-up documentation or links to websites for the following by Friday 21 August:

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.

Judging panel

> Louise St. Germain, Director of Membership and Marketing, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), USA
> Tracy Bury, Director, World Physiotherapy, United Kingdom 
> Cary Adams, CEO, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), France
> Pippa Powell, European Lung Foundation in conjunction with European Respiratory Society
> Sophie Andriol, International Aids Society, Switzerland
> Pragathi Tummala, The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, USA


An independent jury will select three grant recipients from the maximum of 12 submissions by September 2020. The three winners will be requested to present their case study at the ICCA Congress* in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, 1-4 November 2020. 

* Cost of attending the ICCA Congress (registration fee, travel and accommodation) will be covered by ICCA