From Claire Smith, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Vancouver Convention Centre

Today at the Vancouver Convention Centre we are proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Be a Host program along with our partners at Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association. The “Be a Host” program brings together Vancouver’s leaders in a wide range of industries and sectors with our hospitality and professional conference organizers to support their efforts to their professional colleagues to meet in Vancouver and it is one that I am proud to be a part of.

Local hosts who put themselves forward in bringing major international meetings to Vancouver play an invaluable role in the process of securing these events. For the local host, the meetings provide the opportunity to showcase their pride in Canadian research excellence, contribute to Vancouver’s advancing knowledge economy and in some cases the community at large and boosting the city’s economy. As well hosting a meeting in their hometown provides the local hosts with the opportunity to present all the best that Vancouver has to offer to the world while returning the hospitality they may have experienced at other professional meetings around the world. Through the years local hosts have told me repeatedly that the experience enriches their local industry or field of study as well as the city itself.

Through its 20 year history, “Be a Host” has worked with more than 1,000 industry leaders to bring their associations' meetings to Vancouver (you can find a more fulsome list here). One true champion for Vancouver on the global marine stage is Dr .John Nightingale, President and CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium. While he has been a long time champion for marine science, through this program he is further demonstrating Vancouver’s leadership in the field by hosting the upcoming International Aquarium Congress this Fall.

Another remarkable champion who has brought two major meetings to Vancouver is Dr. Julio Montaner, host of the 2015 IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention and the 1996 International AIDS Society Conference. These conferences provided a key platform for Dr. Montaner’s breakthrough work and research on HIV/AIDS treatment to be highlighted on a global stage.

We invite other leaders to learn more about being a local host at the Be a Host program webpage. The “Be a Host” team is here to help and support your efforts, every step of the way. The team is comprised of seasoned, knowledgeable meeting planning experts who understand what is required to develop a compelling and impactful bid package and plan a successful meeting you will be proud of.

Tonight we will toast and celebrate all of the local hosts who have been a part of the program throughout the past 20 years and thank them for all they have done for their hometown of Vancouver as well as their professional associations.