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Association hub cities 'growing three times faster than average'

Around 30 per cent of all office openings in Brussels, Washington, DC, Dubai or Singapore

Pictured: Herve Bosquet

Almost one in three association offices opened in either Brussels, Washington, Dubai or Singapore last year – the four cities that make up the Global Associations Hub Partnership (GAHP).

In the last twelve months, 35 associations have opened offices in GAHP cities, out of 119 office openings worldwide, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA) 2017 report.

GAHP cities are now home to almost 10 per cent (9.6 per cent) of association headquarters and regional offices, but they are growing almost three times faster than the international average.

Cities worldwide typically welcome new associations at an average rate of 0.3 per cent a year, while GAHP cities have experienced annual growth rates of more than one per cent.

The GAHP was founded in October 2015 to help associations pursue international expansion. It supports training and networking opportunities for association executives with similar ambitions.

The GAHP hosts sessions that highlight success stories, as well as providing a platform for the association community to discuss the latest trends and developments affecting the sector.

Hervé Bosquet, GAHP international advisor, said: “The trend of associations growing and expanding internationally is very clear, and the global metropolitan hubs that our members represent are clearly well-positioned to respond to these developments. The GAHP partnership is going from strength to strength, and these latest figures demonstrate a healthy growth as well as confirming our members positions as the preferred hubs for their regions.”

Some 25 associations now use two or more GAHP cities as a regional base. The International Union of Public Transport (UITP), the International Trade Mark Association (INTA) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) have offices in three GAHP hubs.

Steen Jakobsen, director of Dubai Business Events, said: “The Dubai government is fully committed to its economic diversification strategies, and associations play an important role in realizing these agendas. In the past three years, the Dubai Association Centre has facilitated the opening of fully-operational offices or chapters to 42 associations. These successes have been possible through the innovative approaches encouraged and applied by government initiatives.”

Melissa Riley, VP convention sales and services, Destination DC added: “In the US, being in Washington DC is looked upon as being a thought-leader. There is a direct correlation between think-tanks and the start-up culture in areas such as medical, biotech and pharma, technology, education, and other high priority sectors supported by the city government. Meetings and tourism are more than ever seen as an economic driver that fosters innovation and job creation, and adds to the economic impact of our tech hub.”

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