The four members of the Global Association Hubs Partnership – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – saw a 2.5% increase in the number of association headquarters and regional offices in 2018, almost three times the growth witnessed globally

November 27, 2018, Barcelona, Spain: As the Global Association Hubs Partnership 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.

In 2018, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA), the number of association headquarters and regional offices located in the four cities grew by 2.5%. This compares to worldwide growth of 0.9%. The GAHP cities are now home to 3,769 association headquarters and regional offices which is 9.8% of all association secretariats worldwide, up from 9.6% in the previous year.

The GAHP was founded in October 2015, bringing together four major association hubs to represent their regions of America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Since GAHP was founded, the number of association headquarters and regional offices in its member cities has grown by 3.5%, significant faster than the global average rate of 1.2% and underlining the benefits of their collaborative approach.

Hervé Bosquet, GAHP International Advisor, said: “The strong association growth experienced by our member cities strongly validates their strategy and confirms that their vision of joining forces to help associations grow is paying off in terms of response from the associations sector.

 “As our partner hubs grow from strength to strength, GAHP continues to be a game-changer in the sector, providing leadership and setting a strong example. We act and are increasingly perceived as a thought-leader for associations that seek to grow and expand internationally. We also contribute to building the global community of internationally operating association executives.”

Since the last edition of IBTM World, the partnership has continued to engage in activities and industry events around the world. 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, as well as engaging with the global association community through its own communications channels and media partnerships.

Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events, said: “Driven by the city’s leadership, 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, all set amidst immersive experiences and scenic settings around the city. This will build on the success of the first Dubai Association Conference, held in late 2017, which focused on building a strengthened community and robust ecosystem for associations in the region.

“Dubai also recently hosted the ICCA Congress, marking the first time the International Congress and Convention Association’s flagship event had taken place in the Middle East. It drew record attendance for a congress outside of Europe and underlined Dubai’s commitment to supporting both the associations sector and the business events industry.”

Melissa A. Riley, Vice President, Convention Sales and Services, Destination DC, said: “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.  It remains to be seen how HQ2 will fully impact the region from an economic standpoint, but what is clear is that the win for Virginia is a win for the entire region.”

Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, said: “Singapore continues to grow as the regional Asian hub for international associations to anchor their events and offices, owing to our global connectivity, edge in innovation and focus on thought leadership.

 “Being a member of the Global Association Hubs Partnership has kept Singapore attuned to evolving association industry trends, and at the forefront in the region in providing platforms for top visionary executives from leading associations to exchange best practices, promote dialogue and inspire change.

 “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: “The challenges for associations in Europe resulting from the global societal situation make of Brussels a pivotal place for advocacy, representation, fundraising, education and networking. With the Association Bureau and its partners, we are putting all resources to create opportunities for all those present and those wishing to setup their seat in Brussels.”

 “In March, 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.”

In 2019, GAHP will look to build on its collective gains and extend its mission and influence to parts of the world that are keen to work with it and benefit from its experience. It will also continue to foster strategic partnerships that will nurture the global association executives’ community.

*** ENDS ***


For more information, please contact                      For regular GAHP updates, visit

Hervé Bosquet                                                 

+32 475 644 996



 In GAHP we connect, partner, work, learn and focus on results with international associations. We connect them, not just with suppliers, but also with the regional contacts in their trade or profession: government, thought leaders, higher education and research centers, corporate headquarters, institutions and administrative bodies.

Win-win partnerships are fostered in our hubs’ key knowledge and priority growth areas.

 About Destination DC

Destination DC serves as the lead organization to successfully manage and market Washington, DC as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination, with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historical communities.

By developing and executing centralized and cohesive sales and marketing strategies, Destination DC generates economic development for the city through tourism and meetings.

 About Dubai Association Centre (DAC)

The Dubai Association Centre was established in the beginning of 2014 under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), with the aim to provide assistance to professional associations to set up office space and develop their activities and membership in Dubai and beyond.

 About the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau TM (SECB)

The Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau TM (SECB) is a group of the Singapore Tourism Board – Singapore’s leading economic development agency in tourism. SECB aims to establish Singapore as a dynamic business and business events destination where an ecosystem of ideas, people, institutions and technology draws on vibrant knowledge and an extensive network. SECB values industry partnerships and collaborates with associations and industry stakeholders to identify key opportunities for expansion and growth.

 About is the communications agency for tourism and culture in the Brussels-Capital Region. Its aim is to promote and strengthen the image of the capital of 500 million Europeans which hosts the largest number of international association headquarters in the world and is the leading destination for association events in Europe. has been consolidating Brussels’ leading position for several years now, by establishing it as THE European hub for international associations to establish their headquarters and run their events, and for their executives’ education and professional networking.


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