The inaugural World Chambers Congress took place in Marseille, France, in September 1999 presenting chambers with a unique platform to share best-practice experiences, exchange insights, develop networks and address the latest business issues affecting their local communities.
Since that first gathering of chambers which celebrated a heritage of four centuries of serving the business community, the Congress takes place every two years in a different region of the world. From Seoul, Quebec City, Durban, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, and Mexico City, chamber leaders will unite again in Doha from 22-25 April 2013.
The Congress is a dynamic event that opens up new opportunities and interconnections for a global community of more than 12,000 chambers of commerce. Accompanied by their leading business members, and hearing from influential world leaders, the Congress provides a unique opportunity for interaction between delegates from more than 110 countries.
Six chambers are currently bidding to host the ICC World Chambers Federation 9th World Chambers Congress in 2015 when it returns to Europe. With bids submitted until 2021, WCF asked a selection of current bidding candidates and past hosts to elaborate on why the congress is important to chambers and their reason behind wishing to host the event.
Peace has left a lasting legacy and Belfast and Northern Ireland has transformed during the past 10 years and is now hailed as an exemplary region. “We are a nation of innovators and leaders, a centre of business excellence and growth. In Northern Ireland alone, the number of spinout companies from universities is four times the UK average,” said a chamber representative. “The Congress is an occasion to vocalize these achievements on a global stage and create new global links that will leave a legacy long after the Congress.”
The Geneva Chamber, candidate for the 9th World Chambers Congress, will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2015. “How better to mark this occasion than by hosting the World Chambers Congress that same year? This unique international atmosphere would foster fruitful contacts between Chambers, the business community and the many people all striving to shape the world of tomorrow.”
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest chamber of commerce in the UK and the first chamber to submit its candidacy for 2015 way back in 2005. “Mancunians are rightfully proud of their city’s achievements and status. Our world-class businesses are looking forward to bringing together a network of networks, where they can showcase their products and welcome business leaders and experts into their home.”
Founded in 1774, Liverpool is one of the first chambers in the world and the earliest UK mainland chamber in a major port. Liverpool was pivotal in early chamber of commerce development and was an epicentre of global maritime trade and commerce. “Hosting the World Chambers Congress will once again showcase Liverpool on the world's stage, raise our international profile for business and trade and as four famous Liverpool boys once sang ‘Get back to where you once belonged.’”
The Torino Chamber of Commerce, a sapphire sponsor of both the 7th and upcoming 8th World Chambers Congress, said: “Hosting the congress is a great opportunity to make Torino and its cultural and industrial excellence known worldwide: everything beyond expectations.”
Since its inception in 1999, the Congress has grown more popular every year attracting more chamber of commerce leaders, executives and their business members alike. The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, the host of the 5th World Chambers Congress in Istanbul 2007 saw the Congress reach new record attendance, and cite the event as “a virtual showroom of chamber excellence”.
The Mexico City National Chamber of Commerce (CANACO) said: The 7th World Chambers Congress placed Mexico in the world business spotlight and opened doors to Mexican businesses, offering them the opportunity to learn and interact with their colleagues from different parts of the world.”
Visit the World Chambers Congress website to learn more.