The world’s largest association for the business event sector – the Professional Convention Management Association – has acquired the Nigel Gaunt-run Incentive, Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) body.

With 7000 members worldwide, the acquisition is a major play by the PCMA to grow in the Asia Pacific which is now considered a $200 billion sector in business events.

Current ICESAP president, Nigel Gaunt, will continue to head up the organisation for the next two years, with a strong desire to push ICESAP’s accreditation scheme.

For current and future ICESAP members, the opportunities to network with global peers in the US and Europe should be viewed as positive.

PCMA president and CEO, Deborah Sexton, said the addition of ICESAP into PCMA “further strengthens our endeavours to enable industry collaboration and deliver superior education to this important region”.

ICESAP will continue to operate in the region under the ICESAP brand, with the PCMA retaining the current ICESAP staff, Singapore headquarters and Nigel Gaunt as president.

Mr Gaunt said the acquisition “represents the best possible future for our society. ICESAP will continue on delivering our commitment to agency accreditation, member education, and most importantly, advocacy for the benefits the sector brings to the businesses and economies of the Asia Pacific”.

Mr Gaunt said there were significant opportunities for expansion in the Asia Pacific with ICESAP recently signing an agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to launch the ICESAP-developed Agency Accrediation Scheme across China where there are in excess of 30,000 intermediary agencies working in the MICE sector.

He said ICESAP anticipates 6000 of these will be accredited under the scheme within the next two years.

ICESAP’s annual conference is being held in Shanghai from September 6 to 8. Learn more at www.icesap.org.