Four cities have banded together to become hubs for international association expansion. Dubai, Singapore, Brussels, and Washington, D.C. have launched the Global Association Hubs Partnership in a bid to establish their cities as the natural bases for international association offices – and the knowledge and wealth these bring with them.

Developed by the Dubai Association Centre, Destination DC, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau and, the initiative will help associations expand internationally to better serve their worldwide memberships, reducing barriers and assisting associations seeking to work across different cultures.

According to the Union of International Associations, the Hub member cities are already leaders in hosting association headquarters and regional offices, with 85 per cent of international associations already present in at least one of these four cities. They are also experienced in partnering with local economic development agencies to fuel local growth, making them the natural gateways into their respective regions – North America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Hervé Bosquet, director at Brussels Convention Bureau, said the partnership’s focus was not to attract large association meetings, but to make it easier for associations to set up regional headquarters offices in their cities.

“By their presence in our cities, associations create knowledge, wealth, and direct and indirect jobs. The partnership is important for the economic development of our cities,” he said. Any increase in local and regional meetings resulting from the increased presence of an association would be a secondary economic benefit, he added.

The partnership will provide local market intelligence and act as liaisons between international associations and the local communities, Bosquet said. Services the partnership will provide include information on local legal structure, tax implications, key government contacts, and education about the region, in order to help associations set up in their regions.

The initiative comes as a response to the increasing decentralisation of international associations, which are looking to develop and better support their global membership base.

Bosquet added: “International associations are constantly on the lookout to establish a strong base in key regions around the world in order to offer value and customised services to their membership. By leveraging this new partnership, international associations now have the opportunity to roll out global strategies and take advantage of local opportunities in key partner countries in a manner that is simple, well-coordinated, and highly convenient.”

While the members of the Global Association Hubs Partnership will continue to promote their individual destinations, they also will cross-promote their partner cities to association executives in charge of global strategies and expansion plans.

Click here to see the report on the Global Association Hubs Partnership announcement from International Meetings Review:

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Featured image: Dubai, member of the Global Association Hubs Partnership