The Asia-Pacific region is ever abuzz with activities, and one of them pertains to the association community.
Prior to 2013, when the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) was founded, there were only two “association of associations” in the region, both based in Australia: the Associations Forum (AF) and the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE). In 2015 there were four, with the addition of the Korean Society of Association Executives (KSAE). To date, the Malaysian Society of Association Executives (MSAE) is in the last stages of government registration. Japan has started organizing an association forum, Thailand is mulling over an association hub, while Taiwan and Singapore have expressed interest in a similar initiative.
For the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and, to a certain extent, Japan, the prime movers of putting together and supporting associations are the country’s convention and visitors bureaus or their national tourism organizations. The rationale for government-run tourism agencies is obvious. According to surveys, attendees of meetings, conferences and trade exhibitions spend at least three times more than leisure tourists. And associations are the largest groups that organize business events, conference and trade exhibitions.
Such was the case when the PCAAE was founded in November 2013. It was through the collaboration of three institutions—the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP)—that the PCAAE came into being.
The motivations of these three collaborators matched their respective objectives. Having an “association of associations” in PCAAE, the TPB will have a collective group that will work together to bring into the country more international events to boost tourism intake. PICC will have an opportunity to promote its venue and catering facilities to more association events. ADFIAP will be able to further advance its advocacy for professional association management and good governance practices in associations.
In March 2015, with PCAAE leading the way, the Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO) was established during the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Asia-Pacific conference on association management in Hong Kong. The four founding APFAO members—the PCAAE, KSAE, AuSAE and AF—signed the “Hong Kong Charter” firming up the cooperation among the region’s “national associations of associations” on information and knowledge exchange, peer-to-peer networking and program synergies.
The APFAO is on its way to increasing its members and stakeholders. With Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan on the verge of having their own “association of associations,” expect a more dynamic association community, as well as a vibrant business event scene, in the Asia-Pacific region in the years ahead.
The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the CEO and Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) and pro tem secretariat head of the Asia Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO). The purpose of PCAAE—the country’s “association of associations”—is to advance the association management profession and to make associations well-governed and sustainable.
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