CEA/ITMA merger on cards as talks begin

The Incentive Travel and Meetings Association (ITMA) and the Corporate Event Association (CEA) are preparing to merge into a single industry trade association.

Talks between the two bodies are at an early stage but both agree that a merger should happen.

ITMA chairman Roger Harvey said: "The prospect of bringing these two associations together reflects our strategy of creating a broader, more representative organisation. It will give us a platform for growth as well as creating a stronger and more effective voice for the events industry sector."

CEA chairman Sam Gill agreed: "A larger association would result in greater networking opportunities as well as a better funded and more focused secretariat that would be better able to represent the interests of our members and the industry as a whole."

Gill added that neither association would be rushed into a decision.

"A merger would mean some constitutional changes to each body so we will be taking several months to iron out the structural issues," he commented.

"There is a critical mass, which any association needs to be effective and the CEA has never had the required depth of membership to achieve this."

The CEA was formed in 1988 and has 95 members from 120 companies. ITMA dates back to 1985. Its membership stands at 230, of which 38 are event organisers and 192 are suppliers.

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