Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that 2007 continues to be a successful one for the entire industry.
The first six months of the ISES year - which historically has always run from July to June - was a very busy one, with the association continuing to grow and develop.
We began the year with record member retention of 97% and grew our base membership by an impressive 27%. We launched our new member database and supplier search facility, which is already proving an invaluable tool for buyers, and we held six networking events that were attended by more than 1,200 people. We also held our first study tour - a four-day visit to our sister chapter in New York - and then ended the year with our ever-spectacular ISES Christmas party.
The first six months of 2007 have already begun with industry trade show and convention The Special Event in Los Angeles, which was attended by more than 6,000 event professionals from around the world. We are also well on course to achieve our target of 300 members by June, and we have the beginnings of a chapter in Ireland, where our colleagues there already have more than 25 members.
Our strategic partnerships with Visit London and Insurex Expo-Sure, which continue to deliver real and tangible benefits, will be further developed and our programme of events extended to include some of the capital's newest and brightest venues. Our new partnership with International Confex will see ISES creating and hosting the London Bar at Earls Court in February, and we will be continuing our close relationship with the RSVP Show at the Business Design Centre - and RSVP North - during the course of the year.
Our European Conference, which will be held at London's multi-award-winning venue The Brewery on 30 April, will again be staged in conjunction with students from some of the UK's leading event management colleges, with sessions, networking and an industry-leading line-up of international speakers.
So it would seem that 2007 is set to be a very busy and valuable year for everyone who is involved with ISES.
If you would like to get involved and be a part of everything that the association is doing this year, please visit our website at www.isesuk.org.