Vancouver a growing hotspot for international health conferences

WATCH: Vancouver is playing host to a number of major conferences this year, the culmination of some energetic campaigning. Elaine Yong reports.

Even when a major medical conference is about to kick off in Vancouver, there are people bidding for a new one.

“We need to be hitting on all cylinders. We need to have the right local leaders and champions, the right way to position the destinations, all of our industry partners coming together, the facilities that we need, and everything has to be first-rate,” says Ty Speer of Tourism Vancouver.

Tourism Vancouver and and the Vancouver Convention Centre put together the bid for the 8th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, which takes place in Vancouver this weekend. It brings together researchers, clinicians, community leaders and public health experts from around the world.

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But today, Speer was outside the Vancouver Convention Centre as Tourism Vancouver helped put together a video bidding for the 2021 World Congress of Critical Care.

“It’s quite an undertaking at every level,” admits Dr. Peter Brindley, a University of Alberta Physician taking part in the film shoot.

This weekend’s conference will contribute more than $15 million to Vancouver’s economy, and is the second time that Vancouver has hosted an IAS meeting in the last 20 years.

“This conference really is a focal point for the exchange of scientific information regarding HIV and AIDS,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS, which is co-hosting the meeting.

The scientific gathering comes at a critical point in global efforts to control the pandemic, which has devastated populations in several developing nations, particularly in Africa, said Montaner.

Just last week, Vancouver hosted more than 11,000 delegates for the Dermatology World Congress.

– With files from The Canadian Press