ICCA Names Top 20 Association Meeting Cities

May 8, 2017 Smart Meetings

ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association, has released its annual rankings of top meeting cities and countries, and there have been quite of a few shake-ups among the top 10 meeting destinations.

Top Meeting Cities

Paris has landed at the top spot with 196 meetings, one more than No. 1 Berlin reported last year. The top five was reshuffled quite a bit, with Vienna rising two places to second, Berlin dropping to fourth, and Barcelona and London staying at third and fifth, respectively.

The biggest rising star this year is Amsterdam, which climbed an impressive five spots to tie Madrid for seventh place. Just two of the top ten cities are located outside of Europe, and they are both in Asia. Singapore rose one place to rank sixth, while Seoul, a newcomer to the top 10, comes in at No. 10.

Rank City Number of Meetings in 2016
1 Paris 196
2 Vienna 186
3 Barcelona 181
4 Berlin 176
5 London 153
6 Singapore 151
7 Amsterdam 144
Madrid 144
9 Lisbon 138
10 Seoul 137
11 Prague 126
12 Bangkok 121
13 Dublin 118
14 Copenhagen 115
15 Beijing 113
16 Budapest 108
17 Buenos Aires 103
18 Stockholm 101
19 Hong Kong 99
20 Rome 96

Top Meeting Countries

On the other hand, ICCA’s top 10 meeting countries did not change much. Though some countries moved up and down the rankings, all of last year’s top ten made an appearance in the new list.

With 934 meetings in 2016, the United States once again ranked first. It has far and away the world’s highest number of international association meetings; second-place Germany had 689 meetings in 2016. The United States hosted 9 more meetings than it did in 2015, but time will tell whether the new administration’s travel policies will boost or damage this year’s numbers.

There is one new entry in the top 10. Portugal rose two places to tie with Canada for tenth place. In the rest of the top 10, France and Spain have swapped spots—France is now fourth, while Spain has come in fifth. China moved up to seventh place, while the Netherlands dropped one spot to ninth.

Rank Country Number of Meetings in 2016
1 U.S.A. 934
2 Germany 689
3 United Kingdom 582
4 France 545
5 Spain 533
6 Italy 468
7 China-P.R. 410
Japan 410
9 Netherlands 368
10 Canada 287
Portugal 287
12 Austria 268
13 Republic of Korea 267
14 Sweden 260
15 Brazil 244
16 Australia 211
17 Poland 195
18 Belgium 194
19 Argentina 188
20 Switzerland 184

Association Meetings Hit New Highs

To create the rankings, ICCA analyzed the international association meetings that were held in 2016. Qualifying meetings must be hosted by associations, held on a regular basis, have more than 50 attendees and rotate between at least three countries.

Under these criteria, the organization recorded 12,212 meetings in 2016, which is an increase of 136 meetings from 2015, and a new record.

In one decade, the number of association meetings has doubled from less than 6,000 in 2006 to more than 12,000 in 2016. ICCA predicts that association meetings will continue to follow this exponential trend, with the number of meetings expected to double every ten years.

“Once again our report provides clear evidence of the resilience and long-term continued growth of the international association meetings sector,” says ICCA CEO Martin Sirk. “…it is not just the traditional association meetings business that is in a healthy state: new association-type events are being created by groups of scientists and doctors, destinations are designing and hosting their own world-class STEM meetings and festivals (science, technology, engineering, maths), online discussions are migrating to the real world of concrete face-to-face interactions, and even corporate events are evolving into community gatherings of suppliers, clients, partners, investors, users, and academics, blurring the lines between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.”

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