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ICCA: "Global financial turmoil hits future meetings industry expectations, but few marketing or staff cuts are planned for 2009".

ICCA conducted a survey of its global membership to obtain an updated overview of industry confidence in the light of the current global financial crisis.  This survey was a follow-up to a similar survey which was conducted by ICCA in April.  The survey results were presented at the ICCA Congress, which is currently taking place from 1 – 5 November in Victoria, Canada.

Almost 30% of ICCA’s 850 member companies and organisations responded, providing the most current overview of how the meetings industry is coping, and how industry leaders predict they will be affected in future.

Impact of the economic environment in 2008

In the October survey, 8.5% of respondents indicated to have suffered a significant downturn as a result of the economic environment, opposed to 6% in April, whilst 44% report no impact whatsoever, compared to 60% in April.  The number of ICCA members reporting a slight impact of the economic environment on their business rose from 35% to 48%.

However, a surprisingly large figure of more than 39% are expecting their company’s 2008 performance to be better than 2007, a year which previous ICCA surveys have indicated was a record breaker in all regions of the world.  This is a drop of less than 2% compared to the survey conducted in April. As is April, less than one third think this year will be weaker than 2007.

Expectations for 2009

Almost 80% expect a negative impact on their business in 2009 (20% reported a “significant impact” and 58% a “slight impact”). However, almost 70% of ICCA members planning answered “no” when asked if they are planning to make cuts in their 2009 marketing budgets compared to 2008 and almost 78% does not expect they have to make any staff cuts in 2009. This is good news for magazines and trade show organisers everywhere, and is in marked contrast to the big cuts which were seen in previous economic downturns.

Less positive about the global meetings industry in general

However, the final question of the survey delivered results which call this optimism into question. 

More than 60% of ICCA members expect a significant negative global impact on the international meetings industry; just over half of the respondents said there will be significant short-term negative global impact up to 18 months, while only 35% felt this way in April, and 11% expected a significant negative global impact for more than 18 months. This percentage was just over 7% in April.

Almost 36% predict some regional negative impact only, while only 3% expected no impact at all.

Martin Sirk quote: "What is perhaps most surprising is how little immediate impact has been felt so far, with 2008 still projected to be a good business year overall for most ICCA members in all regions of the world.  Clearly there is a great deal of concern for economic prospects in 2009 and beyond, but it is heartening to see the confidence implied by the very small numbers planning marketing or staff cuts.  What is also clear from anecdotal discussions with our members is that international association meetings are expected to be the most resilient meetings industry sector, whilst corporate meetings are expected to be worst affected.  With ICCA being the leading provider of research tools and marketing opportunities to reach international association decision-makers, this puts our association in an excellent position to help ICCA member companies and organisations weather the challenges heading towards us all."

- ENDS

You can download a powerpoint presentation with the survey results from our website: http://www.iccaworld.com/cnt/files/PressKit/ICCA economic survey.ppt

You can find more information on the ICCA Congres on our website: http://www.iccaworld.com/dbs/congress2008/

ICCA Press contact: Mathijs Vleeming, Phone: 31 20 398 1962 (direct line), Email: mathijs@icca.nl, Website: www.iccaworld.com
Chamber of Commerce registration number: 40409074