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ICCA: Number of international association meetings continues to increase significantly

The ICCA rankings cover meetings organised by international associations which take place on a regular basis and which rotate between a minimum of three countries. The data represents a "snapshot" of qualifying events in the ICCA Association Database as sampled on 9 May 2011. ICCA's Association Database is designed as a sales and marketing resource for its members to target future international association meetings, which is why it does not include one-off events or those which do not move between locations.

This year the ICCA Data researchers have identified 9,120 events which took place in 2010, 826 events more than were identified last year and an all-time record! Partly this reflects the strength of the association meetings market despite the recent economic downturn; partly it is thanks to a record number of ICCA members sending us their calendar information to help identify new events.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk says: “Some of this significant increase in numbers of association meetings in 2010 is certainly due to our continued investment in research and the great feedback from ICCA members, but it seems clear to me that we’re in the midst of an extended period of astonishing dynamism: 2009 and 2008 were similarly buoyant in terms of new association event creation.  This surely has to be driven by the acceleration of new scientific and technological developments, and the need to discuss these complex changes face-to-face.  Anyone who wants to understand what the Information Revolution really looks like just needs to consider how the association meetings sector is evolving.”

Table 1: ICCA country and city ranking measured by number of meetings organised in 2010

As has been the case since 2004, U.S.A. and Germany are the number one and two countries respectively measured by the number of international meetings organised in 2010. The gap between the U.S.A. and Germany is shrinking from 137 to 81 meetings, compared to the 2009 figures. Spain, third country in the ranking since 2007, remains third. The United Kingdom and France both climb one place to respectively fourth and fifth at the cost of Italy, which now ranks sixth. Japan and China-P.R. both also climb one place and Brazil drops two places and is now ninth. Switzerland is a newcomer in the top 10.

The top 5 cities are the same as in the 2009 ranking: For the sixth year in a row, Vienna is the most popular city, even though it organized 6 meetings less compared to 2009, which means other cities are gaining ground on Vienna. Like last year, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin and Singapore make up the top 5 cities. Remarkable climbers are Madrid (jumps from 13 to 6), Istanbul (from 17 to 7), Sydney (from 27 to 10) and Taipei (from 25 to 11). Copenhagen and Stockholm dropped out of the top 10 and Bangkok dropped out of the top 20. For Bangkok political unrest can clearly be appointed as a cause for this drop. When creating a city ranking measured by total number of participants hosted at all meetings in 2010, Stockholm is third, which means it has hosted less but bigger meetings.

ICCA is now working on the details behind these headline results. The full ICCA statistics report for 2010 will be released end of June. The 10 Year statistics report covering 2001-2010 will be published late July.

The ICCA statistics reports will only be available online to ICCA members. “The International Association Meetings Market 2010” will also be sent to over 6,000 association meeting planners all over the world. ICCA encourages associations to use the statistics as a practical way to identify potential new destinations for their events.