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ICCA publishes 2017 country and city rankings based on estimated total number of participants

As part of its 2017 Statistics Report on the international association meetings market, ICCA has published its country and city rankings by estimated total number of participants.
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As part of its 2017 Statistics Report on the international association meetings market, ICCA has published its country and city rankings by estimated total number of participants. The U.S.A. and Barcelona are the top country and top city in 2017 respectively: they both held the most meetings and hosted the most participants. The public abstract of this report is now available.

Top cities hold largest meetings with most delegates

The cities holding the most meetings in 2017 are also those holding the largest ones. The top ten cities for both the total number of meetings and estimated total number of participants in 2017 remains the same, with the exception of Amsterdam. Whilst the Dutch capital fell to 16th place in 2017 for total number of meetings held, the city places in ninth with 75,578 total estimated participants in 2017. This indicates Amsterdam held less meetings in 2017, but hosted larger ones in comparison to other destinations.

Whilst regular top ten placeholders Vienna and Paris are in joint second place in the 2017 city rankings by number of meetings, Paris drops to third place when it comes to number of participants, hosting 111,725 in 2017 compared to Vienna’s 113,891. Several cities who previously held top ten spots in 2016 have not continued to do so in 2017 according to the latest statistics: Seoul, Copenhagen, Rome and Beijing all hosted smaller meetings in 2017 and dropped out of the top ten. Notable climbers include Paris, Barcelona and Singapore, who moved from seventh to third place, third to first place, and tenth to sixth place respectively. Barcelona enjoyed a profitable 2017, claiming first place in both city rankings (by number of meetings and estimated total number of participants).

Table 1: Top 10 city ranking by estimated total number of participants in 2017, including total number of meetings organised in 2017

Rank

City

# Participants

# Meetings

Rank by # meetings

1

Barcelona

148,624

195

1

2

Vienna

113,891

190

2

3

Paris

111,725

190

2

4

Madrid

110,438

153

7

5

Berlin

97,549

185

4

6

Singapore

83,762

160

6

7

London

78,811

177

5

8

Lisbon

76,549

149

9

9

Amsterdam

75,578

112

16

10

Prague

66,790

151

8

U.S.A. continues to dominate 2017 country rankings

The U.S.A. continues to dominate the country rankings, holding first place in the country rankings by both number of meetings and estimated total number of participants in 2017. Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom place in the top five by number of participants for another year. The United Kingdom drops from third place in 2016 to fifth, and Germany drops to third place from second. Spain climbs to second place from fifth with 327,996 participants in 2017, up from 217,724 participants in 2016. Italy falls out of the top five to sixth place in 2017, with France up to fourth place from holding seventh place in 2016.

The top five destinations held more meetings in 2017 with a higher number of participants compared to other destinations. All top five placeholders by number of participants place in the top five countries by number of meetings in 2017 apart from France, which ranks in sixth place.

Table 2: Top 10 country ranking by estimated total number of participants in 2017, including total number of meetings organised in 2017

Rank

Country

# Participants

# Meetings

Rank by # meetings

1

U.S.A.

424,010

941

1

2

Spain

327,996

564

4

3

Germany

246,045

682

2

4

France

211,129

506

6

5

United Kingdom

192,544

592

3

6

Italy

172,274

515

5

7

Canada

168,223

360

9

8

Austria

139,187

281

12

9

Netherlands

134,510

307

10

10

Japan

133,025

414

7

More meetings held, but smaller in size

To be included in the ICCA rankings, association meetings must be held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates, and rotate between at least 3 countries. The number of association meetings continues to grow on an annual basis: ICCA captured a record number of 12,558 rotating international association meetings taking place in 2017, with 346 additional meetings occurring compared to 2016. This is the highest annual figure that ICCA has ever recorded in its yearly analysis of the immediate past year’s meetings data.

Whilst the number of association meetings doubles every 10 years, the trend ICCA identified last year concerning participant numbers in its 2016 Statistics Report continues to apply: 33% of all meetings in 2007 hosted 50-149 participants compared to 40% in 2017, indicating that association meetings continue to decrease in size.

Public abstract of 2017 ICCA rankings released

More extensive rankings by participant numbers, as well as the worldwide and regional rankings by number of meetings, subject matter and many more criteria, are included in ICCA’s public abstract of its 2017 Statistics Report, which has been sent to over 5,400 associations. This can be downloaded from ICCA’s Knowledge Hub.

Continuing to look beyond the standard ICCA rankings

With a track record of 55 years of consistently collecting information on international association meetings, the ICCA rankings are considered the benchmark source in the international meetings market for identifying and comparing the relative position of destinations. Due to their trustworthy reputation, these rankings continue to attract a huge amount of attention in the meetings industry every year.

However, they solely provide insight into the number of international association meetings, meaning the ICCA rankings represent just a small segment of the total amount of international meetings taking place in a city or country. ICCA encourages its members to collect their own comprehensive information on meetings hosted in their destination.

By publishing these rankings by estimated total number of participants, ICCA hopes its members will look beyond the standard ICCA rankings, and analyse the market from multiple perspectives.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: “We can’t stress this point strongly enough: ICCA’s rankings are a snapshot of a moment in time of a database designed for sales and marketing purposes, for a very specific segment of the market, where decisions are made three to six years in advance. Any destination wishing to accurately present its true performance in the international meetings field needs to complement the ICCA statistics and rankings with its own robust measurement of all meetings business won for the future and hosted in the past year. With our ICCA Destination Comparison Tool, ICCA members can also extract data on meetings that are especially important for their destination using many different types of criteria; we expect to see many ICCA members communicating their rankings in these specific type of meetings, and not just relying on their position in our overall rankings.”

- ENDS

For more information on statistics surrounding the international association meetings market in 2017, you can download the public version of the 2017 Statistics Report from the ICCA website.

ICCA members can access the full 2017 rankings via the Destination Comparison Tool, using their new My ICCA Portal logins.

About ICCA

ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) represents the world's leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and now comprises over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide. ICCA has specialised in the international association meetings sector since its establishment 55 years ago, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.

ICCA members represent the top destinations worldwide and the most experienced specialist suppliers. International meeting planners can rely on the ICCA network to find solutions for all their event objectives, such as: venue selection; technical and strategic advice; assistance with delegate transportation; full convention planning or ad hoc services.

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