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ICCA releases the public abstract of the 2019 Statistics Report

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Following the release of the 2019 ICCA rankings by number of meetings on 12 May, when ICCA announced a record number of association meetings taking place in 2019, ICCA now releases the public abstract of the 2019 Statistics Report, highlighting major trends in 2019 and the country and city rankings by estimated total number of participants. For the second year in a row, Barcelona tops the city ranking in these charts and U.S.A are still the country titleholders.

The release of ICCA’s 2019 ICCA Statistics marks yet another successful year for the association meetings market, with the leading global meetings industry trade association capturing a total of 13,254 rotating association meetings taking place in 2019, at an increase of 317 additional meetings compared to the number recorded at the same time in 2018.

Key trends

  • In 2019, the average total expenditure on all meetings in the ICCA Association Database was almost USD 11 billion - excluding spin-off investments and economic development. 
  • The months September, October and June are still the most popular choices for the association sector to organise meetings, while Winter months December, January and February remain at the bottom of the list.
  • Medical Science (17%), Technology (15%) and Science (13%) are the three most popularinternational association meeting topics.

Rankings by number of participants vs number of meetings

ICCA calculates the estimated total number of participants by multiplying the average number of participants per meeting (of which the participant number is known to ICCA) by the total number of meetings in the same destination.

Consequently, when analysing destinations based on the estimated total number of participants instead of number of meetings, the rankings can present different results.

2019 City Rankings: Barcelona hosts the most delegates for the second year in a row

Barcelona, 4th in the ranking by number of meetings, tops the chart for estimated total number of participants with an impressive 157,000 delegates. Unsurprisingly, given their high rankings for their number of meetings, Paris comes in second place, followed by Madrid then Lisbon who are only separate by 500 delegates.

Vienna and Berlin dip slightly in the rankings moving down to 5th and 6th, while London enters the top 10 moving into the 7th spot. Milan, takes the 8th slot and joins the likes of Hamburg, Prague, Beijing and Athens, all making the top 20 city rankings after not appearing in last year’s statistics.

2019 Country/Territory rankings: U.S.A. remains in first position

There’s less change in the country rankings than can be seen in the city rankings. Titleholders U.S.A remain in first position for the country rankings with 357,000 delegates hosted and sit in the top 5 with almost exactly the same order of countries as last year; Spain, Germany, France, with Italy making it to 5th place this year instead of last year’s Canada. United Kingdom remain in 6th place with Japan, China, Canada and Netherlands moving up or down slightly but remaining in the top 10.

ICCA CEO, Senthil Gopinath said: “ICCA’s annual statistics report is one of few that compares destinations’ meetings-related performance on a global scale and therefore provides great insight into global trends in the meetings industry. Year on year, ICCA has seen a promising consistent growth pattern in the association meetings market." 

"Given the current circumstances, with COVID-19 continuing to have a huge effect globally, particularly on the events industry, it is great to once again highlight the consistent growth in association meetings globally. These figures show the need and importance of face-to-face events, and consequently that the industry will be instrumental in the global recovery when the time is right.”

Only those meetings that meet ICCA’s stringent assessment criteria - rotating between at least three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and are held on a regular basis - are recorded within the global association’s annual statistics.

The public abstract of the 2019 ICCA Statistics Report is available for free download now on the ICCA website. ICCA’s more extensive statistics are accessible to ICCA Members only via the Destination Comparison Tool, a business intelligence tool which allows ICCA members to analyse their market position and compare meetings data.


About ICCA

Shaping the future and value of international association meetings

ICCA - the International Congress and Convention Association - is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry.

ICCA is the global association leader for the international meetings industry and specialises in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, education, communication channels, and business development and networking opportunities. Since its establishment in 1963, ICCA represents the world's top destinations and most experienced suppliers specialised in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises of over 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries and territories worldwide.

As of 2020 ICCA encompasses all major stakeholders in the world of association meetings, by opening its doors to associations with the launch of the “ICCA Association Community”, offering education, connections, tools and resources to associations to organise more effective meetings.

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