For the first time ever, more than 10,000 regularly occurring association events which rotate between at least three countries were identified by ICCA members and ICCA’s in-house research team as having taken place during 2011, over 800 more than identified a year previously.
The top 10 countries showed little change, with the top six repeating their rankings, led by the USA, Germany and Spain. The Netherlands and Austria appeared at 9th and 10th respectively, taking the place of Switzerland, which dropped from 10th to 12th, and Japan, which in the aftermath of cancellations due to the earthquake and tsunami, understandably dropped from 7th to 13th. The USA saw by far the biggest jump in the number of events held, up by 136 to a new record 759 meetings.
In the city rankings, Vienna retained its number one status, and below it Paris overtook Barcelona in the 2nd and 3rd place duel. The biggest climber in the top ten was London, with the 2012 Olympics effect pulling them up from 14th to 7th, and Beijing, which led the way amongst the fast growing BRIC destinations by climbing from 12th to 10th.
“There are always going to be short-term competitive changes to annual rankings, some caused by external factors and some by marketing successes” said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk, “but the most important thing to note is that international association meetings continue to be in tremendously good health when compared with the overall situation in the global meetings industry. We’ve seen consistent annual growth in the number of international association meetings throughout the last few years of global economic instability, something no other sector can claim, even though we’re also hearing about increasing challenges in raising sponsorship amongst a sizeable minority of organisers.”
“I strongly believe that any destination wanting to achieve long-term overall success in the meetings business needs to invest in the research and specialised marketing and bidding skills required to attract these international association events.”