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

June 14, 2018 MICE No Comments Email Email

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.”

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