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May 9, 2017

ICCA Releases Top Destinations for International Meetings in 2016

Paris was the number one city for international meetings in 2016. // Photo by iakkovkalinin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has released its annual ranking of top cities and countries for meetings. 

The ICCA analyzed 12,212 rotating international association meetings taking place in 2016, an all-time record and an additional 136 meetings compared to 2015. The number of association meetings doubled over the bast decade, from just under 6,000 in 2006 to over 12,000 in 2016. 

ICCA’s researchers also spotted an additional 710 meetings for 2015, and 524 for 2014. The ICCA Association Database now includes 20,000 regularly occurring meeting series, 220,000 meeting editions and 11,500 international associations.

Paris, number one in 2014, takes over first place again with 196 meetings in 2016 – one more meeting than last year’s number one Berlin, the ICCA said. Even though the order is quite different, this year’s top 5 cities were also represented in last year’s top 5. Vienna climbs two places to second and Barcelona remains third. Berlin drops from first to fourth place and London remains fifth. Singapore is the first Asian city jumping one place from seventh to sixth. Madrid drops two places from a shared fifth in 2015 to a shared seventh in 2016. Newcomers in the top 10 compared to last year are Amsterdam, 12th last year and now sharing seventh place with Madrid, and Seoul jumping from 13th to 10th. Like last year, Lisbon is ninth.


Here’s a look at the top 20 cities:

  1. Paris
  2. Vienna
  3. Barcelona
  4. Berlin
  5. London
  6. Singapore
  7. Amsterdam and Madrid
  8. Lisbon
  9. Seoul
  10. Prague
  11. Bangkok
  12. Dublin
  13. Copenhagen
  14. Beijing
  15. Budapest
  16. Buenos Aires
  17. Stockholm
  18. Hong Kong
  19. Rome

In terms of countries, the top 10 are the same as last year, with some minor shifts and one newcomer in a tie for 10th place. The United States remains number one with 934 meetings in 2016, nine more than in 2015. Germany remains second and the United Kingdom remains third. France and Spain swap places: France is now fourth and Spain fifth. Italy and Japan remain sixth and seventh, while Japan now shares seventh place with China-P.R., which is climbing one place. The Netherlands drops one place form shared eighth to ninth and Canada remains tenth but is now joined on tenth place by Portugal, which was twelfth last year.

Here’s the top countries list:

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. United Kingdom
  4. France
  5. Spain
  6. Italy
  7. China and Japan
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Canada and Portugal
  10. Austria
  11. The Republic of Korea
  12. Sweden
  13. Brazil
  14. Australia
  15. Poland
  16. Belgium
  17. Argentina
  18. Switzerland

To be included, meetings must be organized by associations, must be held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates, and rotate between at least three countries.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: “Once again our report provides clear evidence of the resilience and long-term continued growth of the international association meetings sector.  Anecdotally, we hear that it is not just the traditional association meetings business that is in a healthy state: new association-type events are being created by groups of scientists and doctors, destinations are designing and hosting their own world-class STEM meetings and festivals (science, technology, engineering, maths), online discussions are migrating to the real world of concrete face-to-face interactions, and even corporate events are evolving into community gatherings of suppliers, clients, partners, investors, users, and academics, blurring the lines between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. The Information Revolution and Knowledge Economy are experiencing continuing exponential growth, so it’s hardly surprising that the entire association meetings community is responding in such a dynamic fashion.  Traditional association meetings are growing strongly, but they are definitely no longer the only game in town!”

Source: ICCA

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