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March 16, 2009

Berlin so far proves resilient to economic turmoil

Germany’s leading role as a European meetings and events destination is widely known, but just how its status will be affected by the global recession is still uncertain. However, recent figures from the Berlin convention office, Berlin Tourismus Marketing (BTM), indicate that the country is still holding its own.

Between January and December last year, 104,600 events with approximately 8.15 million participants were staged in the German capital. These figures correspond to a rise of 3% and 2%, respectively, compared with 2007.

Berlin nights
There has also been a substantial rise in overnight stays. Participants and organisers in the convention industry spent 4.7 million nights in the German capital during 2008, up an impressive 5% on the previous year.

“Berlin has succeeded in concluding 2008 with a positive result despite the major global economic downswings in recent months,” comments BTM’s chief executive Burkhard Kieker. “Berlin scores points with meeting and convention guests for its unique flair, unusual locations and excellent hotels – at rates that are simply unbeatable.”

Embracing the unusual
The statistics are testament to the level and variety of events facilities that the German capital offer, with 161 meeting hotels, alone, offering high standards and excellent value for money.

The numerous unusual locations also play a key role in Berlin’s success as a key events destination. The 135 venues in this category make up 278,500 square metres of meeting space. They were well utilized during 2008, hosting around 14,500 events between them, and 5% increase on 2007, and 2.5 million participants, up 2% on the previous year.

Meeting for longer
The number of events that took place in Berlin’s six convention centres and halls also rose in 2008. Between them they chalked up 2,500 events, up 4% on 2007, and 850,000 participants, also a rise of 4%. In fact, 2008 was the best year ever for the International Congress Centre Berlin.

One final interesting statistic from Berlin in 2008 is that the average length of meetings held in the city increased slightly compared with 2007, rising from 1.6 to 1.7 days.

After what was essentially a successful 2008, particularly in light of the prevailing economic conditions, it will be interested to see how Berlin’s meetings and events industry performs during 2009. With companies looking to squeeze the most value out of their events, the city’s mix of good quality venues, unusual locations and keen prices could well prove a decisive factor.

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