Recovery and business optimism are the two key conclusions reached in the latest annual survey carried out by AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres.
The survey, carried out between April and June 2014, achieved a 60-plus percent response rate from centers in 54 countries with a heavy representation in Europe. It is now available to AIPC members at www.aipc.org.
“Finally, we are seeing clear signs of departure from the economic uncertainty that has characterized our sector since the onset of the recent global recession” said Geoff Donaghy, president, AIPC. “Business results are all tending toward the positive and investment – a sign of future confidence – is picking up as well. While we need to recognize and address the fact that we are dealing in a world that has changed irreversibly in some fundamental ways, it is nevertheless clear that things are finally on the upswing.”
Key survey findings included:
- Total revenue increased worldwide by 3.1 percent in 2013, and the membership is expecting a solid increase with 4.7 percent in 2014.
- This revenue growth has exceeded global GDP from 2010 to 2013, but is expected to increase much faster in 2014 relative to a 3.4 percent worldwide GDP forecast.
- In a clear sign of the gaining strength and optimism in the industry, the percentage of members that say they are experiencing either strong or moderate growth has increased to 79 percent up from only 52 percent in 2013.
- An increasing percentage of members also say they expect to see overall revenue growth in 2014 in most of the industry’s core revenue categories, including exhibit hall and meeting room rental, food and beverage sales and concessions as well as event services and AV.
- The number of major capital investment projects, such as expansions and renovations, are also increasing worldwide, with 71 percent of members indicate they are planning or developing an expansion, renovation or other significant investment in their facilities currently up from 62 percent in the 2013 survey.
- AIPC members see major international and national corporate meetings as the strongest client segment expected over in the near term, followed by association conventions and conferences – again, a signal of an improving overall economy.
- Africa now has the fastest growing revenues in the world, with African members reporting gross center revenues of 9.2 percent in 2013 and also forecasting the highest rate of revenue growth in 2014.
“One area that has remained of great concern is that of government policies toward centers, many of which are actually owned by those same governments,” said Donaghy. “These concerns relate to both investment and participation in meetings and events by government staff, many of whom are facing restrictions in attending events related to their areas of responsibility. This shows we need to keep working to ensure the importance of business events to economic recovery are better understood and appreciated by policy makers in all parts of the world.”
AIPC represents a global network of over 170 leading centers in 54 countries with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals worldwide.