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Study shows thriving German meetings and events industry


Outstanding business results and cautious optimism for the future are the main themes emerging from the Meeting & EventBarometer 2013, which is a new study assessing the state of the business-events market in Germany.

Some 362 million participants attended meetings and events in Germany last year, 7.2 percent more than in 2011, according to the study. The number of events grew similarly by 9.2 percent to 2.97 million over the same period.

“With 362 million delegates, the German meetings industry has done more than simply improve on its own results. It is now also making an ever-larger contribution to the wider economy,” said Matthias Schultze, managing director, German Convention Bureau (GCB). “Thanks to the increasingly international nature of meetings and conferences, the industry is now becoming a showcase for Germany as a destination as well.”

There also has been a rise in the number of suppliers operating in the sector. Thanks to steadily rising demand over the past three years, event organizers can choose from 6,939 venues, an increase of 4.9 percent on the previous year.

Further confirmation of the German meetings industry’s world-class status comes from the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) and its latest destination rankings, based on data from international association conferences. For a ninth consecutive year, Germany occupies first place on the European list. In global terms, Germany is once again in second place in 2013, behind the USA and ahead of Spain. The ICCA’s figures show that a total of 649 international association conferences were hosted in Germany during 2012, 72 more than in the previous year.

The annual Meeting & EventBarometer is the only study that researches the entire German meetings market – including conferences as well as other events. The initiators of the study are the European Association of Event Centres, the GCB and the German National Tourist Board.  It was carried out by the European Institute for the Meetings Industry.

Study results indicate cautious optimism over the future of the sector. A majority of the event organizers questioned expect their budgets, and therefore the orders they place, to remain constant in 2013. Twenty-four percent of organizers are anticipating an increase in the number of events. And 31.7 percent of suppliers said factors relating to their geographical location made the most significant impact on their business during 2012. Nearly a quarter put the increased number of bookings down to Germany’s business climate, while 23.2 percent identified factors related to the conference facilities themselves.

Almost half of organizers say that their budgets increased moderately in 2012. Categorizing events by budget size reveals that the proportion of events with budgets over $644,500 rose from 41.8 to 46.5 percent. Overall, the total number of events increased by 9.2 percent, i.e. more quickly than the rise in the number of delegates.

The federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which includes Cologne and Düsseldorf, has the greatest number of event venues, followed by Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hessen. In the list of most popular destinations for organizers, Bavaria remains in front, ahead of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hessen. In terms of cities, Berlin is the favorite among event planners followed by Munich and Frankfurt.

The Meeting & EventBarometer is the only study that researches the entire German meetings market – including conferences as well as other events – and provides a meaningful in-depth analysis of the industry. The GCB represents and markets Germany as a destination for conventions, meetings, events and incentives both on a national and international scale. It is the first point of contact for companies, associations and organizations around the world planning events in Germany.

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