According to an annual ranking conducted by the International Congress and Convention Association, the United States retained its position as the top country for the number of meetings hosted in 2015, and Berlin ousted Paris as the No. 1 city. Officials say they found a record 12,076 meetings in 2015 that qualified for inclusion in the study, which focuses exclusively on association meetings that are held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates, and rotate between at least three countries.
Though it is a thin slice of the total number of meetings and events taking place annually, researchers say it is a good barometer for the overall health of the industry, and by appearances, industry health seems to be robust. There were 571 more meetings in 2015 than 2014, with 94 of those taking place in the United States.
The study identified a number of relative newcomers to the ranking, as well as a number of destinations with precipitous climbs in position. Belgium and the Republic of Korea had the greatest gains among the top 20 countries, moving four and five positions respectively, while Germany remained at No. 2 behind the United States and the United Kingdom bested Spain to become No. 3.
There was significant jumbling in the order of the top 20 cities, with many cities sliding from their previous position because they lost meetings, not because other destinations had great gains. Bangkok moved up 13 spots to join the list as the No. 16 city, and Dublin moved six places forward to make its first appearance in the top 20 as well. Beijing and Amsterdam experienced the greatest slide, falling five and four spaces respectively. Researchers say the results overall indicate a trend in which Tier Two cities are increasingly being chosen as event destinations. “It’s always risky to draw conclusions from a single year’s data, but it appears that competition is getting tougher for the traditional market leaders, with faster growth outside the top ten positions,” said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk.