Berlin No.1 city and Germany No.2 country in new ICCA rankings

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Berlin No.1 city and Germany No.2 country in new ICCA rankings

Berlin leads the new International Congress & Convention Association’s (ICCA) annual rankings, hosting 195 meetings in 2015. Germany’s capital city has risen from fourth place last year to pole position this year in both the worldwide and European rankings.

Eight German cities feature in the top 100 European rankings.

Germany ranks number one in Europe and second worldwide (only behind the US) for the 12th consecutive year, with 667 meetings.

Germany is set to welcome a wide range of association meetings this year, ranging from the 10th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media ICWSM-16 in Cologne this week and the IATA 138th Slot Conference Association next month in Hamburg, to the 20th International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy –ISPD- in Berlin later in the summer and the 28th AACR-NCI-EORTC Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Cologne towards the end of the year.

Matthias Schultze, managing director of the German Convention Bureau, said: “Germany’s cities are renowned for using their individual areas of expertise to attract and support conventions and it’s great to see so many of these cities recognised in the latest rankings, with Berlin leading the way.

“It is a great achievement that our country has retained its place at the top of ICCA’s ranking for well over a decade now. We all work hard as an integrated, country-wide destination, service, venue, hotel, convention centre and economic development community to deliver one-of-a-kind, sucessful meeting experiences.”

In the city rankings, Paris drops to second with 186 recorded qualifying meetings and Barcelona rises to third place with 180. Vienna drops two places to fourth, with 178 meetings and London moves up a place into the top five with 171 meetings, level with Madrid.

ICCA captured a record number of 12,076 rotating international association meetings taking place in 2015; the largest number of association meetings collected in the year after the meetings took place ever, and 571 additional meetings compared to 2014.

These numbers reconfirm the consistent growth pattern in the association meetings market as identified in ICCA’s 50-year report (publicly available on

The ICCA Association Database now includes 20,000 regularly occurring meeting series, 220,000 meeting editions and 11,500 international associations.

Even though the order is quite different, the top seven cities are made up of the same ones as last year.

Istanbul climbs a place to eighth, while Lisbon and Copenhagen are newcomers in the top 10.

In the city rankings, it seems the ‘winners’ are the cities with the fewest losses, or with a very small growth; new number one city Berlin has only two more meetings compared to 2014, while Paris has 28 meetings fewer than in 2014, Vienna has 24 and Madrid 29 fewer. Barcelona is two down and London is five up.

Since the total number of meetings in 2015 has increased, this means that the meetings are more equally spread out among destinations, and relatively smaller, second tier destinations are becoming more and more successful at attracting association meetings.

In the country rankings, the UK climbs one place to No.3, behind perennial leaders the USA and Germany. The UK hosted 582 qualifying meetings in 2015, 39 up on the year.

As one of the very few reports which compares destinations’ meetings-related performance on a global scale, the annual ICCA rankings are one of the most eagerly anticipated industry publications.

Due to lack of global figures on other meeting segments, they are often mistakenly perceived as the destination rankings for the meetings industry as a whole, even though they only cover a narrow segment of the total meetings market: to be included, meetings must be organised by associations, must be held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates, and rotate between at least three countries.

While these ICCA rankings provide some evidence of a city or country’s relative performance, it is only when all data on all the meetings taking place in a destination are considered – corporate, intergovernmental, non-rotating, etc – that a true, complete picture can be seen.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented on the results: “In an uncertain world with ever increasing business disruption, the stability and continuing long-term growth of international association meetings are encouraging more and more suppliers and destinations to include this market segment in their mix of business. What also remains true is that these are the most complex and long-lead-time meetings to win, requiring excellent research and targeting, top class bidding and presentation skills, and patience.

“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 10 positions. This might also reflect a trend we are hearing anecdotally, as many of the top destinations are starting to create their own international meetings, rather than simply bidding for traditional association meetings whenever rotation patterns allow, and these new meetings don’t appear in our data, since they don’t usually rotate between countries.”

The full ICCA statistics reports are available to ICCA members in its online Destination Comparison Tool.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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