Paris has returned to the top of the ICCA City Rankings, with the USA continuing to top the Country Rankings.
The French capital previously held the top city spot in 2016, and now returns in the newly released rankings covering 2018 to claim first place.
The new ICCA’s 2018 Country and City Rankings also mark another successful year for the association meetings market, with the global meetings industry trade association capturing a total of 12,937 rotating association meetings taking place in 2018. The figure represents an increase of 379 meetings compared to the number recorded at the same time in 2017. It is the highest annual figure ICCA has ever recorded in its yearly statistics.
In the City Rankings, Paris showed a clean pair of heals to second place Vienna, recording 40 more meetings. In 2017, Paris and Vienna held joint second place, with 190 meetings each.
Last year’s number one city Barcelona falls to fourth place this time, with Madrid entering the top five for the first time since 2015 in third place.
Berlin falls to fifth place from fourth in 2017.
Remaining in the top 10, London, Singapore and Prague drop to seventh, eighth and ninth place respectively, and Lisbon climbs three positions to hold sixth place.
Bangkok rises seven places from 17th to 10th, knocking Seoul out of the top 10.
Seoul falls to 15th place, surpassed by top 20 risers and joint position holders Amsterdam and Tokyo, which jump from 16th to 13th place and 18th to 13th place respectively.
Buenos Aires stays firmly in 11th place and Hong Kong rises to 12th. Dublin drops four places to 18th, and Stockholm holds 19th place for another year. Montréal, QC and Rome drop out of the top 20, and newcomers Brussels and Taipei enter in 17th and 20th place.
Table 1: Top 20 city ranking by number of meetings organised in 2018
USA remains unchallenged
The USA continues to dominate the Country Rankings, unchallenged for over two decades. Germany remains in second place and 2017’s number three the UK drops to fifth place, overtaken by Spain, which rises to third. After exiting the top five last year, France re-enters in 2018 in fourth place. Italy replaces France in sixth place, and Japan and China-P.R. remain in seventh and eighth place for another year. The Netherlands and Canada swap positions, coming in at ninth and 10th respectively.
Portugal remains in 11th place and Republic of Korea climbs one position to 12th.
Brazil and Poland fall one place to 17th and 19th respectively, and Switzerland drops to 20th place, while Australia and Sweden climb to 13th and 14th. Austria remains in the top 20 but falls four places to 16th. Newcomer Argentina regains its position in the top 20 after falling to 21st place in 2017, knocking Denmark from 20th to 22nd place.
Table 2: Top 20 country rankings by number of meetings organised in 2018
ICCA again emphasises that its annual report is a snapshot of just one segment of the meetings industry, focused on charting the growth of international association meetings. Only those meetings that meet ICCA’s stringent assessment criteria – rotating between at least three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and are held on a regular basis – are recorded within the annual statistics.
ICCA’s new CEO Senthil Gopinath said: “Although the most comprehensive global benchmark of the international association meetings sector, the ICCA rankings should not be mistaken as providing an overview of the entire meetings industry. We always seek to encourage and advise ICCA members to consult other rankings and collect their own meetings statistics to help them provide a full picture of their performance.”
“We have recorded our largest ever annual snapshot of the immediate past year’s meetings data in 2018,” Gopinath continued. “These results closely follow the release of our 55-year history of the international association meetings market in October 2018.
ICCA’s latest figures uphold the mature, robust growth pattern we identified in this report and provide more evidence of our firm belief that the association sector continues to be an unrivalled stimulator of global societal development and force for progress across the globe.”
The full ICCA statistics reports are available now to members in the ICCA Destination Comparison Tool. The rankings for all countries and cities will be released to the public in mid-June.
“We are very pleased with these results – reaching number one is a great collective achievement. Paris is a renowned destination, with tourist sites and range of leisure activities. In recent years, however, the city has also demonstrated real momentum, with a willingness to develop, modernise and optimise its facilities and infrastructure. Hospitality and customer experience remain our top priorities. Business tourism is a major asset for Paris: trade shows and conferences generate €5.5 billion in economic benefits each year and have a direct impact on employment (85,000 full-time equivalent positions). In 2018, the Tourist Office provided support for more than 300 conferences and major events, and submitted 148 bids,” said Corinne Menegaux, Managing Director, Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“These results once again demonstrate Viparis’s expertise in hosting major events. In the field of large-scale international meetings, the competition is increasingly fierce, and Paris’s leading ranking – far from being a given – requires that we continue our efforts. The Paris Convention Centre has hosted six conferences since it opened 18 months ago, and 23 more have already been booked through 2023. Starting in 2019, the Centre will welcome the joint congresses of the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation, with an expected 35,000 attendees,” Pablo Nakhlé Cerruti, CEO, Viparis added.