The recently published 2021 ICCA ranking (Destination Performance Index report) have seen Vienna reclaim top city spot worldwide for the first time since 2012.
Vienna came in ahead of Lisbon and Athens in second and third places respectively. The survey attributed 92 congresses to Vienna, nine of which were held without restrictions, 22 as hybrid events and 61 virtually (113 congresses were originally planned).
Second and third spots went to Lisbon (91 congresses held during the year) and Athens (66). The remainder of the top ten was made up of Barcelona, Singapore, Madrid, Prague, Paris, Berlin and Brussels.
“2021 was an extremely challenging year for the entire congress industry. So it is all the more gratifying that Vienna emerged as the international market leader. Alongside all of the other stakeholders in the congress destination, we are working to ensure that Vienna continues to reaffirm its position as the top location for congresses over the years to come,” said Susanne Baumann-Söllner, managing director of the Austria Center Vienna.
The City of Vienna had a significant role to play in the destination’s strong performance through the Vienna Meeting Fund. Launched in 2021, it provides financial support for both in-person get-togethers and hybrid events.
In 2021, 31 events – 15 of which attracted international participants – took place at the Austria Center Vienna. Due to the pandemic, some of these were conducted as hybrid or digital events. In the autumn, the venue welcomed back events with more than 1,000 participants for the first time. One of the highlights came in September with the IPU World Conference, which attracted parliamentary speakers and presidents from more than 100 nations.
Other events included the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) World Congress, the Börsetag private investor conference and the introductory lectures of the Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU).
In 2022, the Austria Center Vienna will host nine large-scale congresses with more than 2,000 delegates each. Events such as the Baukongress and the Austrian Tourism Days got the year off to a successful start for the venue. The General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) brought more than 7,000 participants to the venue at the end of May – with a similar number following proceedings online.
Next up are the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) Conference and the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress in June, and the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in July 2022.
Additional highlights this year include the Annual Meeting of the International Continence Society (ICS) and the Society for Arthroscopy and Joint-Surgery (AGA) Congress in September, with the Annual Meeting of the German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology (DGHO) and European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) scheduled for October.