The International Congress and Convention Association’s latest report on the state of the international meetings industry puts Paris atop the list of cities for meetings for the first time since 2014, while the U.S. hosts more international meetings than any other country.
What a difference a decade makes.
The International Congress and Convention Association counted just under 6,000 international association meetings back in 2006. The number has roughly doubled since then, according to ICCA’s latest report, released this week: A total of 12,212 meetings were held in 2016. That growth continues a trendline that the association cited in its 50th anniversary retrospective in 2013: The number of international association meetings doubles every decade.
“Once again our report provides clear evidence of the resilience and long-term continued growth of the international association meetings sector,” ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said.
ICCA tallied association meetings that are held regularly, have at least 50 delegates in attendance, and rotate among at least three countries.
While the U.S. maintained its position as the country that hosted the most such meetings in 2016 (934), no U.S. city ranked in the top 20. European locales dominated the top cities list, with Paris regaining the top spot for the first time since 2014, with 196 meetings. Vienna, in second place, also saw growth, with 186 meetings, and three other European cities—Barcelona, Berlin, and London—filled out the top five.
Asia was well represented in the top 20, with showings from Singapore (6th), Seoul (10th), Bangkok (12th), Beijing (15th), and Hong Kong (19th). Just one city in the Americas was a high-ranking meetings spot—Buenos Aires was 17th on ICCA’s list.
After the United States, the top countries were Germany (with 689 meetings), the United Kingdom (582), France (545), and Spain (533).
Growth was not limited to traditional association meetings, Sirk said: “New association-type events are being created by groups of scientists and doctors, destinations are designing and hosting their own world-class STEM meetings and festivals (science, technology, engineering, math), online discussions are migrating to the real world of concrete face-to-face interactions, and even corporate events are evolving into community gatherings of suppliers, clients, partners, investors, users, and academics, blurring the lines between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.”
For cities on the list, ICCA produces a guide recommending how (and how not) to use their ranking in promotional activities.