The long-awaited report revealed that the meetings industry is worth £58.4 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) – three times greater than the agricultural sector.
The industry contributes £21.1bn in taxes and is the UK's 16th biggest employer with 515,423 people.
More than 1.3m meetings were held in the UK in 2011, attended by 116m people who spent almost £40bn.
The research was commissioned by the MPI Foundation to determine the economic value of the sector using internationally-recognised methods.
The study defined a meeting as more than four hours, for more than ten people in a contracted venue. The survey was conducted in 2012 to cover 2011 and gained 3,350 responses from venues, DMOs, attendees and exhibitors.
Meeting organisers staged on average 147 events in the year and received £11 billion from hosting meetings in the UK and £1.4 billion from hosting meetings outside the UK.
Venues had 34% occupancy for meetings on average, 64% of those were small meetings and £1.4bn (12% of the income) came from overseas.
The average length of a meeting was two days and 10,127 venues were used across the UK. Bookings came mostly for corporate events (81%) and associations accounted for 6.3%.
Most meetings took place in London, the South East and the West Midlands. After England, Scotland took the lead in hosting the largest number of meetings. Scotland's GVA impact was £1.9bn.
Paul Van Deventer, president and chief executive officer of MPI, said he hoped the research would help the industry grow. "Obama has talked about meetings being a growth generator, which has allowed us to leverage our position and demonstrate that we drive the economy. Now it's time to use this information to advocate our sector."
Paul Kennedy moderated the event, calling the research the most important study on meetings the UK has seen.
More to follow.