Barcelona has overtaken Paris and Vienna to claim first place in ICCA’s 2017 city rankings - for the first time since 2004.
This year’s top five cities remain the same as they have been since 2015, but with the Catalan city pushing past regular first and second place holders Paris and Vienna for the top spot.
Taking first place for the first time since 2004 with 195 international association meetings in 2017, Barcelona knocks last year’s number one Paris down to second place.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: "In a world of disruption and unpredictability, the continuing growth in international association meetings is a welcome anomaly, but is not that surprising.
"We are still in a period of revolutionary change in terms of scientific and technological advancements, which are transforming traditional association fields such as healthcare and trade.
"To make sense of the tsunami of new data and information, association communities need to meet. Not just at their traditional, well-established meetings, but in new gatherings specifically invented to serve new academic fields or to reach out to new audiences. These are the pressures that we believe will continue to boost the sector for many years to come."
Top 20 city ranking by number of meetings organised in 2017
Speaking on the UK capital's placing, London & Partners director Tracy Halliwell said: "With a number of extraordinary events lined up, including the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021, I am confident London will remain a top destination for event planners all over the world."
Sydney’s global ranking has also jumped from number 41 to 26, resulting in a rise in Australia’s overall position. It climbed two places to number 14.
New South Wales minister for tourism and major events Adam Marshall, said. "Having topped the list for Australia in 2016, when the city didn’t have a convention centre, Sydney has built on that success in 2017.
"These events fuel the country’s global business and innovation brand by bringing the world’s leaders to our country to meet, exchange knowledge and ideas, and create future best practice."
ICCA said captured a record number of 12,558 rotating international association meetings taking place in 2017, with 346 additional meetings taking place compared to 2016.
Prague Convention Bureau managing director Roman Muška said: "Prague belongs among destinations very popular with pharmaceutical, industrial or business meetings.
"Fifty congresses with an attendance of more than a thousand participants took place in Prague last year. The most popular event seasons are spring and autumn dates, with May as the favourite month in 2017."
Globally, since 2016 there's been little change in the top 10 country rankings, apart from a minor shift in positioning. As it has done for the past two decades, U.S.A. remains in the number one position with 941 international association meetings, seven more than reported at this time in 2016.
Top 20 country rankings by number of meetings organised in 2017
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