Barcelona tops list of cities with most international association meetings in 2017

ICCA's 2017 ranking lists cities and countries with most international association meetings last year.

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

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


RankCity# Meetings
1 Barcelona 195
2 Paris 190
  Vienna 190
4 Berlin 185
5 London 177
6 Singapore 160
7 Madrid 153
8 Prague 151
9 Lisbon 149
10 Seoul 142
11 Buenos Aires 131
12 Budapest 128
13 Hong Kong 119
14 Dublin 117
15 Copenhagen 115
16 Amsterdam 112
17 Bangkok 110
18 Tokyo 101
19 Stockholm 97
20 Montreal, QC 96
  Rome 96


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


RankCountry# Meetings
1 U.S.A. 941
2 Germany 682
3 United Kingdom 592
4 Spain 564
5 Italy 515
6 France 506
7 Japan 414
8 China P.R. 376
9 Canada 360
10 Netherlands 307
11 Portugal 298
12 Austria 281
13 Republic of Korea 279
14 Australia 258
15 Sweden 255
16 Brazil 237
17 Switzerland 230
18 Poland 216
19 Belgium 208
20 Denmark 203

 

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

The carnival-themed Ruby Lucy will bring 'lean luxury' to London in January and have a Marshall guitar amp in every room.

Five ways ICC Belfast and the wider city is mastering sustainability.

In pictures: 10 ideas for events in Scotland

In pictures: 10 ideas for events in Scotland

Luxurious castle hotels, modern event complexes and the real Hogwarts Express make Scotland a top MICE destination.

How to protect your events from destination boycotts

How to protect your events from destination boycotts

Panel of experts at IMEX America offer five contingency tips for event organisers planning global meetings in volatile times.

Freeman gets new EMEA leadership

Freeman gets new EMEA leadership

Brand experience agency appoints new managing director to be based in its London office.

5 trends shaping the future of business events

5 trends shaping the future of business events

What do delegates want from their events? Top tips from IMEX America for the future-focused planner.

How 'happy accidents' can lead to great experiences

How 'happy accidents' can lead to great experiences

At IMEX America, a comedy improv group revealed their trick to keep you creative and help you solve event planning problems.

European meeting spend expected to rise 2.1% despite 'Brexit instability'

European meeting spend expected to rise 2.1% despite 'Brexit instability'

American Express Meetings & Events 2020 Forecast also finds number of incentives increasing in North America.

Who are the challenger event agencies of 2019?

Who are the challenger event agencies of 2019?

A look at the agencies that didn't make the Top 50 but are doing great things in the world of events.

Case study: Samsung Galaxy Note10 launch

Case study: Samsung Galaxy Note10 launch

INVNT worked with Samsung to produce the high-tech UNPACKED 2019 at the Barclays Center in New York.

LATEST JOBS