Barcelona, US drew largest association gatherings in 2018: ICCA report

ICCA’s 2018 Statistics Report has identified Barcelona and the US as the top performing city and country, respectively, in terms of association meeting attendance.

In 2018, Barcelona becomes the number one city by estimated total number of participants (134,838), despite the fact that the Spanish city hosted 49 events less than Paris, the number one city by number of meetings.

Barcelona (pictured) is the top city in ICCA’s rankings

The study concluded that Barcelona hosted fewer but larger events. Paris and Vienna, respectively first and second in the ranking by number of meetings, take second and third position.

As for country rankings, the US holds pole position with an estimated total of 384,035 participants hosted in 2018. Spain, Germany, France and Canada takes up the remaining top five positions.

Asian presence on ICCA’s top 10 countries chart is provided by Japan at eighth spot and China at 10th, while the top 10 cities chart sees Singapore at the last position.

Along with the ranking of host destinations, the ICCA report also looked at the 55-year growth of the international association meetings market. It found that the exponential growth trend seen in the market has slowly matured while retaining “solid” growth patterns between 2013 and 2017.

The association meetings sector continues to diversify, in terms of terms of regional rotation area and regional popularity for hosting business events. Europe remains by far the most popular region for association meetings, but Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are rapidly expanding their share of the market.

Medical Science (16.9 per cent), Technology (14.2 per cent) and Science (13.5 per cent) are the three most popular international association meeting topics. September remains the most popular month for organising international association meetings.

In another strong indication of healthy market growth, the average total expenditure at all international meetings in the ICCA Association Database has increased by a promising four per cent in 2018, from €10.6 billion (US$11.9 billion) in 2017 to over €11 billion in 2018.

Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO, said: “Our industry is facing challenges from saturation, consolidation and new entrants, to erosion of traditional business models and fragmentation. There are also great opportunities, including market growth, disruptive innovation, digitisation, new players, less market barriers, new audiences and new scalable models. Alongside all these developments, the number of events is continuing to grow exponentially.”

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