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12,558 rotating international association meetings held in 2017
The recently released ‘2017 ICCA rankings’ report, shows a record 12,558 rotating international association meetings, which confirms that the exponential growth in the number of meetings continues, having slowly transcended in the past 5-10 years into a more mature, yet still solid growth pattern.
According to ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), the trend of exponential growth identified in the 2017 rankings suggests that the number of international association meetings has doubled every 10-12 years over the past 55 years; on a regional level, the pattern of growth has been relatively consistent with this trend throughout the same time period. Since we started recording data in 1963, Europe has remained the top regional host destination. The continent was the fastest growing region between 2008 and 2015, but since 2015, the gap between Europe and Asia has closed slightly due to the decline in the number of meetings held in Europe: 7,196 meetings in total were held in 2015, 7,000 in 2016, and 6,727 in 2017.
This year’s top 5 remain the same as they have done since 2015, but Barcelona surpasses regular first and second place holders Paris and Vienna to claim the top spot in 2017. Taking first place for the first time since 2004, Barcelona knocks last year’s number one Paris down to second place, with Vienna holding its previous position in joint second place. Amsterdam drops out of the top 10 to 16th place, making way for Prague to climb three places to join the top 10 in eighth place. Among the notable risers are Buenos Aires, jumping from 17th to 11th place, and Hong Kong, jumping from 19th to 13th.
The report says that since 2016, there has not been much movement in the top 10 country rankings; the cities holding the top 3 positions have not changed. As it has done for the past two decades, the U.S.A. continues to dominate the country rankings, with Germany and the United Kingdom remaining in second and third place after the U.S.A.’s first. France exits the top 5 and drops to sixth place with the rise of both Spain and Italy one place to fourth and fifth, and Japan remains in seventh place for a second year running. Argentina falls two spots to 21st place, and Denmark enters the top 20 at 20th place.
What is interesting to note is that the range of meeting subject matters has diversified. As expected, given the rapid advancements in technology in recent years, the number of meetings in the regular top 3 placeholders, Medical Sciences, Technology and Science, has increased between 2016 and 2017. Medical Sciences remains in the number one position, and Technology and Science enjoyed an increase of 3.36% and 3.61% respectively. These 3 subjects, along with Education and Industry, have remained in the top 5 positions since 2008, with the number of meetings in Medical Sciences and Technology growing in parallel.
Other subjects have also this year made a greater mark on the international association meetings market. Sports and Leisure, Arts and Linguistics increased in prominence between 2016 and 2017, the number of meetings growing by 10.18%, 11.24% and 15.55% respectively. The number of meetings held about Safety and Security and Library and Information also grew by 11.17% and 15.53% between 2016 and 2017.