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Association meetings decreasing in size, finds ICCA

ICCA’s Statistics Report 2017 revealed that association meetings are continuing to decrease in size

Pictured: Barcelona emerged as the top city in ICCA's 2017 statistics, holding the most meetings and hosting the most delegates

Association meetings continue to decrease in size, according to new data released by ICCA.

And ICCA’s Statistics Report 2017 also revealed that the cities holding the most association meetings in 2017 were also those holding the largest ones.

The report found that the number of association meetings continues to grow on an annual basis: ICCA captured a record number of 12,558 rotating international association meetings taking place in 2017, with 346 additional meetings compared to 2016. This is the highest annual figure that ICCA has ever recorded in its yearly analysis of the immediate past year’s meetings data.

However, while the number of association meetings doubles every 10 years, the trend ICCA identified last year concerning participant numbers in its 2016 Statistics Report continues to apply: 33 per cent of all meetings in 2007 hosted 50-149 participants compared to 40 per cent in 2017, indicating that association meetings continue to decrease in size.

The report also ranks countries and cities by estimated total number of participants, with the USA and Barcelona emerging as the top country and top city in 2017 respectively: they both held the most meetings and hosted the most participants. Indeed, the top 10 cities for both the total number of meetings and estimated total number of participants in 2017 remained the same, with the exception of Amsterdam.

While the Dutch capital fell to 16th place in 2017 for total number of meetings held, the city comes in ninth with 75,578 total estimated participants in 2017. This indicates Amsterdam held fewer meetings in 2017, but hosted larger ones in comparison to other destinations.

Vienna and Paris are in joint second place in the 2017 city rankings by number of meetings, but Paris drops to third place when it comes to number of participants, hosting 111,725 in 2017 compared to Vienna’s 113,891.

Several cities that previously held top 10 spots in 2016 have not continued to do so in 2017 according to the latest statistics: Seoul, Copenhagen, Rome and Beijing all hosted smaller meetings in 2017 and dropped out of the top ten.

Notable climbers include Paris, Barcelona and Singapore, which moved from seventh to third place, third to first place, and 10th to sixth place respectively. Barcelona enjoyed a profitable 2017, claiming first place both by number of meetings and estimated total number of participants.

The USA continues to dominate the country rankings, holding first place in the country rankings by both number of meetings and estimated total number of participants in 2017.

Spain, Germany and the UK place in the top five by number of participants for another year. The UK drops from third place in 2016 to fifth, and Germany drops to third place from second. Spain climbs to second place from fifth with 327,996 participants in 2017, up from 217,724 participants in 2016.

Italy falls out of the top five to sixth place in 2017, with France up to fourth place from holding seventh place in 2016.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: “We can’t stress this point strongly enough: ICCA’s rankings are a snapshot of a moment in time of a database designed for sales and marketing purposes, for a very specific segment of the market, where decisions are made three to six years in advance. Any destination wishing to accurately present its true performance in the international meetings field needs to complement the ICCA statistics and rankings with its own robust measurement of all meetings business won for the future and hosted in the past year.”

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