Logo Expoplatform
Logo Expoplatform
Skip to main content

London holds steady at No.5 in new ICCA city rankings, as Barcelona leaps into top spot

Barcelona has claimed first place in the latest, 2017 ICCA city rankings for the first time since 2004. The city overtook Paris and Vienna to claim the first spot. The top five cities remain the same, albeit in a different order. Berlin (4th) and London (5th) make up the others in the top five.

Tracy Halliwell, director of tourism, conventions and major events at London & Partners, the official promotional agency and convention bureau for the capital, said: “It is fantastic news and a great testament to the hard work of the London Convention Bureau team that London has retained 5th spot in the ICCA rankings for the third consecutive year. 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.”

The association meetings market continues to show robust growth, according to the new data released by ICCA. There were a record number of 12,558 rotating international association meetings during the year under review, with 346 additional meetings taking place 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.

In the city rankings Paris drops down to a joint second place with Vienna.

Madrid stays in seventh place for another year, and last year’s other number seven 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.

As in 2016, Singapore, Lisbon and Seoul remain in sixth, ninth and 10th place respectively. Notable risers are Buenos Aires, jumping from 17th to 11th place, Budapest, jumping from 16th to 12th, and Hong Kong, jumping from 19th to 13th. Rome remains in 20th place for another year. Newcomers to the top 20 in 2017 are Tokyo and Montreal.

Table 1: Top 20 city ranking by number of meetings organised in 2017

Rank City # 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

Since 2016 there has not been much change in the top 10 country rankings, apart from a minor shift in positioning. As it has done for the past two decades, USA remains in the number one position with 941 meetings, seven more than reported at this time in 2016. The cities in the top 3 have not changed, with Germany and UK remaining in second and third place after the USA. France exits the top 5 and drops to sixth place with the rise of Spain and Italy one place to fourth and fifth, and Japan retains seventh place for a second year running. China P.R. drops one place to eighth. Portugal drops out of shared 10th place to 11th in 2017. Argentina falls two spots to 21st place and Denmark enters the top 20 at 20th place.

Table 2: Top 20 country rankings by number of meetings organised in 2017

Rank Country # 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

The annual ICCA country and city rankings report only includes international association meetings that rotate between at least three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and are held on a regular basis. The ICCA rankings should not be mistaken for providing an overview of the entire meetings industry.

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.”

The full ICCA statistics reports are available now to members only via ICCA’s Destination Comparison Tool. The rankings for all countries and cities will be released to the public in mid-June.