German Convention Bureau Says International Meetings Continue to Soar

International Meetings, Germany IMEX Frankfurt 2014
Germany booth at IMEX Frankfurt 2014

At IMEX Frankfurt this week, the largest MICE conference globally, the German Convention Bureau unveiled its Meeting & EventBarometer 2014 findings.

Meeting and event venues in Germany welcomed 371 million attendees in 2013, up 2.5% year over year. In addition, the total number of events, totaling 3.01 million meetings, was up 1.3%.

In 2013, promotable business trips, such as meetings, conferences and fairs, as well as incentive journeys, were substantially higher than traditional business trips from Europe,” said Petra Hedorfer, chair of the board at the German National Tourist Board. “The meeting and event market is becoming more and more a driving factor for business tourism in Germany.”

These numbers keep Germany in 2nd place in ICCA’s country rankings globally after America. Berlin is fifth in ICCA’s city rankings.

The most significant info coming out of the report is the dramatic rise in international meetings participation. From 2006 to 2013, the number of foreign attendees at German meetings and events jumped from 14.3 to 23.4 million. That’s a whopping 64% rise, and almost 40% of German suppliers are predicting that trend to continue.

Year-to-year, Germany hosted 1.3 million more international group visitors in 2013 over 2012.

“Meetings are becoming much more international, we have more people from abroad and budgets are increasing,” said Matthias Schultze, managing director of the German Convention Bureau. “We also have 30 cities that can host international events, and very few other countries can say that.”

Regarding rising budgets, Schultze pointed out that 84% of international planners polled for this year’s study said that they expect their budgets to grow or remain the same in 2014 relative to 2013.

Also according to the report, the top five German meeting destinations in order of highest demand are: Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne.

This year at IMEX Frankfurt, many of the international suppliers have been commenting on the rise of U.S.-based hosted buyers in attendance. With so many European DMOs in attendance striving to attract the attention of U.S. hosted buyers, we checked in with the North American office of the German Convention Bureau to find out how Germany is differentiating itself in the market.

“U.S. companies and organizations find Germany an attractive place to meet because they can tap into our industry expertise in areas like automotive, medical research, and mobility to extend the value of the delegate experience,” said Laura D’Elsa, regional director of US/Canada at the German Convention Bureau. “If they want to have a leading academic speaking at their conference, we can help arrange that. We can also easily create memorable and educational site visits to iconic companies in their industry. All of this helps meetings in Germany become a state-of-the-art learning and business experience.”