ICCA Analysis of Worldwide Association Meetings in 2021: A Steady Recovery

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ICCA’s 2021 Ranking Report shows Vienna at 1st place worldwide overall.

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has released its 2021 ICCA Ranking – Destination Performance Index (DPI) report, examining 8000 international association meetings and categorizing them based on pandemic impacts. In contrast to pre-pandemic reports, it not only counted face-to-face meetings but also hybrid and virtual meetings. The report also compared last year’s Covid-affected meetings with ICCA’s analysis of meetings in 2020.

ICCA’s report ranked destination success in winning the original bid, Covid-19 event policies, adaptability, and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual or hybrid events in order to maintain business continuation.

The big picture revealed a steady recovery from the 2020 pause, with meeting continuation increasing by 30 percent and meeting cancellation dropping from 61 per cent to 31 percent.

Vienna achieved 1st place worldwide in ICCA’s overall ranking category with a total of 92 association meetings in 2021: 22 hybrid, 61 virtual and 9 completely on site. Lisbon was a close second with a total of 91 meetings, followed by Athens. The US, Spain and Germany topped the country category.

Other takeaways from the ICCA study:

• The market share of virtual and hybrid association meetings doubled in the past year.

• The Middle East had the highest business continuation rate of all regions (77 percent), followed by Latin America (72 percent) and Asia (71 percent).

• Of all regions, Latin America demonstrated the most significant growth in business continuation compared to 2020, with an increase of 35 percent.

ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath described this year’s report as a holistic representation of the pandemic’s impact on association meetings around the world, and as showing definitive signs of industry recovery.  “Although we have yet to return to pre-pandemic numbers, we have gained significant ground on the road to full recovery,” he said. “Further, we have transformed the meetings industry in the process.”

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