ICCA Report Reveals the Best Places for Associations to Meet

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Alexandre III Bridge and Grand Palais; photo credit @Paris Tourist Office

The annual International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Country and City rankings are in—with some interesting shifts in the top spots.

Want to know where your peers are meeting? Every year, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) compiles data on where international association meetings were held, and the 2018 rankings are in. Paris jumped to top city; the US again topped the country list.

In 2017, Paris tied with Vienna for 2nd place, with Barcelona topping the list. This year, Vienna dropped to 2nd place and Madrid, which had not been in the top five since 2015, moved up to third place. Barcelona dropped to number four, pushing Berlin to fifth place. Rounding out the top 10 were Lisbon, London, Singapore, Prague, and Bangkok.

Buenos Aires came in 11, followed by Hong Kong. Amsterdam and Tokyo tied for 13th place, followed by Seoul, Copenhagen, Brussels, Dublin, and Stockholm. Budapest and Taipei tied for 20th place. The difference in number of meetings between the top-ranked cities was often just two or three meetings, however, Paris topped the list with 212 meetings, 40 ahead of Vienna, and 112 ahead of the 20th-ranked Budapest and Taipei.  Also notable, Montréal and Rome dropped out of the top 20, pushed out by newcomers Brussels and Taipei.

The US, which hosted 947 meetings, has held the top country spot for over two decades. Germany, with 642, remains in second place, and Spain, with 595, jumped to third place. France, with 579, climbed to fourth place and the U.K., with 574, dropped from third to fifth place. Rounding out the top ten are Italy, Japan, China-P.R., Netherlands and Canada. Portugal remains in 11th place, followed by Republic of Korea, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, and Switzerland. Argentina moved into the top 20 this year, pushing Denmark to 22.

Only those meetings that meet ICCA’s stringent assessment criteria – rotating between at least three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and held on a regular basis – are recorded within the global association’s annual statistics.

According to ICCA statistics, between 1963 and 2013, the number of international association meetings has doubled every 10 years. “ICCA’s latest figures uphold the mature, robust growth pattern we identified in this report and provide more evidence of our firm belief that the association sector continues to be an unrivaled stimulator of global societal development and force for progress across the globe,” said CEO Senthil Gopinath.

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