For the last 10 years, and in fact ever since the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) first started to collect data on international association meetings, the U.S. has always been the No. 1 country measured by number of meetings organized per year.
With 623 meetings in 2010, the U.S. is by far the No. 1 country measured by number of meetings organised in 2010, followed by European countries as Germany (542 meetings in 2010), Spain (451 meetings), United Kingdom (399) and France (371).
However, in the last 10 years the market share of U.S. meetings in the ICCA database has dropped from 9.1 percent in 2001 to 6.8 percent in 2010. In the last year alone, the gap between the U.S. and Germany, No. 2 country since 2004, shrunk from 137 meetings in 2009 to 81 meetings in 2010.
The ICCA city ranking shows that U.S. cities are ranked relatively low in the worldwide charts.
This reflects the fact that very few destination marketing organizations in the U.S. are proactively targeting this sector. The strong national rankings is primarily due to two factors: the sheer size of the U.S. economy and the large numbers of U.S. volunteer leaders in leadership positions within their associations who are launching successful bids.
This means that U.S. cities have an opportunity to make huge progress in the growing market of international association business, if they decide to proactively focus on this sector.
Despite economic turbulence, the number of international association meetings continues to increase significantly. This year, ICCA Data researchers have identified 9,120 events that took place in 2010, 826 events more than were identified last year and an all-time record. Partly, this reflects the strength of the association meetings market despite the recent economic downturn; partly, it is thanks to a record number of ICCA members sending in their calendar information to help identify new events.
“Some of this significant increase in numbers of association meetings in 2010 is certainly due to our continued investment in research and the great feedback from ICCA members, but it seems clear to me that we’re in the midst of an extended period of astonishing dynamism: 2009 and 2008 were similarly buoyant in terms of new association event creation," said Martin Sirk, ICCA CEO. "This has been driven by the acceleration of new scientific and technological developments and the need to discuss these complex changes face-to-face. Anyone who wants to understand what the Information Revolution really looks like just needs to consider how the international association meetings sector is evolving.”
The ICCA rankings cover meetings organized by international associations that take place on a regular basis and which rotate between a minimum of three countries. The data represents a snapshot of qualifying events in the ICCA Association Database as sampled on May 9, 2011.
ICCA is now working on the details behind these results. The full ICCA statistics report for 2010 will be released end of June.