Association Meetings Up, Attendees Down

There were more international association meetings than ever last year, but on average the meetings had fewer participants, reports the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

The ICCA did not speculate on the reasons behind these two opposing trendlines in its annual report on international association meetings. Based on data supplied by ICCA members, the top three countries for both meetings and number of participants are the United States (934 meetings and more than 400,000 participants), Germany (689 meetings and more than 280,000 participants) and the United Kingdom (582 meetings and almost 230,000 participants). Italy, Spain and Japan follow next in the rankings.

Cities with the most international association meetings last year were Vienna, Seoul and Barcelona, Spain, followed by Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam. No U.S. city was in the top 10 in this category.

Looking back over the past decade, ICCA says the average number of attendees to an international association meeting decreased from 672 in 2006 to 404 in 2016. Over the same time period, the number of meetings per year has doubled, from just under 6,000 to more than 12,000 in 2016.

This “trend of exponential growth” in meetings, as ICCA calls it, is consistent with past decades in the organization’s 53-year history.

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