FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany & NEW YORK, New York – New figures released by International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) show that a total of 649 international association conferences were hosted in Germany, 72 more than last year. This impressive total narrows the gap with the U.S., which remains out in front with 833 conferences. Meanwhile, Germany has extended its substantial lead over Spain which is still in third place with 550 conferences.
For the ninth consecutive year, ICCA has ranked Germany as the leading European conference location for international associations. At the same time, Germany has also continued at the second most popular spot for association meetings globally, behind only the U.S.
Berlin is just one of the reasons behind Germany’s success, with the capital rising from fourth to third place in the worldwide city category this year, hosting 172 international association conferences in 2012. This represents a year-on-year increase of 25 events and now puts Berlin ahead of Madrid (164 events) and Barcelona (154 events). Vienna and Paris are once again at the top, with the Austrian capital totaling 195 events and the French “City of Lights” coming in at 181 congresses.
When it comes to overall representation in the ICCA city rankings, German cities are represented well above average, with Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Dresden, among others, all landing in the top 100.
Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB German Convention Bureau e.V., explained the reasons for Germany’s sustained success as a conference and meeting destination: “It is thanks to a combination of several factors. Germany boasts outstanding infrastructure, an excellent transport network and a wide variety of event venues. We offer superb value for money and local expertise in key economic and scientific sectors. All of these qualities make Germany’s cities and regions ideal settings for international conferences.”
The GCB, which promotes Germany globally as a location for conferences, meetings, incentives and events, highlights Germany’s economic and scientific expertise that meeting planners can tap into to create unique events that provide hands on learning and expert access for their delegates. This strategy enhances the profile of the German suppliers and helps event organizers identify the perfect destination for events that will reflect their industry or field and provide higher learning ROI for their meetings.
One of the areas that is particularly important for the German meetings industry is the medical and healthcare sector. The “Congress of the European Society of Cardiology – ESC,” with more than 27,300 delegates, was among the high-profile events hosted in 2012 in Munich. In addition, Berlin welcomed both the “Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes – EASD,” which attracted over 18,100 attendees, and the “EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology”, along with its 14,740 participants.
There were also prominent large-scale events in the energy and environment sector, such as POWER-GEN Europe & RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD Europe conference in Cologne, attended by 13,000 people.
The GCB’s own research also provides further insight into the most important international source markets for meetings and conferences in Germany. It recently looked at the countries of origin of associations that held their conferences in Germany during 2012. Great Britain came top of the list, followed by the U.S., Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The GCB’s data reveals another interesting development that the number of events in the sustainability sector almost doubled between 2011 and 2012. “This trend demonstrates that Germany has firmly established itself as a leading destination for sustainable events, capitalizing on its expertise in this competitive global market,” commented the GCB’s Managing Director, Matthias Schultze.