ICCA: US cities have enormous growth potential in international association meetings market
by Mathijs Vleeming
15 June 2011
The U.S.A. is the number one country measured by number of international association meetings organised per year. However, when taking a second look at individual city rankings, the U.S.A. has a lot to gain in terms of this market sector.
For the last 10 years, and in fact ever since ICCA first started to collect data on international association meetings, the U.S.A. has always been the number one country measured by number of meetings organised per year.
With 623 meetings in 2010, the U.S.A. is by far the number one 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% in 2001 to 6.8% in 2010. In the last year alone, the gap between the U.S.A. and Germany, number two 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.
Table 1: ICCA U.S. cities ranking measured by number of international association meetings organised in 2010
This reflects the fact that very few destination marketing organisations in the U.S.A. are proactively targeting this sector. The strong national rankings is primarily due to two factors: the sheer size of the US economy, and the large numbers of US 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 the ICCA Data researchers have identified 9,120 events which 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 us their calendar information to help identify new events.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk says: “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. 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 organised by international associations which 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 9 May 2011. ICCA's Association Database is designed as a sales and marketing resource for its members to target future international association meetings, which is why it does not include one-off events or those which do not move between locations.
ICCA is now working on the details behind these headline results. The full ICCA statistics report for 2010 will be released end of June. The 10 Year statistics report covering 2001-2010 will be published late July. The ICCA statistics reports will only be available online to ICCA members.
ICCA represents the main specialists in organising, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 900 member companies and organisations in 86 countries worldwide. For more information please visit www.iccaworld.com.
Please also see the press release on the launch of the worldwide rankings in May 2011 on the ICCA website: http://www.iccaworld.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=2503