48th ICCA Congress posts record attendance

The 48th ICCA Congress and Exhibition in Florence has produced a record 996 delegates, up over 20 per cent on the previous best attendance in Thailand in 2007.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said he was pleased with the result. “More important than the total figure is the fact that only six per cent are accompanying persons. That shows people are here for serious business.”
ICCA president Leigh Harry said the figure reflected “a greater awareness of the resilience of the association market, particularly in the time of an economic downturn”.
New research, carried out in conjunction with IMEX and released at the congress, provides the meetings industry with some grounds for cautious optimism.
Questioned about the performance of their main 2009 congresses, fewer than a third of association executives surveyed reported falling delegate numbers, with only ten per cent saying the fall was “significant”. A quarter reported attendance climbing.
Sponsorship and exhibition revenue did not present such a rosy picture, with only 14 per cent reporting increases and 46 per cent a drop.
Expectations for attendance at major events in 2010 were optimistic, with 44 per cent expecting no change, 39 per cent an increase and just 16 per cent a fall.
“These latest quantitative results match up to the numerous anecdotal stories we are hearing from our members and from other international association executives,” said Sirk. “The economic downturn has had an impact of course, but has been far less serious than for other market sectors of the meetings industry.
“We are confident that those destinations and companies which have a strong mix that includes international association meetings in their business portfolios will always cope more easily with downturns, than competitors who have put all their efforts into the corporate meetings market.”

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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