New ICCA rankings: Manchester up, London down

London has lost a place and drops to seventh in the new 2013 City Rankings collated by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

The rise from 150 qualifying events to 166 for London was not enough to match Singapore’s rise from 150 to 175 meetings, to land it sixth place.

Edinburgh was 40th equal in the new City Rankings; Glasgow 74th equal; Birmingham 136th equal and Liverpool 159th equal.

Tracy Halliwell, Director of Business Tourism & Major Events, London & Partners, said: “The latest rankings from ICCA show that London hosted a record 166 major business events in 2013, up from 150 in 2012. These fantastic figures, combined with a historic high of 16.8m international visitors coming to London last year, highlight the city’s rising popularity as both a business travel and leisure destination.”

“London now sits comfortably in the top 10 global meeting destinations, having been in 19th position in 2008,” Halliwell added. This year the capital will be hosting EASL 2014, ESCRS 2014 and Wikimania 2014, and next year sees the arrival of 35,000 delegates for the European Society of Cardiology Annual Congress.

Manchester, meanwhile, has risen 10 places to 68th in the listing and sits in third place in the UK with 34 ICCA approved meetings in 2013. The figure represents a 126 per cent growth in the past decade, up from 15 approved meetings in 2004.

International conference submissions accepted by ICCA and taking place in Manchester in 2013 included the World Congress on Disaster & Emergency Medicine at Manchester Central and the World Congress on Anthropological & Ethnological Sciences and the Congress of the History of Science, Technology & Medicine, which both took place at The University of Manchester.

Andrew Stokes, Chief Executive at Marketing Manchester said: “Manchester has experienced substantial growth in the number of international conferences visiting over the past decade and is securing events with increasingly larger delegate numbers and academic prestige.

“International meetings are all about intensive debate and discussion, bringing the world’s leading minds together to discuss a particular topic and through identifying those industry sectors, academic subjects and local experts that make Manchester truly stand-out on a global stage we have been able to tap into those opportunities which add the most value to the city – becoming known for intellect, knowledge and innovation while boosting our key sectors and solidifying our position as a global destination.”

Stokes added that a Team Manchester strategy had paid dividends in recent months, helping us securing a string of high profile international events such as SER2015 – the World Conference on Ecological Restoration, International Surgical Week 2015 and EuroScience Open Forum 2016.

Sarah Evans, Sales Manager at The University of Manchester, said: “Last year The University of Manchester hosted over 2,500 delegates at international conferences during our busiest ever summer. We have seen a huge growth in the number of international events thanks to our proactive academic community engaging with the successful Manchester Conference Ambassador Programme. We are delighted to see this recognised in Manchester’s rise in the global rankings.”
Paris, meanwhile, jumped ahead to take the number one city spot from long time leading ranking city Vienna.

The USA remains the top country destination.

ICCA and its members identified 11,685 regularly occurring association events which rotate between at least three countries as having taken place during 2013, 535 more than identified a year previously.

The top 10 countries all appeared in the top 10 last year, but some have switched places.

The 1,2,3 remains as before, with the USA (829 meetings), Germany (722) and Spain (562) ahead of the field. Germany has closed the gap with the USA from 184 meetings in 2012 to 107 in 2013.

France has leapfrogged the UK into fourth place, while Italy remains sixth. Japan climbs one place to No.7 and China-P.R. climbs two places to No.8, at the cost of Brazil, dropping from 7th to 9th place, and The Netherlands, dropping one place to No.10.

Vienna, which has been the number one city in the ICCA rankings each year since 2005, has finally lost its top spot to Paris, which was second last year and previously shared first place with Vienna in 2008.

Madrid, fourth in 2012 is now second and Vienna third. Barcelona climbs one place to fourth and Berlin moves from third to fifth place. Singapore remains sixth and London falls from a shared sixth place to seventh. Istanbul climbs one place to eighth and Lisbon and Seoul, both newcomers in the top 10, share ninth place.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk says: “It shouldn’t be surprising that our 2013 figures have demonstrated the strength of the international association meetings sector, since the overall picture for our industry is significantly better than has been the case for quite some time. But it should be remembered that this is a sector that has shown significant growth in every single year since the financial crisis hit the world economy in 2008.

“The international association meetings sector is a solid, reliable performer, in good times and bad, and the longer term trends are the most critically important factors when preparing strategic plans and investment decisions. I am convinced that every serious meetings destination, internationally ambitious venue, and forward-thinking meetings management company should include international associations in their marketing and development strategies.”

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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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