London climbs to sixth in new ICCA city rankings

London has again climbed the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) city rankings to reach No.6 in the latest list for 2014, headed again by Paris.

The UK capital has continued its move upwards, from seventh in the 2013 rankings.

There is a European clean sweep of the top six spots, including Vienna swapping places with Madrid and moving up from three to two, and Berlin and Barcelona swapping places at four and five respectively.

Congress highlights from 2014 for London included the International Liver Congress? run by the European Association for the Study of the Liver, which saw over 10,000 join their event in London, representing their highest ever attendance; the European Society of Pathology’s congress which enjoyed a 23% increase in attendance compared to 2013 and the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology’s annual congress which hosted 7,000 delegates in the city.

London’s connectivity and ease of access combined with its rich culture and heritage makes the city an exciting proposition for meeting organisers
London also welcomed the largest ever gathering of eye specialists with events including ESCRS, EURETINA and EuCornea, while Wikipedia’s annual conference, Wikimania, held at the Barbican saw over 2,000 delegates take part.

Commenting on the 11 May announcement from ICCA, Gordon Innes, CEO of convention bureau London & Partners said: “London is a world-class destination for meetings and events and these results are a great boost for the capital’s associations industry, which is a crucial driver of investment into the city, as well as supporting and creating jobs across the capital.

“London’s connectivity and ease of access combined with its rich culture and heritage makes the city an exciting proposition for meeting organisers. London also continues to reap the rewards of hosting the 2012 Olympics, which enhanced the city’s infrastructure and also attracted a new selection of landmark hotels and inspirational event spaces.”

Cambridge is celebrating jumping into the top five city list in the UK in the new rankings.

The city moves up 37 places on the European city list to 58th and is now behind only London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

In 2013 Cambridge was in eighth place.

Judith Sloane, deputy manager at Conference Cambridge said: “We are delighted with these latest rankings – to be fifth most popular UK destination for conferences and events behind our major cities is a great achievement.  The improvement in our global and European positions is also excellent and we will continue to build on this success by developing our service and in particular our conference ambassador programme in the hope that even more international associations will bring their events to the city in the future.”

ICCA undertook a major review of historical data over the last 12 months, removing all meetings from the statistics which no longer met the strict three-country rotation criterion and clamping down on single meetings which might previously have appeared as multiple separate meetings. As a result the normal levels of growth appear to be slightly reduced, even though ICCA believes that the underlying rate of growth is almost certainly still robust.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: “What was striking in this year’s exercise is actually the very large number of meetings we identified over the last 12 months for the year 2013 – more than 600 meetings were identified worldwide, and we’re pretty certain we’ll have equal success in finding more qualifying 2014 meetings over the next 12 months. Most commentators are naturally focusing on the new 2014 rankings, but the nature of this business means that we always continue to identify many qualifying meetings long after each annual announcement.

“We can’t stress this point strongly enough: ICCA’s rankings are a snapshot of a moment in time of a database designed for sales and marketing purposes, for a very specific segment of the market, a segment moreover where decisions are made 3-6 years in advance.

“Any destination wishing to accurately present its true performance in the international meetings field needs to complement the ICCA statistics and rankings with its own robust measurement of all meetings business won for the future and hosted in the past year. With our new ICCA Statistics Tool, ICCA members can also now extract data on meetings that are especially important for their destination, for example if they’re primarily interested in meetings of more than 1,000 delegates, or which are related to a particularly important segment of the association market, such as medical sciences – we expect to see many ICCA members communicating their rankings in these specific type of meetings, and not just relying on their position in our overall rankings”.

ICCA’s international association meetings tables are published every year. To be included, meetings must be held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates, and rotate between at least three countries.

The full ICCA statistics reports are only available to ICCA members. Comprehensive rankings for all countries and cities will be released to non-ICCA members on 15 June.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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