Association meetings record healthy growth

THE NETHERLANDS The international association meetings sector is resilient and showing healthy growth, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

This assessment is based on the recently issued 2011 ICCA country and city rankings. As in the previous year, China, Japan and South Korea secured a spot in the top 20 country ranking. The Mainland recorded an increase in association meetings from 282 in 2010 to 302 last year, and it has retained its 8th place ranking. Japan slipped several places from 7th in 2010 to finish 13th in the latest ranking, largely due to cancellations in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. South Korea, on the other hand, moved up two places from 17th to 15th by hosting 207 association meetings last year, up by 21 from the previous 12 months. (The top six rankings are the same as last year's.)

In 2011, ICCA's in-house research team hit a record by identifying more than 10,000 regularly staged association events, which rotate between at least three countries. This figure is up by more than 800 as compared with the year before.

In the city rankings, only four Asian destinations made the top 20 list in 2011.  Singapore held fast on its 5th place position and improved on its numbers by hosting 142 association meetings in 2011, up from 136 last year. Beijing climbed two places from 12th to 10th, ending 2011 with 111 association meetings under its belt. Seoul, likewise, improved its standing by moving up three places from 16th to 13th.

Taipei toppled down 9 places. Ranking 11th, one spot ahead of Beijing, in 2010. It went down to place 20th in the 2011 city ranking, with 83 association meetings last year, compared with 99 recorded in 2010 . Hong Kong, which placed last in the top 20 list in 2010, did not make the 2011 list.

“There are always going to be short-term competitive changes to annual rankings, some caused by external factors and some by marketing successes, but the most important thing to note is that international association meetings continue to be in tremendously good health when compared with the overall situation in the global meetings industry," said ICCA chief executive Martin Sirk.

"We’ve seen consistent annual growth in the number of international association meetings throughout the last few years of global economic instability, something no other sector can claim, even though we’re also hearing about increasing challenges in raising sponsorship amongst a sizeable minority of organisers.”

Randall Sim


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