ICCA rankings return

League tables focused on association conferences are back with Japan taking top spot in Asia Pacific regional rankings and Singapore No.1 city for number of ICCA-recognised meetings

ONE OF the most eagerly awaited country and city rankings for destination marketers seeking to attract global conferences has returned following the pandemic disruption.

The rankings, compiled by the research team at ICCA, surveys destinations according to the number of meetings recognised by the International Congress and Convention Association held annually prior to Covid.

Convention bureaus across the world view the rankings as a gauge how their cities stand against rival destinations when bidding for conferences, while associations and other business event organisers can compare potential host cities through the rankings.

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ICCA’s research team identified over 10,500 meetings globally of which some 9,000 meetings were held in-person, being either unaffected by Covid-19 or held in a hybrid format.

“As the association meetings industry is still catching up to the numbers of the last pre-pandemic year (13,254 meetings in 2019), we conducted a brief country and city comparative analysis based on rankings rather than number of meetings,” and ICCA spokesman said.

In Asia Pacific, event-travel and conference organisers can compare the major cities and spot the emerging destinations:

In the global city rankings, Singapore gets into the Top 20 at 13th place behind Copenhagen with 101 ICCA-recognised meetings. Seoul comes in at 18th with 66 recognised meetings and the Korean island of Jeju at 74th with 27. Vienna followed by Lisbon and Paris topped the worldwide rankings for the number of meetings per city.

Further down the table, emerging conference destinations in Asia are making an impact and standing well against larger cities across the world. Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, hosted nine ICCA-recognised meetings to share the 202nd global city spot with Houston, Texas, and the German city of Leipzig. Manila also comes in at 202nd alongside Minneapolis, in the US, the coastal city of Tainan, in Taiwan, and the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Sendai.

For countries and regions in Asia Pacific, Japan took top place with 228 in-person meetings in 2022 followed by South Korea with 162 and Australia third with 118. China and Singapore rounded out the Asia Pacific Top 5 with 109 and 101 respectively,

Singapore tops the meetings-per-city rankings in Asia Pacific with Seoul in second place and Taipei third. Also in the Top 10 APAC cities are Bangkok at fourth with 50 in-person meetings, followed by Tokyo (39), Kuala Lumpur (35); Sydney (34); Melbourne (31); Kyoto (29) and Jeju (27).

The Top 20 list for Asia Pacific was rounded out by Bali, New Delhi, Beijing, Busan, Shanghai, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Sapporo, Yokohama and Tel Aviv with Auckland sharing 21st place with Daegu, South Korea, and Hanoi, Vietnam, while Adelaide shares the 24th spot with the Japanese city of Kobe, Kuching, (Sarawak, Malaysia) and Perth, Western Australia.

ICCA decided to restart the rankings in late 2022 with 85 per cent of cities back to normal, however, some destinations, notably China, endured longer lockdowns and anti-Covid restrictions. This would have been reflected in the number of in-person meetings cities were able to host in 2022.

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Senthil Gopinath, ICCA chief executive, said: “This is tremendous undertaking by our team, one that is most welcomed by our members because the ICCA Country – and City – Rankings always generates huge industry interest. It’s heartening to see the drive towards in-person meetings is once more very strong and we predict this trend will grow throughout the coming year.”

The United States topped ICCA’s global country rankings followed by Spain and Italy with Japan and South Korea getting placed in the Top 20. The 2019 rankings saw the US in top spot followed by Germany and France. In 2022, Germany took fourth place ahead of France, the United Kingdom and Portugal.

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