ICCA releases 2023 rankings at IMEX

Singapore gains second place in global league with Asia Pacific cities showing strong recovery from pandemic; conference activity notably strong in Asia and North America

SINGAPORE has broken into the Top 3 of ICCA’s worldwide city rankings for the number of conferences recognised by the congress organisers’ association.

The International Congress and Convention Association released its annual Country and City Rankings Report for 2023 in Frankfurt as the IMEX trade show, May 14-16.

Senthil Gopinath

In the report’s country rankings, the United States was top with 690 recognised meetings followed by Italy (553) and Spain (505). In this section, Singapore was placed 21st with 152 meetings; Japan at seventh with 363 across the country; Republic of Korea at 11th (252 meetings); Australia 13th (219); China 18th (170); Thailand 26th (143); India 30th (123).

“The research team’s findings included the welcome addition of an Asia Pacific destination into the year’s Top 5 spots,” ICCA chief executive Senthil Gopinath wrote in an introduction to the statistics report, which is used by destinations to compare their success at attracting major corporate and association conferences.

Gopinath said the 2023 rankings also showed Asia Pacific’s recovery from the Covid pandemic, which from early 2020 limited the number of in-person meetings across the region. Restrictions such as compulsory mask wearing continued in Hong Kong until March last year, with lockdowns in mainland China cities, while destinations such as Singapore lifted restrictions earlier. He said many of the bids to host conferences took place during the pandemic.

Singapore’s success in the latest rankings “highlights the positive ways in which the region has made strides to return to a sense of normalcy in the years following the pandemic.

“With the continuing improvement of these statistics in the region – and an overall positive movement for the meetings and events space in a post-Covid world – we are confident the trend will continue to follow an upward trajectory,” Gopinath wrote in the report.

“Because association meetings are planned over the long term, preparations for congresses and conventions occur many months and years ahead of the selected date of the event.

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“A great deal of planning goes into site selection, choice of vendors, and many other aspects of laying the groundwork for events. The meetings held in 2023 were the result of bidding processes that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We’re heartened to see that the world of meetings and events has continued to grow and thrive in the face of ongoing challenges and a rapidly changing landscape, including digital and real-life threats, international conflicts, and unfolding geopolitical upheaval.”

In the wordwide city rankings, Singapore came in at second place behind Paris and above Lisbon, Portugal; Seoul took 10th place (103); Tokyo 13th (91); Bangkok 15th (88); Taipei 23rd (68); Sydney 25th (64); Kuala Lumpur 32nd (64); Melbourne 35th (50); Dubai 38th (49); Kyoto 52nd (41); Abu Dhabi 60th (38), Manila also at 60th; Jeju 74th (31); Brisbane 76th (30); Beijing 89th (26); Busan 93rd (25); Kuching, Malaysia 102nd (23); Daegu shared the 107th spot with Macau to host 22 meetings each; Shanghai 111th (21), while Mumbai shared 116th place with Osaka and Yokohama with each hosting 20 ICCA-recognised meetings.

“Asia and North America showed resilient participation rates, with noticeable recoveries post-2020, according to the ICCA rankings statistics report, which added  that both regions represented a significant number of conference attendees. This indicated their “integral role in the global meetings landscape”.

Gopinath said at the release of the rankings in Frankfurt: “Our research team has performed exceptionally in compiling this comprehensive data. It’s a cornerstone for our association, providing invaluable insights that empower our members and enhance our community’s strategic positioning.”

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