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ICCA Reveals Top Hosts for International Association Events


Amsterdam, Netherlands – A newly released report from the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) reflects a growing emphasis on association events that rotate their schedule between at least three countries. In 2013, the number of such events as identified by the ICCA rose to 11,685, up 4.5% from 11,150 in 2012.

There were a number of ranking changes among both the top 20 countries and top 20 cities that reflect growth or shrinkage in the number of events in some markets. Those changes also might reflect specific rotation patterns and/or economic factors within the host countries and cities.

The U.S. retained its No. 1 position as the country with the most such international events (829), but other countries among the top 20 either climbed or dropped a few notches on the list. But No. 2 Germany gained ground on the U.S., hosting 722 events. Spain retained its No. 3 slot with 562 events. France climbed from No. 5 to No. 4 by hosting 527 events compared to 525 for No. 5, The United Kingdom.

Japan and China both climbed up the top 20 ladder, with Japan now holding the No. 7 spot with 342 events, while China-P.R. ranked No. 8 with 340 events. Brazil dropped from No. 7 to No. 9 with 315 events and The Netherlands dropped from No. 9 to No. 10, hosting 302 events.

The list of the top ICCA cities hosting qualifying events contained a few surprises for 2013. Paris hosted 204 events, displacing Vienna as the No. 1 host city, a distinction that Vienna had held ever since 2005. Paris ranked No. 2 on the list last year. Madrid took over the No. 2 slot in 2013, with 186 events, while Vienna dropped to No. 3 with 182 events. Barcelona captured the No. 4 slot by the slimmest of margins, hosting 179 events, just one more than Berlin’s 178 events and No. 5 slot. London fell from a shared No. 6 ranking to No. 7, hosting 166 events.

Newcomers in the top 20 cities for 2013 were Lisbon and Seoul, which share the No. 9 spot with 125 events hosted. Spain is the only country to have three cities on the top 20 host city list: Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon. In all, European cities held 15 of the top 20 places for 2013.

“This is a sector that has shown significant growth in every single year since the financial crisis … in 2008,” said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk. “The international association meetings sector is a solid, reliable performer in good times and bad …,” he added.

In order to be included in the survey that determines these top 20 rankings, meetings must be held on a regular basis, have at least 50 delegates and rotate between at least three countries.

Reach Martin Sirk at +31 (20) 398-1903 or


  1. U.S. with 829 events
  2. Germany, 722 events
  3. Spain, 562 events
  4. France, 527 events
  5. The United Kingdom, 525 events


  1. Paris, with 204 events
  2. Madrid, 186 events
  3. Vienna, with 182
  4. Barcelona, with 179
  5. Berlin, with 178

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