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CEO DATELINE – U.S. still tops as international meetings destination for associations

May 16, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The United States continues to be a top destination for international meetings held by associations, hosting more large events in 2018 than any other country, according to the Netherlands-based International Congress and Convention Association.

The annual ICCA report does not look at all association meetings. In a statement, the group said that for meetings to be tracked, they must rotate between three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and be held on a regular basis. That means some of the largest association events in the U.S. are not counted.

“Although the most comprehensive global benchmark of the international association meetings sector, the ICCA rankings should not be mistaken as providing an overview of the entire meetings industry,” ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath said.

Still, the report offers a snapshot of where associations are holding their international events. The U.S. has held the top spot for more than 20 years, with the country hosting 947 meetings last year, ICCA said. Next was Germany with 642 meetings followed by Spain with 595 meetings and France with 579 meetings.

While the U.S. held the most events, no U.S. city topped the list for meetings destinations. Instead, Paris led with 212 meetings, followed by Vienna with 172 meetings and Madrid with 165 meetings.