by Matt Alderton | May 08, 2017
Paris in 2016 once again overtook Vienna as the world's most popular city for international association meetings, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which today published its annual rankings of the world's most popular international association meeting destinations.

Vienna, which previously had been number one in the ICCA city rankings since 2005, lost the top spot to Paris in 2014, and slipped further to number 4 in 2015. It has since regained ground, according to ICCA, which ranked it number 2 in this year's city rankings.

Paris moved to number one in 2016 from number two in 2015, while last year's top city -- Berlin -- fell to number four this year. Barcelona, meanwhile, holds steady at number three.

The top three countries for international association meetings were the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

ICCA based its rankings on a survey of qualifying events -- events that are organized by international associations, take place on a regular basis, and rotate between at least three different countries -- that took place in 2016. Last year there were a record number of such meetings: a total of 12,212, an increase of 136 from 2015 and more than double the number that took place a decade earlier in 2006. 

"Once again our report provides clear evidence of the resilience and long-term continued growth of the international association meetings sector," said ICCA CEO Martin Sirk. "Anecdotally, we hear that it is not just the traditional association meetings business that is in a healthy state: New association-type events are being created by groups of scientists and doctors, destinations are designing and hosting their own world-class STEM meetings and festivals, online discussions are migrating to the real world of concrete face-to-face interactions, and even corporate events are evolving into community gatherings of suppliers, clients, partners, investors, users, and academics, blurring the lines between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.  The information revolution and knowledge economy are experiencing continuing exponential growth, so it's hardly surprising that the entire association meetings community is responding in such a dynamic fashion. Traditional association meetings are growing strongly, but they are definitely no longer the only game in town."

The top 20 cities and countries in ICCA's 2016 rankings are listed below:

City / Number of Meetings

1. Paris: 196
2. Vienna, Austria: 186
3. Barcelona, Spain: 181
4. Berlin: 176
5. London: 153
6. Singapore: 151
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands: 144
8. Madrid, Spain: 144
9. Lisbon, Portugal: 138
10. Seoul, South Korea: 137
11. Prague, Czech Republic: 126
12. Bangkok, Thailand: 121
13. Dublin, Ireland: 118
14. Copenhagen, Denmark: 115
15. Beijing: 113
16. Budapest, Hungary: 108
17. Buenos Aires, Argentina: 103
18. Stockholm, Sweden: 101
19. Hong Kong: 99
20. Rome: 96

Country / Number of Meetings

1. United States: 934
2. Germany: 689
3. United Kingdom: 582
4. France: 545
5. Spain: 533
6. Italy: 468
7. China: 410
8. Japan: 410
9. Netherlands: 368
10. Canada: 287
11. Portugal: 287
12. Austria: 268
13. South Korea: 267
14. Sweden: 260
15. Brazil: 244
16. Australia: 211
17. Poland: 195
18. Belgium: 194
19. Argentina: 188
20. Switzerland: 184