In an exciting development for the global association meetings industry, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has announced the eagerly awaited return of their annual Country and City Rankings for 2022. After a two-year hiatus, these rankings showcase the resurgence of in-person meetings and mark a significant milestone in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This news comes on the heels of the World Health Organization’s declaration that the pandemic no longer qualifies as a global emergency, further underscoring the return to normalcy.
Recognizing the strong desire within the industry to resume face-to-face interactions, ICCA made a proactive decision at the end of 2022 to revert to the traditional rankings methodology. With approximately 85% of all in-person meetings, this move demonstrates the industry’s steadfast commitment to rebuilding and reconnecting. However, it is essential to note that some countries and territories still operated under COVID-19 restrictions during this period.
Working closely with their dedicated members, ICCA’s Research team meticulously identified over 10,500 meetings held in 2022, with an impressive 9,000 being in-person or hybrid, unaffected by the pandemic. Although the number of meetings has yet to reach the pre-pandemic level in 2019, which stood at 13,254, ICCA conducted a comprehensive comparative analysis based on rankings rather than sheer meeting volume. This approach provides valuable insights into the industry’s progress and the evolving landscape of association meetings.
Senthil Gopinath, the CEO of ICCA, expressed his enthusiasm for the rankings’ return, highlighting the immense interest they generate within the industry. He stated, “This tremendous undertaking by our team is warmly welcomed by our members. The ICCA Country and City Rankings have always been a focal point of industry attention. It’s heartening to see the strong resurgence of in-person meetings, and we anticipate this trend will continue to grow throughout the year.”
ICCA firmly believes that statistics have the power to tell a compelling story. To this end, they give their members comprehensive tools to analyze the data meaningfully. In an exciting finding, it was discovered that in 2022, not a single country escaped the impact of the pandemic on at least one planned meeting. The ICCA Database serves as a valuable resource, offering insights into the status of each meeting and, where applicable, the rationale behind organizers’ decisions to opt for virtual or hybrid formats instead of traditional in-person gatherings.
The long-awaited results of the 2022 rankings will be unveiled at IMEX23 in Frankfurt, a premier event that brings together professionals from the international meetings and events industry. This face-to-face gathering marks a significant milestone, reflecting the industry’s resilience and determination to restore the vitality of in-person meetings.
As the association meetings industry continues to rebound and adapt to the new normal, the ICCA Country and City Rankings for 2022 provide a compelling snapshot of the progress made thus far. With the resurgence of in-person meetings and the gradual easing of restrictions worldwide, the rankings serve as a testament to the industry’s resilience and unwavering commitment to rebuilding connections.
Written by: Supaporn Pholrach (Joom)