GERMANY – Germany ranked as leading European conference destination: 2nd place worldwide

GERMANY – Germany ranked as leading European conference destination: 2nd place worldwide

Germany has once again been confirmed as a top conference and meeting destination. For the ninth consecutive year, the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) has ranked Germany as the leading European conference location for international associations. At the same time, Germany has also maintained its outstanding second place globally, behind only the USA.


The ICCA’s figures show that a total of 649 international association conferences were hosted in Germany, 72 more than in the previous year. This impressive total narrows the gap with the USA, which remains out in front with 833 conferences. Meanwhile, Germany has extended its substantial lead over Spain, which is still in third place with 550 conferences.

Berlin is just one of the reasons behind Germany’s success, with the capital rising from fourth to third place in the worldwide city ICCA category this year hosting 172 international association conferences in 2012. This represents a year-on-year increase of 25 events and now puts Berlin ahead of Madrid (164 events) and Barcelona (154 events). Vienna and Paris are once again out in front, with the Austrian capital hosting a total of 195 conferences and the French ‘City of Lights’ welcoming 181 events.

Many other German cities were also ranked as desirable at the worldwide and European city levels – outpacing other countries in their number of noted cities – including Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Dresden, Cologne, Bonn, Leipzig, and many others.
Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB German Convention Bureau e.V., explained the reasons for Germany’s sustained success as a conference and meeting destination:

The GCB, which promotes Germany internationally and domestically as a location for conferences, meetings, incentives and events, highlights Germany’s economic and scientific expertise in its marketing. This strategy enhances the profile of the German suppliers and helps event organisers to identify the perfect destination for events in their specialist field.

One of the areas that is particularly important for the German meetings industry is the medical and healthcare sector. The “Congress of the European Society of Cardiology – ESC”, with more than 27,300 delegates, was among the high-profile events hosted in 2012 in Munich. In addition, Berlin welcomed both the “Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes – EASD”, which attracted over 18,100 attendees, and the “EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology”, along with its 14,740 participants.

There were also prominent large-scale events in the energy and environment sector, such as Power-Gen Europe & Renewable Energy World Europe conference in Cologne, attended by 13,000 people.

The GCB’s own research provides further insight into the most important foreign source markets for meetings and conferences in Germany. It recently looked at the countries of origin of associations that held their conferences in Germany during 2012. Great Britain came top of the list, followed by the USA, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The GCB’s data also reveals another interesting development, namely that the number of events in the sustainability sector almost doubled between 2011 and 2012.

“This trend demonstrates that Germany has firmly established itself as a leading destination for sustainable events, capitalising on its expertise in this competitive global market”, commented the GCB’s Managing Director, Matthias Schultze.