By Itzel Trujillo García
The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has released its annual analysis of association meetings worldwide. The latest ICCA Ranking Report examines 8000 meetings scheduled for the year 2021 and categorises them based on how the meetings were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also compares last year’s affected meetings with ICCA’s analysis of meetings in 2020.
After a hiatus in 2020, ICCA Rankings have returned to the 2021 ICCA’s Destination Performance Index (DPI). The DPI ranks destinations’ success in winning the original bid, COVID-19 event policies, adaptability and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual or hybrid events – thereby maintaining business continuation.
“Now that the global meetings industry has had more time to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, we wanted to acknowledge and reward the effort of destinations to not only keep these crucial meetings going but also to improve their business operations. The investments that destinations have made in new technologies, partnerships, and advocacy initiatives will continue to drive our industry forward,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.
He continued, “Although we have yet to return to pre-pandemic numbers, we have gained significant ground on the road to full recovery. Further, we have transformed the meetings industry in the process.”
The report reveals that the year 2021 brought out a “show must go on” mentality in the industry. For example, the market share of virtual and hybrid meetings doubled in just one year. Business continuation also increased by 30% while business cancellation dropped from 61% to 31%. The Middle East had the highest business continuation rate of all regions (77%), followed by Latin America (72%) and Asia (71%). Of all regions, Latin America demonstrated the most significant growth in business continuation compared to 2020, with an increase of 35%.
“This report delivers a more holistic representation of the pandemic’s impact on association meetings globally. Moreover, it reveals strong and definitive signs of progressive recovery for the industry,” Gopinath said.
The full 2021 ICCA Ranking (Destination Performance Index [DPI]) is available to ICCA members and complements ICCA’s online Destination Comparison Tool (DCT).