Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, registered a remarkable rise in the newly released ICCA (International Congresses and Conventions Association) rankings for city destinations, moving up from 209th to 108th place worldwide.
The data, which refers to 2014, shows that Thessaloniki climbed 111 places with 22 international events (57 percent increase). In 2013, Thessaloniki hosted 14 events.
A city’s ICCA ranking helps confirm its status as a high quality international destination for business tourism and is one of the first considerations of associations and events planners choosing a future host city.
In the European rankings, Thessaloniki experienced a 51 places leap, from 111th to 60th position (with Frankfurt, Belfast and The Hague).
Thessaloniki’s performance contributed to the overall position of the country in the rankings as Greece climbed 18 places to 26th globally for hosting conferences and conventions. In 2014, Greece hosted a total of 148 conferences (from 100 in 2013).
“The significant rise of Thessaloniki in the world ranking for cities-conference destinations are extremely encouraging for the future of the city in the international tourism market”, Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris said.
The mayor said that conference tourism can be a driver of growth and a boost to the local market. “However, to have even better results, the professionals must improve the infrastructure of the city and the State must complete major projects — airport, port, metro, coastal transportation and traffic operations — which are necessary for the city’s tourism development.”
He added that the establishment of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau (TCB) was a key tool for attracting conferences and thus for the development of congress tourism in the Greek northern city.
The months during which the most conferences take place in Thessaloniki are September (20.9 percent), June (19.6 percent), October (12.9 percent) and May (11 percent), data on the 2004-2014 decade provided by the TCB shows.
According to the ICCA 2014 statistics, having hosted 214 meetings, Paris remains number one city and the United States remains top country with 831 meetings.