ICCA: Athens Ranks High Among Top Meeting Destinations in 2021
The city of Athens ranked third among the top 50 performing meeting destinations in 2021, according to the public abstract released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) for its annual statistics report for last year.
The report, which includes a Destination Performance Index (DPI) for countries and cities, sheds more light on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the association meetings industry in 2021.
Greece ranked 17th in the top 50 DPI for countries in 2021, while the DPI for cities, besides Athens (3rd place), included one more Greek city: Thessaloniki in 47th place.
Due to the transformational events of 2020, ICCA refined its approach to the report by including meetings that were affected by the pandemic as well as those that remained unaffected.
“We believe it’s very important that the world has a clearer sense of how the global association meetings industry has transformed during the past two years,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.
The DPI examines 8,000 international association meetings scheduled for 2021, based on six performance indicators (planned, unaffected, virtual, hybrid, digitalisation, and business continuation). When combined, the indicators represent the overall DPI, highlighting how destinations have performed with regard to winning the original bid, COVID policies, adaptability, and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual/hybrid events.
According to ICCA, the countries and cities represented in the top meeting destinations in 2021 are similar to the 2019 report.
DPI for cities
Amongst destination cities, Athens ranked 3rd in the top 50 DPI after Vienna and Lisbon and represented Greece in the six individual top 10 rankings.
Athens ranked 8th in Planned (87 meetings), 5th in Unaffected (10), 10th in Virtual (40), 5th in Hybrid (16), 7th in Digitalization (56) and 4th in Business continuation (66).
The northern Greek city of Thessaloniki ranked 47th in the top 50 DPI for cities with 28 meetings in Planned, 4 in Unaffected, 11 in Virtual, 4 in Hybrid, 15 in Digitalization and 19 in Business continuation.
Europe holds a market share of 80 percent in the top 20 DPI for cities, followed by Asia (15 percent) and North America (5 percent).
DPI for countries
The United States is the top performing country for association meetings in the DPI as it ranked 1st in four of the six indicators (planned, virtual, digitalisation, and business continuation). The remaining two indicators, unaffected and hybrid, were topped by Spain and China-P.R., respectively.
Overall, Europe was a strong performer as an association meeting destination during the pandemic. Seventy percent of the top 20 countries are European.
According to the ICCA, Denmark and Greece replaced Argentina and Brazil in the top 20 countries for meetings.
Greece ranked 17th with 149 meetings in Planned, 15 in Unaffected, 61 in Virtual, 25 in Hybrid, 86 in Digitalization and 101 in Business continuation.
Austria made the biggest jump, from 16th to 11th place. Italy claimed 5th place from the United Kingdom. Spain jumped two spots since 2019 to become the 2nd meeting destination globally.
“In delivering an abstract of ICCA’s Annual Statistics report to the public once again, we are recognising the tremendous effort that destinations and meeting suppliers have made to adapt and even thrive through pandemic challenges,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.
Moreover, he said the report aims to advocate for the meetings industry and the positive effects that association meetings have on destinations.
“It is crucial that our global community strengthens ties between each other as well as with industries such as aviation and healthcare. Association meetings create jobs and boost local economies. Moreover, they are vital to international knowledge-sharing and problem-solving,” Gopinath said.