UIA releases 60th International Meetings Statistics Report

What do Singapore, Keystone Colorado, Tirana, and Geneva have in common?

The Union of International Associations (UIA) publishes its International Meetings Statistics Report on an annual basis. The Report, this year in its 60th edition, provides the answers to questions about meetings organized by international associations: How many? Where? When?

UIA’s broad definition of what constitutes an international meeting (that it can be non-governmental and intergovernmental, can include any number of participants, and takes no account of frequency or rotation) means that an unparalleled wide range of meetings and of organizations is included. The Report is compiled from UIA’s extensive database of over 494,711 international association meetings in 250 countries and 12,682 cities, reaching back as far as 1850. Thanks to UIA’s ongoing research and surveys this database is continuously updated. UIA added 11,240 new meetings which took place in 2018 across 167 countries and 1,197 cities.

With 1,177 recorded meetings, Singapore lays claim to the number one spot of host countries in the Report. The top three is completed by South Korea and Belgium with respectively 854 and 849 recorded meetings. The city rankings parallel the countries, with Singapore, Brussels and Seoul coming out on top.
While the continents of Europe and Asia are the undeniable giants of the associations meetings industry, all continents host their fair share. For the African continent, South Africa leads the way. In the Australasian region it is Australia; for the Americas it is the United States.

The country best capitalizing on the national presence of international associations is Singapore, with a ratio of 400 international associations per 1000 members in the country. When compared to population size, Keystone Colorado, USA makes a surprise first-time appearance, with 12,048 meetings per million inhabitants.
The UIA has marked the 60th edition with the inclusion of several new rankings which explore questions requiring more than a single year’s data to answer. As attracting association meetings requires strategies spanning multiple years, the Report provides new and exciting long-term insights into the many ways in which a destination can achieve success. 

In the ranking of most popular countries from 1999 to 2018, the USA comes out on top, followed by France and Belgium. The most popular city award goes to Singapore, followed by Brussels and Paris.

Tirana comes out on top for cities with the highest average annual growth rate from 1999 to 2018 at 102%. Barcelona has hosted the highest number of total meeting participants over the last twenty years, with over 2.6 million participants. Geneva has had the most days of meetings take place over twenty years with an average of 1,155 days of meetings per year.

The Report also delves into general trends applying to all international association meetings. While Europe maintains its continental ranking as “the place to be”, year after year the numbers for Asia grow. Just twenty years ago not a single non-European city was to be found in the top ten, and now there are three Asian cities in the top five.

Another notable trend shown in the Report is that meetings have become shorter in length and smaller in participants numbers.

The full Report consists of 163 pages and contains over fifty comprehensive tables. For the first three months following its release the Report is available exclusively to UIA Associate Members. On 1 September it will be made available to the general public for purchase.