ECM’s new Meetings Statistics Report: 2016 brings resilient growth back to Meetings Industry

In a context of strong new challenges following different kinds of political crises, knowledge of the Meetings Industry in Europe is a real issue for many cities.  

As part of its ongoing activity, European Cities Marketing (ECM) has issued the release of its 7th edition of the Meetings Statistics Report. Published yearly, the report is a result of the cooperation between European Cities Marketing and its member cities. Statistics drawn from a sample of 48 cities show that the Meetings industry is now in a confirmed state of recovery after it suffered turmoil following both the European economic and political crisis. 2016 growth rates started kicking demand back up within the industry, a trend which promises stability for years to come.

The report focuses exclusively on data referring to ECM Member cities. Member destinations have grown increasingly keen to support this project, submitting a growing number of statistics for trend analysis. Data compiled regards meetings held per city studied, allowing for a more accurate comparison. Data reaches back to 2009 and accounts for all following years leading up to 2016, building up to a database of more than 420,500 meetings accounted for.

ECM’s new Meetings Statistics Report sheds light on meetings activity in Europe focusing on two samples of corporate and non-corporate meetings, with an emphasis on the parallel between nationally-focused and internationally-focused meetings within each sample. All of them match the UNWTO’s definition[1].

European Cities Marketing President, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr states that “Although business travelers follow the economy and travel less, the Meetings Industry is more resilient due to the slower delay of reaction and the fact that the scientific world keeps exchanging knowhow and research findings. Through global travel, stability and recovery, the Meetings Industry is leading the return back to normal travel patterns following major threats.”

The non-corporate meetings segment has felt a 9% growth compared to the previous year. Strongly represented by nationally-oriented meetings (72%), this segment has known a steady overall growth in past years.

National meetings also represent most of the corporate meetings (80%). This category, however, has remained relatively stable in terms of growth, showing only a 1% improvement since last year.


The report not only covers statistics portraying the meetings evolution for 48 European cities but also forms the basis for discussing major trends and developments in Europe among the member cities. Highlights include:

-Number of participants and participant days

-Types of meetings

-Scope of meetings


-Types of venues

-ICCA theme of the meetings


The main goal of this study is to monitor and benchmark so as to supply practical and actionable information on the volume and the economic significance of the convention business to city destinations. European Cities Marketing President, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr concludes that “ECM and its Research & Statistics Knowledge Group is committed to using this project as a way of continuously improving the collection and analysis of Meetings Statistics, providing added value for members and ever-more robust research methodologies.”


For access to the full report, apply for membership at All ECM members have exclusive access to the complete ECM Meetings Statistics Report with all the graphs and analysis.

To be up to date with these latest figures, please get in touch with European Cities Marketing and subscribe to the regular press releases.



[1] In order to provide clarity to all professionals within the Meetings Industry we use the definitions introduced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) concerning the characteristics of a meeting.

Corporate meetings:

Corporate meetings are business encounters normally held by a private company or group, in which the participants represent that company or group, or are clients of or suppliers to that company or group. These meetings normally have commercial/promotional purposes. The meeting takes place outside the company’s or group’s office.

Non-corporate meetings:

Non-corporate meetings are events without commercial aims. The main goal is exchanging, discussing or presenting knowledge. Normally, these meetings comprise congresses, conventions, conferences, seminars and other smaller meetings held by associations, universities and scientific communities, political bodies, NGOs, etc. These meetings take place outside the organiser’s own facilities. We have excluded trade-fairs and other exhibitions.



* European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation improving the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of members from more than 100 major cities in 36 countries.

Contact information
Flavie Baudot,, +33 380 56 02 0²