Prague ranked eighth most popular congress destination

The city has finally reached the top 10 for hosting large, regularly held meetings

Prague ranked eighth in the list of most popular congress and meeting destinations, compiled annually by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Prague has risen three positions since 2016 is now among the world's top 10 congress destinations.

Barcelona was in first place for 2017.

The ICCA for its list only counts meetings that are held regularly, with at least three destinations, and whose attendance exceeds 50 delegates. Prague had 151 such meetings.

Prague has been ranking close to the 10th position in the list of most popular meeting destinations in the long term.

“The cities in this year’s top five remain the same as they have done since 2015, but Barcelona surpasses regular first and second place holders Paris and Vienna to claim the top spot. Taking first place for the first time since 2004 with 195 meetings in 2017, Barcelona knocks last year’s number one Paris down to second place. Vienna holds its previous position in joint second place with Paris, and Berlin and London are placed in fourth and fifth. Madrid stays in seventh place for another year, and last year’s other number seven Amsterdam drops out of the top 10 to 16th place, making way for Prague to climb three places to join the top 10 in eighth place,” the ICCA said in its report.

“As in 2016, Singapore, Lisbon and Seoul remain in sixth, ninth and 10th place respectively. Notable risers are Buenos Aires, jumping from 17th to 11th place, Budapest, jumping from 16th to 12th, and Hong Kong, jumping from 19th to 13th. Rome remains in 20th place for another year. Newcomers to the top 20 in 2017 are Tokyo and Montreal,” the ICCA said.

But the meetings tacked by ICCA are just a fraction of the overall congress market. In 2017, some 4,127 conferences were held in the Prague, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). More than half a million delegates took part in conferences in Prague.

Prague Convention Bureau statistics, based on data from member bodies, show that in the long term Prague has a stable ratio of international (49.2 percent in 2017) and local meetings (50.8 percent in 2017).

Foreign delegates in 2017 came to Prague most often from the US, Britain, Germany, Switzerland and France.

“Prague belongs among destinations very popular with pharmaceutical, industrial or business meetings. Small corporate meetings with participation of between 10 and 149 delegates predominate over large association events. Some 50 congresses with an attendance of more than 1,000 participants took place in Prague last year. The most popular event seasons are spring and autumn dates, with May as the favorite month in 2017,” Prague Convention Bureau director Roman Muška said in a press release.

The ICCA registered a record number of international congresses and conferences in 2017. Worldwide, some 12,558 rotating international association meetings took place, some 2.8 percent more than in 2016.

The largest number of association events took place in the US with 941 events, followed by Germany with 682 events, Britain with 592 events, Spain with 564 events and Italy with 515 events.

“In a world of disruption and unpredictability, the continuing growth in international association meetings is a welcome anomaly, but is not that surprising. We are still in a period of revolutionary change in terms of scientific and technological advancements, which are transforming traditional association fields such as healthcare and trade. To make sense of the tsunami of new data and information, association communities need to meet. Not just at their traditional, well-established meetings, but in new gatherings specifically invented to serve new academic fields or to reach out to new audiences. These are the pressures that we believe will continue to boost the sector for many years to come,” ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said.

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