On June 27, 2022, the UIA (Union of International Associations) published its ranking, “The 63rd International Meetings Statistics Report”, where Poland maintained its position compared to the previous year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the world tourism industry, the meeting industry, and the attitude of international associations towards the organisation of meetings and events. The situation forced the UIA researchers to review the presentation of the report, which currently offers two parts showing, respectively, the events that took place in 2019, and the data for the events that the UIA managed to collect for 2021.
This report comes from the UIA database and the UIA flagship publications: the International Congress Calendar and the Yearbook of International Organisations. Some meetings were postponed two or even three times; others that had been scheduled as on-site meetings had to be held online or in a hybrid format. Some countries are only now (mid-2022) abolishing border controls for external visitors, which made it very difficult to plan on-site meetings. The situation is slowly stabilising. Currently, most of the sectors participating in international meetings have had time to adapt their requirements and expectations regarding the organisation of their meetings and events. Such changes allow for future planning while maintaining flexibility in postponing or changing the format due to the circumstances.
“The 63rd International Meetings Statistics Report” covers 485,157 meetings organised in 262 countries, 11,849 cities by 28,065 international organisations. It also includes details for 2019 as the “last good year” before the crisis, and the analysis of meetings and events held in 2021.
According to the UIA, in the last 20 years (2002-2021), an unquestioned market leader is Europe, which held 53% of meetings and events, followed by Asia – 22%, Americas – 17%, Africa – 4%, and Australia/Oceania – 3%. In 2021 alone, meetings and events showed the following proportions: Europe held 55% of meetings and events, followed by Asia – 26%, Americas – 14%, Africa – 3%, and Australia/Oceania – 3%.
The summary of 2002-2021 shows that predominant meetings worldwide are association meetings with 101-500 participants (48.9%); smaller meetings, below 100 participants, account for 28.1% of the market, while larger meetings, those with 501-1000 participants – 11.7%, and with 1001-3000 participants – 7.7%.
More than a quarter of meetings and events lasted on average 3 days (26.3%), followed by 4-day and 3-day events: 19.8% and 18.4%, respectively, while 1-day and 5-day events accounted for 13% each.
The top 5 European cities for the last twenty years do not include any city in Poland. The most popular cities for associations were: Brussels, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, and London. Most meetings took place in France, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and Spain.
At the same time, it is worth noting that in the ranking for the last 20 years, among 30 presented countries, Poland ranked 23rd, Hungary – 28th, and Czechia – 29th. This high result is undoubtedly attributable to the entire Polish meeting industry and is a proof of its major transformation in the last two decades.
Also in 2021, Poland ranked 23rd with its 69 events (meeting the UIA criteria) in the global ranking (presenting 99 countries) and ranked 15th in Europe among 45 countries.
In 2021, among 96 cities from all over the world, Warsaw ranked best among Polish cities and reached 39th place with 23 meetings, followed by Kraków at place 43 (21 meetings). At the same time, Polish cities reached 22nd place (Warsaw) and 26th place (Kraków) among 52 European cities.
The UIA offers the full report at www.uia.org, after logging in to the membership profile.
The UIA is a research institute and a documentation centre that for more than 100 years has been gathering and communicating information on the market of international meetings of non-governmental associations and intergovernmental organisations, and on the directions and trends in its development. Its ranking titled “International Meeting Statistics Report” is based on data collected on international meetings that fulfil all of the four criteria: duration of at least 3 days, have at least 300 participants, participants come from at least 5 countries, at least 40% of participants come from abroad.
The Polish Tourism Organisation, with the Poland Convention Bureau active in its structures, has been a member of the UIA since 2011. In 2021, the Poland Convention Bureau of the POT, together with the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Seoul Tourism Organisation, was a partner of the comprehensive survey “COVID 19 Impact on International Association Meetings” carried out from March to October 2021 by the UIA among 25,000 international associations:
Compiled by: Aneta Książek