The release of 2012 ICCA rankings shows Asia continuing to forge ahead.
BY BRAD FOSTER
The International Congress and Convention Association’s latest research statistics for 2012 shows Asia remains a force to be reckoned with in the global meetings market.
The top 10 countries showed little change in ranking, with the top seven repeating their positions, led by the USA, Germany and Spain. The United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Brazil make up the top seven.
A strong performer considering cancellations due to the earthquake and tsunami was Japan which jumped back into the top 10 from 13th to 8th place. The Netherlands remained 9th and China-P.R. dropped from 8th to 10th place. Austria just fell out of the top 10 to 11th place.
In the city rankings, Vienna retained its number one status with 195 meetings in 2012, and Paris is second again. Berlin climbs one place to third. Spanish cities Madrid and Barcelona are respectively 4th and 5th and London and Singapore share 6th place.
Singapore continues to be a powerhouse in the international association meetings sector. It ranked 25th in country rankings, one place down from 2011 but actually hosted eight more meetings in 2012 (150) compared to 2011 (142 meetings).
The Philippines was another strong performer in the Asia Pacific. It lifted its 2011 ranking of 54th place (33 meetings) to 49th place in 2012 hosting 15 more meetings (48).
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: “Once more our members and researchers have identified that the international association sector has been growing strongly over the last year, as has been the case throughout the last few years of global economic uncertainty. Why is this so?”
“Firstly, almost all international associations have a statutory duty to meet on a regular basis, and their annual or biannual main congresses have become increasingly `mission critical’ for their communities of members and stakeholders.
“Secondly, economic strength in certain regions of the world is stimulating growth in regionally rotating association meetings, particularly in Asia and Latin America, but we now also see this trend starting to emerge in regions such as Africa and Middle East.
“And thirdly, association congresses are to a large extent driven by scientific, healthcare and technological advances, and we are continuing to live in an era where the accelerated expansion of discovery and innovation is at an unprecedented level, creating entirely new associations and events to share insight into and develop new business from this new knowledge.
“All this augurs well for continuing growth in the future, and any destination or company that wishes to be a serious long-term player in the international meetings business should in ICCA’s view make sure they are involved in the international association sector. In ICCA’s 50th anniversary year, we are truly delighted to be reporting such tremendously positive figures.” m
Taking guests to new heights
A major refurbishment and more refinements has taken the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel guest experience to a whole new level.
Having completed its major refurbishment in late 2011, Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel continues to enhance guests’ hospitality experience by introducing the brand new Connect Lounge, gym and two state-of-the-art function rooms.
Acceding to the current impeccable Centenary ballroom at lobby level and meeting venues on Level 6, the fourth level of the hotel is now equipped with more event spaces. The floor-to-ceiling décor wall at the Foyer evokes in guests an image of a sparkling curtain being opened and welcoming guests to a spectacular event.
Fusing innovative design and classic style, two multi-purpose function rooms named after blooming flowers in the city have now made the hotel even more desirable for celebrations, meetings, seminars and corporate gatherings.
Overlooking the Canton Road and Heritage 1881, the Bauhinia Room is flooded with natural daylight. Divisible into five soundproof sections, with its own control panel, the more than 2750 square-feet Bauhinia Room features enchanting lighting and five advanced, built-in high lumens projectors.
The Orchid Room is a graceful room and also benefits from natural daylight, built in screens and easy control panels. It can be divided into two rooms for intimate gatherings or private corporate events.
Equipped with the latest technology to keep guests connected, an iPad is provided in each of the event spaces, offering a comprehensive control on lighting and audio setting at the touch of a screen.
The new Connect Lounge is located next to the function rooms on Lever 4. Exuding classic charm and modern elegance, the Connect Lounge offers a balance between business and comfort. It offers hideaways with the ease of home, yet guests will never be disconnected with the hotel’s complimentary Wi-Fi internet service, incorporating a list of facilities and services which satisfy all business travellers’ needs.
If you want to take a break after a day of sightseeing or business meetings, you can work out at the brand new 24 hour gym. m