The convention market remains healthy and Amsterdam has once again secured a place in this year’s ICCA rankings of the top-10 most significant and successful congress cities in the world. Despite hosting eight conventions more in 2012 than in the preceding year, Amsterdam dropped two positions from 8th to 10th place. However, this remains a commendable result in light of the global economic downturn and increased competition from other cities. The number of congress visitors in Amsterdam is also steadily increasing every year. In excess of 300,000 more people participated in conventions and corporate events in 2012 than in 2008.
Strengthening the congress sector
For years, Amsterdam has been committed to continually improving and strengthening the congress sector – a branch that holds considerable economic significance for the city. The sector is now reaping the rewards of the successful collaboration between parties including Amsterdam Marketing, the hotel industry, the City of Amsterdam and Amsterdam RAI. For example, an agreement was recently reached with the hotel industry meaning that for each convention in Amsterdam, 16,000 hotel rooms will be made available bearing the ‘I amsterdam Approved’ hallmark. Conference facilities are now offered at many more locations across the city, the Amsterdam ArenA has recently completed construction of a new conference centre and the Beurs van Berlage is now also focused on attracting international congresses held over several days.
International association congresses
The International Conference & Convention Association (ICCA) annually compiles an inventory of all international association congresses held around the world. The ICCA only includes conventions organised by associations in its statistics and applies fixed criteria when defining an international congress. In order to be included in the ranking, a congress must have at least 50 participants, be hosted at multiple locations and rotate around at least three countries. The number of conventions being held each year is actually increasing despite the economic downturn, due to the fact that the associations are legally obliged to organise an annual conference for their members.