According to a study conducted by the Confederation of Business Associations of Baleares (CAEB), Spain is currently the fifth most popular international meeting destination in the World and an up-and-coming congress destination, with over 17,800 events and three million attendees.
Having hosted 266 international meetings in 2006 – year to which the study relates – and 17,876 congresses of varying sizes, with an overall attendance of three million professionals, Spain is currently ranked fifth, after the States, Germany, United Kingdom and France.
The total number of meetings held in 2006 was up 34.66% on figures for 2004, when 11,859 events were held.
This growth comes after a period of recession in the Spanish congress industry from 2002-2004, according to figures obtained by the Spain Convention Bureau quoted in the study.
The study, which has been conducted in collaboration with the Balearic government’s department of tourism, indicates that attendees are usually male aged between 35-44, who occupy posts of responsibility and stay at four- or five-star hotels (73.6% of the total).
This type of tourist, who usually travels by plane (32.2%) or car (23.4%), spends an average of 102.29 euros on accommodation, 271 euros on transport, and 384 euros on registration fees.
Madrid, Cataluña and Andalusia are the communities with greatest share of the meetings market. In the case of the first two communities, most of the activity is concentrated in the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, while in that of Andalusia it is more widely spread, since there are a large number of towns and cities with congress facilities.
With regard to the number of meetings held, Madrid and Andalusia top the ranking with 19.9 and 13.07%, respectively, followed by Catalonia (10.48%), Castilla-La Mancha (9.32%), Asturias (8.88%), and autonomous community of Valencia (6.21%).
Madrid, Catalonia and Andalusia also attract the largest number of attendees, followed by Asturias (9.07%), the autonomous community of Valencia (6.99%), the Basque Country (5.9%) and the Canaries (3.39%).
The authors of the study point out that, according to the experts consulted, “other cities have had a favourable growth” in the last few years, although “Andalusia, Madrid and Catalonia still lead the field”.
The financial and business sectors, along with the medical and health industries, organised the largest number of congresses (36.4 and 18.3%, respectively), followed by the cultural industry (11.1%), the public sector (9.9%), higher education (4.8%), science (4.5%), and technology (4.2%).
In addition, the findings of the study show that average attendance at conventions held in Spain in 2006 was 152.2. Most conventions were held in hotel function rooms (57.3%), followed by congress centres (13.5%), auditoriums (8%), universities (4.5%) and other venues (16.7%).
As to the time of year, the study indicates that spring and autumn are the most popular seasons (with peaks around 12% in March, May and October), and winter and summer that least popular (with lows of about 4% in December and January, and 0.1% in August).
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