International Association Meetings Market: Strong Attendances but Tougher Financial Pressures

27/10/2010 - ICCA e IMEX

The results from the latest survey jointly carried out by ICCA and IMEX amongst international associations into how their major meetings are faring indicate that this most resilient of sectors is going to continue to be vitally important to suppliers across the world.

Compared to the previous survey carried out four months earlier, anticipated and actual attendance at association meetings continues to be very strong. Thirty percent reported higher attendance than in previous years and 48% reported no change. Of those who reported a fall, 12% reported "slight" falls and only 9% reported "significant" reductions. These figures are a few percentage points more optimistic than the earlier survey, when more of the event figures were anticipated rather than actual.

In contrast to this very healthy situation, the financial pressures on association events are increasing. Eighteen percent reported higher revenue from sponsors and exhibitions than in previous years (down from 20% in the previous survey), 38% reported no change, but 44% reported reductions in revenue from these sources, an increase in 4% from the previous survey.

A worrying development is that fewer association executives are optimistic about growth in attendance at their 2011 events. Forty-eight percent now expect lower attendances in 2011 than in 2010, down from only 6% in the previous edition of the survey.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented on the results: "Whilst there's no doubt that international association meetings have been the star performance sector over the last year, they're feeling the pressure of the continued economic turbulence, especially as corporate sponsorship budgets continue to be cut. The picture is extremely mixed, however, and we're hearing that many regional (i.e. European or Asia-Pacific) events are at record levels, whilst some world events are struggling to attract attendances. The lower expectations for 2011 are also a matter for concern, but need to be seen against the backdrop of very strong attendances in 2010."

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO added: "These results underline the importance of international association meetings for suppliers from all regions of the world. The Association Day programmes at IMEX and IMEX America in 2011 are going to play an ever more important role in the two shows, and we're looking forward to working with ICCA and other key industry players such as ASAE to make sure that we attract as many of these key buyers as possible."

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