Slovenia ranking among top 50 according to the ICCA Ranking Report for 2021

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) announced the widely expected statistical report for 2021 – the ICCA Ranking Report. According to the Destination Performance Index, Slovenia ranked in the 36th place with 56 planned events globally. Thanks to the Slovenian capital’s congress offer, the biggest proportion was contributed by Ljubljana which ranked in the 45th place on a global scale.

The ICCA Statistics Reports are based on the ICCA Association Database, which means the figures cover meetings organised by international associations according to ICCA’s criteria:

  • a meeting must take place on a regular basis,
  • host at least 50 participants,
  • and rotate between a minimum of three countries to be included in the Database.

Due to the uneven playing field created by the pandemic, ICCA did not publish its annual Country/City ranking last year. Consequently, the decision was made to omit the Public Abstract as well. Only the ICCA annual statistics report was published for their members. Like last year, ICCA haS again categorised the Corona-affected meetings as: unaffected, postponed, relocated, cancelled, hybrid, virtual.

This year, even though some regions were hit harder than others, all destinations have had time to adapt to the changing circumstances. In the pre-pandemic era, ICCA’s Country/City ranking would only include meetings that were actually held on-site, i.e. the “Unaffected” meetings. However, due to the pandemic, the percentage of “Unaffected” meetings is less than 10 %. To resolve this issue, ICCA has developed the Destination Performance Index (DPI) in order to acknowledge and reward the effort put forth by destinations with regard to winning the original bid, COVID policies, adaptability and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual/hybrid events –thereby maintaining business-continuation. The DPI consists of the following performance indicators: planned meetings, unaffected meetings, virtual meetings, hybrid meetings, digitalisation (virtual/hybrid), business continuation (unaffected/virtual/hybrid).

ICCA’s Association Database is designed as a sales and marketing resource for its members to target future international association meetings, which is why it does not include one-off events or those which do not move between locations. The report has a strong marketing impact, since it ranks countries and cities in popularity.

Unfortunately, the research does not cover all international events in destinations, it does not include corporate, business and intergovernmental meetings, incentive trips and other events, which all represent an important part of the global meetings industry. To coincide with the publication, ICCA members will notice the detailed information displayed in the Association Database. Previously, searching the database for confirmed meetings from January through December 2021 only returned 1,275 profiles. Now, the same query will return more than 6,000 profiles.

In the ICCA Ranking Report 2021, Vienna occupies 1st place worldwide in the overall ranking. The report took into account 92 congresses held, 9 of which were unrestricted, 22 hybrid and 61 virtual (113 congresses were planned). In 2nd and 3rd place in the overall ranking are Lisbon (91 congresses held) and Athens (66). They are followed by Barcelona, Singapore, Madrid, Prague, Paris, Berlin and Brussels. At the country level, Austria ranks 11th worldwide. The USA, Spain and Germany top the list.

“Now that the global meetings industry has had more time to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, we wanted to acknowledge and reward the effort of destinations to not only keep these crucial meetings going but also to improve their business operations. The investments that destinations have made in new technologies, partnerships, and advocacy initiatives will continue to drive our industry forward,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.

“Although we have yet to return to pre-pandemic numbers, we have gained significant ground on the road to full recovery. Further, we have transformed the meetings industry in the process. This report delivers a more holistic representation of the pandemic’s impact on association meetings globally. Moreover, it reveals strong and definitive signs of progressive recovery for the industry,” Gopinath said.

The report reveals that the market share of virtual and hybrid meetings doubled in just one year. Business continuation also increased by 30 % while business cancellation dropped from 61 % to 31 %. The Middle East had the highest business continuation rate of all regions (77 %), followed by Latin America (72 %) and Asia (71 %). Of all regions, Latin America demonstrated the most significant growth in business continuation compared to 2020, with an increase of 35 %.

Good ranking of Slovenia

According to the DPI, in 2021, Slovenia ranked in the 36th place with 56 planned events on the global scale. The report took into account 35 congresses held in Slovenia, 6 of which were unaffected, 29 digital, 5 hybrid and 24 virtual. Just next to Slovenia were placed Ireland (34th place with 131 planned events) and Croatia (35th place with 59 planned events), and right behind us Estonia (37th place with 47 planned events) and Turkey (38th place with 61 planned events).

European countries make up 70 % of the top 20, followed by Asian countries (15 %) and North American countries (10 %). Oceania, represented by Australia, claims a market share of 5 %

Thanks to the Slovenian capital’s congress offer, the biggest proportion was contributed by Ljubljana. Ljubljana ranked 45th place in the DPI’s top 50 cities ranking on the global scale, with 39 planned events, right next to Zurich, Rotterdam, Melbourne, VIC, Torino, and some other cities. Ljubljana is confident about its future.

By 2023 some new hotel openings are planned and they will bring a range of modern capacities for various types of events. With the upgrade and renovation of the existing hotel properties (Four Points by Sheraton Mons Ljubljana) and some smaller boutique projects, the estimated total number of rooms in town in the next few years will amount to approximately 4.100 (approx. 45 % increase of the current capacity).” As stated by the Ljubljana Convention Bureau.

Additionally, the new passenger terminal at the Ljubljana Airport was completed in spring 2021.

“We are confident to say that some fresh wind will be blowing through Ljubljana’s tourism industry in the near future, making the pursuit of its main strategic goals in the broader sense of the word – the extension of visitors’ stay, higher expenditure and de-seasonalization – easier to pursue and realize.” Added the Ljubljana Convention Bureau.

The future is bright

Slovenia has been recording good results for many years, thanks to the continuous increase in the volume of marketing and investment activities by key stakeholders who are actively involved in the development of the congress and tourist offer. These activities, among other things, contribute to a good reputation of Slovenia as a congress and tourist destination on the global market. We are very proud of the good results and figures Slovenia is recording for the past consecutive years. The future of congress Slovenia is undoubtedly bright!

The full 2021 ICCA Ranking (Destination Performance Index [DPI]) is available to ICCA members and complements ICCA’s online Destination Comparison Tool (DCT).