You know well what I think about ICCA rankings: their authors themselves admit they depict a too limited segment of the Mice industry, they are far from giving an overview of the market. A serious investigation into the attractiveness of destinations should even leave them behind. Not by chance the rankings by UIA (Union of International Associations), which relate to associative congresses as well, are completely different, and we will shortly talk about them in another article.
However, if taken for what they are, they actually provide some food for thoughts, especially since ICCA has been matching their traditional charts with brand-new ones by participants’ number, which certainly express more, as turnovers are consequential not quite to meetings but rather to the number of people attending them.
Remember: ICCA rankings only measure the international congresses promoted by associations, which gather more than 50 participants and are regularly held in different destinations, rotating between at least three different countries.
According to the new version of this partial-as-can-be screening, Italy is doing very well. With just over 219,000 participants in 2016, our country is ranked fourth in the world, behind the United States (401,000), Germany (280,000) and the United Kingdom (228,000). Our position is just unbelievable, when giants such as Austria (11th), Canada (12th), Singapore (27th) and the Emirates (38th) need binoculars to look at us.
But the true interest comes up with the city rankings. Dominated by Vienna with 119,887 participants (confirming that if we think of the 147,000 deserving to Austria its 11th place, the Austrian Mice industry actually coincides with its capital), this second ranking gathers in its top-20 as many as two Italian cities: Rome, eighth with over 68,000 participants, and Milan, 17th with more than 48,000. Very close to Rome stand Paris and Amsterdam, while Milan actually equates to Prague (50,000).
- there are no other Italian cities in this rank, which stops at position number 40;
- the cross-data with the rankings by meetings confirms the primacy of Rome and Milan in our Mice incoming, where, in this first chart, Rome closes the top-20 with 96 events and Milan, 43rd, is the only other Italian city in the first 70 places;
- the other Italian cities, scattered along the middle-low places (with illustrious mates as well, such as Abu Dhabi – 74th – and Miami – 88th) are Florence (75th place), Venice (92nd), Turin (117th), Bologna (just winning the bid for the international horticultural exposition of 2019) and Naples (125th), Trieste (186th), Pisa (203rd), Verona (216th), Genoa (239th), Trento (256th), Catania (301st), Palermo (324th), Messina and Siena (357th), Bergamo and Salerno (392nd – together with Miami Beach!!);
- data refer to 2016, when Rome CB was still missing: so the record shows the consolidated and demonstrated – thanks to the cross-data – Italian primacy of two cities without convention bureau, which could and should open a debate on the effective use of these tools rather than others; in short: if a city is interesting – and Rome and Milan are positively – it seems to work on its own;
- a few years ago, an insider friend told me that 80% of Mice’s demand to Italy from abroad focuses on Rome and Milan; some colleagues from other cities don’t believe it. I do.