Not everyone will be happy of it (at least in Italy, where, you know, local rivalries are big), but after the performance, as high as expected, recorded in Expo year 2015, the year 2016 marked even an increase, albeit slight, of events and meetings in Milan, confirming that not only hasn’t the Universal Exhibition’s boost stopped but it is also getting well capitalized. In Milan metropolitan area, actually, the number of meetings raised by 0.2% over the previous year, while participants have increased by 6.8% and attendance by 2.2%. It is an important ​​business generating in Milan territory a direct expense preliminarily estimated at 773 million euro.

The data come from a study carried out for BIT 2017–International Tourism Exchange by the Laboratorio di Analisi del Mercato Congressuale Internazionale (LAMCI), an initiative developed by the Graduate School of Economics and International Relations at Milan’s Catholic University (ASERI).

The study indicates that in 2016 Milan’s metropolitan area hosted 40,595 events lasting at least four hours with a minimum of 10 people each, for a total of 3.13 million participants and 4.37 million attendees. 27% of total events lasted more than one day and recorded about 1.3 million participants, an average of 119 people per event, and about 2.3 million attendees on the territory.

The majority of events in 2016, 70.5%, was held in conference hotels as well (49.3% of all the screened venues), thus further increasing their role in the market compared to 2015; such facilities, however, register lower percentages of participants (36%) and attendees (31.6%): compared to 2015, conference hotels are hosting a larger number of shorter events with a lower number of average participants.

The second place is attained by institutional venues (primarily public facilities as Chamber offices, cultural centres, universities, museums, etc.), whilst other venues rank third with 15.8% of events, 34.2% of participants and 33.5% of attendees. Congress and exhibition venues concentrate on one hand only 3.8% of events (3.9% in 2015) but on the other they host as much as 12.4% of participants and 17.1% of attendees, thus keeping substantially unchanged their own weight within the market.

The contribution of the meetings industry to the GDP of Milan’s metropolitan area shows up great. The direct total expense of participants was 652 million euro, whose 65% comes from international events and 32% from national events. Instead the direct expense of the organizers, including the cost for venues rental, set-ups and technologies, catering and other services, was 121 million euro, over 20% of which was expended at convention centres and exhibition venues. Overall, therefore, the contribution of the meetings industry is estimated at 773 million euro, equivalent to about a half a percent of local GDP.

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