Vienna tops global congress ranking

Vienna hosted more congresses than any other city in the world last year.The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) announced today (Fri) that 154 international summits took place in the Austrian capital in 2010. This figure helped the city to stay on top of the ICCA’s global ranking. Vienna was tied for first place with Paris, France, in 2009 as both cities hosted 139 such events.The Spanish city of Barcelona, which came second in 2009 with 136 congresses, made second place (148) ahead of Paris (147) last year.Vienna’s tourism industry experienced an immense boom last year thanks to the 18th International AIDS Conference. Around 25,000 medical experts, politicians and journalists travelled to the Austrian city to attend the five-day event in July.This year’s Vienna congress tourism schedule does not feature such a summit of such extent. The most significant gathering occurred in March when 20,000 delegates attended a summit organised by the European Society of Radiology (ESR).Austria made 14th place in the ICCA’s 2010 congress tourism ranking. Around 73 per cent of all international congresses that took place in the country last year occurred in its capital city. The United States of America top the chart (623) ahead of Germany (542) and Spain.Previously released research has shown that people attending international congresses stayed for around five nights in Vienna, while national events mostly led to just one overnight stay. Experts stressed the importance of small-scale summits as just four per cent of all congress events in Austria in 2009 had over 1,000 participants.A poll conducted by the ICCA last year identified Vienna as the most popular congress destination in the world. The organisation said the city also topped a ranking for which participants of events across the world were asked to rate their stays.Hotels and guesthouses in Vienna registered 10.86 million overnight stays last year, around 10.3 per cent more than in 2009. The city’s establishments also did better in 2010 than in previous record year 2008 when they counted 10.2 million overnight stays.