Berlin-East-Side-Gallery ©Thierry Noir Â© visitBerlin, Foto: Tanja Koch
Frankfurt -- October 14, 2014: At a press conference today at IMEX America, the German Convention Bureau (GCB) marked the 25th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the wall which culminated in the reunification of Germany one year later. These milestones launched a steady stream of progress across the country, particularly in the meetings industry.
According to Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, “The fall of the wall 25 years ago and the reunification one year later have had great impact on the meetings industry as a vital component of our economy. Our agility in meshing evolving conference goals and needs with our strengths in industry, innovation and in the environment have been a successful formula for several decades. Additionally, our ability to listen to meeting planners and what is important to them has ensured that what we offer the meetings industry is high impact."By the numbers
The number of conferences and meetings organized in Germany has grown every decade since the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) was founded in 1963 and started recording the number of international association meetings hosted per country per year. According to ICCA, in the 26 years from 1963 to 1989, Germany hosted a total of 2,149 international industry meetings. By contrast, in the 21 years since the reunification to 2011, that number grew to 7,549, an increase of more than 250 percent. Now for the tenth year in a row, Germany has earned the ranking of #1 in Europe and #2 in the world, after the United States, as an international meetings destination.
What’s more, the number of German cities hosting international meetings has grown significantly. In the Sixties, just five cities – Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Wiesbaden – hosted international meetings. Today that number has grown to more than 30 cities from across all of Germany. This distinguishes Germany in the meetings industry as most countries find that only a handful of their cities host international meetings and conferences.
It probably comes as little surprise that the growth of Germany’s capital and most populous city, Berlin, is the most significant. From 1963 to 1989, the city hosted 306 international meetings. Since the reunification, 2,172 international meetings have come to Berlin, representing an increase of more than 600 percent. Today, Berlin is ranked fifth worldwide as a city for international meetings.
Hamburg and Munich, the second and third most populous cities in Germany, have also had positive growth paths. Hamburg hosted 221 meetings from 1963 to 1989 and 511 meetings from 1990 to 2013 (up 130 percent). Munich hosted 344 and 900 meetings (up 160 percent) in the same time frames.
Another unique characteristic is the rapid growth of foreign participants in German meetings. Just from 2006 to 2013 alone, the number grew from 14.3 million to 22.1 million, an increase of 54 percent. Moving forward
The GCB last year released findings from a study titled “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A study of megatrends shaping our industry
.” These findings formed the foundation of a new marketing strategy for 2015-2020, which focuses on the themes of sustainability, innovation and industry expertise.
These themes will be a common thread throughout GCB activities, including those at IMEX America 2014. Among other activities, the GCB is working with its partners at the German Pavilion for the hosted buyer group presentations to showcase how German innovation and expertise are being utilized to attract meetings to Germany. One example is the World of Energy Solutions Conference which has been hosted in the Southern German city of Stuttgart since 2013. The conference on new energy and mobility capitalizes on the automotive/mobility expertise of the Stuttgart region, reflected in the conference program through keynote speeches by local speakers, the opportunity to test drive an emission free car, or visits to local companies working within this field. Other examples presented at the show include the “smart PORT” initiative from Hamburg (increasing the efficiency of the Hamburg port, read more here
) or the city of Dresden’s unique position as the only city in Europe that combines all of the key enabling technologies
(KETs) as defined by the European Commission.About the German Convention Bureau
The German Convention Bureau (GCB) represents and markets Germany as a destination for conventions, meetings, events and incentives both on a national and international scale. It is the first point of contact for companies, associations and organizations around the world planning events in Germany. The German Convention Bureau teams with many German exhibitors to showcase Germany as a convention and meetings destination at trade shows such as EIBTM in Barcelona and IMEX America in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Acting as a connector to the wide range of German event service providers, venues and host cities, the GCB provides hands-on advice and support to planners and executives in all industries and organizations. To bring maximum value, quality and customization to each meeting and event hosted in Germany, the GCB also helps hosts and attendees leverage the country’s deep expertise in green meetings and key industries such as pharmaceuticals, financials, automotive, technology and transportation and logistics.
The GCB’s more than 200 members represent 450 leading hotels, convention centers, destinations, event agencies and service providers of the German meetings and conventions industry. Accor Hotels, DuesseldorfCongress and Stuttgart Convention Bureau are Preferred Partners of the GCB. As Strategic Partners, Lufthansa German Airlines, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Railways), and the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) support the work of the GCB.
The GCB website (www.germany-meetings.com) serves as a useful online tool to find detailed information on Germany, search venues and vendors, get tips for green meetings, catch up on the latest news, access travel guides and much more. Follow the German Convention Bureau in the U.S. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GermanyMeetings.