London Propelled into world’s top 10 international convention destinations

15th May 2012

New figures published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) show that London has propelled up the rankings to become one of the world’s most popular destinations for international conventions and conferences.

The annual ICCA, “International Association Meetings Market“, statistics present an in-depth evaluation of trends in the international meetings industry. Four years ago London was ranked 19th in the league table but thanks to a concerted effort by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his international promotional organisation London & Partners, London has jumped to 7th in the league table of top convention destinations.

The Mayor ordered a review of business tourism in 2009 after deeming London’s performance in this important sector of the economy unacceptable, saying ‘London doesn’t do 19th’. Since then the Mayor has played a key role in attracting major conventions to the city, including Sport Accord which attracted more than 1,500 top business names from the world of international sport.

In 2011 the capital played host to 115 conferences and conventions, which moved the city from 14th to 7th place in the ICCA rankings. The London & Partners team helped to achieve this by working closely with the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the International Conference Centre at ExCeL to promote London as a top destination, offering first class facilities for business visitors to the capital.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “In less than four years London has fought its way back into the premier league of a crucial sector which helps to support and create thousands of jobs for the capital’s economy. I said that 19th position in the world rankings was unacceptable and I am delighted we have raised our game. Now we must build on this success and continue to attract leading organisations from across the globe by promoting London as the number one convention destination. With the world’s spotlight upon us we have a golden opportunity to showcase why London, with its world class venues and facilities, is the best place to do business."

Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners, the official convention bureau for London, said: “We are absolutely delighted with London’s ground-breaking result in the ICCA city rankings. London now has a very strong product and boasts Europe’s largest convention centre. The capital also has a unique ability to deliver higher returns on investment and objectives for meeting planners.

When London & Partners was created, our goal was to make London a top 10 convention city by 2015, so hitting the number 7 spot so early is a fantastic achievement and a testament to our convention bureau team. As the world turns its attention to the capital this summer, London & Partners will implement the next phase of our ambitious, city-wide strategy to move London into the top 5.”

Kevin Murphy, CEO at ExCeL London and Board Member at London & Partners, said: “We are all delighted to see London getting back to where it should be. The hard work from the teams here, in conjunction with the teams at London & Partners and London’s new World Class ICC has firmly put London back on the global destinations map.”

Sue Etherington, Commercial Director at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) said: “This is great news for London - for the city in general and for the International association market based here too. 2012 is already proving to be a prosperous year for The QEIICC, with five recent international and national association event wins bringing a total of over 11,000 delegates to the Centre. We have received a record number of International meeting requests in the years 2013 – 18, and we are confident that these will translate into a great pipeline of business in future years. Our congratulations go to the London & Partners team for being instrumental in this wonderful achievement."

The ICCA report showed London climbed into the top 10 leaping ahead of European rivals Amsterdam, Istanbul and Lisbon, and moving in front of worldwide counterparts including Sydney, Beijing, Buenos Aires and Taipei.