ICCA “reinvents” its 2020 Report: no ranking among destinations

8 July 2021  —  Focus  —  by Luca Grassi
Due to the pandemic, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) reinvents the 2020 Statistical Report on International Association Meetings. Instead of ranking destinations, ICCA focuses on a global analysis about covid-19 impact.

An overview on the "Annus Horribilis"

Due to the pandemic, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) has reinvented the 2020 Statistical Report on the international association meeting market. Since most of the congresses have been postponed, canceled or transformed into virtual or hybrid editions, ICCA - the largest international association of congress operators - has decided to leave aside the comparative statistics among destinations (which would have obviously been staggered and without a concrete meaning) and focus on analyzing what happened globally in the Annus Horribilis 2020.

On the side, you can see the graph showing the consequences of the pandemic on the more than 8400 international events monitored by ICCA in 2020.

It is highlighted that almost half of the events in 2020 have been postponed (44% of the total).  In general, however, they have been reconfirmed in their original destination, which means they will return and are likely to attract a wider audience of delegates, eager to meet face-to-face. Another interesting information is the percentage value of virtual events (30%), as well as the reduction in the percentage of hybrid ones (just 2%)

 

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020

Face to face, virtual or hybrid? Realism will tell us

The 2020 ICCA Report also provides an analysis of the economic impact, loss of revenue and other key parameters. A comparative examination between the years 2019 and 2020 highlights the need for the sector to make choices, such as hybrid or virtual congress, to "save what can be saved"; on the other hand, the very same 2020 results show the strong desire of the sector to return to face to face meetings. Whatsoever, it is likely that in the future a lot of meetings will continue to include elements and best practices born from some positive aspects that virtual and hybrid events put in evidence. Actually, it's a matter of fact that, at least in certain sectors (e.g. in technological sciences and humanities fields), virtual and hybrid events have helped associations to expand the audience and retain more members.

On the side, a comparative chart showing the increase number of participants at virtual conferences compared to those attending the face-to-face ones.

In summary, ICCA Statistics Study 2020 shows that during last year, the sector suffered the state of lockdown due to Covid-19. At the same time, thanks to hi-tech solutions together with the experience of the operators, local resources and know-how, it has been possible to restart congress activities. And what about the future? Presential? Virtual? Hybrid? As always, reality and concrete needs will eventually make us understand the most suitable solutions case by case.

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020

Credit: ICCA Annual Statistics Study 2020