Published on Thursday, December 1, 2016

London is still Europe's top meetings destination

London remains the top European city for meetings and events, but there are signs planners are looking for venues in secondary cities next year.  

Based on the activity of American Express Meetings & Events customers, London remains number one of the top 10 European cities.

Barcelona, previously ranked eighth, has taken over Paris in second place, as the French city falls to fourth position.

Amsterdam is third, Berlin has moved up from the 10th spot to fifth place; Riga has dropped out of the top 10 and has been replaced by Rome.

Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels and Prague make up positions seven to 10.

AMEX's 2017 Global Meetings Forecast reports meetings budgets across Europe are expected to remain flat in 2017, with some variation between countries.

While respondents in Germany are most optimistic, expecting a 3.3% increase in meeting spend, in France a decrease in spend of -1.2% is expected.

Now in its sixth year, the Forecast shows that, when it comes to meeting numbers in Europe, there's a shift away from the upward trend of the last two years, with survey respondents expecting overall decreases in the number of meetings across most meeting types for 2017. 

UK predictions for 2016 had suggested that 100% of meetings would be held in large cities.

Respondents from the UK in this year's survey predict this number will decrease to 81% in 2017.

Germany is also expected to see a decrease from 91% of meetings being held in large cities in 2016, to 81% in 2017, while 19% of meetings will be held in second-tier cities.

Belgium and the Netherlands will likely continue to have the highest number of second-tier city meetings at 21%.

AMEX Meetings and Events EMEA vice president Jose Antonio Ruiz Collado said: "A sense of caution underpins meetings and events activity in Europe for 2017.

"However, even as budgets remain flat, European meetings professionals are demonstrating their creativity in delivering the greatest possible value from meetings activity.

"Second-tier cities and unique venues are growing in popularity, as are smaller meetings, held closer to home.

"This points to a trend for 2017 of European meetings professionals focusing on quality over quantity."

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