Moscow sees big boost in demand, but London will remain number one across EMEA in 2019 for meetings & events

CWT Meetings & Events, a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), has unveiled its predictions for the top ten cities in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for meetings and events with significant changes in comparison to the previous forecasts for 2017 and 2018.


Summary:

  • CWT Meetings & Events has unveiled its predictions for the top ten cities in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for meetings and events;
  • The ranking, headed again by London, is based on proprietary and industry data from CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report;
  • Moscow is the key climber in the top ten with the Russian capital rising four places from sixth to second, likely boosted by hosting the recent football World Cup;
  • The CWT Meetings & Events insights for 2019 also includes a likely +6% increase in the cost per attendee across EMEA to an average of USD255.

While London remains in the top spot, despite continued uncertainty over Brexit, there has been considerable movement around the rest of the top ten. The ranking,  based on proprietary and industry data from CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, highlights Moscow as the key climber with the Russian capital rising four places from sixth to second. This CWT says is due to Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2018 “likely to have boosted the appeal of Moscow as a meetings and events destination”.

Eight of the top ten are rising up the ranking. With London’s non-movement at the top it is Paris that sees the only decline, slipping from second place in the 2018 forecast to ninth in next year’s outlook. But Brexit negotiations could quicklky change this, acknowledges Ian Cummings, vice president, EMEA at CWT Meetings & Events.

“Border control in the UK is a concern post-Brexit, if tighter measures lead to longer queues at airports. Paris will start taking business from the UK if it becomes tricky for attendees to come into the country – especially from Asia,” he explains.

The top ten positions for 2019 are exclusively held by European cities and dominated by the biggest locations in Germany. Barcelona is ranked third (up from fifth last year), Berlin fourth (up from eighth), Hamburg fifth and the highest new entrant in the top ten, followed by fellow new entrants Vienna in sixth and Stockholm in seventh. Cologne edges up from tenth to eighth, Paris, as previously mentioned is ninth and Frankfurt, another top ten new entrant, rounds out the top ten. Istanbul, Amsterdam, Dubai and Madrid have all slipped out of the top ten versus last year’s forecast.

The CWT Meetings & Events insights for 2019 also includes a likely +6% increase in the cost per attendee across EMEA to an average of USD255 and highlights specifically the secondary UK cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool that while  missing out on the top ten  “continue to see growth”.

While safety and security are always a priority when planning any meetings and events, the company acknowledges that the terrorist attacks in the UK, Germany, Spain and France in 2016 and 2017 “have not significantly dampened demand in London, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris”.

Another observation was that non-traditional event venues such as sporting arenas are tapping into the income possibilities from meetings and events, offering greater choice for planners. Greek destinations were also highlighted as “doing well” with “growing meetings demand for Athens”, and many of the islands such as Mykonos  becoming “hot incentive destinations” and now being positioned “as an excellent alternative to Ibiza, the south of France and other popular Mediterranean destinations” for the sector.