Spain receives a very good score from the International Association of Congresses and Conventions ICCA. Spain ranks third in the world ranking and second at European level with a 5.5% growth between 2017 and 2018 by holding 595 meetings of International Associations based on the following criteria:
Madrid and Barcelona are respectively in 3rd and 4th place in the ranking, but many other Spanish cities are also present. At the European level, alongside Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and San Sebastián are in the top 100 and are then reached by Málaga, Granada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Zaragoza, Alicante, Cadiz, Murcia and Santander.
Moreover, Barcelona occupies the first place in the world in the ICCA Ranking of the total number of participants with 135,000 participants, ahead of Paris (126,000) and Vienna (105,000).
If these figures do not represent the entire market and are limited to the strict figures of the members of the International Associations according to the above criteria, they are nevertheless a very good barometer of trends and this not only for congresses but also for the entire MICE group. sector.
In the 21st century, travellers travelling for business purposes are always reachable and want to communicate directly with their environment and the event in which they participate.
New generations do not want standard events. They are tired of the traditional model. They expect to experience experiences with added value; be part of the content generation; have opportunities for interaction and communication; feel unique and participate in a personalized event; be part of a group or network.
Even at large congresses, the demand for exclusive and unique experiences is increasingly demanded and in this area, Spain knows how to do it!
The work of the Spanish Convention Bureau and the Convention Offices of the different cities in Spain certainly contributes to its excellent positioning in this niche. During the process of selecting the locations for the celebration of a conference, meeting or incentive trip, their role is to provide support to the organizers. Their neutral advice and know-how in the field is an important support for them at the time of planning and the little extras certainly make the difference.
Sometimes a Convention Bureau obtains the opening of a palace or a castle, a listed and exceptional site that is normally not accessible, they will recommend the celebration of a gala dinner in a traditional or futuristic bodega, negotiate or seize the best conditions with hoteliers in the selection of partners for the social program, etc.
For the congressmen involved in long working days, meetings and training, it is more interesting to combine the useful with the pleasant, to work in less conventional places, full of authenticity or ultramodern, to open their senses and to wake up and be curious to stay.
In connection with Bleisure, this combination of business and leisure, Spain has been able to position itself and to demonstrate and convince its strengths. Cities with monuments on the World Heritage List such as Seville or Santiago de Compostela; to the stars of gastronomy in the Basque country in Bilbao and San Sebastián, along the queens of the Mediterranean Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Murcia; Cadiz surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean or Santander in the Cantabrian Sea or the inland cities such as Zaragoza, Toledo, Granada and Madrid, the Spanish cities that preserve the cultural heritage of history and the memory of Europe all while they certainly go to the future look.
The large protected natural areas, the contrasting mountain landscapes, valleys, arid plains or swamps are the ideal theatre for all kinds of activities for both sporting and contemplative. A varied and authentic region also offers gourmets great products that are certainly worth the trip.
These assets combined with an excellent communication network, whether by air, land or sea, and the know-how and professionalism of the companies, and the continuous efforts to promote this, are undoubtedly the source of confidence in this sector.