Kigali Maintains 2nd Position in Africa on ICCA Ranking

Event Africa Contributor 20/05/2020 CTICC

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For the second year in a row, Kigali has maintained the second place as a preferred city in Africa after Cape Town on International Congress and Convention Association rankings following a 2019 report released on 12th May 2020. The same report shows that Rwanda has moved forward 2 positions attaining 3rd place in Africa as a preferred country in Africa after South Africa and Morocco.

ICCA ranks countries and cities that host association meetings and is the global association leader for the international meetings industry and specializes in the international associations’ meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, education, communication channels, business development and networking opportunities.

The ranking is based on the number of association meetings that take place on a regular basis (annually, biannually), rotating between at least three different countries and with a minimum of 50 participants.

Last year, Kigali hosted more than 32 association meetings that included several high-level conferences such as African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition (AFCCE) held in February 2019, AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF)  hosted in September, the Global Conference and General assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) held in October,  Annual Conference and General meeting of East Africa Law Society (EALS) held in November, and International conference on HIV/AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA2019) held in December amongst others.

Commenting on the new ICCA ranking, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, Nelly Mukazayire said;

“We are excited to see Rwanda’s journey to becoming the top destination in Africa recognized, the results show that Kigali continues to be an attractive destination for international association meetings”. Mrs Mukazayire further expressed that the ranking is proof that the efforts made by the industry and its partners work and only further encourages stakeholders to continue to position Rwanda as a preferred choice for Meetings and Events in Africa. “Now more than ever do we as a destination need to position ourselves to support the recovery of the sector, by applying our collective efforts to align with trends and measures that support us all during these challenging times” Mukazayire added.

With close collaboration between Government and the private sector, Rwanda continues to establish itself as a safe, secure MICE destination, due to an enabling environment, investment in world-class venues, ease of connectivity and open visa policy among others.

Tourism being the country’s largest foreign exchange earner, MICE Tourism aims to continue to play a significant role in its growth, bringing in 20% of all tourism revenues. In 2019, MICE tourism contributed USD $65 million and recorded 42,753 delegate visits with projections to see this contribution grow in coming years.

ICCA’s 2019 statistics captured 13,254 rotating association meetings, the highest ever recorded annual figure in its yearly statistics, with an increase of 317 from last year’s record-breaking figures.

Year on year, ICCA has seen a promising consistent growth pattern in the association meetings market. The ICCA Association Database now includes 21,000 regularly occurring meeting series, 260,000 meeting editions and 12,000 international associations. 

The most respected global comparison of destinations’ performance in attracting international meetings, ICCA’s annual country and city rankings are highly anticipated by the meetings industry.

ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath said: “ICCA’s annual statistics report is one of few that compares destinations’ meetings-related performance on a global scale and therefore provides great insight into global trends in the meetings industry. Given the current circumstances, it is great to once again highlight the consistent growth in association meetings globally. These figures show the need and importance of face-to-face events, and consequently that the industry will be instrumental in the global recovery when the time is right.” 

In the number one spot in the ranking by the number of association meetings in 2019, we have Paris for the second year in a row, followed by Lisbon, the city with the highest increase in the number of events (+38) moving up 4 places from being 6th last year. Regular contenders of the top 5, Berlin (3rd), Barcelona (4th) and Madrid (5th), have made it once again, but Berlin and Madrid have swapped places from last years’ rankings.

Impressive newcomers to the Top 50 by the number of meetings are Valencia (44 places higher) and Istanbul (40 places higher), respectively holding 48th and 44th position.

2019 country rankings: the U.S.A. in the top spot 

Titleholder for the last two decades, the U.S.A., remains in the top country spot. The Top20 remains relatively unchanged with some countries moving up or down one place. France moves up to take the third position from Spain, who find themselves one position lower. Similar rank swapping of one position takes place between China-P.R and Japan, Portugal and Canada, Australia and the Republic of Korea, and Belgium and Sweden.

Only those meetings that meet ICCA’s stringent assessment criteria – rotating between at least three countries, have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants, and are held on a regular basis – are recorded within the global association’s annual statistics.

The full ICCA statistics reports are available now to ICCA members only in the ICCA Destination Comparison Tool. A public abstract of the report, including rankings for all countries and cities, will be released to the public in mid-June.