Barcelona tops world ranking of cities with most conference participants

According to the ICCA ranking, the Catalan capital received 122,877  delegates in 2013, putting it in first place worldwide. Barcelona is the only destination to figure in the top five of the ranking of cities with most congresses every year since 2001.

Barcelona, 27th of October, 2014 – Barcelona has become the world’s top city in  terms of attracting most congress delegates. The capital of Catalonia received 122,877  delegates at 179 conferences last year, according to the International Congress and  Convention Association (ICCA). Barcelona, meanwhile, was fourth in 2013 in terms of  number of conference events, second only to Paris, Madrid and Vienna.

This is the second time in the last ten years that Barcelona leads the ranking of cities that attracts most conference participants. Barcelona was already leading this category  in 2010, when it drew more than 140,000 participants that year, a record for the city’s  congress segment.

Second top destination this decade

A test of the city’s strength in the competitive conference segment is the fact that since  2001, Barcelona is the only city in the world that has stayed in the top five cities with  most conferences held each year. And if you take cities that are not state capitals, then it  is the world’s top performer. In the last decade (2004-2013), it has become the world’s second best city in number of congress participants (926,111), below Vienna (935,156),
but above Paris (878,948).

The city’s latest top-ranking position is based on the strength of Barcelona’s brand, its  ability to host large conferences and also on Turisme de Barcelona’s specialist sector  programme called Barcelona Convention Bureau (BCB), which for 31 years has been advising, planning and helping to bring meetings to Barcelona. Estimates show that in 2013 business tourism generated a direct economic impact of 1,264.26 million Euros in
the city. Amsterdam, Istanbul and Vienna are the only cities along with Barcelona that recorded  more than 100,000 delegates at its conferences in 2013. Just in September, the city  hosted 45,000 participants at important medical congresses, including the European  Respiratory Society, the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of  Europe, and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The Mobile World Congress is not part of this category

ICCA ( statistics include international conferences that have a  minimum of 50 participants and that regularly rotate between at least three different  countries. The latter is important: Barcelona has positioned itself in the top position of the ICCA ranking without including events like the Mobile World Congress and its 80,000 delegates, which is only held in the Catalan capital. Therefore, if we count conferences with fewer than 50 participants, the number of  delegates attending conferences in Barcelona is much higher than the figure given by  ICCA. According to data collected by Barcelona Convention Bureau, the city attracted  289,191 delegates in 2013.  BCB ( is a specialized Turisme de Barcelona  programme designed to promote the city as a destination for congresses, conventions  and incentive travel. Set up in 1983 and a pioneer in Spain, Barcelona Convention  Bureau offers advisory and planning services for meetings for any company that organises professional meetings.

Turisme de Barcelona
93 368 97 00 @BarcelonaInfoEN

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