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German Meetings Industry is growing

Business travel for meetings and congresses has developed into a major economic factor in Germany<.>

Business travel for meetings and congresses has developed into a major economic factor in Germany<.>. In 1999, some 63 million participants generated a turnover volume of DM 84 billion and created approx. 850.000 full time jobs throughout Germany. Over 25 per cent of total turnover (DM 320 billion) and every third job of the 2.8 million relating to tourism result from the meetings industry.

For the first time it is possible to assign turnover volumes to individual sectors: the largest part lay with events entry charges amounting to DM 47 billion. Hotel and catering costs contributed DM 18 billion, 15 percent of the total turnover in the German hospitality business (DM 120 billion). Travel to and from events accounted for DM 8.3 billion. Alongside the turnover for the convention centres in the meetings and congress market, other sectors also profited from the business, e.g. the retail trade with DM 2.5 billion. Spending on rent and technical equipment reached DM 3.5 billion.

A closer analysis shows major growth in the number of centres offered for meetings. The growth in demand for events is strong although the number of participants is increasing slightly more slowly. 55,000 rooms are on offer in approx. 11,000 event centres – 9,982 of these in hotels, 400 in convention centres, 317 at universities and 30 at airports. The range of rooms on offer is supplemented by 75 event centres run by companies for their own use, which are included in the statistics for the first time, and more than 1,000 unusual event centres. In 1999, an additional 3.5 million participants visited 65,000 events at these locations.

The total of 1.15 million events is almost double the number in 1994. 166,000 events at convention centres (14 percent) account for 50 percent of the participants (31 million). 973,000 (85 percent) events at hotels generate 48 percent of the participants (30 million).

Turnovers are distributed differently: Events with over 50 participants are in the minority with 16 percent (184,000), but contribute 72 percent of the total turnover.

A look on the demand side shows that of the 63 million participants some 8.7 million (14 percent) have a foreign nationality. Approx. 2.8 million visitors (4 percent) travel from abroad to events in Germany. At conventions as many as every third participant has a foreign nationality. On the organisational side, private industry satisfies two thirds of the demand; associations, organisations and institutions supply the remaining third. Private companies and associations run 90 percent of their events domestically and 10 percent of them abroad. Event organisers from abroad, however, are increasingly managing conventions outside their home countries.

Overall, Germany enjoys the image of a meeting destination with a high level of perfection, good infrastructure, good value for money, know-how, professionalism and reliability. Flexibility and improved service are constant tasks for the meetings and conventions industry. A further increase is expected in the number of events for the meetings and conventions market with growth in supply-side capacity growing slightly less strongly. The trend will continue towards lower numbers of participants and shorter event durations, with greater awareness of costs on the parts of both organisers and participants. With an increasing proportion of participants of foreign nationalities and more events taking place outside the home country, Germany can increase its international character as a location for conventions.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.