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Germany leads the way in MICE industry

On behalf of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC), the European Institute for the Meetings Industry (EITW) has created a…

On behalf of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC), the European Institute for the Meetings Industry (EITW) has created a first joint Meeting & EventBarometer 2007 for the German meetings and events market.

Via online questionnaires it interviewed over 3,000 suppliers in Germany, 37,000 organisers in Europe and over 600 experts worldwide. The Meeting & EventBarometer identified a total of 2.6 million conventions, meetings, presentations, exhibitions and special events with 291.5 million attendees.

Experts rate Germany as leading meeting and event destination

The EITW asked experts and organisers for their opinion on European countries. For the experts Germany was number one, followed by France, Austria and Spain. Around 95 per cent of organisers rate Germany as better than or at least equal to preferred European meeting destinations. The reason for this favourable image is Germany`s reputation as a meetings and events destination with organisers: Both the hardware – meetings infrastructure and attractions – and software – security, service and language skills – are rated as very good to good in Germany by organisers all over Europe. The Meeting & EventBarometer further differentiates Germany`s core competencies as a meetings and events destination from the experts` viewpoint: Its air and road travel network, meeting and exhibition facilities, convention centres and meeting hotels appeal especially to experts.

Wide variety of meeting locations

One of the reasons for Germany`s position as European market leader is its excellent infrastructure with plenty of high-quality meeting hotels and congress centres. Germany stands out in particular for its wide variety of meeting locations. The German meetings and events market has over 6,000 venues (with capacities for 100 people and more in theatre-style seating in the largest room): Around half of which are in meeting hotels and one quarter each in convention centres and special venues. Event and banquetting services of centres, meeting hotels and special venues generate 66,000 full-time jobs. Meeting hotels provide half of the 64,000 function rooms in Germany. Centres dominate in terms of size, accounting for 88.6 per cent of total meeting space and large venues – making them the preferred sites for sports and culture events or larger functions.

A series of new convention centres and hotels in Germany

And there is still a construction boom in the MICE segment in Germany and many locations will be upgrading their offerings for meeting planners. Constant openings of new hotels, the expansion and optimisation of convention centres, and the creation of innovative venues ensure that Germany can consolidate its leading international position and hold its own in a dynamic international environment. A series of new convention centres and hotels will open this autumn. New investments at top German business destinations are:

  • The new trade fair centre in Stuttgart (exhibition capacities of 108,000 square metres) with the International Congress Centre Stuttgart (ICS) for up to 9,000 people which opened last weekend (20 /21 October 2007)

  • The expansion of the m:con Congress Centre Rosengarten: when it will open on 1 December it will offer 22,000 sqm meeting space with 44 rooms and halls of varying size and functionality

  • Maritim Hotels` latest venture to be opened at Dusseldorf Airport on 1 December with event capacities for up to 5,000 people, the hotel group`s first and largest congress hotel in North Rhine-Westphalia

  • 6 December 2007 will be the opening of new darmstadtium centre for science and congresses in the heart of the university city Darmstadt with a congress hall for up to 2,000 people and direct access to 3-D Cybernarium event park

Prospects of the German meetings and events market

Meeting & EventBarometer asked about the prospects: Experts and organisers forecast good prospects for the German meetings and events market. They predict that especially meetings and seminars will become increasingly important in future. In their forecasts for the event sector experts were even more optimistic than organisers.

Finally, industry experts were asked to give their opinion on market trends: 93 per cent of experts predict that professional event production will become ever more important for meetings and events. 86 per cent think that virtual communication will not replace personal encounters. 80 per cent of informants believe that demand for interactive personal encounters will rise and the environment aspect will gain a central role in event management.

The same number of experts believe that corporate meetings and events in external venues will rise – but not to the detriment of in-house events, which will also increase according to 61 per cent of informants. At 72 per cent, a clear majority expect Germany`s image as a meetings and event destination to become increasingly better.