Brussels, top European city of association conferences

Tuesday 15, June 2010


Brussels, top European city of association conferences


The Union of International Associations (UIA) has just published its international rating of conference cities for the year 2009.



Brussels is rated European leader and second in the world. “A very good omen for the economic future of the region,” Benoit Cerexhe, Brussels’ Minister for the Economy, and Philippe Close, BI-TC President, are pleased to say.


In 2009, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA), Brussels hosted 402 meetings, thus putting it behind Singapore (746 meetings) but now ahead of Paris (386 meetings) and Vienna (331 meetings). Our capital has therefore gone up a step in the

rankings since last year, coming before Paris, while in 2007 Brussels was in 4th place behind Vienna.


Brussels has risen not only to first place in Europe but also to second in the world according to the UIA criteria, which take into account meetings of at least 300 participants of 5 different nationalities for a minimum of 5 days. According to these same criteria, at least 40 per cent of the participants must come from abroad.


This is an historic position for the capital and one which confirms Brussels’ huge potential in terms of conferences. At a time when the economic crisis has hit most conference cities, Brussels has been able to extricate itself thanks to its great natural assets: its status as capital of Europe, its central position and its unbeatable accessibility in the heart of Europe.


In the MICE sector, we know that a destination is chosen on the basis of two main criteria: its central position (34%) and the presence of international organisations (20%). These are natural advantages offered by Brussels, which recorded a consistent growth in the number of overnight stays for MICE visitors between 2000 and 2008, i.e. a 30% increase in 8 years.


2009 was also an exceptional year for tourism, with two big events which put Brussels in the headlines of international tourism news: the opening of the Magritte Museum and of Square.


“It’s also a recognition of the efforts invested over the last few years by the Brussels Convention Bureau, such as strengthening visitor hospitality policies, installing a desk at the airport, setting up the Brussels Booking Desk, etc.” said Minister for the Economy Benoit Cerexhe. “Very good news for the economic future of our capital since this sector already accounts for 20,000 jobs and generates more than 4 billion euros a year.” "The infrastructure projects we are currently conducting at the Heysel site are also set to underpin the growth potential of the MICE industry in Brussels. This new layout is proof positive that NEO is a forward-thinking project for the future that has its eyes firmly focused on Brussels", BI-TC chairman Philippe Close commented.






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