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Montreal: Top international meeting city


Montreal kept its place at the top of North America's list of cities hosting international meetings last year, attracting 129 meetings, just short of the total for #2 New York and #3 Washington combined. Here are the rankings:

The figures come from the International Meetings Statistics Report published by the Union of International Associations, which tracks information on 465,000+ events organized in almost 11,500 cities by more than 25,000 international organizations. All told, the group has a database of over 70,000 organizations in 300 countries.

It's Montreal's third year in a row as North America's top city, and even though most events are canceled for this year, Tourisme Montreal and the Palais des Congres have been working hard at promoting the city as associations start planning for post-Covid events.

Image: Palais des Congres, Montreal


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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That's not so easy to find, because ICCA, the Amsterdam-based group that compiles the report, charges hundreds of dollars for access to the reports, so my only sources are random press mentions, and an occasional city bragging about its status. But, even that gleaning did turn up the answer to your question: Vancouver.

Vancouver was also the top in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014. On the other hand, no city in North America ever cracks the top 20 worldwide.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

I think cost and marketing certainly play a role. For some organizations, a 'neutral' place likely gets points (avoiding rivalries) but I think that transportation, facilities and attractiveness play a big role.

Vancouver and Montreal both have extensive tourism attraction, great in- and out-bound transportation, and lots of venues of different sizes. For a meeting planner, smaller cities sometimes have an attraction because attendees sometimes want a 'comfortable' environment. Las Vegas and Orlando seem different to many people than say, Chicago or Los Angeles.

But cost can often be a big factor: One organization I'm affiliated with held its last-year annual assembly in Albuquerque almost purely because of lower costs than anywhere closer to where the base of membership is. 

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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