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Rotterdam rises twenty places on the world ranking of convention cities

Rotterdam has been acclaimed as the second-ranking convention city in the Netherlands for the sixth year running. The metropolis on the Maas is sharing second place with The Hague this year.

Both cities hosted 34 international association conventions in 2013. Rotterdam is 68th on the world ranking, rising 20 spots compared to 2012. The result was apparent from the statistics compiled by the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), which keeps track of annual statistics worldwide.

Fred van Beuningen, managing director of Rotterdam Partners, is pleased with Rotterdam’s rise in the world ranking:  “Organisers working on an international association convention opt for a city in part because they believe it will have a certain appeal for potential convention attendees. The fact that Rotterdam is only a few places lower than cities like San Francisco, New York and Dubai in the world ranking is truly something to be proud of.”

Rotterdam’s strong image as a city of knowledge and the presence of internationally renowned institutes like Erasmus MC and Erasmus University are important factors for convention organisers to consider holding their event in the metropolis on the Maas. The city’s excellent international accessibility, competitive international price-quality ratio and compact size all make Rotterdam an appealing convention destination.  The recent addition of more hotel and meeting capacity also contributes to a stronger base for the Rotterdam convention market. Van Beuningen: “Rotterdam offers solid quality in every price category. That is an appealing consideration for the association sector, where the budgets of the convention organisers and the participating guests vary widely.”

The international association congresses and conventions collectively brought the city over 17 million euros in local spending in 2013.  Clearly, the congress and convention market makes a key contribution to the Rotterdam economy. Moreover, these congresses and conventions organised by the science and association sectors in the city contribute significantly to Rotterdam’s image as a high-quality city of knowledge.

Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau works closely with its partners to attract international conferences to the city. Many bids are issued every year in cooperation with the city of Rotterdam and local entrepreneurs and organisations in and around the city. For several years, Rotterdam has been offering access to a subvention for international conference organisers who highlight the city’s focus areas (port-industrial cluster, medical, and food). The incentive fund offers extra financial support, which eliminates the last obstacles for many international associations.

National development
The Netherlands is also performing well as an international host country for the congress and convention market. A total of 302 association congresses were held in the Netherlands last year. This puts the Netherlands in tenth place on the world ranking. The national list is headed by Amsterdam with 120 conventions.

The ICCA ranking does not include all congresses and conventions. The ICCA statistics only rank the association meetings that attract a minimum of 50 attendees. Moreover, the association meetings must be organised on a regular basis and rotate between at least 3 different countries. For more details, see: