EMEA's top ten cities for meetings and events unveiled

New analysis from CWT Meetings & Events predicts the most popular destinations for business travellers in 2019. Three cities are new to the ranking.

Business people in urban centre
CWT Meetings & Events, a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), has revealed early findings from its 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report to show the top ten cities in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for meetings and events (M&E).Despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit – particularly how any deal currently being negotiated will play out for business travellers to and from the UK, airlines, visas and border control after Friday 29 March 2019 – London looks set to retain its top spot. 

What effect will Brexit have on business travel?

“Border control in the UK is a concern post-Brexit if tighter measures lead to longer queues at airports,” said Ian Cummings, vice president, EMEA at CWT Meetings & Events, adding that Paris “could start taking business from the UK if it becomes tricky for attendees to come into the country – especially from Asia.”With increased activity from businesses considering and preparing for relocation ahead of Brexit likely to account for at least some of Paris's higher meetings and events activity in recent years, the city is predicted to be the ninth most popular EMEA destination in 2019, down from second in 2018 and fifth in 2017.

Russia scores with greater appeal to meetings and events planners

Elsewhere in Europe, Vienna (6), Stockholm (7) and Hamburg (5) make their debuts in the ranking, while another potential Brexit-dividend winner, Frankfurt (10), looks set to return to the top ten after a year’s absence. Barcelona and Berlin remain popular, too.Taking second place behind London, Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2018 probably boosted the appeal of Moscow as a meetings and events destination in 2019, says CWT.

Top ten cities in EMEA for meetings and events 2019 forecast (2018/17 positions in brackets)

  1. London, UK (1/1)
  2. Moscow, Russia (6/-)
  3. Barcelona, Spain (5/2)
  4. Berlin, Germany (8/3)
  5. Hamburg, Germany (-/-)
  6. Vienna, Austria (-/-)
  7. Stockholm, Sweden (-/-)
  8. Cologne, Germany (10/-)
  9. Paris, France (2/5)
  10. Frankfurt, Germany (-/7)

Exchange rates impact on business travel costs and destinations

CWT's upcoming report also assesses where business travel costs are headed across EMEA. Here, the travel management company predicts the cost per attendee, per day will increase by 6% in 2019 to an average of US$255.Secondary UK cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, where some business travel expenses may be lower than in larger cities, will also continue to see growth in the meetings and events – a trend reflected in the serviced apartments sector. Non-traditional event venues, such as sporting arenas, are tapping into the income possibilities from meetings and events, offering greater choice for planners.Greek destinations are also doing well, according to CWT’s analysis. It finds growing meetings demand for Athens, and many of the islands such as Mykonos have become hot incentive destinations and positioned as an excellent alternative to Ibiza, the south of France and other popular Mediterranean destinations.For related news and features, visit our Business Travel pages. 
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