Planners surveyed by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and Watkins Research Group rate Vancouver among the world’s best meetings destinations

Vancouver, BC (May 18, 2016) – Vancouver is one of North America’s most sought-after destinations for international meetings, according to two prominent reports recently released to the public. In the span of a week, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranked Vancouver the top city in North America for international meetings, and Watkins Research Group’s prestigious Meeting and Convention Planners Survey rated the Vancouver Convention Centre the number-one venue in North America for Superior Convention Facilities.

Amsterdam-based ICCA releases an annual report ranking cities according to the number of international meetings hosted in the previous year. Thanks to factors like state-of-the-art convention facilities and strategic destination marketing, Vancouver hosted 78 international meetings in 2015 – more than any other city in North America. The city placed 29th in the world, ahead of other renowned meetings destinations like Montreal and Toronto. ICCA’s report is distributed to more than 6,000 meeting planners and suppliers worldwide, assisting them in identifying potential destinations for future events. Vancouver was previously awarded the ICCA ranking in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2015.

Watkins Research Group’s Meeting and Convention Planners Survey is considered the most comprehensive and authoritative survey of the convention and meetings industry, and its annual rankings are based on a global evaluation of meeting and convention organizers. Out of the 40 North American cities surveyed this year, Vancouver placed first in Canada and second in the continent. The city earned a number of honours, including:

• #1 for superior convention centre facilities (tied with Nashville)
• #1 for superior convention centre services
• #1 for being a safe and secure destination
• #1 for superior Convention and Visitors Bureau/Destination Marketing Organization

“We are delighted that Vancouver has been named North America’s top destination for international meetings and conventions,” said the Honorable Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible Labour. “It’s an encouraging sign that B.C.’s distinctive and diverse tourism brand is reaching visitors and in particular meeting planners across the globe. Congratulations to the Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and the entire hospitality community for their continued efforts to attract major international conventions that further propel Vancouver and our province on the world stage.”

“This prestigious ranking truly underscores Vancouver’s strong reputation as a global meetings destination and the appeal of the award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre,” said the Honourable Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The meetings and conventions business is a vital economic driver for B.C.’s economy and to have clients who have hosted meetings and conventions in Vancouver recommending Vancouver for future events is very gratifying.”

“We are very proud to be recognized by our clients in the Watkins rankings with the distinctions of being the number-one convention facility and number-one for convention centre services,” said Ken Cretney, President and CEO, BC Pavilion Corporation. “We’ve been honoured to host 557 events in the past year, including many international meetings and conventions, and we are proud of the growth this has contributed to the local economy.”

“Vancouver experienced one of its biggest years for international meetings in 2015, and we are carrying that momentum into 2016,” said Dave Gazley, Vice President of Meeting & Convention Sales, Tourism Vancouver. “Both the ICCA and Watkins rankings underscore Vancouver’s strong reputation as a global meetings destination, and neither would be possible without the tireless and longstanding efforts of our local hospitality community. In addition, our Be a Host program has been instrumental in identifying and supporting many of the local industry leaders who bring their international congresses to the city. More and more planners are turning their attention to Vancouver as a meetings destination, and we are confident the city will maintain its top ranking for years to come.”