The European MICE sector is set to grow strongly in 2016, according to the American Express Meetings & Events 2016 Global Meetings Forecast, which has been released at this week’s IBTM World in Barcelona.
For the first time since the initial forecast was released in 2010, survey respondents across all regions of the world are predicting increases to their overall programme budgets, with European respondents expecting an increase of 1.8% – representing a significant upward turn from the decline of 0.7% predicted in the region in the 2015 Forecast.
When it comes to meeting numbers, a small upward trend for meetings activity throughout Europe is expected to continue from 2015, with more than 20% of Europe-based respondents suggesting an increase in number of meetings across every meeting type and UK respondents expressing the greatest optimism. Respondents were asked about planned activities across sales and marketing meetings; training meetings; internal team meetings; product launches; conferences and trade shows; senior leadership and board meetings; advisory boards; and incentive or special events. The most popular meeting types are internal team meetings and training meetings, with 22.7 and 21.9 meetings respectively planned for 2016, on average, by European respondents. Planned sales and marketing meetings have increased to an average of 20.1 for the year, and conferences or trade shows to 20.2.
“As economies across Europe steadily recover, meeting planners are showing signs of optimism, and the 2016 Forecast offers some very good news. Not only are meeting numbers set to increase, but also overall meeting spend is forecast to grow, reversing the trend from 2015 when declining spend was expected,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager, American Express Meeting & Events. “As meetings activity increases, compliance and risk issues become even more important. Europe leads the world when it comes to having a formal meetings policy, with 71% of respondents having this in place for their entire organisation.”