The United States and Vienna both held on to their number-one positions in this year’s International Congress & Convention Association rankings of the most popular destinations for international association meetings.

The ICCA rankings include meetings that take place on a regular basis and which rotate between a minimum of three countries. This year, ICCA researchers identified 8,294 events that took place in 2009, 800 events more than were identified last year. According to a press release, the increase is due in part to the strength of the association meetings market despite the economic downturn and in part to a record number of ICCA members submitting meeting information.

Top Countries for International Association Meetings
1. U.S.A.
2. Germany
3. Spain
4. Italy
5. U.K.
6. France
7. Brazil
8. Japan
9. China
10. (tie) The Netherlands and Austria

Top Cities for International Association Meetings
1. Vienna
2. Barcelona
3. Paris
4. Berlin
5. Singapore
6. Copenhagen
7. Stockholm
8. (tie) Amsterdam and Lisbon
10. Beijing

Small Shifts and Some Newcomers
The United States and Germany have held the first two positions since 2004. Spain ranked third this year, as it did last year. Italy moved from sixth place to fourth, while the United Kingdom remained at number five and France fell to number six. Two new countries entered the top ten: China and Austria.

Vienna holds the top spot for cities for the fourth consecutive year. Barcelona moved to number two while Paris (tied for first last year) fell to third. The biggest mover was Madrid, which wasn’t even in the top 20 last year but this year came in at number 13.

Below are the top five cities by region, as ICCA breaks them out:

Top five cities for international association meetings in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region:
1. Singapore
2. Beijing
3. Seoul
4. Bangkok
5. Kuala Lumpur

Top five cities for international association meetings in Europe:
1. Vienna
2. Barcelona
3. Paris
4. Berlin
5. Copenhagen

Top five cities for international association meetings in the North and Latin America region:
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. Sao Paulo, Brazil
3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4. Montreal, Quebec
5. Vancouver, British Columbia

ICCA’s full report on the 2009 statistics will be released at the end of June.