Las Vegas wasn’t a top destination for healthcare meetings 10 years ago, but now it reigns as the most popular destination for healthcare meetings, according to the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association’s 2007 Industry Research Report. It's also the fastest growing city: The number of medical meetings (with more than 300 attendees) in Las Vegas in 2006 is 145 percent more than it was in 1997.

The city hosted 104 healthcare meetings in 2006, three more than Chicago (101) and 11 more than Orlando (93). Washington D.C. (73), San Diego (70), San Francisco (68), Boston (68), and Atlanta (61) are next in line. As for growth, Chicago has 35 percent more healthcare meetings now than it did in 1997, while Orlando and Atlanta have 28 percent and 23 percent more, respectively.

HCEA also compiled an “all-decade” list of healthcare meeting destinations, ranking them by those that averaged the most healthcare meetings annually for the 10-year period.

Orlando topped the list, followed by Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego, New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston, and Philadelphia. It’s worth noting that New Orleans, traditionally a very popular destination for medical meetings, hosted only 20 meetings in 2006 because of Hurricane Katrina. Just about every other year, New Orleans has been a top five destination for healthcare meetings.

For a comprehensive analysis of the HCEA report, which looks at trends in the healthcare meetings industry over the last 10 years, read the March/April issue of Medical Meetings.