Germany named top association meeting destination outside the U.S.: The International Congress & Convention Association in Amsterdam has released its 2008 association meetings statistics, placing Germany once again at the top of the list for association meetings outside the United States. And Berlin remains the most popular meeting city in Germany.

ICCA rankings cover meetings organized by international associations that take place on a regular basis and rotate between a minimum of three countries. For 2008, ICCA researchers identified 7,475 events, an increase of nearly 800 events over 2007. As has been the case since 2004, the United States and Germany hosted the greatest number of association meetings (507 and 402, respectively). In the third and fourth positions are Spain, with 347 meetings, and France, with 334 meetings. In fifth place is the United Kingdom, with 322 meetings.

The top five cities for association meetings were Paris; Vienna; Barcelona, Spain; Singapore; and Berlin.

Speaking of Singapore: In the past five years, Singapore has moved up the rankings of the Union of International Associations' Top International Meeting City category from 10th to third (just behind first- and second-place holders, the United States and France).

And with all the development that's happening, it may continue its rise. The $3.3 billion Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, a casino-based leisure hub near the downtown financial districts, is slated to open in early 2010. It will include the city's first casino, along with 12.9 million square feet of convention space, three hotel towers, and retail, dining, and entertainment.

Another integrated resort, Resorts World at Sentosa, is also on schedule to open next year. It will include Universal Studios Singapore, along with a casino, five hotels, a marine park and maritime museum, and convention facilities that include a 1,600-seat plenary hall.

According to Melissa Ow, assistant chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board, medical meetings are a growth area for the city, in part because of the emerging biomedical sector.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Atlantic City, N.J.

The News: The hotel opened a new Italian restaurant, Fornelletto, in July with three private dining rooms for groups of up to 40.

Specs: The 2,000-room hotel features a 161,000-square-foot casino floor with 4,100 slot machines and 200 table games, 12 restaurants, the 54,000-square-foot Spa Toccare, 11 retail shops, and more than 70,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

Pala Casino Spa & Resort
Pala, Calif.

The News: The resort completed a $100 million expansion in May to its dining and gaming areas.

Specs: The resort features 507 rooms, including 82 suites. The casino has more than 2,000 slot and video machines, 87 table games, 10 restaurants, and four entertainment venues. Meeting space at the property encompasses 40,000 square feet, which includes the 20,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom and 18 breakout rooms.

Extra: The 10,000-square-foot Pala Spa won the 2009 Best Casino Spa from Spas of America.

WinStar World Casino Hotel
Thackerville, Okla.

The News: The new, 395-room hotel opened in August.

Specs: The 12-story property offers three restaurants, meeting space for groups of as many as 200 people, a pool, and the new Spa Habitat.

Extra: The hotel is located just one hour north of Dallas/Fort Worth.