Global Events Partners, representing more than 70 destination management companies around the world, announced the results of its annual DMC partner survey last week, reflecting economic concerns globally. Revenues overall seem likely to decrease, the survey found, although short-term bookings will be on the increase in 2009.

Close to three-fourths of those surveyed believe that the number of big events—defined as programs for more than 200 attendees—will fall, as planners continue to look for maximum service and diverse experiences, with the shortest lead times possible.

Almost all international DMC partners tied the macro prospects for the industry, and prospects for their own businesses, to the direction of the economy in the U.S. Specific business challenges mentioned frequently included rising airfares and problems with airline service; short-term booking windows; uncertainty as to levels of meeting budgets; and the persistent threat of planners “going direct,” or bypassing DMCs to execute programs either directly with hotels, or with other vendors outside the DMC business. DMCs also cited fluctuations in currency as a major factor in determining how they are planning for 2009, including hiring, negotiating fees, and flow of business.

The majority of respondents predicted that the U.S. and China will continue to be the most requested locations for meetings. Greece, Spain, and Prague were named as emerging hotspots, although the survey was conducted before the civil unrest in Greece last week.

More than two-thirds of GEP’s partner DMCs responded to the survey, representing close to 40 countries worldwide. For more on GEP, visit www.globaleventspartners.com.