According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), in 2013, Boston and Cambridge hosted a record number of 56 international meetings, up from 44 in 2012, making it the number one United States destination on the list, with a ranking of 39 world-wide, up from 49 in 2012.
In fact, in three of the last five years, Boston & Cambridge have topped this list for the United States.
The economic impact of these international meetings to the Boston and Cambridge economies is $88.3 million. According to the US Department of Commerce, Boston and Cambridge saw 1.28 million overseas visitors in 2013, a 3% increase over 2012.
"I am delighted that Boston and Cambridge have once again topped the ICCA list for North America. This didn't happen by accident. With increased competition from our North American counterparts, we've had to continually step-up our game, and the results are clear. To jump ten spots in one year (in 2012, our ranking was 49 and in 2013 we're 39th in the world) is the result of hard work and understanding our client's needs," said Patrick B. Moscaritolo, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Through the years, we have established strong relationships with our members and clients. We've worked hard to link our international meetings initiative to our local colleges, medical institutions and research facilities in Boston & Cambridge and continue to collaborate to grow our market share."
The sales efforts have not only resulted in an increased number of meetings over the past few years, but also an increase in international air service to Boston, including increased non-stop air service from Europe, as well as non-stop service from the Middle East, Latin America, Japan and China.
"Partnering with the GBCVB on these international sales and marketing programs has really paid off for Cambridge. Our joint initiatives enable us to showcase the city to the international market, which benefits the Cambridge hotels and the hospitality industry immensely," said Robyn Culbertson, Executive Director, Cambridge Office for Tourism.
Moscaritolo added that the international meetings hit the "sweet spot of our brand. Boston is a magnet for meetings related to education, medical and life sciences, which are the kinds of industries that contribute to our local economy. The wealth of colleges and medical schools that we have here are huge resources for these meetings."
In fact, ICCA CEO Martin Sirk stated recently in Smart Meetings Magazine that Boston has been smart in leveraging its intellectual capital to attract medical and scientific/technical association meetings - the most popular category of association meetings. He also said that "over the years, Boston quietly linked its CVB with universities such as Harvard and MIT. They've understood that international meetings are economic drivers that draw venture capital and that doctors, academics and scientists can influence where association meetings take place."