by M&C Asia | December 12, 2017
Growth across construction and pharmaceuticals sectors buoys up meetings industry. (Photo Credit: Rawpixel/Getty Images)
 Despite the past few years of economic and geopolitical instability, the optimism continues to light the way forward for the meetings and events industry, according to the IBTM Trends Watch Report 2017.

As the industry enters 2018, it is clear that hesitancy has been replaced by resilience, with meetings and events professionals recognising the need to adapt to changes by embracing new technologies, and investing in staff, communications, knowledge and relationships.

The global economy is also showing signs of speeding up, with figures from the World Economic Outlook for world economic growth being revised upwards to 3.6 percent in 2017 from 3.2 in 2016.

Here are highlights from the report: 

Association Meetings

The sector continues to remain both positive and robust, buoyed by growth across industries such as construction, pharmaceuticals, among others. According to ICCA Statistics Report 2016, 12,212, rotating international association meetings was captured-a figure that has more than doubled since the last decade from 6,000 events in 2006.

Knowledge sharing and accumulation, part of a global trend according that ICCA identifies, will also continue to drive its growth. This is best exemplified by STEM meetings, a key driver across the associations meetings market place.

The establishment of new industry sectors such as FinTech (financial Technology) as well as historically, advances in global technology and digital innovation, has also helped propel the association meetings sector. 

- Martin Sirk, CEO, ICCA Worldwide

Incentive Travel 

This area presents another robust sector of the international meetings market place. Two trends affect its performance according to research from SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence).

Outlook across business on the value of incentive travel is positive; business appears committed to the act of 'incentivising' internal staff and external stakeholders. The SITE Index 2018, which canvasses incentive buyers around the world, shows that spend per person has increased from an 'average' of US$3,000 - US$4,000.

Destinations factor highly in the decision-making process of organisers. Within the SITE Index 2018, 'destination appeal' is shown to be the primary reason for creating a particular programme, with accessibility coming in fifth place; this shows that if a country, city or region has the 'wow' factor, people will endure more complex or longer travel itineraries. 

Key beneficiaries in the global incentive market are countries within the Asia Pacific region. SITE predicts that the market growth in Asia over the next six months will be between 12 and 13%, while over the next five years will be closer to 28%.

- Kevin M. Hinton, CIS, Chief Excellence Officer, SITE