The report is interesting, even if reductive. The idea is simple: we know that in the process of capturing congresses, having an doctor on the board of the association, who agrees to propose the destination and help the congress to be held in his/her destination can be important by allowing the destination to have “one foot in the door”, an ambassador within the governing body of the association. Many bids start with the initiative of a doctor, and for this reason many destinations have ambassador programs, with the idea of making doctors (and others) aware of their role of representation and promotion of their beloved land, which it may have.
Intellectual capital: Madrid, 9 – Barcelona, 13
So let’s see the result: What are the cities with the most weight in international organizations? Topping the list are London, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Beijing, heavyweights on the world’s urban league. Madrid comes out in ninth position and Barcelona in 13th. It is striking that some of these cities have a position well above their economic or human weight (Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna), and are generally very strong cities in events.
At a country level, Spain comes out in seventh position, after the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Australia, a very decent position.
Leveraging this capital: Barcelona, excellent – Madrid, good
This ranking also looks at which destinations take advantage of their local leaders by involving them to bring congresses to their city (their “exploitation ratio”, the ratio between the number of association meetings organized or booked during the last 4 years and the number of representatives in boards of directors of international associations). A high ratio means that the destination makes good use of its ambassadors to attract congresses.
And here Barcelona comes out with outstanding: 54%, a mark that only Berlin surpasses among the top 20 (60%). Madrid (29.6%) is also clearly better than average, only surpassed in the top 10 by Singapore and Seoul.
And at a country level, Spain scores very well: it has the best utilization ratio among the 10 countries with the most ambassadors (51.8%), logical when we see that the country is in seventh position in terms of intellectual capital but in fourth in the ICCA ranking for the reception of international congresses.
Simplifying but interesting
This ranking gives the impression that the great asset that a destination has in the congress market are these ambassadors, and that these ambassadors have a role that is probably greater than reality. A destination is its ambassadors … but also its climate, its air connections, its location, its convention centers, its brand image, its research centers, its security, and a long etcetera. But it is still an interesting reflection, which reminds us that in addition to all these assets, having representation on the boards of directors is a foot in the door that we must know how to take advantage of.
This study was done in the second half of 2020 and included the review of more than 3,500 international associations and their governing bodies, which organize large meetings for more than 500 participants. The ICCA database was used, as well as the websites of international associations.