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Meetings and congress markets growing in Italy

Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy Correspondent  Jul 27, 2016

ITALY (eTN) - The year 2015 recorded a growth in the Italian congress sector. Be it due to the success of EXPO, or due to the decision that instead of going abroad the decision fell to stay in Italy, the fact is that the industry of the meetings and congress industry last year scored a +11.5% growth with an increase of 7.3% of the number of participants and 15% of admissions.

The analysis was done by the Italian Observatory of Congress and Event Management (OICE), the research project promoted by Federcongressi & Events and realized by the Internazional Relations High School in Economics and of the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore. The study, to try to "map" a very fragmented sector to date, has gathered at only one database 5,704 locations including hotels, historic venues, conference centers, and trade fairs, including non-conventional spaces such as parks, arenas, and spas, to monitor the meetings industry and seek to emphasize a fund which has a significant influence on the domestic tourism market.

The size is local

The result shows that Italy prevails in what is "small." Last year, 392,658 events were carried out well, the majority of which, however, were small (on average 66 people per event), hosted 80% of cases in hotels, and conferences organized at the local level (60.8%).

Only 9.1% of the events was of international dimension, or with a number of participants from abroad and, if so, the lion's share was held by conference centers that are managed on a national scale, to grab the highest number of events per location (144 in total) with 9.6% of the participants and 9.8% of total admissions. This shows that when large-number meetings are materialized, the economic return is certainly much higher.

The meeting organizers are mainly large companies (55.4% of total events) whose objective is either to promote the launch of new products or to encourage the sales force, usually choosing the equipped spaces and "all inclusive" made available by the various hotel facilities, while the meetings promoted by the associations (34.8% of the total) mainly serve to create opportunities for training and discussion among the participants, such as medical congresses.

Italy Three-speed

More than half of the events took place in the north (56.1%), which also focuses on 52% of all conference venues; almost 30% instead was planned in Central Italy, especially in Florence and Rome, which can boast 108 and 400 venues respectively, while in the South and in the islands, despite an increase compared to 2014 by 8.9%, it is still difficult to overcome the difficulties related to the chronic lack of infrastructure.

"And yet this widespread distribution of seats devoted to the events throughout Italy [is] to be regarded as an added value,‚ÄĚ explained Roberto Nelli, Head of Research Science. ‚ÄúOur work also shows that the structures they want to continue investing primarily in [is] technology, [a] choice made by 67% of surveyed locations."

A business that does not grow alone

To boost the sector, there is still much to do. From a careful monitoring of the data and a collaboration with the institutions, to the presentation of the research. Giovanni Bastianelli, Executive Director of ENIT, promised "an acceleration on the establishment of an observatory of the Mice sector," while Dorina Bianchi, Undersecretary, Mibact, said they "should change the regulations, [that are] too restrictive on medical congresses to match those of other countries, begin to work on reliable data, and especially [the] need [of] a serious program in an area that needs more than others from a shared commitment between public and private institutions."

Meetings and congress markets growing in Italy

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