The World's 5 Most Popular Convention Cities

These top cities offer state-of-the art convention venues and culture galore

From the vibrancy of Singapore to the breathtaking beauty of Vienna, these five cities are not just global tourism destinations; they are among the most popular convention cities worldwide. Each city offers an abundance of hotels and meeting venue options, as well as unique cultural offerings and proximity to major transportation hubs.

1
Singapore

The island of Singapore ranks in the top 10 of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking of highest number of meetings and is Cvent's top-ranked city in the Asia Pacific. Singapore is one of the smallest sovereign states in the world but makes up for it with its huge presence in the events industry, hosting more than 130 World Congresses in 2010 alone.

The business of meetings is almost an effortless art in the spectacular city-state. Mix in premier meeting space like the expanded Singapore Expo, luxury hotels including the highly regarded Oasia, fine art, even finer dining, amazing shopping (Bugis Street is a must-stop for shopaholics, with more than 800 boutiques!) and fascinating cultural experiences with an amazing nightlife scene and it's easy to see why Singapore is the top events destination.

Transportation options include:

  • Changi Airport 
  • Tanjong Pagar MRT train station
More

2
Vienna

Vienna Hofburg. M.Appert/Getty Images

Hosting more than 2,000 large-scale meetings and events a year, Vienna ranks in ICCA's top 10 list and Smart Meetings' Top 15 International Meeting Cities list. The Austrian city boasts three convention centers, and more than 85 conference hotels give meeting planners a venue for almost every need.

    When business draws to an end, the arts abound, from theater and opera to performances of classical music, as well as dozens of museums. Of course, just as breathtaking is the city's storied architectural history, from modern to enchantingly storybook.

    Business travelers can reach Vienna via:

    • Vienna International Airport: Direct flights to Vienna from many European cities
    • Austrian Federal Railways: Vienna Main Station and Vienna Meidling Train Station
    More

    3
    Barcelona

    Barcelona, Park Guell. Francesco Riccardo Iacomino

    The second-largest city in Spain, Barcelona is also number 2 on ICCA's top 10 list and Cvent's list of most popular meetings cities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. One of its latest coups? Landing a seven-year contract for the World Congress of GSMA Mobile, the mobile industry's must-attend event, and with it the title of Mobile World Capital.

    The city's famed beaches and close to 70 lush parks provide a breathtaking backdrop for meetings and conventions. With its museums (check out the newly opened Rock Museum) and amazing fashion (drop by Las Arenas, a former bullfighting ring that's now a mall!), it's not hard to see why favor Barcelona for its mix of both business and pleasure. 

    Major transportation options:

    • Barcelona-El Prat Airport
    • Direct railway and high-speed train links from many major European cities
    • Barcelona Nord Bus Station
    More

    4
    Paris

    Twilight in Paris. Sizun Eye/Getty Images

    The City of Lights is aglow over the fact that it hosted 954 World Congresses in 2010, a new record for Paris. It shows up in just about every "most popular" list and ranks number 1 on ICCA's top 10 convention meetings list.

    Meeting planners and business travelers alike love this city of romance for more than just its exquisite charm (although that certainly helps). They also adore its cuisine, its wine (oh, its wine!), its couture boutiques, its iconic monuments (the Eiffel Tower!), its museums (the Louvre!) and, well, I think you get the point.

    Major transportation hubs:

    • Charles De Gaulle or Orly Airports
    • Six different train stations connecting to major European cities
    • Gare Routiere Internateionale bus station in nearby Bagnolet
    More

    5
    Berlin

    A Photo of Berlin Architecture
    ©Visit Berlin

    Berlin hosts more than 113,000 events a year, an especially impressive number when you consider that it only just started actively marketing to the convention industry in 2001. More than 9.1 million travel to Berlin to conduct business, and the opening of the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport should only cause those numbers to soar even further. 

    Berlin ranks high in all of the top convention city lists. Meeting planners are appreciative of the city's commitment to green initiatives. It is also interesting to note that Berlin is the world market leader for medical conventions.

    When business comes to an end for the day, convention-goers may find themselves at a loss as to just where to begin. Berlin is renowned for just about everything, from its orchestras and museums (check out the East Side Gallery for a moving display showcasing the Berlin Wall as art) to its architecture and nightlife.

    Transportation hubs:

    • Berlin Schoenefeld and Berlin Tegel Airports, which will be replaced by the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport 
    • Berlin Hauptbahnhof train station
    • Schoenefeld bus station
    More