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Devalued pound helps London retain top spot in CWT rankings

London has retained its position as the top city in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) for events, according to a new report by CWT M&E, the meetings and events division of CWT.

The UK capital held onto the top spot in the ranking thanks in part to the devaluation of the pound caused by Brexit uncertainty, according to CWT. The ranking is based on proprietary and industry data contained in CWT’s 2020 Meetings & Events Future Trends report.

The top 10 cities for meetings and events in EMEA (versus 2019):

1. London, UK (1)
2. Frankfurt, Germany (10)
3. Paris, France (9)
4. Berlin, Germany (4)
5. Barcelona, Spain (3)
6. Milan, Italy (-)
7. Cologne, Germany (8)
8. Stockholm, Sweden (7)
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands (-)
10. Vienna, Austria (6)

Frankfurt and Paris jumped from the bottom of last year’s top 10 list to 2 and 3 next year. Germany is the only country in EMEA with multiple cities making the list, including Berlin and Cologne. Milan makes an appearance in the 2020 list, along with Amsterdam, after failing to make the cut last year. Last year’s number 2 city, Moscow, dropped out of the top 10 entirely, as did Hamburg, which took fifth spot in 2018.

“London and the UK continue to be strong for meetings and events,” said Ian Cummings, vice president, EMEA, CWT Meetings and Events. “The uncertainty over Brexit—and the resulting devaluation of the pound—has made the UK an even more attractive destination.”

Apart from London, Manchester also made a shorter list of destinations on the rise in the region, buoyed by major developments, including a new 20,000-capacity arena. Other up-and-coming cities in 2020 include Porto, Seville, Rome and Nice. These destinations typically offer better values than the top-tier cities, along with an increasing number of competitive hotels and venues that can host meetings and events of varying sizes.

Nowhere is sustainability having more of an impact on business than in Europe. It’s encoded into law—as in France with its société à mission, a new corporate structure for companies with a social and environmental mission beyond profits, that is expected to influence suppliers they work with. It’s in investments in electric cars by European car manufacturers—creating opportunities for new product launches. It’s in working towards becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city as the Danish capital of Copenhagen is doing—with 70 per cent of its hotel rooms now holding official eco-certification. Sustainability is a key driver for meetings and events in EMEA in 2020 and beyond.