Event market in Germany on the road to recovery
The number of in-person events for German meetings has increased significantly, while hybrid and digital formats have decreased. The market is recovering gradually and, at the same time, undergoing a progressing structural transformation, according to the new Meeting & Event Barometer 2022/2023, presented by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), the GCB German Convention Bureau and the EVVC (European Association of Event Centres).
Development of business travel in German incoming tourism
The number of international business trips to Germany more than doubled from 5 to 11 million in 2022 compared to the previous year. This means that the business travel segment is recording growth again for the first time after two years of COVID-19-related decline, reaching around 70% of the record level from the pre-crisis year 2019.
Recovery of German meeting and congress market
The development of the German event market in 2022 underlines its transformative power in the face of multiple challenges as well as the ongoing relevance of business events in the communication mix of organisations. In 2022, the real volume of in-person events (in-person only and hybrid events) returned to 48.5% of the 2019 level. The recovery of the market is emerging with the end of the COVID-19 measures from the beginning of the second quarter until the end of 2022. During this period, event volumes return to 66% of pre-pandemic levels.
The number of in-person event attendees amounts to 172 million. Combined with in-person attendees of hybrid events, this figure is as high as 184 million. This means an increase of 246% in the number of in-person event attendance (2021: 50 million). In addition to in-person attendees, there were 28.5 million online attendees in hybrid events last year (2021: 36.3 million) and 53.4 million attendees in online events (2021: 327 million). While the number of online attendees declined, in-person events with digital elements (hybrid events) proved to be the driving force in the event market. In 2022, a total of 2.6 million events with a total of 266.4 million attendees took place in Germany across all event types (in-person, hybrid, digital).
Boost for role of business events as platforms for knowledge exchange
Business trips are increasing significantly compared to the previous year. Due to the lifting of COVID-19 regulations, congresses, meetings and seminars have become significantly larger (in relation to the number of attendees) in 2022 compared to the previous year. There was a strong shift towards larger events with 101 or more attendees and a correspondingly strong decline in very small events (up to 50 attendees). The need for in-person meetings has increased significantly and puts the relationship to digital and hybrid events into perspective.
The results of the Meeting & Event Barometer 2022/23 show that the appeal of events is unbroken. In-person event attendance, which makes up the largest share of all attendees across all types of events, underlines the high relevance of in-person events as a communication tool for companies and organisations. Nevertheless, digital formats continue to be of great importance and will continue to play an important role in the communication mix in the future. Beyond the physical space, the digitalisation creates enormous opportunities to expand the reach of events and to include those who cannot or do not want to be present in person for a range of reasons.
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