The first economic impact analysis of the meetings industry concluded

As concerns association conferences, the economic impact per capita is 44% higher than regarding the whole conference sector – according to a series of research initiated by the Hungarian Convention Bureau, bridging the gap for revealing the results of business events in a given destination.

In its long-term research strategy the Hungarian Convention Bureau (HCB), aims to establish a research based on an international methodology that ensures the comparability of Budapest and Hungary with competitors in the international MICE market.

To achieve this goal, the Convention Bureau joined the Meetings Industry Report (Economic Impact Calculator) survey created by the AIPC (International Association of Convention Centres) and IPSOS. Adapting completely the methodology of the above study ensures the comparability of Hungary’s results in the international market. Currently a number of studies based on different methodologies are available at national and international level, which provide useful information in themselves, but do not provide consistent data comparable with other global organizations.

In the preparation of the research, it was of paramount importance to define and examine a base year in order to get a comprehensive picture of the market operating at a normal pace. To determine this, HCB initiated a long-term cooperation with GKI Economic Research Co. and prepared the first economic impact analysis on the data of 2019.

The present study primarily examined the macroeconomic impact of the international association conferences organized in Hungary that meet the criterion system of ICCA, and compared them with the data available about the entire MICE industry provided by the HCSO. In 2022, as the second phase of the research, a continous data collection will be carried out on behalf of the HCB during the conferences pre-selected for the survey. Thus, in the next GKI study we get an analysis result from the current year and an analysis result compared to the base year 2019, respectively.

Anna Békefi, Managing Director of the Hungarian Convention Bureau, commented on the research initiative:

„As we know from statistics, international conferences and business events generate an outstanding volume of guest nights and spending in the destination. With our long-term research work started with GKI Economic Research Co. and the integration of European methodology, we would like to demonstrate this outstanding tourism income, moreover point out the special, multiplicative effect of the sector, affecting a wide range of service providers and other areas, and its national economic significance for Hungarian key sectors. Our most exciting professional challenge is to attempt to display the legacy, i.e. the social impact of international conferences and business events over the past decades. It encourages investments, job creation, scientific research and training, supporting a value-based and people-centred economy.”

The main statements of the first phase:

The analysis of inmediate and multiplicative effects was determined using a DSGE-type, dynamic model through several macroeconomic indicators (GDP, consumption, investment, government incomes). The model is used by the banking sector, central banks and budgetary institutions worldwide, among others the European Comission and IMF prepare their forecasts and impact analyses on the basis of the DSGE model.

Modelling basically includes two effects in the calculation:

• Economic effects based on the spending: items arising from the organization of the conferences; individual, non-event spending of the conferences participants
• The long-term impact of the events: effects on productivity; extractor/absorbing effect of knowledge

In 2019, a total of 488 thousand people participated in the events of the Hungarian conference tourism (HCSO), including 43.4 thousand people, about 9% of the examined ICCA conferences.

The research revealed that the examined association conferences will increase the gross domestic product by 157 billion between 2019 and 2023. The efficiency measured for the whole sector is shown by the effect per capita/added value, where it can be seen that there is a total GDP effect of 3.6 million HUF on the examined conferences, which is 44% higher than the 2.5 million HUF measured in the entire conference sector.

This result confirms that association conferences play a key role in the meetings industry sector, so the Hungarian Convention Bureau will continue to put a great emphasis on supporting these events.

Due to the epidemic situation, the years 2020 and 2021 would not have provided enough data to prepare the research, so the first survey for the full economic year will start in 2022 Q1.

For the success of the research, the HCB requests the support and cooperation of professional associations and industry players in the preparation of the list of international congresses (with more than 300 participants) for 2022.

The executive summary of the study is available on:

Determining the inmediate and multiplicative economic effects of meetings industry

Author: Anna Simon, Research and Statistics Manager at HCB