From the vibrancy of Singapore to the breathtaking beauty of Vienna, these five cities are not just global tourism destinations, they are truly the (meeting) centers of it all.
It's the top city in the world for conventions for nine years running, and shows no signs of seceding its title anytime soon. The island country of Singapore is one of the smallest in the world, but makes up for it by having the largest presence in the events industry, hosting more than 130 World Congresses in 2010 alone.
The business of meeting is almost an effortless art in the beauteous city of the same name. 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!), fascinating cultural experiences with an amazing nightlife scene and it's easy to see why Singapore is the top events destination.
Hosting more than 2,000 large-scale meetings and events a year, Vienna is the second most popular international destination for meetings and events. The Austrian city boasts three convention centers while 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 enjoy direct flights to Vienna from many European cities to Vienna International Airport. Ground transportation includes lots of public transportation choices from rail to trams.
The second-largest city in Spain, Barcelona may not be number one on this list just yet but it's on its way. One of its latest coups? Landing a seven-year contract for the World Congress of GSMA Mobile (2012-2018), 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 while it's museums (check out the newly opened Rock Museum) to 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.
The City of Lights is a glow over the fact that it hosted 954 World Congresses in 2010, a new record for Paris.
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.
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 2012 opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg airport should only cause those numbers to soar even further.
Meeting planners are appreciative of the city's commitment to green initiatives. The new fairground hall of ICC Berlin is also highly anticipated by event organizers. 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 as 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.