by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 17, 2019

M&C's Global Planner survey is our annual look at meetings and events held outside the United States. The following findings are based on responses from 102 meeting professionals in areas such as site selection, budgets, security concerns and more. Among the highlights:

• Europe remains the top international meetings destination for 2019 and 2020. Canada ranks second for both years, with more than 40 percent of those polled holding meetings and events north of the border. 

• A third of planners polled will host events in the Caribbean/Bermuda and Asia this year and in 2020. Mexico also ranks high, with 36 percent and 32 percent holding meetings there in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

• Terrorism (cited by 82 percent), airfare costs (73 percent) and local health concerns (71 percent) remain chief concerns for planners of global conferences and conventions.

• Costs (cited by 63 percent of those polled) were considered the most important destination-selection criteria, closely followed by a three-way tie of good airlift (62 percent), quality of accommodations (62 percent) and good reputation (62 percent).  

• Setting up site inspections was the service respondents requested most often (cited by 51 percent) from convention and visitor bureaus/national tourist offices, followed by providing promotional materials (49 percent).

Below are the full results from the study: 

Where will your group meet in 2020?
66% Europe
46% Canada
33% Caribbean/Bermuda
33% Asia
32% Mexico
20% Middle East
19% Australia/New Zealand
10% Africa
5% Not holding international meetings in 2020

How important is each of the following criteria for your selection of a destination for an international meeting?
63% Costs
62% Good airlift
62% Good reputation
62% Quality of accommodations
58% Quality of food and beverage
57% Security
57% Size/availability of meeting facilities
50% Activities
50% Ease of obtaining visas
49% Cultural attractions
48% Climate
41% Favorable exchange rate for U.S. dollar
41% Taxes

Which of the following do you consider important when planning international events?

82% Terrorism
73% Cost of airfare
71% Local health concerns
57% Natural disasters
50% New U.S. passport/visa requirements
42% Public and/or media perceptions of meetings and events
37% U.S./world economy
36% International currency-exchange rates

How often do you work with a national tourist office or convention bureau when planning your international meetings?
21% Always
24% Very often
26% Sometimes
15% Infrequently
14% Never

When planning your next international meeting, for which services will you use a national tourist office or convention bureau?
54% Setting up site inspections
51% Promotional materials (brochures, maps, videos etc.)
49% Restaurant recommendations
43% Selecting hotel(s)
40% Planning guides
40% Pre-/post-meeting tour suggestions
40% Recreational activity recommendations
34% Referrals for speakers, destination management companies etc.
24% Contacts for gifts and giveaways
20% Theme-party ideas
16% Organizing and coordinating room blocks
11% CSR activity recommendations
9% Helping attendees register for trade shows and conventions
18% None of the above
To what extent does having a personal relationship with an international supplier influence your destination decision?
32% Significantly
43% Somewhat
16% Very little
9% Not at all

How do you prefer to get information from international suppliers?
80% Email
48% Familiarization trip
46% Trade shows/networking event
37% In person with bureau representative
32% Internet/other resources
20% Direct mail
13% Phone call

To what extent do you influence site selection?

57% Greatly
38% Somewhat
5% Not at all