Madrid and Barcelona among top five European destinations for events

by Lorraine Williamson
events and destinations in Spain

Madrid and Barcelona are among the top five European destinations for meetings and events for the coming years. This is according to research by American Express Meetings & Events.  

The Global Event Forecast Report describes the research results from four markets: Europe, North America, Central, and South America, and Asia Pacific. Industry professionals are also confident of returning to pre-pandemic figures within one to two years.  

Another of the study’s conclusions is that live meetings and events are expected to increase in 2022, with 81% of events expected to contain some live element. Moreover, 64% of event professionals worldwide indicate that they will increase their event budget in the coming year. 

Lessons from the pandemic 

Industry professionals intend to use the lessons learned during the pandemic to improve value, efficiency, and sustainability in future events. 

Furthermore, the American Express survey shows the value of internal meetings is increasingly recognised by companies. Moreover, internal meetings and training are expected to experience the strongest growth in 2022. Therefore, more attendees are expected for all types and sizes of events. 

Despite the rise of face-to-face meetings and events, virtual and hybrid formats will continue to play a key role. These are becoming increasingly popular as they help to reach more target audiences, provide an integrated virtual emergency solution, and can increase returns.  


Environmental concerns will also be a priority for most events in 2022, with 83% of respondents indicating that their organisations take sustainability into account when planning meetings and events. Therefore, respondents are most likely to minimise paper use, implement energy-saving measures and reduce waste for meetings in 2022.  

Cogesa Expats

Top destinations 

However, in terms of top destinations, Europe’s major urban centres remain the most popular. And according to the platform’s customer data, the favourite destinations are;

  • Athens (Greece)
  • Paris (France)
  • Madrid (Spain)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • London (UK).  


Professionals from the European events industry are cautiously optimistic about 2022. A score of 8 or more on a scale of 1-10 is given by 59%. This makes Europe the least positive of the four regions surveyed.  

In 2022, 48% of European events are expected to be face-to-face only, putting Europe behind North America. And while respondents predict a slower recovery than other regions, 86% are confident that face-to-face attendance will return to pre-pandemic levels within five years.  

North America 

Event professionals in North America are very optimistic about a recovery in 2022. At the time of the survey, 74% rated their optimism as 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10. North America has the highest expectations for the resumption of face-to-face meetings and events. 31% resumed doing so in June and July of this year; and at the same time, 54% already had events planned for 2022.  

Central and South America 

The meetings industry in Central and South America has the highest expectations for the sector in 2022. 87% rate optimism with an 8 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10. The region’s forecast for face-to-face meetings is slightly lower than other regions at 76%; however, 81% of respondents expect event attendance to return to pre-pandemic levels in the next one to two years.  


In the Asia-Pacific region, the outlook is also quite positive. Almost two-thirds (64%) rated their optimism as 8 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10. Moreover, they expect 81% of 2022 events in the region to include a face-to-face component. And 62% of respondents in the region expect event attendance to return to pre-pandemic levels in the next one to two years. 

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