London is set to continue to be the top destination for meetings in Europe in 2014, according to a report by American Express.

The UK capital is predicted by Amex to maintain its position as number one choice for European regional meetings – ahead of major competitors Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Amex’s 2014 Meetings and Events Global Forecast is also predicting that an upswing in the UK economy will see growth in the meetings market – outperforming what is expected to be a flat market across Europe next year.

Michael Schuller, vice president of American Express Meetings & Events, Europe, said: “While challenges remain, there are signs of economic recovery in specific European markets – such as the UK and Germany – where we see optimism in all meeting categories.

“In fact, with the exception of France, compared to the predictions for 2013, the 2014 survey results are all more optimistic in each European country.

“While face-to-face global meetings remain a strong business tool, demand for local meetings in the region is expected to increase as companies look to make the most of restricted budgets and reduce time away from the office.”

Amex is predicting that meetings across Europe will see a 1.8 per cent drop in average number of attendees per meeting and a similar fall in overall spending on meetings within companies. Lead times are also expected to become shorter in 2014.

Elsewhere in the world, Amex is expecting the number of meetings in North America to rise by 1.5 per cent while the number of attendees will go up by 0.6 per cent.

The TMC is also forecasting a decline in the number of meetings in the Asia Pacific region by 1.2 per cent in 2014.

Other findings in the report include the trends of companies booking meetings close to home or within their own offices as well as an “increasingly complex and more rigorous” approval process for meetings.

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