Montréal still ranked top international event host in the Americas

Montréal, September 15, 2021 — For a fourth consecutive year—and despite the pandemic—Montréal is the top-ranked city in the Americas for the number of international events hosted in 2020, according to the International Meetings Statistics Report, released recently by the Union of International Associations (UIA). Backed by the Palais des congrès de Montréal’s remarkable adaptability during this unprecedented year the city welcomed 41 international events in 2020, outpacing other cities like Washington, New York and Chicago.

2020 Americas Rankings – Union of International Associations

Ranking  CityNumber of Events
1Montréal, QC41
2Washington, D.C.32
3New York City30
4Piscataway, NJ22
5Chicago, IL17

As the site of 56% of the international events held across the country, Québec’s largest city dominates the Canadian market. Its closest rivals, Ottawa and Toronto, each hosted 7 events, while Vancouver hosted 6. In addition, on a global basis, Montréal climbed from 17th to 11th position in 2020, outperforming such cities as Amsterdam, Dubai and Stockholm. Although the total number of events was far from what it was before the pandemic—with Montréal playing host to 129 events in 2019—the numbers remain impressive in light of the circumstances and confirm the city’s international drawing power.

The Methodology

Founded in 1907 by Nobel laureate Henri La Fontaine and Paul Otlet, the Union of International Associations (UIA) maintains a database of over 70,000 organizations in 300 different countries and territories. The 2020 edition of the International Meetings Statistics Report identifies 471,800 events organized by 27,465 international organizations in 256 countries and 11,647 cities. Of course, the 2020 report is unique: it takes account not only of in-person events, but also fully virtual events as well as hybrid events. In addition, according to the UAI’s data, 645 events were cancelled in 2020 while 1,642 were postponed. The report can be viewed here: UIA Report.

The Palais innovated in Safety and Technology measures to maintain Montréal’s excellent reputation

Montréal earned its enviable ranking based on in-person events organized through March 2020 and virtual and hybrid events held during the remainder of the year. To limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city’s reputation, a range of measures upholding the industry’s most stringent standards was implemented at the Palais de congrès in keeping with the Palais Reopening Operating Guide to Running Events with Safety Standards (PROGRESS).

In addition, new services were put in place, including a turnkey solution for organizing hybrid events and an audio and video production studio. These new services leverage state-of-the-art technologies that combine in-person events and virtual discussions in real time, allowing clients to “reinvent themselves” and attract more participants to their events. Digital innovations like these are helping to put Montréal in the forefront of the event industry and at the top of rankings prepared by organizations like the UIA.


“For many years, Montréal has been consolidating its reputation as a world-class destination for conventions and business meetings. While the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly reduced the number of international events being held, Montréal is once again at the top of these prestigious rankings for 2020. That incredible accomplishment in the current circumstances can be attributed to the significant efforts made by the Palais des congrès, Tourisme Montréal and their partners to support and assist business events and their organizers. Montréal’s business tourism industry has demonstrated its leadership and proactivity, ensuring the city can continue to be safe, dynamic and resilient. Once the health situation has made it possible to fully resume hosting conventions and business meetings, those qualities will provide a solid base for Montréal to pursue its remarkable growth as a leading destination for international events.”

– Yves Lalumière, President and CEO, Tourisme Montréal

“The Palais is proud to contribute to Montréal’s ranking as one of the world’s premier destinations. I am committed to continuing our efforts to differentiate ourselves from the competition by our distinctive product offers and innovative digital services, together with our local creative talents, which meet the new needs of our clients and partners. That team spirit will be more important than ever as we strive to meet the challenges and opportunities posed by the pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has put their faith in us over the last year, making us the Palais of possibilities!

– Emmanuelle Legault, President and CEO, Palais des congrès de Montréal

About the Palais des congrès de Montréal 

The Palais des congrès, located in the heart of Montréal, holds the event industry’s highest level of quality certification and is frequently praised for its excellent client satisfaction rates. The Palais hosts over 350 events each year. As a major hub of activity in Montréal, it generates significant economic, social and cultural benefits for the tourism, business and research industries. The Palais is a trailblazer in the industry and works hand in hand with strategic partners as well as young, highly innovative start-ups. As a leader in sustainability and social practices, it was one of the first convention centres in the world to operate a carbon-neutral building. The Palais is widely known as a proud supporter of emerging talent, the arts and community-based initiatives and is an innovative and resolutely forward-looking partner. Visit

About Tourisme Montréal

Tourisme Montréal is a 100-year-old private, non-profit organization that works to position Montréal as an international-calibre leisure and business travel destination. Uniting nearly 1,000 businesses and organizations working directly or indirectly in tourism, Tourisme Montréal plays a leading role in the management and development of Montréal’s tourism business, and makes recommendations on issues surrounding the city’s economic, urban and cultural development. For more information, go to

– 30 –


Alexandra Madoyan
Communication and Public Affairs Advisor
[email protected]
(514) 871-5849

Francis Bouchard
Manager of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Tourisme Montréal
438 520-1210
[email protected]