GLASGOW attracted more international conference delegates last year than New York, Washington DC or Beijing – and the city was second in the UK only to London as it achieved its best global ranking for 10 years.

Research published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) reveals that 36,885 delegates attended international conferences in Glasgow in 2015, putting the city in 28th place out of 400 in the world on this measure. Vienna was top and London second.

Glasgow was just ahead of the Chinese capital of Beijing, which recorded 35,942 international conference delegates and Dublin, with 33,178. Washington DC was placed 44th, and New York City was in 53rd position.

Edinburgh was ranked 66th in the ICCA report, with 16,028 international conference delegates. Manchester was in 123rd position, with 8,118 delegates attending international conferences.

The report covers regular international conferences attended by more than 50 delegates.

Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) noted that Glasgow had recorded its greatest-ever number of international conferences held in a single year.

The city hosted 54 international conferences in 2015 – putting Glasgow in joint 49th position in the ICCA rankings on this measure. More international conferences were staged in Glasgow than in Melbourne, Geneva, Chicago, Florence, Cape Town or Los Angeles last year.

Aileen Crawford, head of conventions at GCMB, noted that around 80 per cent of the near-37,000 delegates recorded by Glasgow in 2015 had attended international conferences at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).

She highlighted the scale of the European Association for International Education conference at the SECC, which attracted about 5,000 delegates.

Ms Crawford also noted that about 2,000 delegates had attended the inaugural European Stroke Organisation conference in Glasgow.

She added that the European Association of Archaeologists conference at the University of Glasgow had also attracted about 2,000 delegates.

Ms Crawford said: “There is a variety of things across the city that will be part of that success story. That really shows the partnership working across the city to take us up the rankings.”

Asked if she had been surprised by Glasgow’s ranking in 28th place by delegate numbers, the best for 10 years, Ms Crawford said: “We did know that 2015 was a very strong year for the number of international conferences, and the size of the meetings as well. We were delighted – we didn’t realise it would be quite as high as it was.”

She highlighted the importance of world-class academic work at Glasgow’s universities in helping attract international conferences to the city. Ms Crawford noted the benefits to Glasgow’s global profile, as well as to the city’s economy, from staging prestigious, large-scale international conferences.

She said: “Glasgow’s capability and credibility in the international meetings market-place is stronger than ever. As this latest ICCA data shows, as well as attracting smaller niche and specialist conferences, Glasgow’s strategy of targeting major congresses, which attract thousands of international delegates and deliver significant economic impact, has positioned us in the top 30 conference cities in the world.”

Ms Crawford added: “Many of these international conferences are secured with the support of our world-class academic community who invite their international peers to meet in our city.”

GCMB noted that international conferences had been worth £58.5 million to the Glasgow economy last year, taking account of delegates’ spending.

Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the SECC, said: “This is fabulous news for the SECC and for Glasgow. The SECC is the key driver for attracting international conferences to the city and we were proud to stage 17 international meetings in 2015, almost 80 per cent of the overseas delegates coming to Glasgow.”