As the country comes out of recession, the meetings, conventions, and events industry is breathing a sigh of relief: The last year has been a lot better than the previous few years. Optimistic lists of the top meeting destinations in the U.S. are making the rounds once again, including a new one from event ticketing and management tech company Cvent, which builds on its list from last year.

Tracking activity from 5,700 U.S. cities from Cvent’s service across June 2012 to June 2013, the company has come up with a list of top 50 cities. And there is a lot of movement in the list, due to the competitive nature of cities bidding for these events. Most interesting is a trend among smaller cities that have moved up in the ranking this year is their close proximity to a major airport.

Orlando and Las Vegas held their positions in first and third compared to last year’s list, while Chicago jumped to second place and Atlanta and San Diego advanced into the top five. New York, which just missed the top ten last year at number eleven, moved up to number six this year.

New cities on the list include National Harbor, MD; Tucson, AZ; Coronado, CA and Salt Lake City, UT, which displaces Henderson, NV; as well as Boca Raton, Jacksonville and Naples, FL.

The Top 20 Cities

Meeting DestinationChange from Last YearTotal Number of Hotels
1Orlando, FL0245
2Chicago, IL3125
3Las Vegas, NV0168
4Atlanta, GA4167
5San Diego, CA1188
6New York, NY5336
7Washington, DC-5115
8Dallas, TX1141
9Miami, FL-5100
10Phoenix, AZ-3133
11San Francisco, CA5171
12New Orleans, LA-2114
13Denver, CO295
14Nashville, TN0118
15Scottsdale, AZ-376
16San Antonio, TX-3262
17Los Angeles, CA0107
18Boston, MA073
19Houston, TX2328
20Austin, TX4150

More details here.

Photo Credit: Las Vegas is still among the top 3 meetings destinations in the U.S. David Prager / Flickr