Czechia is one of the most desirable congress destinations in the world

Czechia is one of the most desirable congress destinations in the world

HomeCzechia is one of the most desirable congress destinations in the world
According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Czechia ranked 19th in the ranking of the most desirable conference destinations, which is the best result ever. Prague maintained its fifth position among European cities, as it did last year, and finished sixth worldwide. The success of Czechia in the global congress field thus confirms not only that the long-term cooperation between the domestic public and private spheres is effective in this respect, but also that the interest of foreign buyers in the regional offer is growing. This trend was also demonstrated at this year's IMEX in Frankfurt, where 3,100 companies from 150 countries presented themselves at the end of May.
The International Congress Association ICCA annually compiles a ranking of the top congress destinations based on the number of international conferences and attendance of more than 50 delegates. MICE or convention and incentive tourism plays a significant role in the tourism industry. Not only does it significantly help to offset seasonality, but it also has significant economic benefits. According to long-term statistics, a congress delegate spends at least 2.5 times more than a regular tourist in a given destination. And the non-economic benefits are also worth mentioning.

"Congress tourism leads to the development of knowledge potential, sharing of know-how, presentation of achievements of domestic research, promotion and internationalization of innovative activities. It thus has a strategic overlap with other sectors and acts as an effective tool for inter-ministerial cooperation. As congresses are usually held outside the main tourist season and delegates stay in congress venues, thus not overloading the main tourist attractions and city centres, it is also one of the most sustainable forms of tourism. The added value is that the congress tourist spends more in destinations, spreads the good name of the place abroad and, if satisfied, often decides to spend a private holiday or a long weekend in the same hotel, city or country, for example with his family or partner," emphasizes the crucial role of MICE tourism Director of the Czech Tourist Authority – CzechTourism František Reismüller.

The importance of congress and incentive tourism is also confirmed by data from last August's CzechTourism survey in Germany, according to which 35% of local companies consider Czechia attractive, and it is thus at the top of the attractiveness ranking.

"We are incredibly pleased with the placement of Czechia in the ICCA ranking. This achievement is the result of long-term and effective cooperation among many entities from both the public and private sectors. However, the statistics also show that global competition is immense, not only in Europe but also in Asian countries. This is exemplified by Singapore, which managed to move up ten places within a single year to secure the second spot worldwide," explains Tereza Hofmanová, Head Manager of the Czech Convention Bureau, and adds: "Given that the entire process, from the initial bid to the actual realization of an international congress in a given destination, can take several years, it is essential to further support and develop congress tourism. Only in this way can we maintain the current high interest of event organizers in both Czechia as a whole and Prague in the future."

The interest in Czechia from foreign buyers was evident at this year's . One of the largest global trade fairs focused on congress and incentive tourism. With a total of 4,200 buyers from almost a hundred countries, this year's edition was one of the largest. The number of B2B meetings held exceeded 63,000. Companies from Germany (16%), the United States (13%) and the United Kingdom (10%) dominated among the buyers. This year also saw an increase in the share of companies from Latin America, especially from Brazil and Mexico.

Traditionally, the Czech Republic's stand featured not only representatives of hotels, congress venues and agencies, but also regions – specifically Prague Convention Bureau and Brno Convention Bureau.

"Most of the domestic companies present at the fair are based in Prague. That is why we are very pleased with the increasing interest of buyers in regional offers. The demand for incentive travel outside the capital is growing, which opens up new opportunities for other regions. We often receive inquiries about unique places, especially historical buildings, where organizers could organize events. Czechia has the densest network of monuments inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the size of the country, which in practice means that in this respect we really have a huge potential. In terms of other requirements, buyers are also interested in sustainable locations and slow tourism,“ adds Tereza Hofmanová.

The day before IMEX opened, the second edition of the Global Forum of National Convention Bureaus, initiated by the Strategic Alliance of European National Convention Bureaus, took place. This is a network of national organisations that provide marketing for tourism destinations in the countries of Europe. The aim is to strengthen Europe's position as a destination for international events. Czechia is one of the founding members. During the joint meeting, the priority activities of the Alliance were presented. This year they focus on two main areas – the organisation of the first conference in cooperation with PCMA (Professional Congress Management Association) dedicated to sustainability, which will take place in October in Barcelona, and the establishment of a shared platform, the so-called sustainability hub for events. This will serve to effectively share information, experiences and tools on sustainability in the conference tourism sector. The intention is to create a hub that promotes innovation and collaboration among the members of the alliance so that they can more effectively implement sustainable measures in their areas of operation.
 
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