Summarising the meetings industry’s 2018 accomplishments, analysing factors making a destination attractive for staging corporate, incentive and association meetings, and identifying trends of regions’ development inspired by smart specialisations - these are the highlights of the tenth edition of Poland Meetings and Events Industry Report.
As is the case each year, Polish Tourism Organisation - Poland Convention Bureau compiled a report, whose main goal is to get an optimally broad picture of the 2018 state of affairs in Poland’s meetings and events industry. The data presented in the report discuss 22,152 meetings and events involving more than 50 attendees each. Compared with the previous year, the number of events in 2018 grew by 1,000.
A presentation of the condition of Poland’s sector of meetings and events is possible due to Poland Convention Bureau POT’s ongoing cooperation with municipal and regional convention bureaux, recommended professional congress organisers (PCOs) and incentive travel companies (ITCs), as well as international associations (ICCA and UIA). Each year they collect and submit data, whose analysis allows drawing an optimally comprehensive picture of the meetings industry in Poland. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that they do not guarantee a full overview of the phenomenon.
This year’s data are complemented by an article by Monika Dembińska of Poznań University of Economics and Business, who analysed the factors making destinations attractive for corporate, incentive and association meetings.
We would like to thank everyone involved in the development of the Report!
We wish you a pleasant read - you will find both the Polish-- and English-language version of the report on our website (PL Report, ENG report).
The Report’s printed version will be launched at the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala to be held in the International Congress Centre in Katowice on 21 October 2019.
Poland received the Best MICE Destination 2019 award presented by MICE & Business Travel, the leading business tourism periodical in the Netherlands. Already now the meetings and events sector generates about 1% of Poland’s GDP.
The Best MICE Destination is the most important MICE-related distinction in the whole of Benelux. Besides Poland, the list of nominees also included France and Northern Ireland.
“Modern hotels, numerous conference and exhibition centres, unique venues, first-rate transportation infrastructure, as well as organisations and companies ready to provide professional services aimed at business meetings of all scope proved decisive about our success”, said Anna Krupka, Secretary of State with the Ministry of Sports and Tourism.
The awards ceremony was held on 9 September as part of the Business Traveler & MICE Fair staged by the magazine’s editorial staff in Amsterdam’s Corendon Village Hotel. Congress and meetings industry delegates attending workshops accompanying the ceremony emphasized that Poland is a safe and friendly destination that stages a growing number of meetings dedicated to culture, science and business.
“Poland has at its disposal all the assets required for an intensive growth of the meetings industry and for attracting more international events of all possible sizes”, claims President of Polish Tourism Organisation Robert Andrzejczyk. “We would not be able to achieve this success if it was not for the hard work of our Netherlands-based office operating within the structures of Poland Convention Bureau POT”.
MICE & Business Travel readers also selected winners in other categories. NN Hotels was voted the best hotel chain for the industry of congresses and meetings, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines - the top airline.
Poland with 211 meetings secured 19th spot (out of 110) in the latest ranking published by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) on 13 May 2019. For another year in a row Poland held a stable position in the listing and is the only Visegrád Group member state to be ranked in the top twenty.
The category of cities covers 409 destinations and includes Warsaw (placed 29th), Kraków (45th), Poznań (120th), Wrocław (180th), Gdańsk (196th) and Łódź (355th).
Compared to 2018 Kraków, Poznań and Wrocław climbed approximately 10 spots, with Łódź as a newcomer joining ICCA in early February 2019.
In the European breakdown Poland took 11th spot (out of 41), Warsaw - 18th, Kraków – 25th, Poznań – 68th, Wrocław – 92nd, Gdańsk – 98th and Łódź – 169th (out of 200 spots).
ICCA operates in almost 100 countries worldwide and represents more than 1,100 companies and organisations connected with developing and coordinating meetings, transporting and accommodating. For more than 50 years it has been collecting and analysing data and creating communication channels in the field of implementing international business meetings. On the basis of collected data, it compiles an annual ranking discussing meetings that simultaneously meet three conditions:
1. they are held on a regular basis,
2. they have a proven attendance of at least 50 participants,
3. they rotate between at least three countries.
ICCA membership generates numerous benefits: it provides a cost-effective way to win and attract events representing the meetings industry and offers access to a global network of contacts, making it possible to do business on a worldwide platform representing all sectors of the industry. Members of ICCA have access to a database of more than 72,000 conferences staged by more than 5,000 associations and containing information about the history of each conference and data about particular associations. Finally, ICCA guarantees a strong education programme aimed at its members.
24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), the most spectacular event hosted by International Congress Centre in Katowice, provided services for 20,000 participants from 200 United Nations member states.
590 rooms at ICC and the directly linked Spodek arena complex were applied tor the purposes of arranging the conference, along with close to 6,000 pieces of furniture and 190 IT/AV devices. The interiors were prepared in such a way as to guarantee event participants a chance to comfortably spend time between sessions. Green relaxation zones, grab-and-go points with snacks and drinks, as well as the main restaurant zone in Spodek’s main floor were available at their disposal. There were 640 standing places by cocktail tables, 400 seats and two leisure zones - for a total of 1,050 guests.
The ICC and Spodek team handling COP24 was composed of 1,924 members, one-fourth of the whole technical staff working on the event. Close to 500 foodservice operators were employed in the main restaurant zone and the grab-and-go points. The former served 1,500 guests an hour, and the latter - 600 participants an hour.
COP24 visitors drank 65,500 coffees, ate 28,000 sandwiches and 30,500 lunches plus took part in more than 2,120 meetings and side events.
Works on preparing Spodek and International Congress Centre for COP24 purposes were launched in early 2018 and encompassed indispensable renovations, inspections, provisioning, arrangement of technical services, cleaning, security, catering and so-called event management. Moreover, additional pavilions were established to house, i.a. booths of participating states, meeting rooms, as well as the media zone.
Ever since it inaugurated its operations in October 2014, ICE Kraków Congress Centre was visited by 1,022,820 participants of close to 800 events.
Each quarter almost 400 representatives of companies operating in the Kraków meetings industry market get together as part of the Kraków Network platform of knowledge and contact sharing established four years ago by Kraków Festival Office, the venue’s operator. Educational workshops staged in six thematic groups (Hospitality Group, Kraków Food Network, PR Group, Kraków Club of Congress Ambassadors, Kraków Future Lab and Event Group) show that join operations of potential competitors are both possible and effective. From the viewpoint of Kraków, the discussed initiative generated measurable benefits and an opportunity to present itself in the international arena as a responsible and comprehensive destination available for congresses.
While last year the venue’s calendar was dominated by cultural events, in the years to come its operator is planning to boost the number of business projects. Research on the economic impact of the meetings industry on Kraków’s economy confirms that congresses and conferences are increasingly profitable for the city. In 2018 the figures amounted to 1.4 billion PLN spent by participants of business events and close to 2.2 billion PLN of GDP generated by the meetings industry, 3.38% of GDP of Kraków’s whole economy.
ICE Kraków has already become a regular host of numerous international events, including the Impact economic congress, the Open Eyes Economy Summit, Cybersec European Cybersecurity Forum or the prestigious New Frontiers in Interventional Cardiology. The list also includes, i.a. Digital Dragons, the largest video game industry event in this part of Europe, the annual conference staged by the ASPIRE Association, as well as the European Congress of Local Governments, from the very beginning staged in ICE Kraków.
The opinions of event guests are the best recommendation of the discussed venues:
“I must admit that when I was going to Poland I expected an entirely different experience. I believed the stereotype that Eastern Europe is by definition poor and plain. The truth is that Polish cities are in no way different from their counterparts in Germany or the Netherlands. I am truly impressed”, says Fei Luo, a COP24 participant hailing from China but currently residing in Amsterdam.
Warsaw hosted the European Congress of Psychiatry attended by more than 4,000 participants from all over Europe. This year’s edition was guided by the motto of “Psychiatry in transition”.
One of the most important research events in the field of psychiatry was this year brought to Warsaw. It was the capital of Poland than on 6-9 April hosted the European Congress of Psychiatry attended by more than 4,000 participants. Considering the rank and prestigious character of the congress, securing the event can be perceived as a considerable success. For the first time ever in 27 years since the launch of the congress, its organisers decided to select a Polish city.
Congress participants discussed subject matter in the field of psychiatry, psychology and clinical research. Prof. Jerzy Samochowiec, President of the Polish Psychiatric Society, emphasises the event’s impressive attendance figures. Sessions attracted 4,265 psychiatric professionals. In addition, Polish researchers constituted a numerous group of participants, with more than 500 Poles involved in the Congress.
The 2019 European Congress of Psychiatry was guided by the motto of “Psychiatry in transition” and staged in the EXPO XXI Conference Centre in Warsaw. Efforts aimed at securing the prestigious event began four years earlier. Each year the congress is held in a different European city.
Complicated and long-lasting process of securing congresses is nevertheless highly profitable both for the host venue and the city that will welcome event participants. According to International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), a congress participant spends an average of 708 USD daily in the host city. In addition, congresses are usually several days long.
European Psychiatric Association (EPA) has more than 78,000 members from 88 countries and is a leading organisation representing European psychiatry. Each year the association holds the international European Congress of Psychiatry, which acts a platform for discussion and exchanging experiences in the area of mental health.