On 7 May 2020 UIA (Union of International Assiociations) published its latest statistics report „61 International Meetings Statistics Report 2020” covering 2019, where Poland recorded an increase compared to the previous year.
Poland, with 103 events (according to UIA criteria) was 24 in the world ranking presenting 100 countries. Among 100 cities from around the world, Warsaw was ranked 41, and Kraków – 51. Compared to the previous year, the number of events from Poland registered in the UIA database increased by 23.
In Europe, Poland ranks 14 out of 39 countries included in the ranking. Among 50 European cities, Polish metropolises took respectively 22 (Warsaw) and 30 (Kraków) position.
In addition, UIA has registered in its database:
* by 10 events from Gdańsk, Poznań i Wrocław,
* by 3 – from Katowice and Łódź,
* by 1 – from Białowieża, Jastarnia, Lublin, Wieliczka and Zakopane.
The full report is available on the UIA website after logging in to the member profile.
The UIA is a research institute and documentation centre that for more than 100 years has been collecting and submitting information about the market for international meetings of non-governmental associations and intergovernmental organisations plus development directions and trends. Its International Meeting Statistics Report ranking is based on collected data about international meetings that simultaneously match the following four criteria: they last at least three days, they gather at least 300 participants, at least five nationalities are represented, at least 40% of the participants are from countries other than the host country.
UIA forecasts an increase in the number of regional congresses compared to the global category, attributing it to the phenomenon of glocalisation1 and the number of global meetings taking second place to regional events. The most conspicuous change recorded by the UIA involves a geographical shift of congress settings to the East, from Europe to Asia. While Europe continues to be attractive to associations, Asia is picked increasingly often as many cities are joining efforts aimed at international associations. Interestingly, the UIA also continues to record a growing number of congresses attended in person, in spite of forecasts claiming and recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be making way for virtual meetings.
Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala acknowledging the latest laureates of the programme and officially announcing new jury members for 2020-2023 was hosted by the city of Katowice. In addition, it marked the launch of the National Support Programme for the Meetings Industry to be implemented by Polish Tourism Organisation and Polish Airlines LOT.
The International Congress Centre in Katowice hosted participants of this year’s Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala, which on 21 October announced the programme’s latest winners. Jury members decided to present 18 titles of Polish Congress Ambassador and 3 titles of Polish Congress Patron to institutions that last year were particularly focused on supporting the organisation of conferences and congresses. Also presented during the Gala, this year’s Gala Patron statuette went to the MPT Group in recognition of technological and logistics support provided to the previous edition.
Having hosted the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in 2018, Katowice received a special distinction due to its contribution to the development of the Śląskie (Silesia) region. Arranged by the MPT Group, the event in question was attended by 20,000 participants.
Members of the new Jury of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Programme, implemented in partnership with Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna - POT) and Polish Conference and Congress Association (Stowarzyszenie Konferencje i Kongresy w Polsce - SKKP), were also introduced during the Katowice meeting. Supervising the course and execution of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Programme, the jury selects individuals distinguished by the Honorary Polish Congress Ambassador title and institutions distinguished by the Polish Congress Patron title. Jury members are appointed for a three-year term by President of Polish Tourism Organisation and President of Polish Conference and Congress Association. Upon the motion of Robert Andrzejczyk, President of POT, and Paula Fanderowska, President of SKKP, Prof. Marek Pewełczyk, Vice Rector for Science and Development at Silesian University of Technology, was unanimously voted the Jury Chairman for 2020-2023.
In addition, the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala in Katowice witnessed the inauguration of the National Support Programme for the Meetings Industry. Run together by Polish Tourism Organisation and Polish Airlines LOT, the project is intended to promote Poland abroad by offering airline tickets to representatives of science, culture, sports, business and other circles, so that they could actively participate in the process of bringing international business meetings and events to Poland.
During the Programme’s launch Robert Andrzejczyk, President of Polish Tourism Organisation, emphasised that the meetings industry is a so-called sector of the future that already today generates about 1% of the national gross domestic product. “The growth of this sector is among the key promotional priorities of Polish Tourism Organisation, with Poland Convention Bureau (PCB) supporting our operations. This is why we are glad to have the backing of our national carrier PLL LOT”.
The Vice President of Polish Airlines LOT also drew attention to the significance of this field and declared his involvement in the development of this sort of initiatives. “LOT will work on expanding its offer aimed at the MICE sector. We are going to increase our share in the discussed market and together with Poland Tourism Organisation support Poland’s promotion among meeting planners. The National Support Programme is among the initiatives that will help make this happen”, explained Michał Fijoł, Chief Commercial Officer, Polish Airlines LOT.
The Polish Congress Ambassadors Programme keeps on growing. This year the group of 252 Ambassadors has been joined by successive 18 individuals hailing from various cities and representing various research facilities. The cities in question are distinguished by prominent academic centres aspiring to actions aimed at building their own brands as MICE destinations and placing emphasis on the development of local clubs. The annual meeting of the industry and scientific community in Katowice thus became an opportunity to announce the establishment of four Congress Ambassador Clubs. Kraków, Warsaw, Wrocław and Poznań officially formalised their partnership and entered agreements between POT, SKKP and local convention bureaux. Venue operators also co-create the clubs (MPT, operator of Poznań International Fair, in Poznań; KBF, operator of ICE Kraków, in Kraków).
“Heretofore local experiences show that the synergy of academic potential, the institutional support of local government and the establishment of a platform for cooperation with the business community constitute the right path to accomplishing the goal of boosting the number of congresses and conferences and a significant development of the meetings industry”, claimed Paula Fanderowska, President of Polish Conference and Congress Association. She also expressed her hope that the Ambassador Local Clubs project will keep expanding.
As usual, organisers of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala managed to arrange and implement two side events. On Monday, the Silesia Meetings Challenge conference was organised by Polish Conference and Congress Association and officially opened by Agnieszka Jędrzejczyk-Wojciechowska, Vice President of Polish Tourism Organisation. A presentation kicking off the discussion was given by Teresa Buczak, Head of POT’s Department of Strategy and Marketing. Talks focused on growth perspectives of the Silesian meetings industry and stressed the significance of initiatives such as the creation of Local Ambassador Clubs that can effectively secure events for a given city and region. Aneta Książek, Chief Conference Expert with Poland Convention Bureau, took part in one of the panel discussions.
A day after the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala, a meeting of destination marketing organisations representing cities and regions was attended by delegates of convention bureaux from Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Katowice, as well as Lublin, Toruń and Łódź plus special guests from Gdynia (Gdynia Municipality) and the region of Śląskie (Silesian Tourist Organisation). The sessions also involved Marta Wiśniewska, MICE Section Manager, Sales Support Department, Polish Airlines LOT, and Paula Fanderowska, President of Polish Conference and Congress Association. The discussion was centred on topics connected with the National Support Programme for the Meetings Industry and operations of Local Ambassador Clubs.
“The new objective of local clubs will be to support and secure beneficiaries of the National Support Programme for the Meetings Industry. We are looking forward to this cooperation and hope that the Programme will encourage our sector to boost the effectiveness of actions aimed at bringing events to Poland. Programme-related details will be submitted by Local Congress Ambassador Clubs, at regional meetings attended by representatives of PCB POT and PLL LOT”, added Aneta Książek, Chief Conference Expert, Poland Convention Bureau.
The Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala was held under the honorary patronage of Anna Krupka, Secretary of State with the Ministry of Sport and Tourism.
The Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala was organised by the city of Katowice, Polish Tourism Organisation and Polish Conference and Congress Association.
The next edition of the event will be staged in the Muzyczny Theatre in Gdynia on 7 October 2020.
The city of Wisła will host a meeting dedicated to certification rules for scientific events targeted at health professionals. Anna Kacprzyk, Manager for Innovations and Business Ethics, will be the keynote speaker.
“Sector of medical meetings in the light of pharmaceutical industry regulations” is the leitmotif of a keynote speech dedicated to certification rules for scientific events targeted at the healthcare milieu. The speech will cover not only the currently valid rules, but also changes planned in the discussed field. Moreover, Dr. Anna Kacprzyk, a representative of Employers' Union of Innovative Pharmaceutical Companies INFARMA, will draw attention to potential threats for conference venues and hotels set in tourist and health resorts.
According to the website of the Polish Conference and Congress Association, “Regulations introduced in January 2019, and expanded in January 2020 to cover the criterion of geographic setting, will prove particularly severe for conference venues and hotels set in tourist, health and holiday resorts, etc. This is why a Memorandum was prepared upon the initiative of our association, with the meeting aimed at reaching a shared position of communes and the hotel-conference industry, represented by trade organisations and affected entrepreneurs, that we wish to submit to INFARMA”.
The meeting with Dr. Anna Kacprzyk is scheduled to take place in Hotel Gołębiewski in Wisła on 24 September (12 noon - 2pm). If you are interested in becoming a part of the conference, confirm your participation by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Academy of Polish Conference and Congress Association project was launched on 14 October 2019, not coincidentally the National Education Day. Its programme of training sessions was developed by experienced experts, representatives of the meetings industry.
The Academy involves unique trainings aimed at using intriguing and unusual methods to pass on extensive know-how in the area of staging conferences, congresses and events. Its list of goals encompasses developing competencies and identifying predispositions to planning, developing, implementing and coordinating events. The sessions predominantly focus on the practical aspects of the career of a meeting planner, but still take into account theoretical knowledge in the field of marketing communication, law and project management.
The primary objective of the Academy of Polish Conference and Congress Association is to professionalise services aimed at organisers of congresses and conferences, advance knowledge, improve skills and reinforce the professional status of people operating in the market of congresses and conferences. The trainings will be divided into four sectors, depending on the specific profile of operations run by the ordering customer, with particular thematic modules differing in content. After attending a training session, participants will become accredited by Polish Conference and Congress Association.
Lecturers Anna Górska, Vice President for International Cooperation at Polish Conference and Congress Association, and Katarzyna Cioch, Vice President for Research and Development, argue that “The Academy is intended to inspire a discussion about educating the industry as a whole and meant to determine if the Polish meetings sector is sufficiently educated and, consequently, competitive and professional. The international character of the project, the fact that it benefits from the expertise and examples provided by foreign organisations plus grants accreditations, is what makes the Academy virtually peerless in Poland”.
On 5-7 November 2019 the whole global doping community will be looking at the International Congress Centre in Katowice. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) selected the city to host the World Conference on Doping in Sport
The contract for organising the discussed conference in Poland was signed in Seoul on 15 November. On behalf of Poland, the document was signed by Witold Bańka, the Minister of Sports and Tourism, who participated in WADA’s Executive Committee Meeting in the capital of South Korea.
The decision about awarding the event to Katowice was made back in May. This will be fifth edition of the cyclic conference currently staged every six years. The list of previous host cities includes Lausanne, Copenhagen, Madrid and Johannesburg. Minister Bańka launched efforts aimed at bringing the conference to Poland.
"This is a remarkably important event both for Poland and the whole sports community worldwide. Key decisions determining the global directions of battle against doping will be made at the discussed conference”, emphasises Bańka.
The World Conference on Doping in Sport is staged by WADA, an independent foundation established by the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne in 1999. Its key goal is to coordinate activities against the use of illegal drugs in sports. In 2001 WADA’s headquarters were relocated to Montreal.
It is estimated that the 2019 event will be attended by approx. 2,000 representatives of all communities involved in the struggle against doping in sports. Plans for the Katowice-set event assume, i.a. the election of new WADA authorities and adopting amendments to the World Anti-Doping Code. In addition, WADA’s new international standard will be introduced in the field of education and information.
We are glad to see Katowice decisively building its image of a city of major meetings and events. In October the capital of Upper Silesia co-hosted the 7th European Congress of Small and Medium-Size Enterprises and WOMEX - the World Music Expo. Next year will see the organisation of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its organisers expect that close to 18,000 delegates from all over the world will attend and that the event will generate benefits for the entire country”, says Aneta Książek, Chief Conference Expert, Poland Convention Bureau PTO.
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.