In 2022, congress tourism is back in the spotlight: having an economic impact of more than 70 million euros. Industry recovery is now solid, growing by +59% over last year. And the City convenes an Advisory Board chaired by the Mayor to increase the number and quality of conferences.
FLORENCE – The Florentine congress industry confirms its positive trend also in 2022: there were almost 100 national and international congresses, conventions and corporate events held last year in the Tuscan capital, mainly at the spaces of Firenze Fiera (Palazzo dei Congressi, the new Palazzo degli Affari and Fortezza da Basso). Data are quite clear: 40,000 delegates came to the city and an economic impact on the destination of just over 70 million euros, growing by +59% compared to 2021, and significant economic, social and cultural benefits.
Asdvisory Board and meeting legacy
Considering the efforts of the past few years and such encouraging figures, investing in the human capital of our academic-scientific community is more and more strategic to increase the number of international events that choose Florence as their host city. This is the reason behind the founding of the Advisory Board of the Florence Academic Leadership Program, chaired by the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella and gathered on January 31. The agenda focused on capitalizing on the Meeting Legacy, by developing a dedicated strategy to enhance the positive legacy left once the conference ends. An effective example might be ISLRR 2025, the low-vision conference that will provide insights for the city to develop projects on inclusiveness and accessibility.
“Enhancing Florence as a city of knowledge and its related promotion as an international destination for congress tourism are an increasingly central issue” explains the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella. “In addition to the undoubted economic and social impact of this business on the territory, this kind of tourism allows us strategic planning years in advance and a more careful flow governance. By means of the invaluable work of the city’s Ambassadors who form the Advisory Board, it is now essential to focus energies on raising the quality of the congresses to be acquired, identifying clusters of particular interest to Florence, the legacy of which will be further developed when the congress is completed, for the benefit of all. The City Council will necessarily have to play a central role in these strategic decisions for the city.”
“The research system, together with the education system, is crucial in determining the future prospects of the country, and, of course, of our city” Rector Alessandra Petrucci explains. “The Athenaeum is therefore committed on two levels: both in the training of professionals and in the implementation of the research system, which implies a strong involvement of the academic world and, in particular, of the healthcare world. Strengthening research and training professional drivers of their field contributes significantly in making Florence a preferred destination for conference tourism. The synergy between the academic world and the productive base represents a propitious and virtuous growth opportunity for the entire city – also to our young people, to gain experience and breathe that air of internationality, which is the primary objective of our actions.”
“As a result of the excellent performance achieved in 2022″ declares Firenze Fiera President Lorenzo Becattini “considering the events already contracted in the current year and the numerous national and international association congresses scheduled for the next three years, we are striving to offer an even more competitive district in the global market, with even more versatile, capacious, hyper-technological and green spaces such as the new Palazzo degli Affari and the Fortezza Recovery Plan with the new Bellavista and Cavaniglia pavilions”.
“The Advisory Board constitution represents a further qualitative step forward in the bid selection and in the attempt to identify congresses that will leave a positive legacy for the City, to be nurtured and developed together with Florentine institutions” President of Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau Federico Barraco states. “A synergistic relationship with the City and the University is crucial to our industry, and through the Advisory Board we have now achieved another significant milestone in the City’s congress strategy”.
Congresses won for the next years
So many bids developed during the past year by the Florence Convention Bureau – the MICE division of Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau – and event confirmations for the next few years, confirming a trend that is marching ahead at a rapid pace.
Thanks to Firenze Convention Bureau, Firenze Fiera and Kenes Group, in 2024 all eyes will be on the Annual Congress of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS 2024), a 5-day event that brings together 500 microbiologists. A key contribution in winning this bid came from Prof. Rino Rappuoli, current President of IUMS and recently awarded by the City of Florence as Ambassador of the city along with Prof. Mariagrazia Pizza for this very important achievement.
In March 2024, 4,000 delegates from around the world will arrive in town to attend the 17th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD 2024). An important acquisition, born from the business development activities of Firenze Convention Bureau and made real through a coordinated strategy with Firenze Fiera and Kenes Group.
Back for the second time in Florence, in 2025, the annual meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT 2025), the most important medical and scientific congress for research and education in the field of blood and marrow transplantation and cell therapy in Europe. As many as 6,500 delegates are expected to attend. Winning the bid, developed through a collaboration between Firenze Convention Bureau and Firenze Fiera, saw the decisive contribution of Dr. Riccardo Saccardi, local host for the local community and Director of the Marrow Transplant Center afferent to Cellular Therapies and Transfusion Medicine of the Careggi Hospital-University of Florence.
2025 will also be the year of the 15th Conference of the International Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ISLRR 2025), a leading event that aims to stimulate scientific research in the field of low vision and rehabilitation of people with low vision. In September 2025 more than 1,000 delegates will be welcomed in the venues of Firenze Fiera, with which Florence Convention Bureau and OIC Group led the bid.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.