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Prague Convention Bureau

Prague approved congressional inscentive support

Last week, the Prague City Council approved an incentive for congress organizers in the form of free public transport for congresses with more than 500 participants. Prague Convention Bureau as an association of more than 60 subjects active in congress industry and a member of the working group led by the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations and Tourism of the Prague City Council, Mr. Jan Kalousek, very much welcomes this step.

Incentive support to the congress organizers approved by the Council is not intended for private entities (agencies) who realize the congresses, but for the associations (the organizers of the congresses), i.e. non-profit organizations. This investment will return many times to Prague. The tourism brings 100 billion CZK annually on average to public budgets. Congress tourism belongs to the economically most beneficial forms of tourism. In Prague alone, it directly employs more than 4,500 people and generates turnover of 10 billion CZK every year, the average expenditure per participant of congress, conference or exhibition per day being approximately three times higher than expenditure of an average tourist coming to relax. Thus it brings about 100 million CZK to the budget of Prague.

"Congress tourism is essential for the economic development of the city and the state, and if the city wants that its economic level of living reach the world standard, it should support it. Major congress events reinforce the status and image of the city. Large congresses stimulate investments, support the role of the destination as a centre of international business, trade, scientific research, education and technologies,” says director of Prague Convention Bureau Lenka Zlebkova.

Not all congress participants will be entitled to free public transport. The incentive is intended only for congresses with more than 500 participants, at least 20% of them being from abroad, who will spend minimum 2 nights in Prague. Public transport in Prague is used by only 10-15% of all congress participants, therefore this step is just the City’s symbolic gesture of support to elite conferences; nevertheless, it is groundbreaking. Until now, there was almost no system of support to major international scientific conferences, while in cities around the world far greater incentives are standardly provided. Thus, this is one of the main criteria for selection of destination. The lack of local support is therefore one of the reasons why Prague dropped in the world congress destinations ranking from the 8th position in 2006 to 19th position in 2010.

In the future, the Czech capital would like to get inspired by Vienna (number one in world congress tourism), Paris, or Glasgow, and offer, for example, welcome receptions, promotional materials, or partially cover the costs of candidacy. PCB is actively cooperating in the preparation of transparent rules for receiving such aid.

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