In the beginning of May, the International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA) announced its long-awaited first results of the congress tourism statistics for 2011 which showed that Prague has successfully set out to a journey to achieve its ambitious goals. In ICCA’s world congress destination ranking, Prague achieved a significantly better position than in 2010 – it ranked 14th best congress destination in the world.
Due to a significant increase in the number of international association congresses held in Prague, the city made it to the TOP 15 from the 19th place in 2010, sharing the 14th position with another successful European destination Copenhagen, both with the total number of 98 events; the previous year there were 85 association meetings held in Prague. Therefore, Prague has a great chance to achieve its ambitious goal set last year – to get back into the top ten of the most successful congress destinations by 2014 and to the top five by 2020. The Czech Republic ranked 31st worldwide with 122 events in 2011.
"The results of the ICCA statistics for last year really thrilled us. We were expecting some improvement in Prague’s position, but it was a pleasant surprise for us that the city made such a great shift in the ICCA’s ranking. We see the better position of Prague as a reward for our hard work over the past two years. The city’s success is also partly the result of an excellent cooperation with the members of the Prague Convention Bureau throughout the year, who were actively involved in the collection of statistical data on Prague congress industry, which was initiated by the Prague Convention Bureau in the beginning of 2011. I believe that with their help we will more easily reach the goals that Prague Convention Bureau set for the following years," says the director of Prague Convention Bureau Lenka Zlebkova. "Our big thank goes to the city leaders headed by the Mayor of Prague Mr. Svoboda. We are glad that they understand the benefits this branch of tourism industry brings to our city and that they support us in our activities," she adds.
The positive trend is also demonstrated by statistical data whose collection the Prague Convention Bureau started last year; the collected data refer not only to the field of association congresses, but also to corporate events and other meetings taking place in Prague. In the first quarter of 2012, PCB recorded an increase in the number of events by almost 10% compared with the previous year. It is obvious that the economic recession in this area has been stabilized and the overall trend will be increasing this year.
Congress industry is very significant for any destination including Prague. International meetings not only bring to Prague excellent promotion and advertising, but they are a source of extraordinary economic benefits for tourism. Business opportunities associated with organizing such events are crucial for many social and conference facilities, hotels, restaurants, catering, transport and audiovisual companies, as well as many other service providers. The average expenditure of an international congress delegate in the destination is more than 800 EUR. The total annual accumulated income in Prague is about 800. 000. 000 EUR, which shows that international congresses represent an important support of the city’s economic development.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.