Vienna emerging as a global convention capital

wientourismus-neues-gebaeude-invalidenstrasse-19to1Vienna is surging towards becoming the business convention capital of the world, having recorded  4,685 conferences, conclaves, consultations and symposiums, in 2018,  up by 15 per cent over the previous year’s figure. The segment’s exemplary report has enabled an additional 21,500 jobs.

According to Vienna Tourist Board (VTB) director, Norbert Kettner, the 4,685 events comprised 1,544 congresses (540 national and 1,004 international), and 3,141 corporate events, meetings and incentives, (1,273 national and 1,868 international).

Kettner presented the results along with Vienna Convention Bureau chief Christian Woronka.

Conglomerates and big businesses are opting for the Austrian capital due to the availability of an irresistibly salubrious environment, timeless charm, magnificent palaces, abundant green spaces and gastronomic delights, features no other region or location anywhere can proffer.

The convention industry contributed Euro 1.198 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, marking an increase of 63 percent over 2009 figures. Earlier, the industry’s contribution had also crossed the ‘symbolic’ Euro 1.0 billion mark in 2015 itself.

In 2018, some 631,000 delegates had generated 1.925million bed nights. Both totals represent an increase of three percent in the GDP and were new records.

The Austria Centre Vienna (ACV) has also become the preferred venue for the European Union (EU) Council, having already hosted around 130 events, represented by more than 20,000 delegates.

These include numerous high-level political confabulations, attracting a lot of media coverage, besides calling for increased security. They were hosted as green events, virtually paperless, with locally-sourced catering and Vienna spring water, fresh from the taps.

The industry’s economic impact, touching a new high, included direct expenditure by delegates and their family members, event managers and exhibitors, besides income accruing to food and beverage suppliers, printers, construction companies, banks, insurance agencies, etc).

The findings from a survey conducted by the VTB last year, involving 3,650 respondents aged between 18 and 70 years, reveal that 94 percent favourably viewed tourism sector’s renewed focus on generating more jobs annually.

Seventy five percent of the surveyed identified conventions and symposiums as a significant element of tourism. Fifty eight percent supported the idea of strengthening Vienna’s position as a global convention centre, wanting it to focus more and more on conventions over the next few years.