All over the world there are various subvention programmes that destinations provide to attract international meetings to the city and, obviously, city representatives are aware of the fact that subventions provided to conferences can have a strong influence in winning a number of bids. We have asked the destinations of New Europe and their Convention Bureaus about this hot topic and, as you will see, most of them “officially” don’t offer subventions. The official answers we got are quite formal, with some even avoiding answering and offering more information, but the general picture would seem to suggest that some destinations are in a way financially ‘bribing’ international congresses.

If you ask the Convention Bureaus whether subventions are ‘the latest big thing’ in the meeting industry or whether should they be considered as ‘the very last option for a destination to win an association meeting’, they don’t think they are the very last, but not at the top either. Although subventions are the latest pull factor for meeting decision makers, they are insufficient in themselves or as the sole criteria to win a business bid, as the destination itself should also have natural and cultural appeal to the meeting planners and, most significantly, they should have attractive and appropriate meeting and accommodation facilities, as well as developed and uncomplicated transport connections.

Dra. Paula Oliveira, Executive Director of Turismo de Lisboa

Financial support is not decisive
Financial support is just one more element of the bidding selection by the organiser. It can add to the strength of a bid, but in most cases is not decisive…


Gernot Marx, Head of Salzburg Convention Bureau

Subventions don’t win association events
Subventions can never be a first approach to win association events. However, it is still one of the first questions to be asked by clients…

Roman Muška, CEO of Prague Convention Bureau

Subventions can play a significant role
Financial support should not be the main deciding factor, but just a help to those in need of it. Last year Prague hosted the 12th European Congress of Epileptology, ECE 2016, where the financial subventions played a significant role in the decision-making process when selecting the destination. The congress attracted more than 2,000 delegates…

Janusz Nowak, Director of Convention Bureau Katowice

Subventions can strengthen your position
For second tier cities some kind of additional help for event organisers can strengthen their position when in competition to win an association meeting. In this year alone the city of Katowice has to date attracted 28 events in such a way…

David Noack, Director of the Madrid Convention Bureau

Working closely with the organiser
The last reason for winning/hosting a meeting would be to be able to make a proposal more compact and attractive than the other destinations you’re in competition against. We always need to work closely with the organiser and understand what he or she is expecting from Madrid…

Tatiana Anisimova, CEO of Moscow Convention Bureau

The bigger the event, the higher the stakes
When it comes to Moscow, subventions are more of a complementary factor. Moscow has a worldwide reputation for its science capital, therefore we mostly rely on the influence and reputation of the scientific organisations that bid for certain events…

Alexis Galinos, CEO of ADDMA

Creating Synergies
According to latest research, subventions play a somewhat important role in the decision-making process when it comes to associations choosing the next host destinations for their congresses. However, in my experience other factors are far more decisive…

Hicran Özbük, General manager of Istanbul Convention Bureau

A Unique Instrument To Win
It is a unique instrument in the international world of conventions to further strengthen the country’s business meetings brand and to position the destination as one of the world’s leading international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions destinations…

Jolanta Beniuliene, Head of Tourism and the Vilnius Convention Bureau

Value For Money Is Key
Depending on the destination, there might be more important factors than something like a subvention. For instance, value for money at a given destination should be an important consideration for meeting and event planners. After all, added value benefits both the meeting planner and the destination…

MICHAŁ Brandt, Senior Business Marketing and Promotion Specialist at Gdansk Convention Bureau

Location First, Subvention Second
I don’t think they are the very last, but not at the top either. When companies choose destinations for their events, and I can tell you this from my experience, the first thing is location and transportation. Does the city have good, direct flight connections? How long does the flight take? What’s the distance to the airport?


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