Ever since 2010, the Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has been presenting fresh and interesting meeting destinations to international meeting planners.
Till this day we have presented 84 Meetologues from 23 destinations. Each destination is evaluated based on 75 different criteria that enable fair comparison of the destinations. Meeting organizers appreciate the expertise, value and practicality of this guide through congress destinations.
XL MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees
- 1. VIENNA 4.77
- 2. ZURICH 4.70
- 3. MÜNICH 4.69
- 4. EDINBURGH 4.63
- 5. BERLIN 4.62
- 6. DUBAI 4.61
- 7. PRAGUE 4.59
- 8. BARCELONA 4.53
- 9. ATHENS 4.51
- 10. LONDON 4.47
SMART MICE CITY
1. VIENNA, AUSTRIA 4.77/5
There are cities in the world which can prove quite stressful for congress participants, and then there is Vienna. From first-hand experience I can confirm that the city is easy to get around, pleasant and enjoyable and already belongs among the so-called ‘smart’ cities of today. Vienna’s city authorities are convinced that the ‘smart’ city can grow whilst at the same time reducing the use of natural resources. One of the crucial initiatives is the intensive inclusion of the city’s residents, since there is a desire that innovations help improve living standards for all. It is all this that places Vienna among the smart cities of the future and makes it an excellent meeting destination.
|4* and 5* hotel rooms||19,877|
|4* and 5* hotels||189|
|Banquet hall maximum capacity||2,500|
|Largest hall in the city||55,000 m2|
|Theatre style hall maximum capacity||4,320|
2. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND 4.70/5
According to Numbeo, Zurich is a city with one of the highest “quality of life” indexes in our comparison and a similiar result is provided by Mercer. Switzerland’s biggest city boasts quite a few superlatives and is known as the commercial, cultural and congress centre of Switzerland. It is the hub for train, road and air traffic, which gives it a big advantage over its competitors. It offers great congress infrastructure in the Kongresshaus Zurich and numerous other spaces, acccompanied by some amazing special venues. Congress guests will appreciate the excellent public transport, which, in combination with great public infrastructure, is a must if you want to stay at the top of your game.
3. MÜNICH, GERMANY 4.69/5
Unsurprisingly, the city of quality beer, wurst, dirndl skirts and “lederhosen” is also a first-class European congress destination with one of the most developed fair infrastructures in the wider region. There are 31,000 hotel rooms in 395 excellent hotels with conference capacities. Added to the charm and picturesqueness of the Bavarian capital are numerous green open spaces and a high quality of living. Munich airport is also one of the key European air-traffic hubs, cementing the city’s position on the world congress map. Its history has always been distinguished by major events, including the 1972 Summer Olympics. In the world’s beer capital with centuries of tradition, beer doesn’t just flow freely in October, but the whole year round. The city belongs at the very top of our evaluation.
4. EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM 4.63/5
Edinburgh is a top convention destination, which is blessed with outstanding cultural and historical heritage. The destination is in its mature phase, with a fully-developed congress infrastructure and excellent destination management. Four universities and numerous centres of excellence in science and art related to the Edinburgh Science Triangle are a guarantee for further successful development of the destination. Congresses and events are a part of a scientific breakthrough and further development of the city, as it stimulates numerous multiplier effects. The key stakeholders in Edinburgh are aware of this and this message should also be transmitted as an example of best practice in new European destinations.
5. BERLIN, GERMANY 4.62/5
Berlin is exciting in every sense of the word and one can only speculate on the range of its different options in this congress ‘land of plenty’. The Convention Bureau is known for its ingenuity, creativity and the rich offer it brings together. Moreover, Berlin’s congress offer is jam-packed into a very reasonably priced package. It’s no surprise that the city hosts more than 115,000 events annually and this number is expected to increase once the new Berlin Brandenburg airport finally opens its doors. Fuse Berlin’s excellent congress offer with its urban heartbeat and you get a first-class congress destination. The city is also the capital of fun, dance, creativity, socializing and unforgettable nightlife, which sets it apart from its competitors.
L MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees
- 1. ZAGREB 4.37
- 2. TALLINN 4.36
- 3. LJUBLJANA 4.35
- 4. GRAZ 4.34
- 5. VENICE 4.31
- 6. SALZBURG 4.29
- 7. KRAKOW 4.23
- 8. BRATISLAVA 4.18
- 9. VILNIUS 4.17
- 10. INNSBRUCK 4.13
WHITE ZAGREB TOWN
1. ZAGREB, CROATIA 4.37/5
It can be said that Zagreb has a great congress future. As well as Belgrade, Zagreb is also progressing steadily on the chart of development meetings destinations; the final breakthrough of the intire region is intertwined and dependent on the marketing of mayor regional congress cities in the international market. In the last ten years Croatia has radically improved road infrastructure and thus its accessibility. Significantly improved is also air accessibility via Zagreb Airport, which accepts over 40 % of all air traffic in Croatia. The hotel infrastructure with new acquisitions fully satisfies modern congress guests and is perhaps at this moment the best among regional capitals. Zagreb is a pocket-friendly destination that offers a lot for reasonable money.
|4* and 5* hotel rooms||2,666|
|4* and 5* hotels||20|
|Banquet hall maximum capacity||1,600|
|Largest hall in the city||2,360 m2|
|Theatre style hall maximum capacity||1,851|
2. TALLINN, ESTONIA 4.36/5
In terms of congress needs, of the Baltic triplets Tallinn is probably the most picturesque and diverse. The city has gone through many historical changes, right through from the medieval salesmen and knights of the Teutonic order, to the protestant reformation, Swedish and Russian imperialism, turbulences of both Wars and then to the Soviet Union, before final independence and the flourishing of its IT-industry and capitalism. All of these events today create a special culture that is the basis for development of a congress industry not lagging behind the competitive destinations. The congress industry is going through a real boom and Tallinn, with this year’s EU presidency, certainly deserves a strong round of applause. Tourism: Tourism is a branch of the economy that develops fast. According to the “Tallinn 2025” strategic plan, the capital of Estonia could become a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region.
3. LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA 4.35/5
According to its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.500 participants). It is positioned side by side with the new EU member states and geographically in the region of the Western Balkans. With two top-level convention centers and a very well-developed hotel meetings offer, Ljubljana is the region’s leading congress destination. At the end of last year in order to give Ljubljana a new sales and promotional momentum, a partnership called Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (LSBT) was established; it is composed of interested partners from both the private and public area. The city is extremely safe and one of the region’s most sustainably-oriented.
4. GRAZ, AUSTRIA 4.34/5
Graz is a mature tourist destination, which is despite the crisis recording a steady growth of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in all tourism segments. Cultural diversity, rich history and the connecting Mura River have formed a high experiential diversity, which is reflected in the many opportunities for congress and incentive organizers and planners. In terms of infrastructure and transport, Graz is still the leading regional convention destination and can be also in this term described as modern, dynamic and internationally competitive. With more than 154 congress event and some 46.000 participants it achieves excellent results.
5. VENICE, ITALY 4.31/5
The magical city par excellence and one of the most extraordinary world destinations. Venice and its province are unquestionably hospitable by vocation, as illustrated by some of the most famous hotels and temples of hospitality. Venice is a city which has long been hosting world events. As a commercial crossroads it is easy to reach either by land or by sea, the city offering various means of transport. A city with irresistible charm and a wide range of different offers typical to the “Italian way of life”.
M MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees
- 1. DUBROVNIK 4,33
- 2. VILLACH 4,13
- 3. KLAGENFURT 4,12
- 4. SPLIT 4,11
- 5. ŠIBENIK 4,03
- 5. BLED 4,03
- 6. SCHLADMING 4,02
- 7. OPATIJA 4,01
- 8. PORTOROSE 3,98
- 9. ROVINJ 3,97
- 10. POREČ 3,93
PEARL OF THE ADRIATIC
1. DUBROVNIK, CROATIA 4.33/5
Dubrovnik is the flagship of regional tourism and is commonly the first association of meetings organizers we meet daily. It is the closest in the region to renowned Mediterranean convention destinations Cannes and Monte Carlo, and it will be even closer after the completion of the convention center. So far the center is successfully replaced by modern and well-equipped centers at hotels such as Dubrovnik Palace, Excelsior, Bellevue, Grand Villa Argentina, Importanne Resort, Dubrovnik President, Valamar Lacroma and Radisson Blue. Well-developed is the entire conference infrastructure including destination management and creative agency scene. The city is safe and one of the tourist icons of the Adriatic and justifiably the most painted tourist skyline with unprecedented experiential diversity for conference guests.
|4* and 5* hotel rooms||4,165|
|4* and 5* hotels||29|
|Banquet hall maximum capacity||700|
|Largest hall in the city||900 m2|
|Theatre style hall maximum capacity||1,200|
2. VILLACH, AUSTRIA 4.13/5
Villach is the second largest city of Carinthia and its tourist sights attract an enormous amount of visitors. Villach has also become established as a small Silicon Valley in the Alps, with an international character reflected in the town‘s infrastructure. The main reason for a meetings industry in this part of Austria are the numerous incentive programmes, all of which you can engage with in a very clean environment. The most charming aspects are the Carinthian way of life, cultural diversity and a general sense of casualness. Locals also like to emphasise the border location, sat at the crossroads of three nations, which hasn’t been totally picked up in a congress sense.
3. KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA 4.12/5
Klagenfurt is a likable alpine congress destination with rich cultural heritage and high experiential diversity. Key advantage is definitely fairy tale like well-maintained and pleasant environment, quality offer that is above average in regional sense, and professionalism of suppliers. Position at the crossroads of important routes is also an important factor in competitiveness of this destination. The city is an important inter social and European transit region that is easily reachable thanks to modern highways and rail connections. Klagenfurt as the center of Carinthia with its tidiness, safety and ratio between price and quality is one of the best convention destinations in the wider region. The city builds its meetings offer on a sustainable development.
4. SPLIT, CROATIA 4.11/5
Among the Adriatic congress destinations Split has become serious competition to Dubrovnik in the last years. The main disadvantages of the destination are bad cooperation between the service providers, lack of air traffic connections to key markets and not enough destination marketing. If Split gets a real convention centre in the future, it could become one of the leading congress destinations in the Mediterranean. New and excellent hotel capacities, good road connections to Europe and wonderful surroundings, with numerous incentive programmes, all bolster this proposition. Split is still one of the most unexploited congress destinations in the Mediterranean.
5. ŠIBENIK, CROATIA 4.03/5
Šibenik very rarely raises any association with the meeting industry. In the process of transition from an industrial city into a tourist destination it has not yet asserted its image among competing cities. Despite this, it is a fact that it has excellent conditions and is somehow considered to be a hidden jewel of the Croatian congress offer. For ease of accessibility it may be a suitable location for small association conferences as well as a variety of incentive programmes.
S MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees
- 1. NASSFELD HERMAGOR 4,05
- 2. BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM 4,02
- 3. GORIŠKA BRDA 3,87
- 4. HVAR 3,85
- 5. KRANJSKA GORA 3,84
- 6. MALI LOŠINJ 3,82
- 6. BOHINJ 3,82
- 7. SOČA VALLEY 3,81
- 8. LAŠKO 3,78
- 9. PODČETRTEK 3,77
- 10. UMAG 3,76
IN THE HEART OF ALPS
1. NASSFELD HERMAGOR, AUSTRIA 4.05/5
In the last couple of years, the tourist offer of Nassfeld has seen some big investments. More than 26 million euros have been put into the Nassfeld ski resort (together with Pressegger See) in the last two years. The four valleys on the austro-italian border offer 110 kilometers of ski slopes, with 30 modern ski lifts ensuring smooth connections between them. Nassfeld is also famous for its high number of sunshine hours, as the protective effect of the Hohe Tauern mountain range blesses the town with the most sun in the region. This means that there are plenty of options for incentive and team building programmes in nature throughout the year. Natural conditions and a high quality of hotel accomodation positions Nassfeld among the most attractive incentive destinations in Central Europe.
|4* and 5* hotel rooms||500|
|4* and 5* hotels||25|
|Banquet hall maximum capacity||190|
|Largest hall in the city||340 m2|
|Theatre style hall maximum capacity||250|
2. BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM, AUSTRIA 4.02/5
Bad Kleinkirchheim is known across the world for its skiing heritage, as the town is a long-time host of women world-cup ski races. Some might even recognize it for its thermal resort built in the 17th century. Less known is the fact that Bad Kleinkirchheim is an excellent incentive destination sprouting with diverse and exciting offer, which spreads across both the winter and summer season. There’s also no shortage of great accommodations. The incentive programmes range from active sports activities to historical and culinary experiences. What separates the town from the regional competition is a top-notch culinary offer, developed in a different way in every hotel. All of this makes Bad Kleinkirchheim suitable for more demanding incentive groups.
3. GORIŠKA BRDA, SLOVENIA 3.87/5
A number of the features of Brda make it special and unique in the wider area. In the first place is its openness to the sea, creating a pleasant Mediterranean climate, followed up by its natural beauty with rich cultural heritage and eco-preserved countryside with exceptional culinary and wine offer, unrivalled in the region. A panorama of hills with a cluster of agglomerations and subdivided farmland and countless terraced vineyards is certainly one of the most beautiful Italian-Slovenian landscape-aesthetic experiences. In the field of tourism-convention offer, Brda is perhaps the future formula of tourism development: “less is more”. The convention fate of Brda and Collio is in co-operation and joint promotion.
4. HVAR, CROATIA 3.85/5
None of the more than 1,000 Croatian islands has such karma and recognition as Hvar. Definitely a “must” Croatian destination, right behind Dubrovnik. Distance from the mainland gives it a touch of boutique smallness. On the beauty of the island, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, there is no point in wasting words, since there is no shortage of various urban legends and superlatives. Among other things, it used to be called Austrian Madeira. In Hvar, the urban has been coexisting with the rural for centuries.
3. KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA 3.84/5
The most important winter sports centre in Slovenia has among the Slovenian ski resorts the strongest brand, which is known worldwide mainly due to the Cup Vitranc. Slowly and steadily it has also developed a summer tourist offer, which enables the development of congress tourism. Both seasons are now virtually in balance. With the latest changes in the field of hospitality it will surely strengthen its position as an important centre for the implementation of incentive programmes and small conferences. Due to the recognition of the ski jumps in Planica and Vitranc Cup it has a high priority over other rivals in the region.