MICE METEORITE FROM THE URAL MOUNTAINS
Forget every stereotype that you’ve heard about Yekaterinburg. Only one is true. The winters are extremely cold, but the people, extremely warm and immensely hospitable. The city has undergone a transformation from an industrial city to a super-modern 21st-century metropolis. Formerly referred to as the Manchester of Russia, today Yekaterinburg is the creative industry capital, a science hub and the heart of one of the most impressive congress stories. The city’s skyline is impressive, comparable to those of notorious megalopolises. The architecture spans from constructivism to modern glass skyscrapers. A total contrast to the modernity of Yekaterinburg is the Orthodox churches and Soviet architecture that surprise you while driving around. As a whole, the city feels very modern and tidy. An extremely fast and efficient subway system and the well-developed public infrastructure in general also add to the good first impression.
The ultramodern IEC Ekaterinburg Expo
When rich deposits of oil and gas where discovered in Qatar in 1949, rapid economic and politic development began. As there is an awareness that natural sources are limited, a strategic development plan has already been prepared. By the year 2030 Qatar wishes to thoroughly reform the country and make it sustainable and technologically advanced. In doing so the country does not wish to lose its Arab traditions and culture, which remain an important part of all projects. Doha currently resembles a huge construction site, where new and magnificent buildings are growing at a phenomenal rate. In the future, the city wishes to become an international centre for tourism, finance and development. The ambitious agenda is based on four pillars: Economic, Human, Social and Environmental Development. Congress tourism is a kind of interdisciplinary link between all four pillars and is therefore an integral part of the strategy.
Secret Ural soul
Raw nature and tough life conditions have moulded a distinct, patient, inventive, rational and persistent “Ural” character. With their hospitality and good nature, your stay in Yekaterinburg is bound to be a pleasant one. In his fables, Pavel Bazhov describes the Ural folklore, myths, and legends, a great starting point for understanding the culture of the people in this part of the country. The stories say more about the soul of the inhabitants than any tourist guide. The culture is hard to understand, but it quickly gets under your skin, as the locals are so kind and always ready to help. It is one of the city’s big benefits, especially when it comes to organising events.
The football stadium in the city centre is the culmination of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Despite the controversial story that they had to increase the capacity of the stadium with prefabricated stands, the stadium is still impressive and can host sporting events on the highest level. Corporate events in line with their corporate hospitality in special spectator boxes can also be carried out. The World Cup also brought the renovation of public infrastructure, which supports the development of the meetings industry well. The memory of the football matches is still very much alive, and Yekaterinburg proved that it can host even the most demanding projects. The World Cup did a lot for the image of the city, and after 2018, the capital of Ural is definitely in the minds of more people.
International exhibitions bring host destinations permanent reputation and residency in the history books. Not only are these kinds of exhibitions a reflection of modern society, but a showcase of future trends. The idea of hosting the Expo 2025 international exhibition is still hot in Yekaterinburg. Plans for building a “smart city” next to Zgornji Iset were already made, but the competition was fierce and Yekaterinburg lost the bid to Osaka. Despite this, the project brought together the entire city, united under the slogan; “Changing the World: Innovations and Better Life for Future Generations”. I’m glad that the city is continually making an effort, as Russia certainly deserves an exhibition of this calibre. We are keeping our fingers crossed in the hope of Yekaterinburg winning the latest bid for Universiade 2023.
An abundance of culture
With 50 theatres, 2 philharmonic halls, 19 concert halls, and 60 galleries, Yekaterinburg is a cultural epicentre. Talking about culture, we cannot forget the rock subculture, which spread from the area across Russia. Yekaterinburg is the capital of Russian rock and lately, Russian rap music as well. Everything comes together during the Ural Music Nights, an excellent event, bringing a true musical explosion across 80 stages and with 2500 artists. The entire programme is free and is an excellent source of inspiration for meeting planners. After the festival, your head will be full of ideas of how you can culturally upgrade your next event in the capital of the Ural region.
The educational-memorial centre is dedicated to the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who spent a large portion of his life living in Yekaterinburg. The centre is a hybrid between a congress centre, museum, and public space. With the diverse facilities it offers, it is a nice addition to the traditional congress infrastructure. It houses a museum, library, archive, educational centre, children’s space, and conference halls. The museum exhibits over 30,000 artifacts and 130,000 photographs. A visit to the museum is an interesting incentive experience, bringing a special insight into Russian history. The conference spaces are different and inspiring, perfect for people, who aren’t afraid to step outside of the box and design the space creatively.
There is no lack of excellent cuisine in Yekaterinburg. You will find most dishes comprising of different sorts of dumplings or pelmeni, as they call them. You will also find shangi, traditional pies with savoury or sweet fillings. A surprise for most people from the Balkans are the Serbian restaurants scattered across town. The culinary offer is very diverse and international, an intertwinement of history and the legacy of travellers who have left their influence on the city. Often, the most delicious dishes are the ones with simple ingredients, rooted deep in the cultural heritage of the inhabitants.
The locals like to take advantage of summer temperatures to venture into nature. In the vast forests, where pine trees and slender birches prevail, I stood silently and admired the beauty of the “Bazhovskie Mesta” park. Nature had a tranquil effect on me, rewarding me with spectacular views. Our tour guide was very interesting, surprising us with stories and inspiring us. Another positive surprise was the environmental consciousness, which is very high. All of the visitors to the national park are extremely respectful. Not surprisingly, there are over 20 ski slopes in the Ural Mountains and spending free time in active pursuits is a way of life.
Over the years, the city has hosted numerous mega-events, two being the most resounding; INPROM (The International Industrial Trade Fair) and GMIS (The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit). Both events take place at IEC Ekaterinburg, attracting an incredibly wide audience. Every year, INPROM is attended by over 45,000 participants from 95 countries. It is the largest fair in Russia, hosting over 600 exhibitors. The GMIS summit is attended by 1000 participants every year and numerous international delegations. Both events are proof that the city is capable of hosting the toughest and most challenging international projects. Lots of international congresses take place in the city, like the Russian National Congress of Radiology, which also attracts around 1000 participants every year.
The heart of the congress offer is undoubtedly the new congress centre that belongs to the very best in the world. With over 80,000 m2 it enables the execution of various events. The offer is nicely rounded off by the World Trade Centre and the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre with slightly smaller capacities. The city also has a rich selection of hotels, among which the Hyatt Regency truly stands out with its congress capacities and offer. Other noticeable hotels are the Ramada Yekaterinburg & Spa, Novotel Hotel, Onegin Hotel, and Atrium Palace Hotel, all fitted with smaller conference centres. The newcomer is the convenient Angelo by Vienna House Hotel just a stone’s throw from the airport. In the city and its vicinity, there are over 500 hotels, and many of them offer conference facilities. Another eye-catching event space are the special venues that range from cultural institutions to beautiful natural landmarks. The congress scene is extremely complex, and it is great to see that it has been connected by the newly founded Ural Congress Bureau that has become the engine of local and international promotion.
Instead of a conclusion
In the heart of Russia, I realised that St Petersburg and Moscow are not the only cities in Russia that have amazing congress infrastructure. It is no wonder that Yekaterinburg attracts large numbers of local event organisers and is becoming increasingly appealing internationally. The city’s location as a juncture between Asia and Europe seems ideal regarding the geopolitical state in the world. The combination of ultra-modern congress infrastructure, numerous special venues, impressive nature, and unparalleled hospitality is contagious. It is also a guarantee for rapid further development.
YEKATERINBURG INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2019
MTLG INDEX / 2019 EDITION
XL – MEETING DESTINATION
Destinations that can host over 2,000 congress attendees.
- The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms: 17,000
- The number of 4* and 5* category hotels: 491
- Banquet hall maximum capacity: 4,000
- The largest hall in the city (in m2): 10,010 m2
- Destination population: 1,468,333
- Maximum hall capacity in theatre style: 4,200
WHAT’S HOT IN 2019
Major conferences and congresses 2019:
MICE DAY 2019 / June 28, 2019
The MICE DAY 2019 is the venue for meetings of industry leaders and novices, customers and suppliers, creators and communicators.
INNOPROM 2019 / July 8–11, 2019
INNOPROM is an International Industrial Fair held in Yekaterinburg annually since 2010. It is the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia.
GMIS 2019 / July 9–11, 2019
Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, #GMIS2019.
MOTOR 2019 / July 8–12, 2019
International conference “Mathematical Optimisation Theory and Operations Research”
GRAND EXPO URAL / September 17–20, 2019
A large event bringing eight thousand visitors from over 10 countries and combining four international specialised exhibitions and several international events.
COMPARISON WITH THE REGION
Yekaterinburg lies on the border between Europe and Asia and bridges the gap between the two parts of the world, which is one of its key advantages. Historically, Yekaterinburg has been perceived as the entrance to Asia, which could explain its growth into one of the most developed countries in Russia. The meetings industry followed that growth and are one of the key economic sectors along with telecommunication, finances, logistics, and trade. The city is also the centre of science and education with numerous elite schools and institutes, which are also the driving force of events and conferences. Excellent local infrastructure and solid accessibility make Yekaterinburg a city with one of the highest potentials in Russia if not the world.
Pelmeni – a traditional Ural dish made from minced meat, rolled into a thin dough made from flour, eggs, and water. Pork, lamb or beef are used for the filling, with a combination of meats being very popular.