Photo Credit: WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud

The Vienna Convention Bureau at the Vienna Tourist Board supports new large-scale events taking place in the Austrian capital: a biotech congress, an incentive trip from China and an event with a strong social and sustainability dimension confirm that Vienna’s appeal as a meetings destination is undiminished even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB), a department of the Vienna Tourist Board, acquires congresses, corporate events and incentives worldwide for the Austrian capital, which is a leading meetings destination on the international stage. At present, there are more than 110 applications in the works for national and international congresses and corporate events with up to 20,000 participants, which are due to take place between the second half of 2021 and 2030. A flurry of recent confirmations from organizers of large-scale business events is a particularly encouraging development.

Biotech and the bioeconomy

In partnership with LISAVienna (Life Sciences Austria), the Vienna Convention Bureau has succeeded in bringing one of the world’s leading biotechnology congresses to the city: the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology & the Bioeconomy (EFIB) will take place at the Austria Center Vienna as a hybrid event from October 5-7, 2021. Around 400 leading experts from the worlds of industry and politics are expected to participate in the on-site proceedings. Vienna’s outstanding quality of life and the presence of around 500 life sciences companies in the city were the keys to securing the new acquisition, which was confirmed last year despite the pandemic.

Photo Credit: Ludwig Schedl

Incentive trip from China

Confirmation of an incentive trip involving 3,000 participants from China in spring 2022 gives hope that critically important overseas markets are poised to make a strong recovery. The Nu Skin Enterprises cosmetics groups is treating its 3,000 top salespeople to a four-day trip to Vienna. Following an intensive acquisition process, the Vienna Tourist Board’s market experts successfully landed the largest-ever incentive trip from China for the capital’s Visitor Economy, fending off strong competition from London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague and Dubai in the process.

Meeting in the name of social entrepreneurship

Around 1,900 international participants are expected in Vienna for the World Social Entrepreneurs Marketplace in Vienna from July 28 to 31, 2022. Dedicated to ethical and sustainable entrepreneurship, this international gathering will be hosted by the Austria Center Vienna.

Christian Woronka

Head of Vienna Convention Bureau

Christian Woronka, head of the Vienna Tourist Board’s Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB) said: “The coronavirus pandemic triggered a wave of innovation and digitalization in the meetings sector, and far from replacing physical meetings, virtual conferences will go on to complement them. Going forward, many meetings will – as current examples show – be held as hybrid events. The Vienna Convention Bureau is working hard to ensure that Vienna remains among the most successful meetings destinations in the world while continuing to help organizers plan their events during and after the pandemic.”

Photo Credit: Wien Tourismus/Martina Siebenhandl

Industry testimonials

Agnes Borg, EFIB organizer and Director of Industrial Biotechnology at congress organizer EuropaBio in Brussels said: “Vienna is a trailblazer when it comes to smart urban solutions, and it leads the way in sustainable technologies and innovation projects. The city is also home to around 500 life sciences companies. We really appreciate the support from the Vienna Convention Bureau and hold its expertise in very high regard. Its encyclopedic knowledge of Vienna as a destination for meetings and events is truly impressive, and proved a great help when organizing and planning EFIB 2021.”

Peter Hanke, City Councilor for Finance, Labor, Business, International Affairs and Wiener Stadtwerke; President, Vienna Tourist Board added: “Global exchange will continue to be an important driver of progress and economic development in the future. For many years now, Vienna has successfully positioned itself as an attractive location for business and research, as well as a hub for international businesses in CEE. This is why the capital’s continued development as a destination for congresses and company events plays a central role in our Vienna 2030 – Economy & Innovation strategy.”

Norbert Kettner, Managing Director, Vienna Tourist Board concluded: “Covid-19 has been a major setback for Vienna as a meetings destination, which is why new congress acquisitions are particularly significant because they send out a signal to the world that we are starting to pick up where we left off. It all shows that Vienna has lost none of its attractiveness and has already made the first definitive steps towards translating the desire for live experiences into real-life opportunities. As one of the most in-demand congress destinations worldwide, Vienna holds all the cards, putting it in pole position for the restart.”

Key indicators for the Vienna meetings industry

Congresses and corporate events are a flagship segment and an important factor behind Vienna’s visibility and competitiveness as a tourism and business location. With around 5,000 events inducing an economic impact of around EUR 1 billion a year before the pandemic struck, Vienna is one of the most highly sought-after meetings destinations in the world. Analysis of the long-term averages for Vienna reveals that one in eight overnight stays in the city is attributable to meetings (congresses, corporate events and incentives).

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