l_meeting_destinations

MEETING STAR 2021

A decade ago, at Toleranca Marketing agency, we developed a system of evaluating congress destinations with the help of an original matrix dubbed the “MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX” or simply MTLG – MEETOLOGUE. Since the inception of evaluating destinations, we have been diligently using the reference system to present a realistic offer of congress destinations through time. Up to now, 118 destinations have been evaluated, including every important congress destination of the South East and New Europe region.

The system is a systematic, structured and analytical process, encompassing numerous factors labelled as important by event organisers. We dare say that our evaluation is the most comprehensive and complex destination grading system. The evaluation is not based solely on the number of congress events taking place at a destination but also delves into analysis holistically.

WHAT IS NEW EUROPE?

The answer to this question is something of an unsolved conundrum. A clear definition of New Europe doesn’t exist, the most general definition being that these are the countries of Eastern Europe that were once behind the Iron Curtain. Technically, this means 24 countries of Eastern Europe, adding Greece and Turkey to them. In our Editorial, we include the fresh, energetic and lesser-known European destinations in New Europe.

L – MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees

2021 L CATEGORY WINNERS

1. TALLINN 4.52

2. LJUBLJANA 4.51

3. ZAGREB 4.50

4. HAGUE 4.46

5. BRATISLAVA 4.42

6. THESSALONIKI 4.40

7. SALZBURG 4.39

8. KRAKOW 4.38

9. VILNIUS 4.29

10. GRAZ 4.25

10. VENICE 4.25

1. TALLINN, ESTONIA 4.52/5


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 finally independence and the flourishing of its IT-industry and capitalism. All of these events today create a special culture that is the basis for the development of a congress industry not lagging behind the competitive destinations. 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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms5,188
The number of 4* and 5* hotels41
Destination population437,619
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,200
The largest hall in the city3,075 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity1,892
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events11
Average internet speed when organising an event37 Mbps
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tallinn_estonia
Photo Credit: Tallinn Convention Bureau, Kaupo Kalda

2. LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA 4.51/5


According to its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.000 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 centres and a very well developed hotel meetings offer, Ljubljana is the region’s leading congress destination. The city is extremely safe and one of the region’s most sustainably oriented.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms2,120
The number of 4* and 5* hotels23
Destination population279,756
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,200
The largest hall in the city2,456 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity2,200
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events10
Average internet speed when organising an event56 Mbps
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Photo: Slovenian Tourist Board

3. ZAGREB, CROATIA  4.50/5


A great congress future awaits Zagreb. It is well established in the international congress market and in addition to Ljubljana and Belgrade, it represents the future backbone of the continental meetings industry of the region. All three cities are progressing steadily on the charts of developed meetings destinations; the final breakthrough of the entire region is intertwined and dependent on the marketing of major regional congress cities in the international market.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms3,202
The number of 4* and 5* hotels30
Destination population807,254
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,600
The largest hall in the city5,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity2,200
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events5
Average internet speed when organising an event22 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

4. HAGUE, NETHERLANDS 4.46/5


You have certainly heard of The Hague – it is always in the news due to the work of numerous international organizations and companies which headquarter in this city. You probably also know that it is located in The Netherlands, a friendly and vibrant country in the north of Europe. You are likely to be even more surprised that the city has a light and playful side to it – with its beautiful sandy beaches, promenades, bars, restaurants and a vibrant cultural scene, something that all the visitors to our city love to discover. But The Hague is in fact the perfect business event destination.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms3,681
The number of 4* and 5* hotels26
Destination population547,757
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,500
The largest hall in the city12,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity2,161
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events5
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Cvent

5. BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA  4.42/5


The city of four rivers defines the Danube river with its tributaries and with the mighty Renaissance castle above the intimate and compact old town. Bratislava is an undiscovered European congress capital that slowly and steadily penetrates into the congress market. It represents a novelty for the international congress market which impresses due to the kind and sympathetic city centre but also because of not excessive commercialization. The city is close to the congress organizers mainly due to a more personal congress experience – the city is very friendly and there are no problems with safety. The city centre is full of pubs, restaurants and shops and the hotel offer includes the best-known hotel chains.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms3,198
The number of 4* and 5* hotels26
Destination population434,736
Banquet hall maximum capacity599
The largest hall in the city2,500 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity1,892
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events2
Average internet speed when organising an event24 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Bratislava Convention Bureau/Duomedia

6. THESSALONIKI, GREECE  4.40/5


Thessaloniki is the second-largest Greek city, located in the North of the country on the Thermaic Gulf. Many consider it as the capital of Greek cuisine, which is a guarantee for an enjoyable time at your event. Most of Thessaloniki’s big events take place at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition & Congress Centre, at the heart of the congress offer. The city’s hotel offer is also diverse and perfect for smaller corporate events. The entire congress offer is connected by the proactive Convention Bureau, which despite a limited budget has been maintaining a stable position on the ICCA scale, with 18 international congresses annually. Last year they hit a record number of 28 congresses, a perfect example of how Thessaloniki is gaining new momentum.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms3,966
The number of 4* and 5* hotels42
Destination population1,104,690
Banquet hall maximum capacity4,000
The largest hall in the city6,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events10
Average internet speed when organising an event24 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Thessaloniki Convention Bureau

7. SALZBURG, AUSTRIA  4.39/5


Salzburg offers all the characteristics of a congress destination and a cosmopolitan mix of visitors. With its location in the heart of Europe and because of the high quality of life, Salzburg has a great starting point in congress tourism. For current logistics and transport restrictions of the city, medium-sized congresses with up to 2.000 participants are the best suited. Two top-quality, modern and high tech congress centres are together with a top-quality conference hotel infrastructure a foundation for this congress destination. In this area, they will offer you a superior product wrapped in superior packaging. Although you will find Mozart on every step of your way and it seems that the clock stopped in the times of the famous composer, Salzburg is very modern and urban. Otherwise, location, location, location and once again location is considered a crucial reason for choosing Salzburg for your event.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms7,889
The number of 4* and 5* hotels58
Destination population157,049
Banquet hall maximum capacity5,000
The largest hall in the city15,165 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event30 Mbps
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8. KRAKOW, POLAND 4.38/5


Of all Polish cities, Krakow is the one with the greatest soul and is the most fraught with history. In Poland, Krakow will be the destination of the new generation, which will soon be recognized as a high quality, compact and most versatile meetings destination in Poland due to the cultural heritage, the hospitality of the locals, new meetings capacities and its huge scientific potentials. Krakow has a variety of hotels services and an exceptional number of tourist attractions. Being the main tourist city it has excellent conditions in place for the development of congress tourism. With the construction of the new convention centre ICE, it has also received a real affirmation. Krakow’s recipe is successful and a case of good practice for other more traditional central European destinations.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms5,999
The number of 4* and 5* hotels74
Destination population780,981
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,700
The largest hall in the city5,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity4,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events13
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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Krakow, Poland (Photo: Pixabay, Canva Pro)

9. VILNIUS, LITHUANIA  4.29/5


Over the last few years, Vilnius learned diligently, polished its offer and was preparing for its entry into the international congress scene. In their favour, they have the charm of the city, which is cosmopolitan, urban, very European and full of hidden surprises. It’s a city where socialist modernist architecture coexists with the Baroque centre, and unlike some other Eastern European congress destinations, this makes it very attractive. Vilnius is a credible partner of the international meetings industry and an undiscovered convention destination that appeal because of its freshness. For all three Baltic Congress Tigers – Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn – we predict a sunny congress future.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms3,007
The number of 4* and 5* hotels33
Destination population562,030
Banquet hall maximum capacity800
The largest hall in the city3,450 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity2,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event27 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Go Vilnius

10. GRAZ, AUSTRIA 4.25/5


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 events and some 46.000 participants, it achieves excellent results and is stable on the charts ranking international events. A very big focus in Graz is on environmental responsibility and tidiness of the surrounding areas and infrastructure.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms2,242
The number of 4* and 5* hotels25
Destination population291,072
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,800
The largest hall in the city6,500 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,565
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events5
Average internet speed when organising an event28 Mbps
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graz_austria
Photo Credit: Graz Convention Bureau

10. VENICE, ITALY  4.25/5


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 that 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”.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms10,579
The number of 4* and 5* hotels218
Destination population264,579
Banquet hall maximum capacity630
The largest hall in the city3,500 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity1,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event19 Mbps
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venice_italy
Photo Credit: Canva/Pixabay

The L Meeting Destinations are destinations that can host up to 2000 attendees. You can find every L Meeting Destination with the help of our SEARCH ENGINE. It is tailored to the needs of meeting planners and their thought processes. Find the destinations at the following link: https://kongres-magazine.eu/search-destinations/.

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