xl_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.

XL – MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees

2021 XL CATEGORY WINNERS

1. VIENNA 4.75

2. COPENHAGEN 4.73

2. ZURICH 4.73

3. MUNICH 4.71

4. PRAGUE 4.68

5. STOCKHOLM 4.67

6. HELSINKI 4.66

6. AMSTERDAM 4.66

7. EDINBURGH 4.62

8. BERLIN 4.61

8. BARCELONA 4.61

9. OSLO 4.58

10. ROME 4.57

10. PARIS 4.57

1. VIENNA, AUSTRIA 4.75/5


There are cities in the world that 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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms21,409
The number of 4* and 5* hotels192
Destination population1,920,949
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,320
The largest hall in the city15,998 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity4,218
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events17
Average internet speed when organising an event38 Mbps
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vienna_austria
Photo Credit: Wien Tourismus/Christian Stemper

2. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 4.73/5


The premier capital of Northern Europe is Scandinavia’s most fantastic city and the centre of the most dynamic region in Europe, the Øresund Region. The city is one of Europe’s oldest capitals with an exclusive royal touch – the monarchy in Denmark is the oldest in the world. The town has several large convention centres such as Forum Copenhagen, Bella Center and Øksnehallen which often host international fairs and conferences. The Medical Valley is on the outskirts of the city has large biomedical centres where many conferences are held. It has large venues, as Denmark’s national stadium Parken, Brondby Stadium and the newly built Royal Arena, which is expected to open in autumn in 2016. Overall, Copenhagen is a safe city to live in and a destination filled with special venues.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms10,634
The number of 4* and 5* hotels48
Destination population794,128
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,800
The largest hall in the city3,500 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity4,326
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event46 Mbps
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copenhagen_denmark
Photo Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool

2. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND 4.73/5


According to Numbeo, Zurich is a city with one of the highest “quality of life” indexes in our comparison and a similar 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, accompanied 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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms7,000
The number of 4* and 5* hotels70
Destination population1,521,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,500
The largest hall in the city4,710 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity3,100
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events25
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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zurich_switzerland
Photo Credit: Zurich Convention Bureau

3. MUNICH, GERMANY 4.71/5


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 scenery of the Bavarian capital are numerous green open spaces and 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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms16,605
The number of 4* and 5* hotels103
Destination population1,561,094
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,150
The largest hall in the city11,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity61,277
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events75
Average internet speed when organising an event29 Mbps
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munich_germany
Photo Credit: Munich Convention Bureau/Peter Hutzler

4. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 4.68/5


Prague has for a long time not been an Eastern European gem, but a true European tourist metropolis with a diverse and comprehensive offer, luxury hotels and sometimes too high prices. The story is reminiscent of Škoda, of which the Czechs are very proud and is one of the oldest automotive in Europe. Reputable, solid and reliable pre-war limousines were after the war changed by cars that were behind the times. Today, Škoda’s shine, again and again, puts the Czech manufacturer where it once was. The same can be said for the meetings industry, where Prague began to seriously falter at the top of the location of the European league. If we look at the position of Prague regionally, Prague certainly has all the conditions to remain one of the most popular congress destinations for a long time.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms25,470
The number of 4* and 5* hotels313
Destination population1,335,083
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,400
The largest hall in the city10,237 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity13,500
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event32 Mbps
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prague_convention_bureau
Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

5. STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN  4.67/5


Stockholm has a good reputation as being a leader at the forefront of environmental and sustainability issues. However, good work is not always reflected in international rankings. Sustainable Meet Stockholm, a new collaboration and marketing project, wants to change that by putting Stockholm on the map as the top destination for sustainable meetings.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms22,800
The number of 4* and 5* hotels178
Destination population975,551
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,000
The largest hall in the city25,900 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity9,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event39 Mbps
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6. HELSINKI, FINLAND  4.66/5


The Nordic countries are recognised worldwide as pioneers in sustainable development. This is a key asset for Finland and Helsinki in the eyes of international meeting and congress organisers. Climate change is one of the biggest drivers of change that is affecting people’s quality of life and the choices they make. Also within the event sector, there is a strong desire to combat climate change. The City of Helsinki is committed to promoting sustainable development in all its activities. The greatest interest in Helsinki is coming from Great Britain, where many agents seeking venues for international meetings are located.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms9,435
The number of 4* and 5* hotels36
Destination population631,695
Banquet hall maximum capacity4,300
The largest hall in the city17,051 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity4,373
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events25
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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helsinki_finland
Photo Credit: Canva Pro/Pexels

6. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 4.66/5


From its earliest days, Amsterdam has been a bustling hub of commerce that welcomed other cultures with open arms. Amsterdam might be famous for its canals and cobblestone streets, but the city and the surrounding area is also home to some of the most treasured works of art in the world, including best-known pieces by Rembrandt, Mondrian, Van Gogh and more. Amsterdam is the ideal conference destination for every occasion. The destination is easily accessible has more than 500 venues. With world-class museums, quirky festivals, theatre, live music, laid-back bars and delightful restaurants, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Amsterdam.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms17,155
The number of 4* and 5* hotels158
Destination population872,799
Banquet hall maximum capacity6,899
The largest hall in the city112,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity12,900
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events50
Average internet speed when organising an event23 Mbps
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amsterdam_netherlands
Photo Credit: Koen Smilde

7. EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND 4.62/5


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 the 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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms10,405
The number of 4* and 5* hotels141
Destination population488,050
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,400
The largest hall in the city15,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity2,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event26 Mbps
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edinburgh
Photo Credit: Convention Edinburgh

8. BERLIN, GERMANY 4.61/5


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.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms124,222
The number of 4* and 5* hotels634
Destination population3,671,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,500
The largest hall in the city6,015 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event32 Mbps
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Photo Credit: visitBerlin, Dagmar Schwelle

8. BARCELONA, SPAIN 4.61/5


Spain’s second-largest city has become an annual stop on the congress pilgrimage to IBTM World. Its extroversion and trendy city architecture and design, in combination with a healthy dose of Mediterranean casualness, are all worthy of serious praise and admiration. Barcelona is a city that comes alive in the evening when it becomes a paradise for lovers of cuisine, cool taverns and cultural icons. Barcelona’s list-topping luxury and designer hotels and a nearly perfect congress infrastructure have positioned the city at the very peak of Europe’s congress industry. Although it is battling its current “OMG, there are so many tourists!” syndrome, we believe it will soon evolve into a city where the congress industry becomes part of the positive transformation of an otherwise overcrowded destination.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms26,462
The number of 4* and 5* hotels223
Destination population1,636,762
Banquet hall maximum capacity8,096
The largest hall in the city43,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity14,288
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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barcelona_spain
Photo Credit: Canva/Pexels

9. OSLO, NORWAY 4.58/5


The capital of Norway is one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities. International media is constantly writing about Oslo’s innovative architecture, museums, and neighbourhoods, as well as everything that moves on the food, fashion, art, and music scenes. Over the last few years, several new quarters have been established in the city centre, with exciting new activities and attractions. More importantly, Oslo is a green city and was awarded the prestigious title European Green Capital in 2019.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms14,656
The number of 4* and 5* hotels66
Destination population634,294
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,500
The largest hall in the city32,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity6,800
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event51 Mbps
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oslo_norway
Photo Credit: Visit Oslo

10. ROME, ITALY 4.57/5


Rome is the city of eternal charm. It was the first great metropolis built by humanity and the capital of the Roman Empire. Its historical centre has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Roma boasts the highest concentration of monuments and archaeological sites in the world. It is also the City of Great Beauty. Every corner, street, church or neighbourhood has stories, secrets and legends to tell that have grown over time. Roma is an immense theatre with sumptuous scenery.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms48,905
The number of 4* and 5* hotels349
Destination population2,873,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity8,000
The largest hall in the city12,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity10,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events50
Average internet speed when organising an event16 Mbps
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rome_italy
Photo Credit: Canva/Pexels

10. PARIS, FRANCE 4.57/5


Paris, a legendary city, has inspired artists, photographers and musicians throughout the ages. Each year, around 400 fairs and trade shows are held in Paris, drawing nearly 10 million visitors and 100,000 exhibitors. Paris tops the list of congress destinations; the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), a point of reference for the sector, recently declared Paris ‘the world’s leading city for hosting international congresses. Paris also has a plethora of venues for meetings and events with 17 congress and exhibition centres and a thousand classic, modern and unusual venues.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms97,194
The number of 4* and 5* hotels1,547
Destination population2,148,271
Banquet hall maximum capacity10,000
The largest hall in the city50,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity25,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps
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paris_france
Photo Credit: Paris Convention Bureau

TOP 5 XL DESTINATIONS OUTSIDE OF EUROPE

1. DUBAI 4.63

2. SINGAPORE 4.62

3. BANGKOK 4.37

4. DOHA 4.36

5. BAKU 4.34

The XL Meeting Destinations are destinations that can host more than 2000 attendees. You can find every XL 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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