NEED TO KNOW 2021
Some destinations have fought against the corona crisis passively. On the other hand, there are agile destinations, among which Krakow undisputedly belongs. During the crisis year, the Krakow Network Protocol, an intriguing strategic document, was devised according to the ICCA Kaohsiung Protocol Framework. The strategic document is a plan of action from 2021 to 2023 and heralds the holistic restart of the destination after the crisis. Krakow is among a handful of cities that tackled the crisis this way. The document came to be at a crucial moment during which Krakow was accepting a new tourist strategy for 2021 to 2028. Moreover, the strength of the Krakow Network, formed in 2015 under the leadership of ICE Krakow, was showcased. The protocol defines the cooperation between partners, fosters the growth of key competencies and strengthens their database in a structured manner. At the same time, it encourages the development of creative tools and solutions for hybrid and digital events. Krakow Network Protocol further serves as a series of practical tools and recommendations. Most importantly, it defines protocols for safe and healthy event organising, the policy of event cancelling for the entire city, force majeure and financial prerequisites for partnerships, and construes the pledge to organise inclusive events. Equally intriguing is the Krakow Future Lab project, connecting the local start-up scene with event organisers.
The protocol was signed by over 180 organisations whilst 50 key industry stakeholders divided into interest groups cooperated to prepare the document. On our last visit to Krakow, we saw for ourselves that the protocol is alive and not just a strategic document. The Krakow Network Protocol is already manifesting itself in numerous areas. In our opinion, the project is exceptional and will redefine the role of destination organisation while paving the way to a post-corona future. Therefore, it is no surprise that Krakow’s endeavours were recognised by ICCA. The KRAKÓW NETWORK protocol – a post-pandemic strategy won two awards in the prestigious 2021 ICCA Best Marketing Award competition – success in Meeting Objectives & ROI.
The entire document can be downloaded at: https://krakownetwork.pl/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Krakow_Network_Protocol_EN.pdf.
WHAT'S HOT 2021
61st ICCA Congress 2022
The most illustrious success of the Krakow Network Protocol is by far the successful bid to host the ICCA Congress 2022. The 61st ICCA Congress will take place in the autumn of 2022 in ICE Krakow. Their successful candidature is a testament to the saying: “In unity, there is strength”. Krakow was selected miles ahead of Athens and Bangkok. The congress will be an unparalleled opportunity for the entire region, and according to the destination, we can expect a record attendance at next year’s event in Krakow.
Open Eyes Economy Summit
The Open Eyes Economy Summit – International Congress of the Economy of Values is an event held annually in Krakow, Poland, since 2016. The main goal of the event is to spread awareness of the importance of the economy of values and to show a world based on social values and ecology, which puts people above economic profit. This year’s event will focus on intergenerational co-living. I heartily recommend seeing the content of the event.
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
It is tough to select the best incentive idea in Krakow, given the diverse and rich offer. When choosing the ultimate incentive idea, we are guided by searching for experiences that can be hardly found or lived in another city. Thus, we present two intriguing stories that amazed us on our last visit.
Off the beaten track Wieliczka
For centuries, the white gold that dug in the Wieliczka salt mine was a source of prosperity and wealth. DMC agencies in Krakow will organise various programmes tailored to your needs. We particularly recommend seeing the tunnels that are inaccessible to tourists. Exploring the mine starts 164 metres below ground, followed by two hours of walking through mining tunnels, intertwining large and small caves that have been predominantly transformed into chapels. The largest hall even plays host to concerts. Visiting the underground mine is, in our opinion, a must for curious incentive groups.
The Nowa Huta neighbourhood saw the light of the world as an integral project of the socialist government of the Polish People’s Republic. It was the counterpart of old Krakow city, the only city in Poland where residents at a referendum after the Second World War revolted against the new communist regime. Having been the opposite of the bohemian Krakow, the world-renowned director Andrzej Wajda decided to make a film about the neighbourhood. Touring the socialist city is a unique experience that agencies love to embellish by offering visitors a ride in a Trabant or telling them bitter-sweet stories of this experiment in socialism.
Krakow is one of the rare cities that has its own Monopoly game. In the game, you will trade and purchase real estate and property and earn money. You can even purchase the ICE Krakow or become owners of congress hotels and entire districts of Krakow. The timeless board game is, in our opinion, an ideal congress gift from Krakow.
BEST KEPT SECRETS
Krakow belongs to destinations with extraordinarily good congress statistics. That enables the destination to plan for the future smartly. From its latest report for 2020, we have summarised some intriguing information.
It is fascinating that Krakow has such an abundance of congress venues. A whopping 174 venues offering 707 congress halls and an overall 33,663 m2 of exhibiting surfaces is impressive. The mentioned capacities can also be complemented by hotel capacities. There are 5,999 hotel rooms in hotels within the 4* and 5* categories. Equally intriguing are the results from the catastrophic 2020 congress season: Krakow hosted 1,918 events, only 23% of the events that had been hosted in 2019 when the city hosted a record-breaking 8,400 events. Nonetheless, the events hosted last year were attended by 318,366 participants. The local sector is impressively strong in Krakow, as almost 77 per cent of event participants come from Poland.
OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK
A unique part of Krakow is the Jewish quarter Kazimierz that played an integral role in Schindler’s List. Once the grandest Jewish city in Europe, it is charming, diverse, eclectic and worth seeing. The ambience with select music and antiquities such as pre-war furniture encourage one to sit for more time than he had planned in a cosy old armchair. Anyone wishing to learn more about Jewish music, literature, history and the religion itself will find answers in one of the bookstores or in the Old Synagogue that portrays the life of the Jewish community before the Holocaust.
Out of all European countries, Poland was home to the largest proportion of the Jewish population. Hence, Poland was the most tolerant and inclusive towards its newcomers. Kazimierz is a space for reflection and insight into one’s tolerance.
At the crossroads of the Jewish and Catholic culture, the special venue Hevre found its home. It is situated within the former Chewra Thilim synagogue, built at the end of the 19th century, that operated till the start of the Second World War. Following the war, it became the permanent residence of the singing and dancing ensemble “Krakowiacy”. The decayed building was saved by the owners of two popular cafes in Krakow, Alchemia and Bunkier. Organising an event in a former synagogue is fascinating. The paintings on the wall from the Hebrew Bible, the high ceilings and the attention to detail will transport you to another time. Organising an event without Kazimierz will bereave attendees of a remarkable historical twist.
The stereotype that traditional Polish cuisine belongs among hearty continental gastronomies has been fictitious for some time. Still, pierogi made from potato dough with various fillings and the hearty sour rye soup žurek are must-try dishes. The city is teeming with restaurants offering hipster and less traditional menus. In fact, you will encounter vegan and vegetarian restaurants at every step, as well as a diverse offer of Thai, Japanese and other world cuisines. A testament to the city’s developed gastronomy are the 19 Krakow restaurants that have been recommended by the Michelin Guide. The restaurant Bottigliera 1881 is also the proud owner of a Michelin star. Above all, you will appreciate the friendly restaurant prices.
MTLG EVALUATION 2021
A new destination evaluation of Krakow in 2022 is in progress and will be based on a recently concluded visit to Krakow. In the past few years, Krakow has consistently placed itself among the top ten leading congress destinations in the L category (destinations that can host up to 2,000 attendees). In 2021, Krakow was awarded an average grade of 4,38 and was just short of the leader Tallinn with an average grade of 4.53.
The excellent placing is a consequence of numerous factors, notably the congress bureau’s marketing and other activities. At the same time, the general and tourist infrastructure has contributed significantly. The city has 5,999 hotel rooms in 66 hotels of the 4* and 5* categories – an exemplary basis for the further development of congress tourism. Furthermore, two crucial indices say much about the congress offer.
1. Index Hotel Rooms/Theatre Hall Maximum Capacity
The index is 66.68 in Krakow, an excellent ratio that is indicative of the balance between hotel and congress capacities. It is comparable to that of Zagreb, Vilnius and Salzburg. The simplest interpretation is that the number of hotel rooms is ideal for Krakow’s current congress capacities.
2. Index Banquet Hall Maximum Capacity/Theatre Hall Maximum Capacity
The index in this area is 434.78, which is among the worst in the comparison. According to the data of Krakow Convention Bureau, the banqueting capacities currently enable the city to host up to 920 attendees. The ideal balance would be an index of 150.00, or in other words, a banquet hall that could capacitate up to 2,000 participants.
Let’s now take a look at individual grades that comprise Krakow’s final grade for 2021. Among above-average grades are natural and cultural factors (4.88), tourist infrastructure (4.86) and meeting infrastructure (4.85).
In comparison with other destinations, the city’s general and transport infrastructure (4.56), the subjective grade (4.75) and marketing buzz (4.72) can be considered average. The ICCA index is comparable to other destinations. Krakow’s fiercest competitors are Tallinn and Ljubljana.
Among the external grades, the Numbeo Safety Index is adequate. The stand-out destination in this area is undoubtedly Salzburg. The ACI Airport Index is, likewise, comparable to other destinations. Zagreb is currently the most accessible in the top ten. Among Krakow’s drawbacks is the Numbeo quality of life index, which is poorly evaluated predominantly due to air quality and traffic in the city.
The final mark for 2021 was 4.38. Since our visit to Krakow, the city has made a substantial step forward in terms of tourist infrastructure, transport and marketing buzz. The preliminary results of the evaluation for 2022 will be known by the end of April 2022.
DESTINATION FINAL GRADE
|KRAKOW INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2021|
|Natural and cultural factors||4.88|
|General and transport infrastructure||4.65|
|ICCA index - worldwide ranking||4.42|
|Numbeo Quality of life Index||2.73|
|Numbeo Safety Index||4.29|
|ACI Airport Connectivity Index||3.66|
|Nomad List Overall Score||4.01|