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Photo Credit: Vienna Convention Bureau, David Bohmann

More than half a billion euros in added value

In May 2021, the City of Vienna and the Vienna Convention Bureau at the Vienna Tourist Board contributed 4 million euros to the Vienna Meeting Fund 2021-2023 funding track, helping the city’s meetings industry to restart. Due to unprecedented demand, funding has already reached its limit and as a result, from 1 July, submissions will open for the Vienna Meeting Fund 2022 – 2024. The meetings and conferences supported so far will generate more than 557 million euros in added value revenue.

The Vienna Meeting Fund has been overwhelmingly successful since its launch a year ago with more than 500 applications submitted. Already, 392 congresses and corporate meetings scheduled to take place in Meeting Destination Vienna until 2023 have received the full or a preliminary funding commitment. The result is that the initial fund has now been fully exhausted. The City of Vienna has confirmed committing an additional four million euros to the Vienna Meeting Fund 2022-2024. Applications can be submitted from July 1, 2022, until the funding volume is exhausted, at the longest until December 2024.

“We are very pleased about the new edition of the Vienna Meeting Fund, one of the flagship projects of the City of Vienna’s Economic and Innovation Strategy 2030. The additional funds are an important acquisition tool and support event organizers and thus the meetings industry as well as tourism as a whole in Vienna,” said Christian Woronka, Head of the Vienna Convention Bureau and Market Management at the Vienna Tourist Board.

The Vienna Meeting Fund 2022-2024 is now intended to further boost the meeting business in Meeting Destination Vienna. “The funding has positive effects along the entire value chain of the meetings industry. After all, in addition to booked venues, events also mean overnight stays in Viennese accommodation, among other things, thus securing jobs in other areas of the Visitor Economy,” he added.

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Photo Credit: Wien Tourismus/Martina Siebenhandl

The events promoted with the first edition of the Vienna Meeting Fund will trigger a total of 557 million euros in direct and indirect value added over a period of three years. The basis for calculating this figure is the Event-Model-Austria developed by management consultant Dr. Martina Stoff-Hochreiner, which is also used to calculate Vienna’s annual conference statistics. To put this in perspective, the single most value-added year for Vienna’s entire meetings industry to date was 2018, which reached around 1.2 billion euros.

Two-thirds of the meetings subsidized until 2023 are congresses

In the first edition of the Vienna Meeting Fund, almost two-thirds of the funded events (72%) are congresses – about 282 and 110 are corporate events (28%). More than half of these meetings (54%) are hybrid formats. In total, about 231,000 attendees participated or will participate in the funded meetings by the end of 2023, with half (50%) being international guests. Medicine and biological sciences account for 16% of the disciplines represented, business and computer sciences (ICT) each account for 11%, and other sectors account for the remainder.

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Photo Credit: Vienna Tourist Board, Paul Bauer

One-stop-shop processing: top satisfaction ratings

As the funding agency for the Vienna Meeting Fund, the Vienna Convention Bureau surveyed 180 event organisers about their experiences with the Vienna Meeting Fund in the previous year, 99 of whom responded. “The satisfaction of our funding applicants with the submission process, handling, consulting services as well as processing time was very high and once again illustrated how necessary and important the Vienna Meeting Fund is for our industry. A special asset in comparison to our international competitors was the fact that all consulting and funding services relating to Vienna as a meeting destination were handled quickly and with a minimal organisational effort from a single source directly at the Vienna Convention Bureau,” says Christian Woronka. More than 81% of the respondents also confirmed that the Meeting Fund was a decisive factor in their decision to hold their meeting in Vienna.

The inaugural launch of the Vienna Meeting Fund last May marked the first time in Vienna’s history that not only congresses but also corporate meetings (company conferences) were funded. The Fund is the first broad-based Restart program in Europe that takes hybrid meetings into account in a separate funding module and is aimed not only at national but also international organisers. The funding is deliberately open to large international companies and organisations based in Vienna in the sense of strengthening Vienna’s headquarters and location function. Also in its new edition 2022-2024, the Vienna Meeting Fund of the City of Vienna will be handled by the Vienna Convention Bureau in WienTourismus and can be applied for meetings that take place in Vienna until December 31, 2024.

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Photo Credit: WienTourismus/Paul Bauer

The support will be paid out after the meeting has been held and all necessary supporting documents have been submitted; before that, applicants will receive a conditional funding commitment. The amount of funding is tied to certain criteria, including the number of participants. The maximum funding amount per event is 60,000 euros. The later the congress or corporate event takes place, the stricter the criteria becomes. In 2024, for example, a minimum of 5,000 attendants are required and at least half of the participants’ overnight stays must come from abroad in order to reach the maximum funding amount.

For more information on the Vienna Meeting Fund 2022-2024, the funding guidelines and how to apply, visit: http://www.vienna.convention.at as of July 1, 2022.