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Photo Credit: Ingarden and Ewy Architekci

Krakow is a city that has redefined the word ‘impact’, for the industry and beyond!

To say that Kraków is a truly extraordinary city would probably fall short of the praise this uniquely diverse UNESCO World Heritage site actually deserves. And even though it’s one of the first two sites in the world to be afforded this proud accolade (1978), titles, no matter how grand or prestigious, can hardly do justice to what really makes Kraków so special.

Genius loci: slow life at its best

Cities like to describe themselves as responsible, resilient and sustainable, in addition to a plethora of other fashionable buzzwords, headed by all kinds of ‘innovative innovations’, of course. But other than benchmarks from glossy reports compiled by expensive consultancies and overzealous city marketers, how do you know if, as a city, you are actually walking the talk, whether you can truly be described as mature, resilient or responsible? At the end of the day, one can probably only be sure when reality hits you with the kind of test (or trial, rather) that will eventually leave very few questions unanswered.

In the past two years, Kraków may have faced a whole series of extraordinarily demanding challenges. In the face of unspeakable atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine, the city’s response has truly redefined what it means to be a welcoming city, a generous city, a soul-healing city, from day one of the invasion, for hundreds of thousands of ‘newcomers’, within a very short period of time.

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Photo Credit: Krakow Convention Bureau

Buzzing with international tourists and positive energy, against all odds

Most astonishingly of all, perhaps, despite the city’s massive response, covering thousands of bottom-up and top-down charity and hospitality initiatives, from day 1 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, none of Kraków’s legendary positive energy, sense of tranquillity and intimacy has been compromised in the process. Quite to the contrary, in fact. It would probably be very difficult to find a comparable example of “en masse hospitality” and collective generosity of such proportions on a global scale. After all, we are talking about a Polish historical city “growing” by 10-20%, almost literally overnight.

If anything, the last few months have demonstrated that a mature, responsible city is not only about management, policies and budgets. It’s also, if not above all, about community, togetherness and collective values.

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Photo Credit: Krakow Convention Bureau

Solidarity: Next Generation

It’s probably fair to say that despite Poland’s impressive economic progress since the 1989 Walesa-era transformation, it is the last few months that will go down in history as the ones that have redefined the power of the word Poland was once on the world’s lips for SOLIDARITY.

Even though about 170,000 Ukrainian refugees are estimated to have spent days, weeks and months in Kraków, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the city has consistently remained an international symbol of hospitality at its best, with literally thousands of people opening their homes to Ukrainian mothers and children.

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Photo Credit: Krakow Convention Bureau

“Together we can”

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the main theme of the upcoming ICCA Congress in Kraków is “Together we can!”. The event is bound to be a truly remarkable experience, focused on Sustainability, Legacy and D&I. Its managing diversity in the business segment alone will cover the work-life balance, mental health and dynamically evolving job/event ecosystems, as well as uniquely innovative approaches to business-tailored implementations in D&I.

Themes, topics and congress goals, however engaging and innovative they may be, are only one aspect of this year’s congress planning. This first, post-pandemic, face-to-face edition will also be an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate global solidarity with a country and city that has epitomized responsibility and resilience in the face of one of the most important crises of our times.

This year’s congress sessions will show that Poland also boasts world-class experts and speakers, with topics developed in response to global trends and market demand. The “out of the box” sessions are designed to bring delegates up to speed on specific issues, to inspire, and to create exceptional networking opportunities, all the while emphasizing the importance of personal experience. This is why the Congress is set in multiple inspiring settings, enhanced by the latest technologies. The main congress venue alone, ICE Kraków Congress Centre, a state-of-the-art facility, has already hosted hundreds of international conferences, festivals, fairs, summits and congresses, since its launch in 2014. In short, not to be missed!

Find out more about the event here.