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MEETINGS STAR 2022/2023

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, 125 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

2022 L CATEGORY WINNERS

1. TALLINN 4.52

2. PORTO 4.51

3. LJUBLJANA 4.50

4. ZAGREB 4.49

4. HAGUE 4.49

5. SALZBURG 4.44

6. VILNIUS 4.43

7. BRATISLAVA 4.42

7. THESSALONIKI 4.42

7. KRAKOW 4.42

8. GRAZ 4.33

9. RIGA 4.19

10. GDANSK 4.16

1. TALLINN, ESTONIA 4.52/5


Tallinn remains one of the most compact cities in Europe. There are not many cities where you can see such a variety of different eras side by side. In recent years, Tallinn has finally opened up and become the accessible seaside capital that it is. Tourism is a branch of the economy that develops fast in Tallinn. According to the Tallinn strategic plan for 2025, the capital of Estonia will become a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region. The sprawling development of the city includes The Tallinn Cruise Terminal building, a welcomed addition, which has become one of the most popular event spaces in the city.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms5,344
The number of 4* and 5* hotels41
Destination population446,396
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,300
The largest hall in the city3,643 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity6,999
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events11
Average internet speed when organising an event81 Mbps
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tallinn_estonia
Photo Credit: Tallinn Convention Bureau, Kaupo Kalda

2. PORTO, PORTUGAL 4.51/5


Porto is one of the oldest cities in the country, a city of culture and leisure, and a cosmopolitan and contemporary place. Because of the excellent facilities available in the region, Porto is the perfect destination for organising congresses, conferences and events. Porto is a destination where tradition meets modernity. It stands out from the crowd beacuse of the perfect symbiosis between past and future. One of the core advantages is the international airport with 60 direct routes, just minutes from the city centre.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms5,314
The number of 4* and 5* hotels60
Destination population214,349
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,700
The largest hall in the city2,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity3,200
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events9
Average internet speed when organising an event32 Mbps
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porto_portugal
Photo Credit: Porto Convention Bureau

3. LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA 4.50/5


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 rooms2,715
The number of 4* and 5* hotels25
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 Credit: City of Ljubljana

4. ZAGREB, CROATIA  4.49/5


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 meeting 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 rooms3,393
The number of 4* and 5* hotels35
Destination population809,268
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 events15
Average internet speed when organising an event22 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Meet In Zagreb

4. HAGUE, NETHERLANDS 4.49/5


You have certainly heard of The Hague – it is always in the news due to the work of numerous international organisations and companies whose headquarters are 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: Hague Convention Bureau

5. SALZBURG, AUSTRIA  4.39/5


Salzburg offers all the characteristics of a meeting 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 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 rooms22,801
The number of 4* and 5* hotels429
Destination population562,704
Banquet hall maximum capacity15,000
The largest hall in the city15,165 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity30,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events10
Average internet speed when organising an event80 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Salzburg Convention Bureau

6. VILNIUS, LITHUANIA  4.43/5


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 appeals to 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 rooms3,132
The number of 4* and 5* hotels33
Destination population559,421
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

7. 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 capacity870
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events2
Average internet speed when organising an event24 Mbps
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7. THESSALONIKI, GREECE  4.42/5


A diverse and holistic meetings offer is well-connected through Thessaloniki Convention Bureau. The organisation has been placing the destination on the map with a fresh and innovative approach. Above all, the city impresses event organisers with its unmistakable energy and eclectic Meditteranean spirit. In this light, the destination seems like the rockish alter-ego of the larger meeting capital Barcelona. Thessaloniki is also the capital of Greek gastronomy which will surely impress event attendees. In addition, the city has excellent value for money.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms4,500
The number of 4* and 5* hotels50
Destination population1,110,912
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 events11
Average internet speed when organising an event24 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

7. KRAKOW, POLAND 4.42/5


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 record attendance at next year’s event in Krakow.

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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Photo Credit: Krakow Convention Bureau

8. GRAZ, AUSTRIA 4.33/5


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 the 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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Photo Credit: Graz Convention Bureau

9. RIGA, LATVIA  4.19/5


Riga offers vivid and contrasting tourism infrastructure. Its small boutique concept hotels are located next to modern and contemporary larger hotels. Riga is home to the largest hotel in the Baltics – Radisson Blu Latvia with 571 guest rooms. Riga’s city restaurants offer modern Latvian cuisine to surprise and satisfy the most demanding gourmet eaters. Riga for meetings and event planners is like a chocolate shop – there is a variety of flavours for everyone. Various museums and exhibition halls, alongside a great meeting offer, render the city a must-visit for classical music and opera lovers. There are numerous parks and gardens in the city centre, and visitors can even meet beavers in the canal in the city.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms4,848
The number of 4* and 5* hotels36
Destination population605,802
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,070
The largest hall in the city3,551 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity3,335
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events5
Average internet speed when organising an event63 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Meet Riga

10. GDANSK, POLAND  4.16/5


Gdansk differs markedly from other Polish cities because of the special atmosphere in the old town and its many historical sites suitable for congress tourism. There is an attractive mix of west and east, of northern culture and of the old and the new, all adding to the city’s unique identity. Gdansk is known as a place of freedom, which is written into its genetic code and is reflected in its rich cultural heritage and current cultural and artistic production. As a result of the hyperactive Convention Bureau, Gdansk as a destination is in an extremely high position in comparison with other Polish international destinations.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms1,406
The number of 4* and 5* hotels13
Destination population461,489
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,600
The largest hall in the city12,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity6,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events13
Average internet speed when organising an event27 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Gdansk Convention Bureau

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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