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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.

BEST IN NEW EUROPE

1. ATHENS 4.62

2. PRAGUE 4.61

3. BUDAPEST 4.55

4. TALLINN 4.52

5. LJUBLJANA 4.50

6. ZAGREB 4.49

7. WARSAW 4.45

8. VILNIUS 4.43

9. BRATISLAVA 4.42

9. THESSALONIKI 4.42

9. KRAKOW 4.42

10. ISTANBUL 4.36

1. ATHENS, GREECE 4.62/5


A historic city with excellent connectivity to the rest of the world and where you will find infrastructure befitting a major European capital, but with better weather and in a more interesting location. The Athens allure includes 300 days of sunshine a year, more than 30,000 hotel rooms in 439 hotels, 95,000 sq.m of conference space, 1,000+ restaurants and 200,000 flights per year. All major hotels in the city underwent refurbishment for the 2004 Olympics. Athens is an attractive destination in its own, very special way. It is a unique combination of the old and the new, set in a spectacular Mediterranean landscape.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms17,656
The number of 4* and 5* hotels176
Destination population3,818,434
Banquet hall maximum capacity9,500
The largest hall in the city13,050 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity15,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event12 Mbps
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Photo Credit: This is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau

2. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 4.61/5


Prague is the most attractive tourist and meeting destination in the Czech Republic. The capital city is known for its architectural monuments and living history, and it ranks among the most admired and greenest cities in Europe. Getting around Prague is simple: either walking and enjoying the city’s sights or using the public transportation system, ranked fifth-best in the world. Visitors can enjoy a meal with a pint of beer in a traditional brewery, or in a fine dining restaurant. With its infrastructure, Prague can accommodate the most demanding events. The meeting options combine the historical and modern, cutting-edge technology features of Prague.

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
Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

3. BUDAPEST, HUNGARY 4.55/5


Budapest is one of those love-at-first-sight regional meeting capitals that impresses with its history, architecture and iconic veduta alongside the mighty Danube. Budapest is an outright stunning city with a strong character. Today, it is recognised among the most holistic and advanced regional meeting destinations, offering an array of world-class meeting hotels, a modern conference centre and a well-connected local industry. Above all, Budapest’s value for money is among the best in this part of Europe.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms8,218
The number of 4* and 5* hotels25
Destination population1,644,146
Banquet hall maximum capacity7,000
The largest hall in the city20,700 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity15,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events25
Average internet speed when organising an event37 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

4. 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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Photo Credit: Tallinn Convention Bureau, Simon Snopek

5. 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: Velo-city 2022

6. 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

7. WARSAW, POLAND 4.50/5


Today, Warsaw is one of the fastest-growing capitals in the EU and a city that can pride itself on a mix of new and old architectural styles. Its growth in infrastructure was strongly boosted when Warsaw was the host of the UEFA European Championship in 2012 and many new hotels were opened. The biggest congress hotel, the Hilton Warsaw with a hall for 1,600 participants, is one of the biggest in Europe, but The Palace of Culture with its 40 congress halls is also an interesting option.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms12,000
The number of 4* and 5* hotels45
Destination population1,753,977
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,500
The largest hall in the city10,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,200
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event26 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Warsaw Convention Bureau

8. 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

9. 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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Photo Credit: Visit Slovakia

9. 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 population1,110,902
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

9. 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

10. ISTANBUL, TURKEY 4.36/5


The Turkish congress tiger is relentlessly growling and overcoming everything set in front of it. Professionalism and entrepreneurship when they are competing in international events are not lacking and they could be setting an example to other convention bureaus. Congress Bazaar of Istanbul offers everything that a meetings organizer needs, in addition to 7 convention centres, 3 fairgrounds and almost 100.000 hotel rooms, and the excellently organized Convention Bureau of Instanbul. The quality of life in Istanbul is improving as well as the general infrastructure; Turkish airlines has become the fourth-largest airline in the world.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms47,538
The number of 4* and 5* hotels281
Destination population15,460,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,000
The largest hall in the city8,400 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity3,555
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event52 Mbps
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Photo Credit: Istanbul Convention Bureau

You can find every 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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