Prague conventions poised to grow
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A destination where history and culture meet exceptional technology and modernism, Prague has undergone a radical change over the last two decades. Having celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, Prague Convention Bureau (PCB) is building awareness of the city as an ideal congress destination and assisting both foreign and local event organisers to support the economic development of the Czech capital. In a freewheeling discussion with Roman Muška, managing director of the Prague Convention Bureau, he talks about what lies ahead for the convention space in the city.
TD: The bureau recently completed 10 years. What are the key milestones achieved in this period?
The Prague Convention Bureau was founded in April 2008. The journey till date has been exciting. 2018 was another record–breaking year for Prague. We welcomed the highest number of events in the history of Czech Statistical Office’s monitoring: 4,534. That is 2.2 % more than in the record year of 2016. Prague meetings industry was extremely successful last year in its international ranking too. In the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranking, Prague was ranked ninth. Over the ten years (2008 – 2018), we have participated in acquiring more than 630 events with the attendance of almost 293,000 delegates. They have generated a total of 620 thousand room nights worth of over CZK 1.2 billion (USD 52.37 million).
What are the new initiatives at the bureau this year?
We focused more on developing our Ambassador Programme – a strategic programme focused on promotion of the Congress Ambassadors – local representatives of international professional associations in Prague and the Czech Republic. Within the programme, we annually hold the Ambassador Awards Evening. It is an occasion when doctors, scientists and other leading specialists who represent the Czech Republic and Prague in international professional associations and have significantly contributed to expert events being held in the Czech capital are awarded. In April 2019, we organised its 10th awards ceremony and unveiled its website. Since the inception of this programme in 2010, more than 40 congress ambassadors have been awarded.
Prague has been a popular convention destination. What is your contribution in bringing an ever-increasing number of events to the city?
Our goal is to present the city as the ideal meeting destination through our sales and marketing tools. We regularly join the bidding process together with our partners and congress ambassadors, attend trade show, MICE workshops and organise various roadshows mainly in Europe and Americas. We also promote the city online (via social media and news) and offline (in cooperation with various magazines) and cooperate with other representatives of leisure and business tourism in Prague with the aim to multiply the effect of the communication.
How do you promote sustainable conventions in the city?
We joined the GDS index two years ago and currently are working on a strategy regarding sustainable events in Prague. Our members and partners are constantly improving their offerings and services and you can find a range of tools and steps they have individually taken to help the environment – from catering (less plastic, using local products), through separation of waste, green transportation (bike and car sharing, efficient public transportation) to legacy, charity programmes etc.
What are your plans in the next few years to take the bureau to new heights?
We would like to create a new strategy for the sustainable meetings, we are preparing more campaigns including those promoting newly opened and renovated venues, conference centres and hotels. Going forward, we would further develop the close cooperation with our members, partners and representatives of the city in order to meet the demanding requirements of our clients.