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International meetings prove ‘cash cow’ for buoyant Vienna

A fifth of meetings contribute almost 80 per cent of revenue to Austrian capital

Director of Tourism Norbert Kettner

The importance of international association meetings to a city’s balance sheet was underlined once more after Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB) posted record end-of-year results.

Although the number of events the Austrian capital hosted was virtually unchanged, year-on-year, delegate numbers were up and the economic return for the city hit a EUR1.2bn high.

‘Events’ includes corporate conferences, incentive trips, and international congresses, and it was this last that had the greatest impact, which explains why they are so coveted by the industry.

“International congresses are the cash cow of the meetings industry. For years now they have had the greatest impact on the bottom line,” explained Director of Tourism Norbert Kettner.

While it accounted for just 20 per cent, or a fifth, of all meetings, this segment represented 51 per cent of all participants, 74 per cent of overnights and 79 per cent of economic impact.  

Meanwhile a staggering 80 per cent of the tax revenue generated by meetings and congresses for the City of Vienna was generated by international congresses.

“These totals clearly show that Vienna’s success as a congress destination is heavily dependent on international congresses, a segment that puts a strong emphasis on transport connections, and in particular the city’s international flight links. More than three quarters of our meetings participants arrive by air, but this can only be said of 42 per cent of holidaymakers,” Kettner explained.

Kettner unveiled the figures at a press conference alongside president of the Vienna Tourist Board Renate Brauner, and Christian Mutschlechner, head of the Vienna Convention Bureau.

In mid-March the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) unveiled its largest construction project since the venue first opened around 30 years ago. An attractive canopy – the DanubeSAIL – will be added to the square outside the building. By the time work is completed in 2022, this area will be transformed into a new communal space, and add a further 4,200sqm for events in either closed or open formats.

Said Mutschlechner: “The ACV is making a long-term investment in the location and its own meetings infrastructure – a significant asset for marketing Vienna as a destination for meetings: the new building featuring a Skywalk and three additional entrances allows different customers to use the levels in parallel, which is an important factor when it comes to acquiring large-scale events.”

Meetings taking place in Vienna this year include: European Congress of Radiology, Annual Congress of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation 11th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes, General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union – EGU, and United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week Vienna 2018, amongst others.

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