The capital of the Czech Republic has been ranking among the most popular meetings destinations in the world for a long time. The Prague Convention Bureau helps organizers from all over the world with the organization of congresses and conferences. The organization, which fosters the promotion of Prague as a congress destination, celebrated the 15th anniversary of its foundation on April 3. During its existence, it has gained almost a thousand congresses and conferences in the hundred-spired city of Prague, attended by more than 410,000 delegates.
The Prague Convention Bureau was established by its member entities and picked up on the activities of the Prague Association of Congress Tourism (PAKT). Nowadays, the Prague Convention Bureau’s membership base includes sixty entities such as hotels, professional event organizers, congress centres, restaurants and social venues, and providers of related services (carriers, AV suppliers, catering companies and many others).
Over the past 15 years, the Prague Convention Bureau and its partners participated in the acquisition of a total of 846 congresses, conferences, and corporate events. A total of 410,486 delegates attended them, generating nearly one million room nights. With the average price of a hotel room, which amounted to CZK 1,960 (ca EUR 79) over the last ten years, this meant spendings of almost two billion crowns (ca EUR 80 million), and that only from the accommodation. Including other related services used in the destination, they amount to CZK 8.4 billion, which means a contribution to public budgets of approximately CZK 3.3 billion.
The Prague Convention Bureau’s Ambassador Program also significantly helps with acquisition of international congresses and conferences. It serves as a base for so-called congress ambassadors, i.e., professors, scientists, physicians, and other experts who act as professional guarantors of events heading to Prague. The Ambassador Program was introduced by the Prague Convention Bureau two years after the organization’s establishment. As part of the program, in cooperation with the City of Prague, the annual Ambassador Awards recognize important events and their ambassadors for their significant contribution to the development of Prague meetings industry and to sharing know-how in the area.
In addition to the Prague municipality, the Prague Convention Bureau also cooperates with other organizations dealing with the meetings industry or tourism in general. The long-term partners include, for example, the Prague City Tourism, CzechTourism with Czech Convention Bureau and Prague Airport. This network of closely cooperating entities helps to create an ideal environment to acquire international events and also present the destination in aligned style.
“Despite the last three very difficult years, when the organization of congresses and conferences was complicated or even halted by the pandemic, we managed to acquire important international events to Prague. Thanks to them, local experts across various areas have gained invaluable know-how, which they would only acquire in other, complicated and costly ways,” says Roman Muška, Director of the Prague Convention Bureau, and continues: “In addition to other tools, grants for the meetings industry, which have been allocated annually since 2014, significantly help us in obtaining congresses and conferences. Over time, the City of Prague has provided support to approximately 150 major international meetings. The funds invested by the city in the form of grants are then returned to the destination many times over in the form of spending by individual congress delegates. Moreover, these expenses are several times higher than those made by average leisure tourists.”
The Prague Convention Bureau uses a number of analytical tools to monitor the development of the meetings industry in Prague. One of them is the regular collection of statistical data. “As the only organization in the capital city of Prague, we collect comprehensive data mapping the meetings industry in the destination. We monitor not only the number of events and delegates, but also the proportion of local and international events, the type and focus of the event, or source markets,” adds Roman Muška. The statistical data are then utilized not only to evaluate the performance of the congress industry but also to determine the future activities of the Prague Convention Bureau. Thanks to the data collection, a new medium-term strategy for the future development of meetings in Prague could be presented last year.
Among other things, the Prague Convention Bureau helps event organizers to obtain letters of support and auspices, as well as congress fares –Prague public transportation for congress and conference participants free of charge. Over the past 15 years, the Prague Convention Bureau has provided this support to a total of 430 events. The organizers can also benefit from the Prague Convention Bureau’s wide media database, which, together with the press service, will provide media coverage for their event both locally and internationally. During its existence, the Prague Convention Bureau has presented meeting Prague and events held in the city through more than 3,400 articles in Czech and foreign media worth more than five million euros (more than 127 million crowns).