Austria Center Vienna Sails into the future on the back of record returns

Europe News
Austria Center Vienna Sails into the future on the back of record returns

Austria’s largest congress centre has posted a record year (2018) for the third time, while 2019 will be marked by the venue’s major danubeSAIL modernisation project.

The 136,000 international participants who attended events at Austria Center Vienna last year induced an economic impact of €527m, the centre’s management reveals.

Paris is the only city in the world to host more large-scale events in 2018 than Vienna.

“2018 was the most successful year in our more than 30-year history by quite some distance,” said the Austria Center Vienna’s MD Susanne Baumann-Söllner, noting also that 2018 had seen a 29% year-on-year increase in international visitors to the centre. “International guests help secure more than 3,700 jobs in Austria. A typical congress attendee spends around twice as much as the average visitor to Vienna – €541, to be precise,” she added.

Baumann- Söllner admitted international competition was strong in the congress tourism sector, nevertheless, a record €14.85m in revenue from space rental and income from events in the congress segment was recorded by the centre in 2018, a figure up 13.1% on 2017. She noted that Austria’s EU Council presidency was both a highlight and a challenge.

Organisers usually book international congresses at the ACV venue five to seven years in advance and the EU Council presidency timetable (which was brought forwards six months) required a number of alterations to the scheduling and location of existing bookings.

“Thankfully, our team was more than up to the challenge,” noted Baumann-Söllner. “It was possible to host numerous international congresses attracting a total of more than 50,000 people in parallel with the EU Council events.”

The venue started on its biggest ever modernisation project this spring: danubeSAIL. A new access building with skywalk and additional entrances will make it possible to use the different levels for separate events held in parallel. A canopy – the danubeSAIL – will be added to the square outside the building.

By the time work is completed in 2022, the area will be transformed into a public space as well as adding a further 4,200sqm for events in either closed or open formats.

The coming two and a half years have been divided into construction and event phases to ensure that work can be completed at the site while allowing business to continue as usual.

The Austria Center Vienna is Austria’s largest conference centre, with 24 halls, 180 meeting rooms, and some 22,000sqm of exhibition space.

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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