Gothenburg repositions as a hybrid experience centre

Europe Features
Gothenburg repositions as a hybrid experience centre

Global Destination Sustainability Index leader pivots to its strengths.

Sweden’s second biggest city, Gothenburg is preparing for the future and recently launched a hybrid experience project to facilitate post-pandemic recovery. A continued focus on sustainable development, collaboration and strategically important meetings and events, is Gothenburg’s strategy for emerging strong again in the MICE sector.

Many international meetings and events in 2021 have been rescheduled or being held virtually. The annual Book Fair, the Gothenburg Film Festival and the International Science Festival have successfully gone virtual, with the upside being they reached a far larger audience than usual. All are looking at developing a hybrid format even post-Covid.

The largest e-health event in Scandinavia, Vitalis, was organised as a hybrid event in 2020 and will repeat the format in 2021. The first major in-person international meeting is due to take place in early 2022.

Göteborg & Co, the Gothenburg DMO, recently launched a project to position the city as a leading destination within the development of hybrid experiences. The project will involve venues, arenas, event organisers, attractions and others within the visitor and experience industry. It is financed by the City of Gothenburg, with support from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. At the same time, the local meetings industry has invested in relevant infrastructure. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, in the city centre, recently opened Sweden’s largest studio solution, Hybrid Event Arena. Other venues and conference hotels also offer studios or other solutions for virtual and hybrid meetings.

Gothenburg Convention Bureau is working on a number of bids for large international meetings, together with their meetings ambassadors. The focus is on meetings related to the city’s areas of strength that can help develop and drive research, business and society forward and have a long-term positive impact.

Public/private collaboration

Gothenburg has a long tradition of collaboration between the public and private sector, a big factor in the city’s success as a meetings and events centre and for it gaining the top position in the Global Destination Sustainability Index four years in a row. The collaboration between different suppliers in the city was recognised when Gothenburg was awarded the IAPCO Driving Excellence Award in 2020.

The Gothenburg Strategic Plan for Meetings, developed in collaboration between the public sector, the business community and academia, focuses on intensifying strategic collaborations, creating long lasting positive meeting impact and strengthening the Gothenburg brand. The convention bureau is working with the local economic development agency and R&D companies to identify strategically important meetings.

Gothenburg Convention Bureau is a member of the collaborative European convention bureau alliance EU CVB Network, together with bureaus in Florence, Ljubljana, Lyon, Rotterdam, Salzburg and Valencia. The destinations all have a strong collaboration locally in their cities and a focus on sustainability and innovation.

Several new hotels are also opening and new science and experience centres will open in the coming years, including World of Volvo and Gothenburg Green City Zone, a large geographical area of Gothenburg, which will serve as a testbed for new technology with the goal to be 100% emission-free by 2030.

In autumn 2019, Gothenburg was named the European Capital of Smart Tourism, an initiative recognising cities that excel within accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage/creativity. In its submission for the title, Gothenburg emphasised its ambition to share knowledge and experiences with other destinations, an aim that was certainly put to the test during the past year.

Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.

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