The Polish city of Krakow has been chosen to host the 61st ICCA Congress in 2022, in the final analysis, ahead of Athens and Bangkok. The Congress will be hosted at the ICE Congress Centre, 13-16 November.
“Krakow clearly demonstrates commitment to two of ICCA’s core values: working together and embracing innovation. For this reason, the city was an obvious choice for next year’s congress. 2022 ICCA delegates can anticipate a seamless meeting experience that blends a world-class venue with cutting-edge event organisation,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.
The ICCA Congress is one of the most important events in the global meetings industry, usually bringing together about a thousand of the most experienced experts in organising international conferences and congresses, representing destinations, facilities, PCO companies and associations. The plans for the 2021 Congress in Cartagena were hit greatly by the continuing effects of the Covid pandemic and now the Congress will be held not just in Colombia but at five regional hub destinations, and in hybrid format, to enable more delegates to take part.
It will be the first time Poland will have hosted the ICCA Congress, which reflects the maturing position of the industry in the country, as well as creating great opportunities for its further development, as the Mayor of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowsk, has noted.
The bidding for hosting the Congress was multi-stage and detailed and began in the spring of 2020. The very development and submission of the city’s offer during the uncertain times of the pandemic was a huge challenge.
During the selection phase, two virtual inspections were performed. For the first inspection that lasted almost five hours, four films were produced in a record short time – over 30 entities from the MICE industry were engaged and the entire presentation was broadcast live from a virtual studio.
Małgorzata Przygórska-Skowron, manager of the Krakow Convention Bureau said the success of the bid win was due to the co-operation of the local industry representatives, including the KCB, the team of the ICE Krakow Congress Centre, Symposium Cracoviense, CMA Concept Music Art, Alwernia Studios, Stara Zajezdnia by DeSilva, Sheraton Grand Krakow, Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow and Park Inn by Radisson Krakow.
There was also national support for the event, including from the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; LOT Polish Airlines, and the Polish Tourism Organisation headed by the Poland Convention Bureau, SKKP Association and the MPI Poland Chapter. There was also support from local congress offices from Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław and Łódź, and members of ICCA from Poland, as well as companies including Mazurkas Travel, Targi w Krakowie, and MTP Group.
In 2022 the Krakow Convention Bureau will celebrate its 18th birthday, and the year also marks the 10th anniversary of Kraków becoming an ICCA member.
Rafał Szlachta, the president of the Polish Tourism Organisation, said: This is a great time to show our Polish hospitality and share our cultural and intellectual heritage with the ICCA delegates, but also to show our latest achievements, including those related to tourist and business infrastructure. “I believe that this event will contribute to the recovery and further development of the Polish meetings industry after the Covid-19 pandemic and will be a moving spirit in our future promotional activities at home and abroad.”
Elżbieta Kantor, director of the Tourism Department of the Krakow City Hall, described the ICCA Congress win as “another milestone in fulfilling the strategic vision, which was initiated by the establishment of the Krakow Convention Bureau, and then by the opening of three large facilities in 2014: ICE Krakow Congress Centre, TAURON Arena Krakow and EXPO Krakow”.
Last year a strategic document, ‘Krakow’s Sustainable Tourism Policy for 2021-2028’ was drawn up to deal with the need to develop a modern model of sustainable tourism economy through, inter alia, building the city’s quality and reputation through congresses and conferences.
Organising the ICCA Congress in Krakow is certainly a demonstration of the city’s ambition to make the meetings industry one of the pillars of sustainable tourism and a key tool to help the city to rebound after the pandemic.
“If we make good use of the opportunities the Congress provides, it will also contribute to the development and consolidation of the MICE industry throughout Poland,” said Izabela Błaszczyk, director of the Krakow Festival Office, operator of the ICE Krakow Congress Centre.
The ICCA Congress 2021 takes place in Cartagena, and the other five hubs 24-27 October.