Russia’s National Convention Bureau continues to up the pace in its efforts to open the biggest country in the world to the global meetings market. CMW Managing Editor Paul Colston was invited to join the latest inbound media tour, ‘Open Russia with Three Cultures’ in early October.
A busy programme showcased some shining examples of Moscow, Tatar and Bashkir culture and as well as their conferencing offer, based on key sectors including energy, innovation and science.
Global events venue icon, VDNH Moscow, with its vast halls and museum to the country’s space achievements, was part of the programme in the capital.
Moscow’s City skyscrapers stand as modern metaphors for the new bright and shiny Russia reaching for the skies and also house events space and even the highest ice cream factory in the world!
A trip out to the suburbs and Skolkovo Technopark provides an insight into the huge start up talent pool and Russia’s enduring scientific achievement and innovation community. Any organisers of innovative science-based events would do well to check out the possibilities, as indeed are multinational corporation who already have taken office space on the site.
Moscow’s Dynamo Stadium, with its football and ice hockey arenas and underground shopping mall, stands as evidence of the FIFA World Cup 2018 legacy.
From Moscow, it was a short internal flight to the Tatarstan capital Kazan. The Tatarstan Republic has many enterprise zones and is an oil and gas citadel.
Kazan Expo is the shiny new convention and exhibition jewel in the venue crown and sits handily placed next to the airport. The older Kazan Fair is the city’s traditional venue for big events and fast diversifying its fairgrounds.
Kazan is a centre where Christian and Muslim cultures exist peacefully side by side and the monuments, churches and mosques provide a rich tapestry of heritage to drape around your event and provide incentives. Meanwhile, Turkish investment has produced the beautiful Kazan Palace by Tasigo hotel, full of 5-star opulence.
Another energy centre is Ufa, capital of Bashkortostan, which also has its own VDNH venue and the more modern Congress Hall Toratau which hosted the 7th BRICS Summit and Shanghai Co-operation Organisation meeting in 2015. It even has a built in yurt for that special event.
There is a Hippodrome, an opera house and the huge State Petroleum Technical University works closely with world leading companies such as Lukoil, Gazprom and Rosneft. Any energy-related conference would find fertile ground for academic and corporate support.
With some recent moves to relax visa procedures, with St Petersburg now offering a three-day visa free travel option and an e-visa application system promised by 2021, Russia is becoming less of an event enigma wrapped in a mystery, but a unique incentives and conference destination with a wide variety of cultures in its 85 constituent regions.