The City of Vienna and Vienna Tourism’s €4m Meeting Fund 2021-2023, a scheme launched in May to support Vienna’s meeting industry and tourism during the restart has seen conference organisers make use of the first million euros. The hope is that meetings benefitting by the funding will generate added value of €126m by 2023.
“The Vienna Meeting Fund 2021-2013 is proving to be a successful project shortly after its start: In the first two months of its existence, we were able to grant funding to 128 congresses and company meetings, a quarter of the €4m funding pool has thus been exhausted. The events that we are bringing to Vienna this year and in the next two years will generate added value of €126m,” said city councilor for economic affairs Peter Hanke.
The added value calculation came from management consultant and lecturer at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Dr Martina Stoff-Hochreiner’s Event-Model-Austria.
“The Vienna Meeting Fund not only creates frequency in the city’s meeting venues and accommodation facilities, it also helps to secure jobs in the tourism industry,” said Hanke.
As of 30 June – exactly two months after the funding was first applied for – there had been 128 applications for which organisers had already received a provisional funding commitment. Funding is released after the conference has taken place and all necessary documents have been submitted.
The maximum funding per event is €60,000 and criteria include overnight stays of the participants in Viennese hotels.
Specifically, €1,148,800 have been pledged from the funding pot so far.
Vienna is back on its way to becoming a world-class conference metropolis, tourism director Norbert Kettner believes: “The interim report on the Vienna Meeting Fund shows very clearly that this funding measure for the restart of conference business in Vienna has an extremely strong leverage effect for tourism as a whole, but also for other sectors such as the supplier sector. At the same time, the lively demand on the part of conference organisers is also a positive sign that Vienna as a meeting destination can look to the future with justified hope.”
The Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB) handles the funding and, so far, around three quarters (73%) of the 128 applications have come from the congress area and around one quarter (27%) from the corporate events side.
Over 90% of the events where funding has been applied for are for 2021 and 2022 and 52% of them will take place with participants exclusively on site, the rest will be hybrid events, according to Christian Woronka, who heads the Vienna Convention Bureau
The 7th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) has already taken place in the Austria Center Vienna, although most of the 11,000 attendees were virtually connected participants.
Organisers of the Eurospine 2021 medical congress in October are planning for more than 2,000 participants on site and 400 virtually connected people in the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center.
The HR Inside Summit (2,000 participants) in the Hofburg Vienna and the SilviLaser 2021 conference of the Vienna University of Technology, which specialises in technologies for the management of forest ecosystems, with around 500 virtual and 300 on-site participants, are also among the funded events.
The VCB has also launched a new image campaign under the title ‘Vienna: A pleasure doing business’ in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and Belgium to accompany the launch of the Vienna Meeting Fund.
The fund is the first broad-based restart programme in Europe that takes hybrid conferences into account in its own funding module and is aimed not only at national but also at international organisers. The funding is open to large international companies and organisations based in Vienna and can be applied for for meetings that take place in Vienna until 31 December, 2023.
Further information on the Vienna Meeting Fund 2021-2023, the funding guidelines and how to apply can be found at: WWW.VIENNA.CONVENTION.AT