The capital of the Czech Republic has been ranked among the most popular meeting destinations in the world for a long time. The Prague Convention Bureau helps organisers from all over the world with the organisation of congresses and conferences. The organisation, which fosters the promotion of Prague as a congress destination, celebrated the 15th anniversary of its foundation on April 3. It has gained over eight hundred congresses and conferences in the hundred-spired city of Prague, attended by more than 410,000 delegates.
The Prague Convention Bureau was established by its member entities and picked up on the Prague Association of Congress Tourism (PAKT) activities. Nowadays, the Prague Convention Bureau’s membership base includes sixty entities such as hotels, professional event organisers, congress centres, restaurants and social venues, and providers of related services (carriers, AV suppliers, catering companies and many others).
Over the past 15 years, the Prague Convention Bureau and its partners participated in acquiring 846 congresses, conferences, and corporate events. 410,486 delegates attended them, generating nearly one million room nights. The average price of a hotel room, which amounted to around EUR 79, over the last ten years, meant spending almost EUR 80 million, and that only from the accommodation. Including other related services used in the destination, they amount to CZK 8.4 billion, which means a contribution to public budgets of approximately CZK 3.3 billion.
The Prague Convention Bureau’s Ambassador Program also significantly helps with the acquisition of international congresses and conferences. It serves as a base for so-called congress ambassadors, such as professors, scientists, physicians, and other experts who act as professional guarantors of events heading to Prague. The Ambassador Program was introduced by the Prague Convention Bureau two years after the organisation’s establishment. As part of the program, in cooperation with the City of Prague, the annual Ambassador Awards recognise important events and their ambassadors for their significant contribution to the development of the Prague meetings industry and for sharing know-how in the area.
In addition to the Prague municipality, the Prague Convention Bureau cooperates with other organisations dealing with the meetings industry or tourism in general. The long-term partners include, for example, Prague City Tourism, Czech Tourism with Czech Convention Bureau and Prague Airport. This network of closely cooperating entities helps create an ideal environment to acquire international events and present the destination in an aligned style.
“Despite the last three challenging years, when the organisation of congresses and conferences was complicated or even halted by the pandemic, we managed to acquire important international events in Prague. Thanks to them, local experts across various areas have gained invaluable know-how, which they would only acquire in other, complicated and costly ways,” says Roman Muška, Director of the Prague Convention Bureau, and continues: “In addition to other tools, grants for the meetings industry, which have been allocated annually since 2014, significantly help us in obtaining congresses and conferences. Over time, the City of Prague has provided support to approximately 150 major international meetings. The funds invested by the city in the form of grants are then returned to the destination many times over by spending by individual congress delegates. Moreover, these expenses are several times higher than average leisure tourists.”
The Prague Convention Bureau uses a number of analytical tools to monitor the development of the meetings industry in Prague. One of them is the regular collection of statistical data. “We are the only organisation in the capital city of Prague to collect comprehensive data mapping the meetings industry in the destination. We monitor not only the number of events and delegates but also the proportion of local and international events, the type and focus of the event, or source markets,” adds Roman Muška. The statistical data is then utilised to evaluate the performance of the congress industry and determine the future activities of the Prague Convention Bureau. Thanks to the data collection, a new medium-term strategy for the future development of meetings in Prague could be presented last year.
Among other things, the Prague Convention Bureau helps event organisers to obtain letters of support and auspices, as well as congress fares, as Prague public transportation for congress and conference participants is free of charge. Over the past 15 years, the Prague Convention Bureau has provided this support to 430 events. The organisers can also benefit from the Prague Convention Bureau’s vast media database, which, together with the press service, will provide media coverage for their event locally and internationally. During its existence, the Prague Convention Bureau has presented meetings in Prague and events held in the city through over 3,400 articles in Czech and foreign media valued at more than five million euros.