AUSTRIA – 2011 Vienna Convention Review: events and bednights up, record turnover

06At a press conference on March 19 2012, Vice-Mayor Renate Brauner, Director of Tourism Norbert Kettner and the Director of the Vienna Tourist Board’s Vienna Convention Bureau, Christian Mutschlechner, presented the results of Vienna’s 2011 Meeting Industry Statistics. All key indicators were up: the number of congresses and corporate events by 7% compared to 2010, with bednights generated increasing by 6%, and national value-added growing by 9% to reach a new record level.

This year the Vienna Tourist Board’s Vienna Convention Bureau became an authorized certification agency for ‘Green Meetings’ and already has its congress calendar for 2012 crammed full.

06“The trend in the international congress industry,” explained Brauner, “reveals that delegates are staying an appreciably shorter time and traveling increasingly seldom in company. We presented this trend at our congress press conference last year in the light of a survey, concluding that growth in bednights in the congress and conference business can be attained only if the number of events increases. Vienna successfully achieved this in 2011, as 3,151 congresses and corporate events were held last year, 7% more than in 2010. The resulting bednights rose by 6% to 1,412,133, equivalent to 12.4% of Vienna’s total volume of bednights last year. Throughout Austria, the Vienna meetings industry not only generated value-added in the amount of 838.4 million euros – an increase of 9% and a new record level – but also secured more than 16,200 jobs. Vienna has been successful as a meeting destination for decades now, and this success story continued in 2011 despite increasingly difficult conditions in the industry.”

06Director of Tourism Kettner explained the reasons behind this success, emphasizing that: “Vienna is in the fortunate position of enjoying a first-class reputation in the meetings industry world-wide for its entire infrastructure, its congress facilities, its hospitality sector, and its companies specializing in meeting services. Another very important aspect is its international accessibility, especially by air. Maintaining such an image for decades necessitates continuous improvement in all areas in order to ensure that one’s services remain ‘state-of-the-art’ at all times. In this respect, the latest additions to the hotel sector – many of which are tailored specifically to the modern, style-conscious business traveler – are very auspicious, as is the Central Train Station currently under construction and the urban development in the environs. The opening of Vienna’s new University of Economics and Business Administration in the winter semester of 2013 will also have an immediate effect. The Vienna Tourist Board was involved in the planning process, making it possible to ensure that the auditorium complex is ideally incorporated into the nearby facilities of Reed Messe Wien. This means that its infrastructure will be perfectly complemented during university vacations. Since the beginning of the year, the Vienna Convention Bureau has also been offering a new service that is gaining in importance in the meetings industry world-wide: it is now authorized to certify conferences whose organizers take climate protection, regional value-added and social compatibility into account as ‘Green Meetings’. All these measures show decision-makers in the international conference business that Vienna focuses on the future at all levels, and this enhances the city’s status as top meeting destination.”

According to Christian Mutschlechner, the congress calendar for 2012 is “exceptionally full for an even year, as even years tend to be weaker than odd years in the meetings industry. However, this year we have a particularly large number of large congresses, so that there will probably be a break with this unwelcome tradition in 2012.”