Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires on the Vltava River, has a long tradition in hosting big international meetings and the largest congress in its history. In a candid interaction with Travel And Tour World, Hana Krejbichová, Marketing and PR Manager at the Prague Convention Bureau talks about the changes occurred in the MICE industry and the role of the convention bureau in revamping Prague’s MICE scene. She also underscores the imperative to move towards a green future and the plans to achieve the goal.
As the travel industry makes a speedy recovery from the pandemic, the MICE industry players are coming together to connect with their counterpart and clientele. How do you see the changes from the pre-pandemic to the post-pandemic years?
Hana Krejbichová: I can see the biggest changes in the formats of the events as clients got used to include virtual part to their events. Simultaneously, the planning phase and booking process went through some changes. The planning phase is much shorter than before – events are planned and venues confirmed much moread hoc and not long ahead. Event organizers also pay close attention to the cancellation policies, which is totally understandable.
What initiatives are taken by the Prague Convention Bureau to contribute to the economic growth of the city after the pandemic?
Hana Krejbichová: We strive to get back on track, regularly informingevent organizers about the current conditions, news in Prague, providing the full CVB services again, incl. organization of fam trips, participation at trade shows, MICE forums etc. This is crucial for clients, so that they can see they still have a point of contact in the Czech capital – a team that will help them with all the details concerningtheir events. Having the congresses and conferences back is the basic prerequisite for boosting the tourism economy and supporting individual players within it.
After Prague has been designated as the most preferred MICE destination in 2014, the Prague Convention Bureau aimed at introducing the place among the world’s top five MICE destinations by 2020. After two years how far have you reached in your goal?
Hana Krejbichová: In 2014, this might have sounded as a very bold goal. On the other hand, when you look at the latest ICCA’s statistics report, you can find out that Prague placed 4thin the ranking of planned events. As such, we can say that we met our goal just two years after our deadline with being very close to the “finish line” in the previous years. Of course, that doesn’t matter that we rest on our laurels, quite the contrary. There are many other goals that we would like to meet in the upcoming years.
Share in details about your idea(s) to beef up Prague’s MICE scene.
Hana Krejbichová: We are building on the solid foundations that Prague has for many years: ancient yet modern city with top quality services and constantly improving meetings offer. One of our primary focuses is on the sustainability and modern technologies. Our goal is to strengthen perception of Prague as an innovative and inspiring destination, invite wide range of congresses and conferences, but still keeping the sustainable development of the destination in mind.
The Prague Convention Bureau has got its newly elected Board of Directors. What changes can we expect to see in Prague’s MICE scene in the next 5 years?
Hana Krejbichová: Recently, we presented a new MICE strategy, which is closely connected with other strategic documents of the City of Prague. As I see continuity as a key to successful and effective development of the meetings industry, we are still aiming for sustainable approach to tourism and MICE industry and for presenting Prague as an inspiring destination. Now, this all just with a greater emphasis on strategic industries that are represented in the Czech capital and its neighborhoods.
Share in details about the sustainability factor in Prague’s MICE industry.
Hana Krejbichová: Sustainable development is something that we and the City of Prague pay close attention to. Prague Convention Bureau has been a part of the Global Destination Sustainability Movement for around 5 years. Things like sustainable strategies, circular economy, mobility plan, blue-green infrastructure, effective waste management and much more are part of the City strategyfor many future years and they are now taking on a very clear form.The same applies to the meetings industry. In 2020 we launched a new website dedicated purely to the sustainable meetings industry in Prague, transferring all the sustainable information from the previous structure of the website to a new comprehensive online space, where event organizers find everything about the topic.
How does the Prague Convention Bureau encourage its organizers to set sustainable goals and move towards a green future?
Hana Krejbichová: This is delivered especially through the above-mentioned websites and our venue finder, which includes a special feature allowing visitors to list the providers based on the sustainable measures they apply.On our blog, we regularly publish case-studies of events that implemented green strategies into their plans, and event planners can draw inspiration for their own future events in Prague.