“I realise the importance of congress tourism for Prague and the significance of hosting every congress, because as a doctor I take an active part in them. Apart from improving the overall image of the city and its international position in industry and research, they also make a huge economic contribution. An average congress participant spends CZK 6,200 daily in the city, which is almost a double compared to a common tourist,” explained the Mayor of Prague Mr. Svoboda (ODS), and added that thanks to the help of the Prague Convention Bureau our capital hosts a number of international congresses every year.
In order to win such a congress for Prague, long-term efforts and considerable investments must be made. Candidacies of mostly periodic events are often decided several years in advance, and the same time, e.g. three years, is needed for their preparation. The city’s aim is to attract more and more congresses annually. Therefore the council approved a revolutionary measure last year for the support of candidacies, usual in competing destinations but so far lacking in Prague: free public transport for congresses with over 500 participants of whom a minimum of 20% are foreign and who will stay in the city at least two nights. Earlier this year, the city council also decided to carry out the biggest marketing campaign yet in the most important foreign media in order to support this segment.
“According to ICCA, an international congress delegate spends an average of EUR 560 daily in the place of the congress. The total annual accumulated income in Prague equals to CZK 20 billion. The biggest congress in the history of the Czech Republic, ERA-EDTA with almost 11,000 participants held last year in Prague, brought over CZK 25 million into the city budget,” explained Mr. Sanjiv Suri.
The ceremonial evening was attended by more than 50 outstanding scientists and leading experts, accompanied by member agencies of the Prague Convention Bureau and Prague Congress Centre, whose representatives cooperate with these scientists very effectively. Among the guests were also the Czech Tourism manager Mr. Rostislav Vondruška, the Prague Airport trade and product management manager Mr. Stanislav Zeman, Mr. Aleš Hvozdecký of the Ministry of Regional Development, and Prague councillor for culture, preservation of monuments, and exhibitions Mr. Václav Novotný.
The awards were presented in five main categories; for the second time an award was presented for the most significant corporate event of the year 2011. This award was granted to the Škoda Auto company for organising the Škoda World Dealer Conference 2011, one of the biggest and logistically most demanding events in the car industry in recent years. Its preparation took approximately six months.
The “Candidacy of 2011” prize was awarded to the president of the Czech National Geodetic and Geophysical Committee Mr. Vladimír Čermák, DrSc., for the candidacy to the 26th general assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) which will take place in Prague in 2015. The conference includes eight associations all together. Since it is the biggest event focused on geodesy and geophysics, it will take as long as eleven days, which is rather unusual in congress tourism. Over one hundred national delegations from around the world with more than 5,000 delegates are expected to participate.
The “Congress of 2011” prize was awarded to the president of the Czech Society of Nephrology Prof. MUDr. Vladimír Tesař, DrSc., for one of the biggest European congresses – the 48th congress of the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA). The total number of its participants in Prague exceeded 10,600 persons, which makes it historically the biggest scientific congress held in the Czech Republic.
The special prize of the Prague Congress Centre was awarded by the Mayor of Prague together with the Centre director Mr. Michal Kárník to Prof. MUDr. Jiří Raboch, DrSc., the president of the Czech Society of Psychiatry and a regional representative of the World Psychiatric Association for Central and Eastern Europe. During his long-time work in the field of psychiatry, a number of international congresses were held in the Czech Republic thanks to his efforts. Among the most important ones are the European Psychiatric Association Congress in 2000, the 14th World Psychiatric Congress in 2008, and the World Psychiatric Association Congress held this October.
The ceremony culminated with a prize awarded to Prof. RNDr. Václav Pačes, DrSc., for his long-term contribution to congress tourism. Professor Pačes has significantly contributed to the popularisation of genetics. Both at home and abroad, he is perceived as an authority of society-wide importance. His personal references in congress tourism date back to 1988, when he was a member of the organisational committee of the IUB world biochemical congress in Prague with 6,000 participants. Since then he has participated in preparing candidacies and organising dozens of international meetings.
The prizes will be awarded in coming years, too, because the number of congress ambassadors should keep increasing. The Prague Convention Bureau also plans to be more active within the Ambassadors Programme, such as by organising regular educational meetings. The programme aims to stimulate other Czech representatives in international organisations to make efforts to win other international meetings for Prague. Within the programme, new ambassadors of congress tourism may expect free consultancy from experienced ambassadors, help from the Prague Convention Bureau and its members.
PRAGUE CONVENTION AMBASSADORS PROGRAMME
DEFINITIONS OF 2011 AWARDS
Corporate event of 2011
Awarded for a corporate event, which in 2011 earned prestige for the Czech Republic and Prague as a destination providing services at the level of world congress capitals.
CANDIDACY OF 2011
Awarded for an ambassador’s personal contribution to the most significant candidacy of 2011, which was successfully completed with Prague being named the host city of an international meeting. The evaluation is based particularly on the project history and quality which form the framework for expected future economic contribution and assumed level of utilisation of Prague’s material-technical and commercial potential, especially of various local services.
CONGRESS OF 2011
Awarded for previous year; i.e. for the ambassador’s merit for the realisation of the most important congress or international meeting held in 2011. The evaluation focuses mainly on the economic contribution, and also on such factors as social importance or scientific progress, which form the publicity framework and are the sources of outstanding promotion of Prague and travel industry in the Czech Republic.
Prague Congress Centre Award
Awarded by the Prague Congress Centre for the most important event held in the Centre in previous years.
AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO CONGRESS TOURISM
Awarded as a special prize for previous long-term efforts which may be documented with references, i.e. congresses and other international meetings held in Prague thanks to the awarded ambassador.