This meeting of outstanding Czech representatives in international associations took place in the Prague Congress Centre, with the aim of presenting these potential congress ambassadors with possibilities of co-operation in winning and organising important international congresses in Prague and the Czech Republic. The event was organised in the so-called “Ambassador Programme”, started by the Prague Convention Bureau in 2010 with the first ceremonial evening “Ambassador Awards”. On that occasion, congress ambassadors – outstanding scientists and leading experts who were taking an active part in congress tourism development in Prague – were awarded by the Mayor of Prague for their contribution to congress tourism. Since then, the Prague Convention Bureau has been steadily extending the congress ambassadors club.
“Currently, the congress ambassadors club has seventy members. We organised the meeting of its potential members in order to raise awareness about the significance of holding international congresses both for their industry and for the destination. At the same time, we wanted to provide them with information on possible support from the Prague Convention Bureau and Czech Convention Bureau, and motivate them to participate in the work of international associations with the aim to bring international congresses to Prague,” explained the Prague Convention Bureau director Ms. Lenka Žlebková. The Prague Convention Bureau offers significant help in this respect – from obtaining support from public institutions, through elaborating competitive offers, to organising inspection visits of the decision making committee at PCB’s expense.
The Czech Convention Bureau also participates in the candidacy for large congresses, offering support in the form of promotional materials as well as financial contributions to cover some of the expenses of the candidacy. “The Czech Convention Bureau is an umbrella covering regional convention bureaus. From our position of a countrywide subject, we promote the Czech Republic as a congress destination and co-operate with local ambassadors and professional conference organisers in individual candidacies,” explained the Czech Convention Bureau manager Mr. Zdeněk Giormani.
Prof. RNDr. Václav Pačes, DrSc., awarded for his lifelong contribution to congress tourism during this year’s “Ambassador Awards”, shared his more than 40-years experience with organising conferences and congresses: “Today we are no longer behind the iron curtain, and Prague is an interesting cultural destination with an excellent location within Europe. However, competition is increasing and to win a congress means to be active in international associations and to be elected into their executive committees and commissions.”
The significance of holding scientific congresses in Prague is demonstrated by the figures – the Prague Congress Centre, which hosts the highest number of big international congresses in Prague, welcomed as many as 150,000 delegates last year, who brought over CZK one billion in turnover to the city (quoted by the Centre director Mr. Michal Kárník). In total, Prague hosts more than 900,000 congress and conference participants annually and the total turnover exceeds CZK 20 billion.