Conference tourism, in other words congress or motivation tourism, is in general a separate part of the tourism. It belongs to the most lucrative fields which are offered within tourism. Almost all countries with highly developed tourism pay special attention to this field. The reason is that the conference tourism is stabile and lucrative, the name of the country can be built on it, and so the prestige can be achieved.
At the international level, conference and congress business have shown enormous increase in last 10 years. This applies also to number of events, which are held regularly, number of participants has grown as well as volume of investments into company events. Considering the crisis period, there has been moderate decrease in organizing conferences and congresses worldly but its recovery is expected.
In Slovakia, the congress tourism is still on such level that where it has many opportunities to improve. There is a potential to do this and first signs of growing congress tourism in our region can be found. In the end of 2010, Slovak Association of Professional Conference and Congress Organisers (SAPCO) has been established which has become the twelfth full member of European Federation of the Associations of Professional Congress Organisers (EFAPCO). Its task is to associate professional conference organizers and important hotels which provide complete conference management that applies to highest international standards.
„Our main aim is to increase level of the conference tourism in Slovakia and to bring to Slovakia conferences and congress of world importance. Therefore, we need to put together our best people, who belong to the top in this field and are able to provide services with the highest quality,“ said Mr. Norbert Bomba, representative of SAPCO.
It is necessary to point out to the important fact that the international congress tourism is not only privilege of Bratislava but also other Slovak towns and cities. Organizers discovered high potential in Košice, Tatras, or Žilina. In the capital of eastern Slovakia – Košice, hotel DoubleTree by Hilton specializes its offer on high quality conference solutions and congress organizing from the beginning of its existence. During almost three years of its existence, the hotel has organized tens of them.
„Bringing conferences and congresses to Košice is one of the main goals of DoubleTree by Hilton Košice. We realize that this kind of events is important not only for our hotel but also for the city. In such a way, we would like to contribute to building awareness about Košice and our hotel as ideal combination for congress tourism“, said Mrs. Lucia Hudáková, sales manager of the hotel DoubleTree by Hilton.
Conferences have considerable meaning of added value for individuals, organizations, host towns and cities as well as for Slovakia itself. Among public, it is rarely known that already the fifth year of the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics will be held in Košice. Hundreds of experts from whole world are going to visit Košice while there is continuing satisfaction with the quality of provided services.
„Our hotel has rich experience in arranging large events. We try to meet wishes and requests of the organizers to the maximum extent. Our satisfied clients are the best evidence“, said Mrs. Hudáková from DoubleTree by Hilton Košice.
Invisible contribution of conferences
The main problem lies in the fact that we can only hardly quantify the particular advantages.
This is one of the reasons why the question of conference tourism in Slovakia does not belong to the daily programme and it is not supported by more significant activities. If we leave out obvious economic advantages of congress tourism for cities, towns or hotels, we can see also indirect effects.
To such effects the following belong:
- Business meetings and conference deepen knowledge and can attract new investments, as at these meetings usually influential auditorium participates
- The atmosphere of conferences and congresses naturally supports discussion and deepening of new knowledge, what creates opportunities
- Conferences strengthen professional development by bringing international experience into regional community where the experience is more available for the local community
- They increase the level of science and technology which help to create new forms of technologies and to improve understanding and approach to development
- It provides means for local business and professional approach to the newest development in related fields
In order to adapt Slovakia in the field of organizing conferences and congresses of international meaning we need to wait. Natural conditions are more than good in Slovakia. Convenient position in the middle of Europe, relatively easy accessibility, small and open economics with growth potential and we cannot forget about beautiful nature which is just asking to be used.
However, there are defects in the infrastructure of the country and in low number of high quality places for organizing large meetings. Last but not least, marketing promotion and targeted advertising have to be improved to present Slovakia as appropriate and attractive place for conference tourism.
It is possible that inspiration from other cities and countries, which develop congress tourism and are more successful than Slovakia, would help. If this great opportunity would not be taken, it would be great pity for whole field of tourism in Slovakia.
12. Jun 2011 at 0:00