The meetings industry Ц driving the economy
Eighty experts from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, Poland, Russia and other countries gathered together for the first time in St Petersburg to discuss the future of the global convention industry. The summer session of the Central European Chapter of the ICCA, the leading international congress and convention association, began today at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex.
Participants highlighted the rapid development of the MICE industry throughout the world. ICCA Chief Executive Officer Martin Sirk opened the meeting, noting that “This year the ICCA celebrates its 50th anniversary. In 1963 the association had seven members: today there are around 1,000 in 90 countries. We have grown together with the market.”
This is a market in which St Petersburg is an active player. Last year St Petersburg jumped 19 places to 60th on the world list of cities hosting international events held in rotating venues. “St Petersburg is always in the top ten most visited cities in Europe”, said Nana Gvichiya, General Director of the City Tourist Information Centre, during the meeting. “Six million tourists visited St Petersburg last year, and that figure is expected to rise to eight million annually over the next few years.”
Business tourism, which is actively moving up a gear in St Petersburg, is contributing to the rise in numbers. “The consolidation of industry-specific exhibitions under a single exhibition brand is an important step in the development of the conference business”, said ExpoForum Executive Director Sergey Voronkov in his address. “It makes it possible to bring together in a single venue the widest range of professionals and market leaders in the industry, which increases the significance of exhibitions as perceived by foreign partners, and promotes economic development.”
St Petersburg is RussiaТs cultural capital Ц and now it has been temporarily transformed into the agricultural capital as well, bringing together participants from 53 regions of Russia and 17 countries at the Agrorus 2013 Exhibition and Trade Fair.
Commemorated on 10 August, the Day of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God saw the consecration and bell-raising ceremony at a church specially restored in the iconТs honour at the new ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Participation in Zoosphere has been confirmed by 29 foreign companies from 17 countries as of 8 August 2013, representing 22% growth over the year prior.
President Putin signed a document on 30 July to lay out steps for increasing domestic and international tourism to Russia.