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MAY - JULY 2017 ISSN 2543-4497


ICE KRAKÓW CONGRESS CENTRE A facility suitable for the organisation of the most demanding events.





HOW CAN WE NOT BRAG? The Polish meetings industry’s economic contribution in 2015 amounted to almost 26 billion PLN, generating 1% of the national GDP. Contrary to what this figure might seem it is more than simply dry statistics. Rather, it is the legitimate outcome of the Poland Meetings Impact 2015 report, which was launched in late March 2017. Already the fact that the Polish meetings industry received such attention goes to show what a long way it traversed in recent years. Our country is so far the world’s eighth to attempt to develop a publication of this kind, demonstrating the huge potential of our sector. For more info on the discussed report, see p. 41. Such data are not the only arguments testifying to the condition of the meetings industry. THINK MICE – the magazine you are now holding in your hands – is regularly published as a monthly. When working on its foreign edition, we adopted a broader perspective on every recent event and found only reasons to be proud of. At the end of January 2017 the Polish Walk Agency won the Grand Prix of the Eventex industry competition plus an award for the best sporting event. This success brilliantly matches the trend perceived already earlier – Polish agencies are increasingly more confident and interested in this type of tournaments. Naturally, this does not mean that the results of competitions are considered the final quality measurement in this or any other industry. Nevertheless, they are an excellent opportunity to gain new experiences, to compare ourselves with others, and to broaden the horizons. Our periodical may also be used as a source of information about which competitions are recommended, how to enter them and the potential advantages (but also costs) connected with participating in trade competitions. As a publication of Polish origin we naturally take special pride in showcasing the event staged in Katowice in February and March. The Intel Extreme Masters final has been held in Poland for a few years now and is a model example for other events of this type. This year the Masters were conducted in as many as two rounds. More than 173,000 fans viewed live broadcasts and online transmissions attracted more than 46 million spectators from all over the world. The landscape of the Polish meetings sector is also co-created by such positive phenomena as the events staged as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in Wrocław, the increasingly frequent visits of representatives of international destinations, who want Polish companies to bring over their customers, the major congresses secured by our cities and venues, the full-speed preparations for The World Games 2017, awaiting the decision which Polish city will host the UN World Climate Change Conference and many, many other. We brag too much? Perhaps… However some time ago, Krzysztof Materna, our “Man of the Month”, told us what he had heard from Quincy Jones, the world famous jazz musician performing at the Solidarity of Arts festival Materna was staging: “Not only are you organising the largest jazz festival in Poland, but you are also organising the largest jazz event anywhere in the world”. And how can one not boast? Maria Krzos


THINK MICE MICE & MORE MEDIA GROUP THINK MICE Business Link PGE Narodowy Al. Ks. J. Poniatowskiego 1 03-901 Warszawa tel. +48 690 12 12 69




25 I 05 06 06

EDITORIAL TEAM Michał Kalarus michał

NEED TO KNOW Meetings Week Poland 2017 Walk to open The World Games 2017 New trends in tourism or the industry in an age of new media and technologies 06 More than 4,000 family doctors to travel to Krakow

Ksenia Bednarek, Maciej Kompała, Monika Kowalska ADVERTISEMENT

I THINK EVENT 08 How to enter and win event industry competitions? 12 Walk triumphs at Eventex 2017

SUBSCRIPTION DESIGN Iwona Borowska Roman Borowski PROJECT MANAGER Anna Łukasik


I THINK VENUE 22 ICE Kraków Congress Centre 25 Always setting the bar high




THINK MICE is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences, events) and its scope encompasses all of the segments in question: meetings, incentive trips, congresses and conferences. By adopting an in-depth and multifaceted approach to all covered issues, we present the role and significance of the industry for, i.a. broadly defined marketing communication, employer branding and destination marketing.

I THINK INCENTIVE 15 Safety comes first 18 Larger demand for Polish buyers


I THINK DESTINATION 28 ECC – growing a strong brand 30 Association events – great efforts, huge profits

I PROFILE 34 The (un)known side of Krzysztof Materna I TECHNOLOGIES 38 Intel Extreme Masters 2017 – an event different from all the rest


I REPORT 41 Polish meetings industry confirms its value


MEETINGS WEEK POLAND 2017 As each year, the fifth edition of Meetings Week Poland (MWP) consisted of a number of lectures and speeches dedicated to various aspects of the MICE industry. Nonetheless, this year’s meetings had a smaller turnout than last year. The whole series was kicked off by the Poland Meetings Destination conference prepared by The Warsaw Voice and focused on showcasing the impact that the MICE industry has on the growth of local and national economies. The launch of the Poland Meetings Impact 2015 report (more on this – pp. 41-42) provided a good pretext to discuss the issue. “Sometimes it is difficult to convince the authorities that investments in the meetings industry are profitable and in the longer time perspective will generate considerable benefits”, admits Angeles Moreno Vallejo, President of MPI Spain Chapter. Traditionally, there was no shortage of talks of about the role and activities of local convention bureaux, proposals of introducing a tourist fee applied to all guests visiting Polish cities or the planned construction of a Warsaw congress centre. “I am glad to see all new initiatives since they attract attention and draw new guests to cities. However, a major undertaking should be preceded by a thorough analysis. The size of a venue is among the questions worth exploring. The economic balance is what counts, which is why there is no need to act in a hurry”, comments Żaneta Berus, independent expert of the meetings industry. The hurry mentioned above, working under deadli-

nes and the related stress were among the issues brought up on the second day of MWP, arranged by Stowarzyszenie Branży Eventowej (Events Industry Association). The discussion was inspired by the slogan “The event is not the only challenge”. The invited guests described, i. a. the problems faced by event managers in their everyday activities. In addition, the meeting defined the most important challenges for the industry in the 12 months to come. Stowarzyszenie Organizatorów Incentive Travel (Incentive Travel Organizers Association), on the other hand, placed emphasis on inspiration and motivation. The Wednesday “Inspiration Booster” conference focused predominantly on presenting values related to personal development. Tomasz Majewski, Olympic gold medallist in shot put, was the special guest. The 17th European Academy of Organisers and Planners of Conferences and Congresses was arranged by Stowarzyszenie Konferencje i Kongresy

w Polsce (Polish Conference and Congress Association) on the fourth day of MWP and dedicated to topics connected with, i. a. intellectual property protection and the settlement of VAT when organising conferences and congresses. Lectures were accompanied by workshops on the role played by up–and cross-selling and social media in the promotion of conference services. Finally, on Friday MPI and Z-Factor decided to take the conference participants on a trip into the world of the cinema. Major film productions were employed as a point of reference to present the issues of particular importance for hotel and congress centre representatives. The programme of the Venue Forum included 13 presentations and panel sessions. This year’s edition of MWP took place on 20-24 March at the Warsaw School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (Vistula University Group) in the capital. mk




WALK to open The WORLD GAMES 2017

NEW TRENDS IN TOURISM or the industry in an age of new media and technologies

The Walk Events agency won the contract for the comprehensive organisation of the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Games. The results were announced on 29 December by Wrocławski Komitet Organizacyjny – Światowe Igrzyska Sportowe 2017 (Wrocław Organizational Committee – World Games 2017).

It is impossible for present-day business to flourish without applying new technologies and communication tools. The tourism industry is no different. The “New Trends in Tourism 2017” conference was intended to clue its representatives in on how to act effectively. Gdańska Organizacja Turystyczna (Gdańsk Tourist Organisation) staged the event, which celebrated its already eighth edition. The Gdańsk-set conference involved workshops (offering participants a chance to learn, i. a. how to efficiently create video marketing communication for the tourism sector through YouTube or how to take advantage of LinkedIn to build an image and secure new customers), main stage speeches (divided into the following thematic blocks: “Non-obvious marketing/Reloaded” “Destination marketing – play a game of cities!”, “Facts and myths about mobile tourism applications”, “Talent management. Doing IT the right way”) and the Exhibitor Zone, where companies were presenting their products and services. The conference was also accompanied by Tourism Trends Awards 2017 (TTA 2017), which distinguished the best tourism products of 2016. The winners of each particular category received an

The offer submitted by Walk Events proved unmatched, winning a total of 93.6 points. The aspects taken into consideration included, i. a. the concept’s coherence and compatibility with the marketing brief, its attractiveness from the viewpoint of spectators directly involved in event and for TV broadcasts, the audience engagement method, the way of promoting the host city, the form of presenting sports disciplines, as well as the experience. Finally, the price also played an essential role with the successful agency declaring it will arrange the event for 7,994,867.78 PLN (gross). Besides Walk Events, other proposals were prepared by the Allegro Agency, LIVE and the following consortia: Potsterscope Polska and Red8Events, Rockloud, Wizja and Wizja Multimedia, IT. expert, Platige Image and IT. Event, as well as FM PRO and Fabryka Spółka Realizatorów Filmowych i Telewizyjnych. Once the results were announced, each of the companies was entitled to appealing to the National Chamber of Commerce within the next ten days. The tenth edition of World Games, also known as the Non-Olympic-Sports-Games, will be held in Wrocław on 20-30 July. Its opening ceremony will be arranged at the Wrocław Stadium. mkk

opportunity to showcase their products on the main stage. The „New Trends in Tourism 2017” conference was staged at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk on 31 March. About 600 participants attended the event. kos

WINNERS OF THE TTA 2017 COMPETITION  CATEGORY: DEBUT OF THE YEAR The Ruszaj w Drogę foundation (The foundation, club and blog were all launched to “build a bridge between tourists and the industry: the foundation helps the industry connect with tourists)  CATEGORY: IT FOR TOURISM QB Mobile (developer of mobile applications and websites)  CATEGORY: NEW TOURISM OFFER Kazimierz-Tour. Pl (See Kazimierz by night – a night-time tour of Kazimierz Dolny)  CATEGORY: TOURISM PRODUCT CAMPAIGN The city of Darłowo – “Kapitan Parawan” campaign . The ridiculed windscreens, known as the “beach disgrace”, became a symbol of Polish summer; Arkadiusz Klimowicz, Mayor of Darłowo, was dubbed “Captain Paravan” and came up with the concept of dividing the local beach in two: the western section for windscreen fans and its eastern counterpart for their opponents.

MORE THAN 4,000 FAMILY DOCTORS to travel to Krakow The 2018 congress of WONCA (World Organization of Family Doctors) will be staged in Krakow. Competing for the chance to host the event the capital of Małopolska triumphed over Athens and Bratislava. As a result, for four days (on 24-27 May 2018) the ICE Kraków Congress Centre will have specialists for more than 100 countries discussing the most urgent issues connected with family medicine. The participants will arrive predominantly from Western Europe and Scandinavia, but also from i.a. Australia and the United States. Furthermore, Krakow was appointed as the strategic partner of the discussed event. For the entire duration of the conference a special stand

will be promoting the capital of the Małopolska region. Everyone interested in the topic will be able to obtain all the essential information about tourist highlights and cultural events arranged in the city. Organisers of WONCA’s 2018 congress chose the Wawel Dragon as the mascot of their event. It will promote the congress and Cracow at the WONCA Europe and WONCA World conferences, as well as at the meetings of all relevant European associations and boards. The message is intended to reach close to half a million recipients. This is the second time that the WONCA congress will travel to Poland. The previous edition was staged in Warsaw in 2011. mk


HOW TO ENTER AND WIN EVENT INDUSTRY COMPETITIONS? Participation in event industry competitions alone is a great source of inspiration and knowledge about the latest global developments. However, a praiseworthy project is just the beginning of a long journey. To professionally prepare an eyecatching entry you will need both knowledge and skills. What are the proven methods guaranteed to enthral jury members? Obviously it is always better if your portfolio includes a project that you can be truly proud of. Nonetheless, the way you present it is just as important. “I believe that entries should be treated equal to submitting a tender bid or conducting a company’s promotional campaign aimed at a narrowly defined target group – in this case, the jurors. What really counts is the concept and its implementation plus whether our project is unique and stands out from the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, the ability to attractively and reliably convince others that you are the best is just as crucial as actually being number one”, says Olga Krzemińska-Zasadzka, Managing Director at the Power agency, jury member of the Eventex 2017 competition.



 Corporate Events Awards  Crystal Awards

 EuBea – European Best Events Awards  Event Awards

 Event Technology Awards

 Experience Design & Technology Awards  Global Eventex Awards

 Motivation Masters Awards  M&IT Industry Awards

 The Conference & Incentive Travel Excellence Awards


It should be highlighted that in addition to a filled out detailed application form organisers usually require additional material such as photos and videos (remember to take care of their professional editing) and increasingly often other, optimally creative methods of showcasing the presented project and its outcome. It is thus absolutely crucial to carefully read the terms and conditions of a given competition and grasp which elements are of key significance for the jury. “This is by no means an easy task. After all, no rules guarantee that each jury will recognise your entry. The competitions we won – such as Crystal Awards, Motivation Masters Awards and Pearl Awards – place emphasis on the business effectiveness (ROI) of projects and their innovative character. However, there is no doubt that things are changing. Since we won our first international distinction back in 2008 the awards and their terms and conditions have been evolving together with the market. While the Crystal Awards once focused more on the attractiveness of projects, now ROI reigns supreme”, explains Krzysztof Michniewicz, President of the Board, ICP Group.

WHY EFFECTIVENESS IS THE WAY TO GO Demonstrating a positive return on investment is joining the list of top elements making it possible to appeal to jury members. What is more, each year it seems to

THINK EVENT GENERAL RULES OF PARTICIPATING IN SELECTED EVENT INDUSTRY COMPETITIONS: CRYSTAL AWARDS  ENTRY COSTS: Non-members: 500 USD for first entry and 250 USD for additional entries. SITE members: 250 USD for first entry and 200 USD for additional entries.  MATERIALS TO BE SUBMITTED: Submissions are done through an online form. In addition, the organisers require photos and recommend sending video materials (uploaded as files not larger than 30 MB and/or via web links to films published on sharing sites, YouTube, etc.). Moreover, all additional materials – letters with customer recommendations or meeting agendas – are welcome.  RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING THE EVENT SETTING OR THE AGENCY’S REGISTERED HEADQUARTERS: None (entered projects are assigned to particular categories, some taking geographical breakdown into consideration).

 JUDGING CRITERIA: Most Effective Incentive Marketing Campaign: ROI – 40 points; Creativity – 35 points; Logistics – 25 points; Sustainable practices – 5 points Distinctive destination: Infrastructure – 25 points; Resources and services – 25 points; Engaging activities and experiences – 25 points; Creativity in a case study – 25 points; Sustainable practices – 5 points  WHAT WILL WINNERS RECEIVE: A crystal vase – Recognition and promotion of winners at the awards ceremony, on the SITE website, in video materials and press releases distributed to representatives of the meetings industry and the media, an individual press release to be distributed by the winners. The official Crystal Awards logo on marketing materials.


380 EUR for each entry.  MATERIALS TO BE SUBMITTED:

Event categories: In addition to basic information such as the event’s name, date, venue, website (if available) and a brief summary (250 characters), entry submissions should also contains answers to several more detailed questions. These include the use of innovative approaches and creativity aimed at boosting the event’s attractiveness and ensuring its positive feedback (along with participant engagement), how the event stood out from other similar gatherings and what was its crisis management plan. Supporting materials should include high-resolution images and a video covering the event. Technology categories: As in the case of event categories, in addition to an overview and all the basic information (plus logo) of the submitted technological solution, organisers have also prepared a number of required questions that focus on showing the product’s significance for the industry and demonstrating its innovative character. Entrants should also list the events at which their technology is used and may add materials such as videos and pictures.



Event categories: Objectives and planning – 10%; Event/meeting design (programme, speakers, performers, venue, etc.) - 10%; Participant engagement – 10%; Innovation and creativity – 30%; Crisis management (including a setup plan) – 10%; Impact and results – 30%; Technology categories: Purpose, functionalities and market – 30%; Innovation – 30%; Customers and impact – 40%  AWARDS:

First and second prize winners in particular categories are announced at an awards ceremony and invited onstage. In addition, the winners get to make a short speech, while second prize winners receive a corresponding certificate. Third prize winners also receive the certificate but only after the ceremony. All winners get to display the official Global Eventex Awards logo in their marketing materials and on websites.


500 EUR for first entry, 300 EUR for each additional entry (as long as they belong to a different category). Entry fees in one of the two Macro categories (best B2B and B2C event) – 500 EUR.  MATERIALS TO BE SUBMITTED:

All materials must be submitted by an on-line form. In addition, you need to send up to five photos and two videos showcasing the event in question – 3 minutes max (max. 100 MB) for jury purposes and 30 seconds max to be presented at the awards ceremony. The materials must also include a logo of the entrant agency and the corporate client (jpg/300 dpi). Additional materials, such as press releases, customer reference letters, etc., are also welcome.


European companies can submit their projects.  JUDGING CRITERIA:

Creativity and innovation – 40%; Execution – 30%; Effectiveness – 20%; Channel strategy – 10%  AWARDS:

Winners receive trophies and official digital stamps of the award. Certificates are also presented to applicant agencies, whose projects were shortlisted.


THINK EVENT be growing in importance. All kinds of documentation, with particular emphasis on high-quality videos and photos, continue to be relevant and should not be neglected as they enable jury members to evaluate the design and spectacular form of the submitted projects. Still, strictly MICE-related competitions tend to increasingly often turn the spotlight on hard data - the benefits generated by a given event for the customer, whether they were sufficient to achieve the expected objectives and the strategy adopted by the agency for this purpose. Therefore, applicants should prove that the undertaken activities generated tangible effects. The recent experiences of ICP Group reflect the present-day tendency of the jurors to pay most attention to aspects important from the viewpoint of customers and their business. “In the case of our sales support programme developed for MercedesBenz, winner of the Crystal Awards, the determining factor was its effectiveness, defined as whether it achieved goals – both hard (sales growth) and soft (increased participant engagement). The important thing was whether the programme engaged guests, how its objectives were defined and what communication strategy was adopted. We had to demonstrate the way in which each of the programme’s elements influenced the achievement of goals”, explains Krzysztof Michniewicz. The juries of top international industry competitions include professionals – participants and organisers of numerous events, who can recognise and appreciate the outstanding projects. In other words, a good event should defend itself even if its entry does not include any proverbial fireworks but simply focuses on the return on investment. Naturally, it never hurts to showcase your creative side, which helps entries grow in prominence and thus should not be ignored. In any case, be sure to get the proportions right. An entirely different issue, which might seem implausible but, as experience shows, is actually quite common involves a somewhat irreverent approach to the stage of preparing an entry. “Many participants drop out of competitions already after the first selection because they do not really treat the whole undertaking seriously: they send incomplete forms or copy material from websites not bothering themselves to match them to questions. Instead of presenting arguments in the form of concrete facts and figures, they tend to write down a list of self-applauding praises. An entry should not be a congratulations letter, but rather a well-founded confirmation of our success”, emphasises Olga KrzemińskaZasadzka.




Incentive trip to Brazil “Daimler Trucks Discovery: League of Stars” for MercedesBenz Polska ICP Group, Crystal Award (winner of the Most Effective Incentive Marketing Campaign category). Croatia-based incentive programme for Astellas Pharma ICP Group, Motivation Masters Award Launch of “New Insurance World iHestia” for Ergo Hestia Walk Events, EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entered in two categories, nominated and short-listed for final consideration), Global Eventex Awards

(entered in the Best Corporate Event category). PROJECT

Multimedia exhibition “Open a Door to Israel” for the Israeli Embassy in Poland COMPANY Partner of Promotion, AWARD EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entered in two categories, nominated and short-listed for final consideration).



H&M Kingdom” concerts for H&M lovesmusic endorfina events, EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entered in two categories), Global Eventex Awards (entered in the Best Brand Engagement Event category). “Winter National” town for PL.2012+ Testa Communications,


EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry).


Automotive event “VERVA Street Racing 2016” for PKN Orlen Walk Events, Global Eventex Awards (Grand Prix and first place in the Best Sporting Event category).



Grand Prix 2.0, 16th Mercedes-Benz Cars sales staff meeting Walk Events, Global Eventex Awards (entered in the Best Conference category). Silver Gala, an anniversary of Siemens’ 25 years in Poland To Pestka agency, Global Eventex Awards (entered in the Best Corporate Event category).

THINK EVENT PRESTIGE, SATISFACTION… IS THAT IT? Although winning a prestigious industry competition is synonymous with success, it is worth keeping in mind that usually it does not involve any major material prizes, perhaps with the exception of a certificate, a statuette or a cup. Moreover, the very participation in such rivalry does not always translate into concrete business benefits, at least not immediately. It definitely should not be perceived as the proverbial fair balance guaranteed to attract new customers. After all, even though the customers are aware of the existence of international awards, they tend to focus on other aspects of importance when picking an agency to cooperate with. “If you follow all the latest industry news it is obviously almost impossible to remain oblivious of all the awards, which are very much present in agency communication. However, the distinctions should be treated rather as a pleasant bonus that confirms your skills, but does not heavily impact supplier selection. At the verification stage I take into account the agency’s experience, its market opinion and the recommendations of other customers”, admits Justyna Banaszek, Projects & Promotion Manager at Goodyear Dunlop Tires Polska. Nevertheless, awards and sometimes even the participation in an international competition build the prestige and positive image of an agency. They make it easier to win the trust of customers and convince them to become interested in our offer. “They confirm the quality of our services, while attending an awards ceremony provides an opportunity to establish interesting contacts. Winning an award always attracts the attention of the media and may be the perfect occasion to promote a company”, says Olga Krzemińska-Zasadzka. Krzysztof Michniewicz agrees: “As the proof of our effectiveness, creativity and knowledge, awards are always a great way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd. In the case of competitions staged on the American market, such as Motivation Masters Awards or Crystal Awards (launched 36 years ago), you get to compete again the industry’s giants. Their range is not limited to US corporations (Maritz, Aimia), but also features representatives of other continents. For many agencies this is probably the only chance to test their strengths against such organisations, share the podium with them or even triumph over them”. This is another noteworthy value added – competitions offer a brilliant chance to take a closer look at other contenders, learn all about the latest trends and get inspired and, consequently, potentially contribute

to the quality boost of implemented projects. “When working on an entry we consider the best ways of presenting our accomplishments, search for intriguing solutions, and check how others do it. This procedure often allows us to gain a new perspective and triggers changes”, admits Olga Krzemińska-Zasadzka.

KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE Experience shows that such reasoning does not convince everyone. Many agencies do not perceive the image-related value of awards as a sufficient argument to become part of this type of projects. In addition, the reasons not to get involved are often much more prosaic. Preparing an entry with chances of winning is similar to developing a project or an offer for the customer. It takes a lot of time, something that most agencies simply do not have when working on current commissions, responding to inquiries or working on tender bids. Finally, the vast majority of the discussed competitions involve fees charged for each entry. As a rule, these are not small sums. Despite all these potential drawbacks, the general value of industry competitions remains undisputed. Can the lack of visible business benefits of the “here and now” variety be deemed sufficient to adopt a cautious approach? I believe there is no definite answer as everything depends on a concrete agency – the type of carried out activity, its priorities, time limitations and the willingness to get involved. It is always good to know that there is no shortage of the discussed competitions all around the world and that their organisers might be waiting for your entry. However, if an agency eventually decides to join international rivalry it is crucial to proceed in a diligent and professional manner.  Michał Kalarus


“Everything is poetry” concert dedicated to the oeuvre of Edward Stachura TOProduction agency, Global Eventex Awards (first award in the Best Concert category).

PROJECT Gala of Asseco Poland COMPANY Focus Event, AWARD EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry).


EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry). “Męskie Granie 2014” concert tour for Żywiec Group Live Agency,, and TBWA PR, EuBea – European Best Events Awards (third prize winner in the Musical Event category).



Heineken town for the 2014 Open'er Festival Horeca Group, EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry, nominated and short-listed for final consideration). Gala of Asseco Poland Focus Event, EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry).

PROJECT “Ewa& #mygirls” event for Adidas COMPANY Horeca Group, AWARD EuBea – European Best Events Awards (entry). PROJECT COMPANY

“European Rover Challenge” competition for Mars Society Polska Planet PR,



An annual automotive show and festival launched in Warsaw in 2010. Its 2016 edition was the first to be staged in the areas surrounding the PGE Narodowy Stadium and to be aimed at families. Guests admired legendary vintage vehicles, the latest models, races, stunts shows as well as concerts of top Polish bands. The event attracted approx. 110,000 spectators.


VERVA Street Racing 2016 – National Automotive Festival received two awards in the international Eventex competition. Developed by the Walk Events agency for PKN Orlen the project not only proved unmatched in the Best Sporting Event category, but also won the competition’s Grand Prix, claiming the title of Europe’s best event of 2016. Winners of the seventh edition of Eventex were announced during a Dublin-set gala held on 24 January. The jury recognised more than ten various projects and tools improving the arrangement of events, nominated in 19 categories. With competing

EVENTEX One of the most important international gatherings of the industry. The presentation of the Global Eventex Awards is a key agenda item. Laureates are selected by a jury composed of 40 judges professionally involved in the MICE sector all over the world. This year this group included Polish representatives - Olga Krzemińska-Zasadzka (Power), Anna Górska (Expo XXI Warszawa) and Rafał Rosiejak (Expo Mazury).


projects from more than 30 countries, the finals involved companies from the UK, the United States, Israel, Ireland, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey, Finland, Russia, Portugal and Poland. The largest number of awards (13) went to US representatives, followed by the UK (11) and Ireland (8) – see page 14 for the full list of winners in particular categories. This year’s edition proved to be exceptionally successful for Poland. The VERVA Street Racing festival triumphed in two categories, including the key Grand Prix award. “It was not only the most important project in the history of the Walk Events agency, but also one of the largest events to be staged in Poland in 2016. The new concept of the event was very warmly received both by the spectators and the media. The huge turnout inspired us to enter the project into international competitions. After the Eventex nomination we were secretly hoping for a podium result, but the moment when – after receiving the Best Sporting Event statuette – we were invited on stage to pick up the Grand Prix exceeded our expectations”, said Bartosz Bieszyński, Managing

THINK EVENT Director of Walk Events and head of the VERVA Street Racing 2016 project. The Walk Events team first came up with and then implemented a comprehensive event concept (infrastructure, scenario, highlights, stage design, etc.) and supervised its marketing and PR communication. “In other words we carried a complex project through from start to finish. We are proud that one of the largest automotive events in Europe was recognised and distinguished in a global competition”, adds Bartosz Bieszyński. This is Poland’s very first undertaking to win the Eventex Grand Prix. The project thus joined the list of winners that already includes Microsoft’s Future Decoded and Turn on the Lights 2014. MK

BEST SPORTING EVENT Event: VERVA Street Racing 2016 – annual automotive show and festival held in Warsaw since 2010. Organiser: Walk Events (Poland)

EVENTEX 2016 LIST OF WINNERS EVENTS  BEST CAUSE EVENT Event: YPO/WPO Angeleno’s WWII Victory Celebration and President’s Retreat – a tribute to World War II veterans. Organiser: Extraordinary Events (USA)  BEST FUNDRAISING EVENT

Event: Home in Ohio – raised over 1 million USD to improve the health and wellness of the region. Organiser: IM Creative (USA)  BEST CULTURAL EVENT

Event: Viagem Medieval em Terra de Santa Maria – “Medieval Journey” – fairs, battle reenactments, concerts, shows. These are just some of the highlights of the festival intended to take its guests on a trip back to the Middle Ages and show them the decisive episodes from Portuguese history. Organiser: FeiraViva Cultura e Desporto (Portugal)  BEST FESTIVAL

Event: Magical Lantern Festival – a spectacular combination of culture, art and multimedia. The festival involved numerous exhibitions accompanied by lantern installations. Organiser: Weli creative (UK)


Event: VERVA STREET RACING 2016 – annual automotive show and festival held in Warsaw since 2010. Organiser: Walk Events (Poland)  BEST TRADE SHOW


Event: Microsoft Future Decoded 2016 – by combining exhibition with conference, the event demonstrates the potential of new technologies and their potential business application.

Organiser: Momentum Worldwide (UK)  BEST BRAND ENGAGEMENT EVENT Event: Allerhande Kerstfestival – a three-day festival of Christmas culinary trends. In addition to tasting sessions guests could participate in, i.a. numerous workshops and live cooking shows. Organiser: Xsaga (The Netherlands)  BEST CAMPAIGN Event: Anniversary Concert Jostiband Orchestra – anniversary of the world’s largest orchestra for the developmentally disabled. Organiser: IDTV Live (The Netherlands)  BEST EXPERIENTIAL EVENT

Event: The Floating Gaardens – an engaging bar experience set on a unique barge on the Thames. Organiser: Momentum Worldwide (UK)

which culminated with a ceremonious gala, whose main highlights involved remotely controlled water bubbles. Organiser: Grasl & Partner Event und Marketing (Austria)  PEOPLE’S CHOICE EVENT Event: Allerhande Kerstfestival – a three-day festival of Christmas culinary trends. In addition to tasting sessions guests could participate in, i.a. numerous workshops and live cooking shows. Organiser: Xsaga (The Netherlands)  BEST EVENT Event: VERVA Street Racing 2016 – annual automotive show and festival held in Warsaw since 2010. Organiser: Walk Events (Poland)


TECHNOLOGIES  BEST NEW EVENT TECHNOLOGY Feathr – a marketing platform designed just for event organisers.


 BEST INTERACTION TECHNOLOGY VHI Womens Mini Marathon Wall of Support – an innovative application making it possible to send messages to runners.

Event: BMW – The Art of 7 – staged to celebrate the launch of the latest BMW 7 Series model. Organiser: CREATIVE PRO (Slovakia) Event: CEO Summit 2016 – an invitation-only conference and meeting of top-level decision-makers from major consumer technology companies. Organiser: Consumer Technology Association (USA)


Event: Connections Events – a global networking event for professionals involved in luxury tourism. Organiser: Connections (UK)


Event: BWT Water live 2015 – a three-day event


Attendify – an audience engagement mobile event app.

 BEST EVENT TECHNOLOGY Slido – an audience interaction platform.



In late November 2015 Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria. At first glance this tragic incident is not related to the MICE sector. In reality, though, it had a considerable impact on it, at least in Europe. Despite the gradually worsening relations with Turkey, for years Russians have constituted a key group of buyers for Turkish tourism of the individual and, to a large degree, business variety. After the incident on the Syrian border all of this changed, with the Turks suffering very heavy losses. Only a few

days after the warplane’s downing Turkish organisers and hotel owners reported a literal flood of cancellations by Russian companies and corporations. “The social turmoil in Turkey made matters even worse and resulted in the decline of interest shown by buyers representing other markets. All of this forced us to move a major part of our business to Greece and focus on this particular destination”, Burcu Camci of the recently launched DMC Greece in Style, a brand of the Turkish group KD Tourism & Original Senses Partnership, admit-

ted at the Warsaw-set Meet The Bidder Grand Edition. The fraught relationship between Turkey and Russia also resounded in other parts of Europe. Russian companies interested in organising meetings made an above-average number of inquiries aimed at the Baltic states. Representatives of many of them made no secret of the fact that they were looking for an alternative for the now blacklisted Turkey. A similar situation affected, i. a. the Czech Republic and the Balkans, which also started to observe growing


THINK INCENTIVE numbers of Russian visitors. This example is a splendid proof of interrelations characteristic for the present-day world. Seemingly unrelated events actually have a deep mutual impact and thus influence the attitude of buyers. This is precisely why in recent months the media coverage of terrorist attacks, socio-political disturbances, natural disasters or epidemics has successfully redesigned the map of incentive travel destinations.



There is no question that buyers now perceive safety issues as an overriding concern. “Companies and corporations are still eager to invest in incentive travel, but their attention has shifted to the selection of appropriate destinations – safe and capable of guaranteeing a stable situation. In other words, the focus is not on today, but rather on what might be happening in a given place in the months to come”, explains Cezary Wilemajtys, General Manager at United Partners. This tendency is confirmed by the SITE Index 2017 study prepared by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and involving 599 professionals connected with the MICE sector (both buyers and sellers) representing 62 countries. Close to 8 out of 10 respondents admitted that safety issues and the corresponding tightening of border security and restrictions on travelling to some of the discussed countries will have a negative impact on incentive travel decisions, forcing them to change previous arrangements concerning destinations. European (85%), Asian (83%) and North American (78%) meeting planners are the most concerned about these matters. How is this reflected in the map of particular destinations? “Unquestionably, places that were in any way afflicted with terrorist attacks lost many MICE buyers. This trend will be very difficult to reverse”, says Justyna Skubis, Director Business Development with PURE connections. Agnieszka Piętka, MICE director at Proxenos Travel, adopts a similar stand: “Dropping numbers mostly concern some of the Arab countries. No one travels to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco anymore, with Turkey also joining this unfortunate list. Among European countries tourists showed a considerably smaller interest in France. Although last year incentive groups headed to France to enjoy

package stays connected with attending the Euro 2016 matches, the events that immediately followed the football tournament have successfully driven the tourists away”. On the other hand, buyers continue to select the Arabian Peninsula destinations, albeit not without some hesitation. “On many occasions they must be made aware that these are safe destinations, where the dominant ambience is completely different from the one experienced in North African Arab countries”, adds Agnieszka Piętka. Thailand is losing its allure for some customers owing to the threat of possible terrorist attacks and the year-long mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which results in a reduced number of events and entertainment options available for tourists. Kenya, only several years ago a popular destination among incentive organisers from all over the world, including Poland, has also failed to fully recover. Organisers take a highly cautious approach to the Philippines, a relatively new destination boasting an enormous potential for developing intriguing programmes for visiting groups. Because of the on-going conflict between the government and Muslim insurgents tourists are now avoiding the southern part of the country. Trips focus on the more peaceful northern areas, yet the risk of suddenly changing circumstances puts off many buyers, especially since incentive travels are usually scheduled several months in advance.

THE BIG WINNERS At the other end of the spectrum are those destinations that have clearly benefitted from the current situation. The safety that they can offer to visiting guests constitutes their main advantage, complemented by tourist attractiveness and often also the novelty factor. Frequently such countries have remained somewhat undiscovered and many incentive travel participants are simply unfamiliar with them. The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office issues travel advice indicating safe holiday destinations. The list of low-threat countries includes Poland that, together with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, was classified among Europe’s safest. This category also features Slovenia, Malta, Lichtenstein and Iceland, and among international destinations – the Baha-

mas, Costa Rica, the Seychelles, Fiji and Japan. The discussed list to a large degree involves sites that have started to draw the attention of organisers of company trips. “It is true, we are staging a larger number of events in Poland, which have gained in popularity among all buyer groups”, confirms Agnieszka Piętka. To ensure the safety of their customers global incentive managers cannot afford to take any risk. “As a result, we are attracting greater interest and observing a growing number of trips from European countries, the United States or Australia. Moreover, this concerns not only the incentive travel category, but also conferences, congresses and corporate customers participating in sports events”, says Yurie Sato, Sales Manager at Japanese DMC Kinki Nippon Tourist. As regards European buyers, organisers admit that in the last several months they have been showing increased interest in Scandinavia. Despite the perennial high prices, for which Sweden, Norway and Finland are well known, the number of trips staged in these countries is on the rise. The Balkans are in high demand among Central and Eastern European buyers. Italy too is having a good run, which was not even interrupted by the 2016 earthquakes that hit the Apennine Peninsula. Portugal is another European destination that continues to be perceived as safe and thus attracts many more business buyers than was the case only several years ago. “It is an excellent example of a country that benefited from the ever shortening list of safe and predictable destinations”, comments Justyna Skubis. As for more distant destinations, the last few months witnessed many Polish and European corporate buyers travelling to South America. “This region is recognised as relatively safe and although the outbreak of the Zika virus was detrimental, the situation has now thankfully somewhat calmed down. Asia is also back in the game – affordable, relatively accessible and highly attractive for tourists”, sums up Cezary Wilemajtys. Perhaps such destinations as Bali, Mauritius and Indonesia have not gained in popularity but they remain relevant and maintain satisfactory levels of tourist interest.

LET YOUR EMOTIONS OUT The destination, albeit highly important, is not the only crucial aspect of incentive travel.

THINK INCENTIVE Such trips have to stand out and deliver experiences that most potential participants cannot replicate on their own. In a research conducted by the Eventbrite platform 78% of the respondents (representatives of the so-called millennial generation) admitted that they prefer to spend money on intriguing experiences than on possessions. Sellers and buyers operating in the incentive field have to match these expectations. This is why programmes constitute the second fundamental component of incentive travel. Analysing the highlights applied during incentive trips, it becomes obvious that despite an increasingly professional character they usually follow quite similar patterns. Regardless of where they are staged, the focus is on delivering an emotional experience, which guarantees the most positive response of the potential participants. It is no secret that unique events create the most interesting memories, which explains the focus on everything spectacular. This approach makes it possible to conduct superior marketing activities around all future experiences and improve their advertising.

ADVENTURES THE EXTREME WAY Speaking of emotions, all types of extreme activities are probably the most effective way of stirring excitement. Off-road trips, rafting, bobsleighing, balloon flights, parachuting and scuba diving are among the well-proven methods. However, when considering extreme activities it is recommended to take full precautions and adjust the programme’s elements to the preferences of the participants. After all, the activities should help your guests get an adrenaline rush, but not frighten them or prove ill-matched to their physical capacity. The combination of extreme highlights, or simply physical activity and exercise, with relaxation and luxury is an increasingly popular worldwide phenomenon based on the rule of contrast. After an exhausting day the participants are invited to a SPA, to enjoy beauty treatments or to a restaurant. A visit to the latter is an excellent excuse to organise tasting sessions of local cuisine and alcohol.

UNIQUE SETTING Incentive travel programmes based on sports events are a great way to effectively awaken and

WHO WON? Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland), Central and Eastern Europe (mostly the Baltic states and the Balkans), plus Greece, Portugal, Georgia, Malta, South America (i.a. Peru, Columbia, Brazil) as well as the Bahamas, Costa Rica, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Fiji and Japan

WHO LOST? France, Spain, North Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), Turkey, Russia, Thailand, Philippines, Kenya, SAF WHO STOOD THEIR GROUND? Italy, Switzerland, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bali, Mauritius, Indonesia

The good news for incentive travel organisers is that global threats might have rearranged the map of destinations favoured by buyers, but they did not change their preferences as regards the application of the discussed programmes. Companies and corporations are still willing to commission incentive trips in the process of awarding and motivating their employees, trading partners or customers. Poland is a part of this trend.




In the next 12 months 60% of buyers plan to increase incentive eligibility (up from 47% in 2016)

communicate emotions. Particularly popular in Europe and the United States, these trips are connected not only with attending key events, such as the football world cup, the Olympic games or ski jumping competitions, but also one-off basketball, volleyball and football matches, Formula 1 races, etc. Importantly, they do not necessarily have to involve VIP packages in lounges with premium food and champagne included. Sometimes it is better to invite guests to standard stands and let them experience something more genuine that will stay with them for a longer time. Even though they expect the “wow factor” many incentive travel participants continue to appreciate somewhat traditional highlights and



of buyers plan to increase incentive travel budgets (up from 46% in 2016)

anticipate becoming familiar with the places they visit. This type of sightseeing differs from its individual counterpart in that it is often arranged in an unusual setting. A lunch does not have to be an ordinary meal in a restaurant, but rather a live cooking lesson supervised by experienced chefs. The exploration of a city’s charming highlights assumes the form of a scenario-based outdoor game. The inclusion of CSR initiatives might act as an additional diversion of these activities. In addition to obvious philanthropic values, it makes it possible to learn more about the local communities and works well for teambuilding, to say nothing of image benefits.  Michał Kalarus





There is no question that representatives of foreign DMCs, PCOs, convention bureaux, as well as hotel and conference venues have finally recognised the potential of the Polish market and customers. This trend is confirmed by the Meet The Bidder events staged for several years now and aimed at making it easier to establish business relations between international suppliers and representatives of Polish MICE buyers (predominantly incentive travel organisers). “A few years ago when we were arranging the

first edition of Meet The Bidder it attracted only several international exhibitions and a few dozen organisers. It was difficult to convince foreign partners that they should pay attention to the Polish market. Times have changed and now an unsurpassed number of almost 40 companies attended the eighteenth Meet The Bidder, including 50 exhibitors from all over the world. Each edition is held on a greater scale and enjoys growing popularity. In addition to foreign guests, they are also attended by signi-

ficantly more representatives of Polish agencies and travel bureaus expanding their MICE departments, which are considerably more active in looking for potential cooperation partners. More than 100 organisers of foreign trips registered for the latest edition of the one-day event. While once our guests participated in several score meetings, now Meet The Bidder boasts a record-breaking number of close to 1,000 meetings”, says Katarzyna Kałuża, Business Development Director with Travel Bidder.


Poland’s economy is now in relatively fine shape reflected in the financial standing of both individual tourists and companies commissioning a growing number of incentive trips. (…) This is why we want to promote ourselves here. Paddy Paul, Managing Director, Golden Isle Travels, Sri Lanka

SEIZING THE MOMENT The increased attendance figures are impossible to ignore. As the foreign attendants of the latest Meet The Bidder admit, Poland’s main drawing power involves large chances for potentially good business deals. “Poland’s economy is now in a relatively fine shape reflected in the financial standing of both individual tourists and companies commissioning a growing number of incentive trips. In addition, they often allocate greater budget resources, making it possible to pick more distant destinations. This is why we want to promote ourselves here. We increasingly often collaborate with Polish incentive agencies and develop projects together”, explains Paddy Paul, Managing Director at Golden Isle Travels of Sri Lanka. More or less five years ago a systematic growth of arrivals of business tourists from Poland has also been recorded in Cyprus. “Our relations with Polish agencies definitely evolved and now we increasingly often work together on preparing projects for customers. Naturally, this cooperation has been going on for a much longer period of time, but there is no doubt that it became more intense than was the case only several years ago”, claims Mirsini Damouda, Project Leader at Cyprus” Creative Tours agency. Thanks to the above-mentioned favourable economic situation not only Poles can afford to travel more often, but developing local

companies employ more workers. “We perceive them as successive potential participants of incentive trips. Safety issues should also be mentioned. We are hoping that customers up to now choosing North Africa or Turkey will now pick Italy as the safer alternative”, explains Franco Manni, General Manager at the DMC Park View Viaggi from Italy.

HOLDING PROMISE Naturally, it should be stressed that neither objectively nor as perceived by its foreign partners has Poland emerged (at least until now) into a worldwide incentive power. Western countries, and possibly also South Europe, continue to be recognised as key from the viewpoint of the demand level. Poland is seen as a new, but highly promising player. „The number of travellers from Poland has in the last four years grown from 4,000 to 70,000. This trend mostly concerns tourists, but MICE guests are playing an increasingly important role”, admits Sergio Hidalgo, President of Costa Rica’s Best Tour Operator & DMC. Yves Van Kerrebroeck, Managing Director of Asian Trails” Thailand branch, also acknowledges the increasingly prominent Polish market. “For at least five years we have been recording a considerably larger number of incentive groups representing your country. Poland is the unquestionable leader of Central and Eastern Europe, although we also conduct promotional activities in, i. a. the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania”, says Van Kerrebroeck.

INADEQUATE GROWTH? Representatives of Polish agencies handling the arrangement of incentive programmes share these observations and admit that each year the number of such trips organised in our country is growing. With a market focused on employers and consumers, companies now want to, and even have to, put themselves across in the best possible way. Incentive travel is just the right tool. “I observe this on the example of our agency – about 50% of all the received commissions relate to the incentive field. This is much more than only a few years ago. In comparison with the more developed markets in Western Europe or the United States there is still obviously a lot of

catching up to do, but the market potential is certainly noteworthy. I also noticed that the discussed type of trips increasingly often involves not only representatives of senior management, but also lower-level staff. This partially relates to employers, but trading partners dominate. The growing competition makes all activities intended to reward and create attachment with a certain company much more common”, explains Michał Supieta, Incentive Manager at Opal Travel. Still, there is no denying that until now the growing number of trips arranged for Polish buyers is incomparably lower than the dynamically rising interest that foreign partners show in our market. “I did not observe a major boom connected with Polish companies

The incentive industry in Poland is truly thriving – there are many agencies operating and programmes are arranged at a really high level. This explains our interest in this particular market. Sergio Hidalgo, General Director, Best Tour Operator & DMC, Costa Rica



4,000-7,000 PLN/person EXOTIC DESTINATIONS

8,000-15,000 PLN/person VIP TRIPS

>15,000 PLN/person organising incentive travel. We have been working on them for almost 20 years now. It is true that there are more such undertakings, but this is hardly a major leap forward. On the other hand, the growing interest shown by foreign companies, representing various destinations, in promotional activities in our country is certainly noticeable”, admits Patrycja Werema, MICE Director at the Flower Travel agency.

About 50% of all the received commissions relate to the incentive field. This is much more than only a few years ago. In comparison with the more developed markets in Western Europe or the United States there is obviously still a lot of catching up to do, but the market potential is certainly noteworthy. I also noticed that the discussed type of trips increasingly often involves not only representatives of senior management, but also lower-level staff.


Michał Supieta, Incentive Manager at Opal Travel

VARIOUS REASONS What then are the reasons for these disproportions? Besides the abovementioned objective growth of the number of trips, increased interest in Poland is also influenced by several other factors. The first and most pragmatic one involves the launch of new air routes to our country. “LOT’s expansion, together with the regular flights to Warsaw inaugurated several years ago by Emirates and Qatar Airways, or recently Air China, made Poland much more available and was accompanied by dropping ticket prices. I am thinking here mostly about the more distant destinations. As a result, Poles travel more and, primarily, many foreign partners became aware of us. Our market became closer to them and thus more accessible from the business viewpoint”, says Krzysztof Kołacz, Manager of Mac-Tour. Poland is finally no longer seen as situated somewhere on the outskirts of Europe, but rather as a destination, which can be reached relatively quickly and efficiently from most of the world’s major cities and which offers tourists fast travel options, mostly with only one transfer or even direct connections. In addition, it is crucial that both Polish buyers and sellers now place strong emphasis on the quality of such trips. Poles arrange increasingly superior and professional travel programmes opening up new fields for cooperation with foreign DMCs or PCOs. “We are dedicated to making our programmes unusual and put in a lot of effort. We want to guarantee our participants a number of diverse highlights, often apply leitmotifs and introduce elements of surprise. Foreign

Source: analysis by Patrycja Werema, Flower Travel

partners recognised this, since it means that, first, we resort to their assistance more often (and thus become a better partner) and, second, they perceive us as serious players, who know their business and whom they can learn from”, explains Patrycja Werema. Costa Rica’s Sergio Hidalgo shares this approach – “The incentive industry in Poland is truly thriving – there are many agencies operating and programmes are arranged at a really high level. This explains our interest in this particular market”. Mention is also due to activities undertaken by companies promoting Poland not as a noteworthy MICE destination from the incoming perspective but as a market where numerous incentive trips are staged. “We have been working for years to promote Poland as an attractive market created by professional agencies sending a growing number of groups abroad. The programmes are developed in a highly professional manner and the budgets of buyers are gradually rising. I believe that thanks to these efforts we managed to build Poland’s image of a ‘new kid on the block” – a fresh but serious player that attracts attention to itself and encourages business relations”, says Katarzyna Kałuża. Another aspect that should be mentioned involves the fact that Poles are increasingly often employed in foreign DMCs and PCOs operating in various destinations all over the world. “These people know the specificity of our market and encourage their superiors to run promotion strategies and secure Polish buyers”, argues Michał Supieta.  Michał Kalarus

Photo: Wojciech Wandzel




It boasts setting in what is one of Poland’s best-known and oft-visited cities. Krakow’s rich past, numerous historical monuments plus a diverse cultural, culinary and service and commercial offer draw individual and business travellers alike. Until recently, it was hotels that mostly responded to their needs related to e. g. the organisation of congresses

and conferences. This state of things was sometimes problematic, especially in the case of major events. Luckily the supply caught up with the demand and for several years now Krakow has been among the Polish cities boasting an excellent conference infrastructure. Much credit for this is due to ICE Kraków Congress Centre.

SETTING AND ARCHITECTURE The setting of ICE Kraków is among the features distinguishing it from many other conference centres. The venue was not developed on the peripheries of the city but virtually in its very centre. In addition to the location’s more obvious advantages, the near-by hotel facilities are an important asset. Almost 2,000

rooms in a range spanning from three to five stars are within a short walking distance (up to 1 km). The central setting also influenced yet another aspect – the appearance. The newly developed complex had to be designed and constructed in such a way as not to impair the neighbourhood, but instead go together with the surroundings. This goal was certainly accomplished.

AWARDS Thanks to its main scope of activity, the potential and services provided for MICE events, and the advanced, extraordinary architecture ICE Kraków has won many domestic and international awards since its launch in 2014. Several months ago, for the second year in a row, the Meetings Star Award competition recognised it as the best congress centre of Central and Eastern Europe – the first time any venue won in two consecutive years. The distinction is even more impressive since it is awarded by „hidden guests” (a group of specialists with at least 15 years of experience in the meetings industry and an extensive knowledge in the field of event organisation), who assess the implementation of events during unannounced visits in particular venues. The jurors observe the event production process, the work of project teams and the implementation mechanisms. The domestic industry also appreciated ICE Kraków as Poland’s Best Congress Venue of 2014 in the MP Power Awards competition and as the Małopolska Leader. The Marketing Department of Krakow Festival Office (the venue’s operator) received the Grand Prix in the Team Award category for the best marketing team in the Marketing Manager of the Year 2014 competition. The already discussed visual advantages of the venue and the accepted architectural solutions were acknowledged both at home and abroad. In 2015 ICE Kraków Congress Centre triumphed in the Krakow – My Home competition (Grand Prix in the public utility architecture category) arranged by the city of Krakow and Dziennik Polski. In the same year the venue was appreciated by jury members of the international A” Design Award & Competition, which highlights the most innovative, creative and advanced projects of industrial design. The Krakow venue received

the Platinum award in the Architecture, Building and Structure Design category. Only a few months later it earned a yet another distinction, the Plan award created and promoted by by the prestigious Italian architectural magazine The Plan. ICE Kraków was recognised as the best architectural project to be recently implemented in the Business category.

A WIDE SELECTION The venue was designed in such a way as to make it available for hosting events of a diverse character – from congresses, conferences, symposia and forums through concerts and theatre spectacles all the way to multimedia shows and social-themed events. The centre has a maximum capacity of 3,200 guests and is composed of three main halls: Auditorium, Theatre and Chamber, which seat 1,915, 594 and 300, respectively. The complex also encompasses transportation infrastructure featuring parking lots, a bus turnout, a bicycle parking station and a two-level underground parking lot for 336 vehicles. Thanks to the applied technological and architectural concepts, the Auditorium Hall of the half-vineyard type (with the seating surrounding the stage from three sides), is one of the top concert and congress arenas in the country. It boasts customisable acoustics that can be adjusted to any kind of event and a number of noteworthy solutions in the field of stage technology. The hall is equipped with trapdoors for engineer booths, director booths on each of the three levels and simultaneous interpretation booths. Also in the case of the Theatre Hall – ICE Kraków’s second-largest room – there is no shortage of advanced stage technology solutions. It includes a box stage (a stage portal, an adjustable proscenium, a curtain and a backstage), while the foldable stand makes it possible to expand the floor’s space when hosting banquets and exhibitions. Thanks to the mobile acoustic wall technology the flat-floor Chamber Room can be divided into two smaller rooms with a capacity of 150 each. The adjacent Conference Hall Complex with an acoustic wall system and the glassed foyer make it possible to admire the city’s panorama, highlighted by the Wawel Royal Castle.  Michał Kalarus

DOSSIER Name: ICE Kraków Congress Centre Address: ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17 30-302 Kraków tel. +48 12 354 23 00 e-mail: www: Opening date: October 2014 Number of rooms: 3 main halls – Auditorium, Theatre and Chamber, seating 1,915, 594 and 300 guests, respectively + Conference Hall Complex and a glassed, three-level foyer. Maximum capacity: 3,200 Maximum capacity: 3,200


THINK VENUE MODERN VENUE, HISTORICAL SURROUNDINGS ICE Kraków Congress Centre is a proof that a major congress venue can be both highly functional and visually attractive. It was designed by the Ingarden & Ewý architectural atelier, renowned for its innovative projects of public utility venues (i.a. the Małopolska Garden of Arts, the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Poland’s pavilion at Expo 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, the Rondo Business Park office complex, the library of the Pontifical University of John Paul II, etc.). The main goal of the team of architects involved developing a state-of-the-art venue, which would also harmoniously match the panorama of the Krakow boulevards by the

KRAKOW AT THE TOP OF THE LIST From the viewpoint of both infrastructure and socalled tourist attractiveness, Krakow meets all the crucial requirements set out by Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs) and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) for MICE destinations, as well as (or rather predominantly) – by their customers, meeting planners representing corporations and associations. This trend is reflected in statistics, with the capital of the Małopolska region for many years leading the list of Polish cities hosting events of the meetings industry. It is also confirmed both by domestic reports (data of Poland Convention Bureau Polish Tourist Organisation) and annual global rankings compiled by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and Union of International Associations (UIA).

CRUCIAL TECHNICAL DETAILS:  AUDITORIUM HALL Dimensions: length – 28 m, width – 20 m, height – 15.5 m, area – 560 m2 Capacity: 1,915 (theatre setting) Equipment: sound, lighting, projector, simultaneous interpretation (10 booths)  THEATRE HALL Dimensions: length – 33 m, width – 20 m, height – 10.8 m, area – 660 m2 Capacity: 594 (theatre setting) Equipment: sound, lighting, projector, simultaneous interpretation (6 booths)  CHAMBER HALL Dimensions: length – 25 m, width – 20 m, height – 3.9 m, area – 500 m2 Capacity: 300 (theatre setting) Equipment: sound, lighting, projector, simultaneous interpretation (2 booths)  CONFERENCE HALL COMPLEX: Conference space can be flexibly divided by means of an acoustic wall system. Dimensions: length – 25 m, width – 20 m, height – 3.9 m, area – 500 m2 Capacity: 350 (theatre setting), 500 (banquet setting) Equipment: sound, lighting, projector, simultaneous interpretation

Vistula. This is why the functional and compositional layout of the centre takes advantage of the natural scenic assets of its setting (a view of Wawel Hill and the Kazimierz district). The building’s form, thanks to its distinct, wavy roof overlooking the Vistula, can be compared to a melting block of ice. The elevation finishing consists of a mosaic of ceramic tiles in red and white, the Polish national colours, and various shades of grey. The discussed whole is enclosed by a glass elevation and titanium-zinc sheet.



IMPORTANT: Together with the Chamber Hall and the hall, the Conference Hall Complex can create one large exhibition and banquet space of approx. 1,000 m2.  FOYER Located on the eastern side of the building, the foyer occupies four levels and can be used as a presentable public space for the centre’s guests and an exhibition space with the option of arranging sponsor and exhibition stands for congresses. Area: F0 – 1,000 m2, F1 – 1,000 m2, F2 – 650 m2 and F3 – 230 m2.


ALWAYS SETTING THE BAR HIGH A concert and entertainment arena, a congress centre and hotels – the plans discussing their development in the area surrounding PGE Narodowy Stadium are not new but it seems that we have never been so close to actually making them happen. We sat down with Jakub Opara, CEO of PL.2012+, the company operating PGE Narodowy, to discuss the project’s details and the venue’s current operations. The concepts of developing the area surrounding PGE Narodowy actually predate the venue itself, as the issue was occasionally picked up by the media and then relegated to the sidelines. However, recent months saw new information appearing about the project. What stage has its implementation reached so far? I can safely say that this is an advanced stage. Recent years created an actual opportunity to finance the undertaking. The breakthrough happened in October 2014, when the Warsaw City Council adopted the spatial development plan covering the area adjoining the stadium. The proceedings took two years and culminated with a plan of remarkable significance for the course of the investment process. The document specified the accepted type of venues and infrastructure. The second factor contributing to bringing the investment implementation closer involved a competition announced by the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw for the project of the area’s development. The winning document envisages the construction of i.a, a concert and entertainment arena and is exceptionally detailed - for example, it includes the building line of particular venues. Could you then please specify what exactly will be built next to PGE Narodowy? The project, whose implementation we are now planning, assumes the construction of a concert and entertainment arena, a congress centre and hotels. Let us start with the arena… Although this will be a concert and entertainment arena in the strict sense of the word, it obviously will be designed in such a way as to be optimally mixed-use and, in addition to entertainment events, also available for sporting events at the European or world championship level (with particular emphasis on team sports such as volleyball, handball and basketball). These are also the plans outlined by Andrzej Kraśnicki, President of Polish Olympic Committee. In 2023 Poland and Sweden will co-host the World Men's Handball Championship and if a venue of this kind becomes constructed, it would be a natural fit for the games. The discussed arena will fill the enormous void currently troubling Warsaw in staging major events. It will complement the offer of PGE Narodowy by hosting events smaller than the ones now featured on the stadium’s pitch but larger than the ones played in other venues available in the capital.


THINK VENUE Publications on the arena’s construction mention various figures as regards the number of spectators. I came upon estimations at the level of both 15,000 and 20,000. At the moment we are expecting this range to be somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000 seats. We must adopt a long-term approach as the venue is to serve Warsaw for not a dozen or so, but several score years. As a result, its construction should make it applicable for championship-level games also in the longer run. From this perspective, an auditorium seating 15,000 spectators might not be enough. The number of approx. 18,000 or even more fans seems optimal. A legitimate congress centre is the second venue to be constructed in the proximity of PGE Narodowy. At present an infrastructure of this sort is most often available in hotels featuring conference mini-centres at their disposal. True, we boast the Expo XXI centre in Prądzyńskiego Street, but when compared with the infrastructure available not only abroad, but in other Polish cities (I am thinking of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre or the G2A Arena Exhibition & Congress Centre in Rzeszów-Jasionka), Warsaw is lagging far behind. We already have an appropriate transportation infrastructure and an increasingly improving hotel infrastructure but the lack of an authentic congress centre is disastrous. This is why we are planning to construct a venue that will have much more than 20,000 m2 of congress space. Finally, to complement the discussed offer, two hotels are also expected to be developed around PGE Narodowy offering four—and five-star standard. According to a possible scenario, a single company will be responsible for their development. The market in question is distinguished by a trend to construct combo-types venues, in which e.g. one wing of the building offers four-star standard rooms, and another one – five-star accommodation. Additionally, it is also possible to construct two or three smaller exhibition halls from the Al. Zieleniecka Street side. All of the investment projects discussed so far relate to the land adjoining PGE Narodowy owned by the State Treasury. We should keep in mind, however, that some of the discussed area belongs to PKP, while another section, from Targowa Street, is owned by the city. I know that the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw is planning to construct a luxury apartment building.


To return to the plans of an arena, a congress centre and hotels, you mentioned earlier that now there is a real chance to finance their construction. What figure are we talking about and who will provide the funding? The estimated value of the entire project amounts to approx. 1,200 million PLN. We assume that this is going to be one of the first projects on this scale to be implemented using the formula of public-private partnership (PPP). This funding model is already well developed abroad, while in Poland its potential remains unfulfilled. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, to which the PL.2012+ company is subject, is acting through the Ministry of Development to secure financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments [Launched jointly by the European Commission and the EIB Group as part of the socalled Juncker plan, it is aimed at guaranteeing funding for projects of high importance for a given economy or society, implemented predominantly by the private sector or in some economic fields by the

public sector. The main goal of the Fund is to support investments expected to boost the competitiveness of EU economies; importantly, the EFSI does not offer non-refundable contributions and its main form of support involves low-interest loans or financial guarantees – Ed.]. How advanced are the attempts at obtaining EFSI funding? Last spring we have submitted first documents to the Ministry of Development and thanks to them the project is now leading the “List of potential government projects to receive support as part of the European Fund for Strategic Investments”. Once we joined the national list, we became obliged to compile a more detailed documentation (encompassing i.a. profitability analyses prepared by independent business advisors, market tests, etc.) to be presented to the European Commission. This stage is also already behind us and the prepared material is now being analysed by the Ministry of Development. I hope that by the end of the first half of this year a decision will be made whether our project will be officially submitted to the European Commission. Obviously a lot depends on the political will and Poland’s budget capacities, as the discussed support is not non-refundable. If the decision about support application is eventually made and then the EFSI gives us the green light, the actual investment process shall begin. In this scenario the concert and entertainment arena would be operating in 2021. And what if the investment does not take place? At the current stage, this is a yes-or-no situation. We should take advantage of the opportunity and develop the area, which de facto has been idle since the interwar period. Before World War I this used to be agricultural land, bought from private owners by President Starzyński and initially expected to host a venue similar to the Poznań International Fair. If now we do not seize the opportunity and do not invest in the development of an appropriate infrastructure, others will do it (Port Praski is also planning to launch a congress centre). The market abhors a vacuum. You have mentioned that the investment is to be implemented using the public-private partnership arrangement. Could you please provide more details? It will be up to us to select the partner and the PPP model. The publicprivate partnership approach includes many models of cooperation – from the most comprehensive form (“design-build-operate”) to the option of the private investor eventually only operating one of the developed venues. As PL.2012+ it is not our intention to operate hotels, as we do not believe this is the role of a state-owned company. According to a more natural scenario, both PGE Narodowy and the newly developed concert and entertainment arena will share the same operator. As a consequence, the two venues will not be competing with each other but cooperate and complement their offers. In my opinion, however, the issue of the future operator of the congress centre is still to be resolved along with the question will this be a private or public entity. What is the financial result achieved by PL.2012+ in 2016? I am unable to give any details at the moment, since our financial statements are still being developed. Nevertheless, I can say that we will

THINK VENUE project’s implementation to a large degree depends on the planned investments we discussed earlier. What are your long-term plans for operating PGE Narodowy and the events it will be hosting in the years to come? First of all, we are open to new, innovative projects and formats, as experience shows that they almost automatically attract people. Naturally, we are aware of the fact that we have already tested many concepts and projects (e.g. Top Gear, windsurfing, speedway racing). At the moment we are planning to bring eSports tournaments to PGE Narodowy. Perhaps we will be able to achieve this goal still this year, and if not – then certainly in 2018. As a consequence, we will be hosting Europe’s largest event of this kind. Also let us keep in mind that next year will be exceptional and noteworthy due to the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining independence. We would be honoured if the central celebrations connected with this special anniversary culminated at PGE Narodowy. be more than 15 million PLN “in the black” and this is a very good, record-breaking result. 2016 was highly intense and specific, mainly due to the NATO Summit we hosted in early July. This was a large international event attended by 30 heads of states and 100 official national delegations. Its preparations entailed making the venue otherwise unavailable for two months. It truly was a spectacular, unique and one-of-a-kind project. A NATO summit might once again be staged in Warsaw, but this will not take place in the next 20-30 years. What then will be going on at PGE Narodowy in 2017? This will also be a spectacular year, as we are always setting the bar really high. Our calendar features an exceptionally wide range of events with an unequalled number of 24 taking advantage of the entire stadium infrastructure. Among the events that can already be discussed, I should mention the final game of the Polish Football Cup (2 May), the Speedway Grand Prix of Poland (13 May), the KSW Gala (27 May), concerts by Coldplay and Depeche Mode, matches of the Poland national football team or the opening game of the Men’s European Volleyball Championship. The list also includes such events as the Warsaw Book Fair, the “Roztańczony Narodowy” project, the Warsaw Science Picnic or close to 300 trade fairs-eventsconferences. This year’s calendar is really packed with highlights, but naturally this does not mean that we are fully booked – everything depends on the space required for a given event. In addition, I consider the fact that as many as 98% of office space in our venue is commercialized to be a great success. At present we have reached a stage at which there is not enough space for all the interested parties. This explains why we are running internal analyses on what space functioning as part of PGE Narodowy can be transformed into offices, making it possible to apply it in the most optimal manner. Some areas surrounding PGE Narodowy are supposedly to be developed still this year? Correct, this is part of the “Wspólny PGE Narodowy” project. It is our goal to make the space around the stadium alive so that it may become a zone of activity, where all people can find something for themselves. This is why the assembly of a children’s playground is planned already for March. However, the schedule of the

What kind of venues is PGE Narodowy competing with at the moment? As regards our standing in Poland, we boast a competitive edge that makes us unsurpassed in many aspects. I am thinking mostly about the setting, the retractable roof and the sheer size. All these factors make us the only possible option for some events. What is more, the operation of stadiums in Wrocław, Krakow or Gdańsk is much more focused on sports and hosting Ekstraklasa matches. In our case, the centre of gravity has for obvious reasons shifted somewhere else. A similar situation can be observed when comparing PGE Narodowy with its foreign counterparts (and it should be noted that UEFA recognised Narodowy as an elite stadium, together with Camp Nou, Wembley and Allianz Arena, meaning that it can host the final of the Champions League). On the other hand, our way of operating the stadium is slowly becoming a model of how to apply a purely football stadium for other purposes. We are keeping our eyes on the competition, but we are also aware of the fact that they are looking at us.  Maria Krzos

JAKUB MARCIN OPARA CEO of PL.2012+, the company operating the PGE Narodowy stadium. Historicist and economist, graduate of Warsaw University and the Warsaw School of Economics. For more than a decade involved in public administration, both at the central and local government level. President of the council of the National Centre for Strategic Studies. Former Head of Office of President of Poland Lech Kaczyński. Author of many economic publications.



ECC – GROWING A STRONG BRAND We sat down with Krzysztof Maj, Head of the IMPART 2016 Festival Centre, to discuss the impact of ECC 2016 on the image of Wrocław and plans for the future connected with the title’s application for promotional purposes.


How did the title of the European Capital of Culture affect the image of Wrocław and the number of tourists visiting the city? Studies and monitoring of the influence of ECC on various aspects of the city’s life were conducted already during the celebrations, and some are continued up to this day. We already know, i.a. the outcome of research on the city’s tourist traffic. It turns out that in 2016 five million tourists visited Wrocław, showing an enormous increase in comparison to the previous years, where the average number of guests oscillated around 2 millions. We know that this tendency is related to ECC, as many tourists cited the number of cultural events as their reason for choosing Wrocław, meaning that regardless of when they stop here there will always be something of interest. It should be added at this point that the 2,000 events staged as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations were attended by 5.2 million guests (analysed period spans from the programme’s launch and the “Bridges” project in June 2015 to October 2016). The media (also of the social type) featured more than 100,000 publications, broadcasts and TV programmes, an equivalent of over 100 million PLN. The European Capital of Culture had also 100 presentations abroad – all over the world, from Japan and South Korea through Kazakhstan and Ukraine to Spain. Naturally, this is just the first summary, as studies on the impact of ECC on a broadly defined image of Wrocław are still being carried out. University of Wrocław is focusing on the residents of

our city, the Jagiellonian University – on the residents of cities we competed with for the ECC title, and Warsaw University is discussing the issue with representatives of urban movements and cultural activists. Were the organisers of business events staged in the capital of Lower Silesia in 2016 inspired by the fact that Wrocław held the title of the European Capital of Culture and by the events arranged as part of the celebrations? Which agenda items had the largest power of attracting people within this context? The organisers of conferences, congresses and similar events certainly benefitted from Wrocław’s title of the European Capital of Culture. They often asked us for presentations dedicated to Wrocław and ECC or promotional gadgets. However, their most frequent requests were related to suggesting which

THINK DESTINATION artistic events are worth recommending to their guests. Concerts held at the National Music Forum, which inaugurated its activity just before ECC, were very popular. As the IMPART Festival Office we were happy to choose this site for hosting ECC events. Business guests were also interested in the offer of the Wrocław Opera House and the major exhibitions staged as part of the ECC celebrations. Building an image is as a rule a long-term process. In the long run will Wrocław be applying the title of ECC for promotional purposes? To answer this question I would like to stress that the ECC brand is remarkably well regarded both by the residents of Wrocław and tourists. It became entrenched in the consciousness of the local population and, crucially, it inspired positive associations. On the basis of research results we know that not including the discussed brand in further communication would signify a great loss for the city. This explains why the press conference at which we declared together with the president of Wrocław that the European Capital of Culture Office would continue its activity was staged precisely year after the ECC celebrations were inaugurated, on 17th January 2017. We are now facing a remarkably wide range of tasks – from organising major festivals through international cultural diplomacy, including the continued programme of A-i-R Wro Art Residences (intended to offer local artists a chance to develop and work abroad and inviting foreign artists to develop and work in Lower Silesia), all the way to educational and activation programmes involving residents and operating Barbara: Infopunkt, the cultural heart of the city and a tourist information centre. Due to the positive perception of the ECC brand we want to present the events held in our city with a certificate or alternatively an ECC quality mark. The concept is still being developed but a decision has already been made to present the distinction to diverse events (concerts, spectacles, exhibitions, festivals, etc.) selected by a specially appointed jury. By applying this type of endorsement we want to send out a clear signal to all Wrocław residents: events boasting the ECC quality mark are highly recommendable. The influence of ECC on the image of Wrocław does seem to be considerable. However, is it not true that already before winning the title the city had a strong brand and a positive image, also abroad? Such opinions were expressed, after all, when it was announced which Polish competitor had been granted the coveted status. Obviously no power is capable of radically changing a city’s image or potential in the course of a single year, even when applying an appealing title such as ECC for this purpose. On the other hand, each city and region needs to be given an impetus to act. Wrocław was offered precisely such an incentive and, crucially, knew how to take advantage of this opportunity and embark upon effective actions. The fact that our city won the ECC title provided a chance enabling us to implement many delayed investments, while others were launched specifically with ECC in mind. This was a time when we explicitly focused our attention on culture. We also had a reason to use it as the foundation of our promotional activities. In other words, an adequately conducted municipal policy and all ECC-related activities influenced the city’s image shaping process. Referring to the comments appearing after the ECC winner was announced, I think it is safe to say that the celebration formula adopted by Wrocław worked well both for our city and its competitors. I am speaking about the “Koalicja Miast dla Kultury” project, which featured all other Polish cities involved in

On the basis of research results we know that not including the discussed brand in further communication would signify a great loss for the city. the race for the ECC 2016 title holding their presentations during the event. This decision generated some truly admirable results plus it turned out that Wrocław was the first city to share the title with its contenders. The final effect was so positive that the European Union is now considering making cooperation with rival cities an obligatory point of future ECC celebrations. What have been the benefits for companies operating in your city? I cannot speak on behalf of the entire Wrocław business community, but I can discuss the companies we cooperated with at the time of ECC. The celebrations contributed to, i.a. making the offer of employee volunteering much more diverse. This argument was of major importance especially in the case of foreign corporations, which thus found it easier to recruit employees in the city. In addition, we have drawn the attention of our partners to the fact that it is worth making investments in culture through CSR activities. An excellent example is provided by Credit Suisse, which thanks to ECC began supporting visual arts and the works of young Polish artists. Mention is also due to the more “obvious” benefits connected with increased tourist traffic in the city.  Interview by Maria Krzos

KRZYSZTOF MAJ General Director of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 project. For the last four years also the manager of the Jazz nad Odrą festival, initiator and co-founder of the Capital of Rock festival. Graduate of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, a holder of the Executive MBA diploma from the Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Maj’s implementation of the Opening Weekend of the European Capital of Culture earned him the Golden Fastener award in the Media Relations category and the Silver Fastener in the Culture and Media category. Winner of the 2016 Manager of the Year title in the Cultural Activity category, presented in a poll held by the Gazeta Wrocławska daily. Former spokesperson of the mayor of Lubin and wicestarosta of the Lubin county.




– great efforts, huge profits



Association events usually draw several thousand participants, last a few days and are accompanied by a wide range of additional attractions (elegant dinners, meetings, tourist programmes). All of these features make the budgets allocated for the implementation reach several or even a dozen or so million EUR. For example, the average expenditures of the participants of last year’s Poland-based IPSA World Congress amounted to approx. 2,500 PLN

per one guest. By multiplying this figure by about 4,000, the number of delegates staying in Poznań, we obtain around 10 million PLN (approx. 2.5 million EUR). The FDI Annual World Dental Congress, also staged in Poznań, generated even more impressive results. About 4,000 PLN spent by each of the almost 16,000 participants result in total profits at the level of 64 million PLN (about 15 million EUR). These figures are more than satisfactory but then it was truly

hard work that made it possible to secure the events in question. Let us discuss the details.

LONG-TERM THINKING Several months ago Warsaw came first in the race for hosting the European Congress of Psychiatry. The efforts aimed at bringing it to the capital of Poland were inaugurated more than one and a half year earlier, i.e. not that long ago by association standards. A key element of cooperation with this market



segment is that despite its potentially highly profitable character we certainly should not confuse it with making quick money. The main role is instead played by long-term activities that do not bring immediate results. It is the opposite of relations with company and corporate customers where, as a rule, it only takes several months (or sometimes even weeks) from a call of tenders to the event. “Each association is different. Some feature a core Professional Congress Organiser that arranges their congress and picks the destination, others rely on the experience of their team, while others still expect a strong presence in a given country. What all of them share is the long process that takes from two (and according to ICCA even three) to several years. For example, in mid-January I visited Prague to attend an offer presentation for a congress planned for 2020. I am also working on an event that will not be staged in Poland until 2025”, says Anna Górska, Business Development Director with EXPO XXI Warszawa. Naturally, there is no guarantee that the arduous work of securing the congresses of international associations ultimately pays off and that the customer will actually choose our city. It often happens that a given destination loses the first, second and sometimes even the third time. Nevertheless, specialists involved in the market recommend taking part in competitions for hosting the discussed events. ”On more than one occasion we gave up on huge image media campaigns and instead used the money to finance efforts aimed at hosting various types of association events. Even if they do not result in securing a given event, I still consider them to be one of the best promotion methods making it possible to raise the awareness of decision makers. In addition, patience is often awarded in the case of subsequent events. Fam trips also create an opportunity to communicate directly with association representatives and to build rapport with them. Finally, we always inquire what were the reasons for losing and what should be improved in the future. The information gained in this way is a valuable lesson, as it helps to improve shortcomings and create superior offers”, explains Jan

Mazurczak, CEO of Poznań Tourism Organisation and Poznań Convention Bureau. Earning renown and consolidating the image of a given destination is a good recipe for drawing association events, even if the whole process takes several years. “Each prepared presentation is already a success as it shows the organisers that we are ready to host their events and capable of tackling major undertakings from the logistics and organisational perspective”, adds Anna Górska. In other words, it is worth keeping in mind that an immediate “here and now” effect is rather out of the question.

WHAT ABOUT AGENCIES? The complicated process of securing association events, and especially the fact that calls for tenders for their organisation are announced several years in advance, creates another problem. “This naturally excludes agencies, which perceive such long time spans as not particularly interesting from the business viewpoint. Only the largest companies can afford to comfortably work on congresses, from which they might not profit for some years”, explains Katarzyna Cioch, CEO at Polish Vascular Surgery Association. Moreover, at least in the case of European associations, they often regularly cooperate with major Association Management Companies (AMCs), which provide them with comprehensive services. “In this case the role of a local agency is reduced to a subcontractor. As a result, its


10 million PLN

23-28 July 2016, IPSA World Congress of Political Science – (4,000 guests, average expenses – approx. 2,500 PLN/ person)

64 million PLN

7-10 September 2016, Annual World Dental Congress FDI Poznań – (16,000 guests, average expenses – approx. 4,000 PLN/ person)

function in applying for a given event is also far from crucial and becomes overshadowed by other, more significant factors – the venue, the city’s offer and the so-called local host, the local branch of a given association”, emphasises Katarzyna Cioch.

SPECIALISING IS THE WAY TO GO What activities should particular destinations undertake to most effectively make customers of association conferences and congresses interested in their offer? First, they must supply reliable and credible information about their offer and its potential, i. a. through the convention bureaux representing them. “Customers certainly appreciate a partnership approach of this kind. Relations need to be based on trust, which constitutes a foundation for setting up long-term cooperation. This is precisely why it is recommended to focus on content marketing. Traditional sales or marketing techniques are now losing their effectiveness”, comments Katarzyna Cioch. A noteworthy way of building a competitive advantage might also involve relying on selected economic sectors associated with a given city or region. For some time now this has been the preferred modus operandi of destinations most efficiently securing association events. “If the growth strategy of a destination places emphasis on, for example, the latest technologies, medicine or biotechnology, then it is a major advantage for associations connected with this particular sector. Therefore,

THINK DESTINATION we should follow this lead when looking for congresses that we intend to secure and, as a consequence, offer our potential customers a value added. A similar role is played by local investments in a given economy sector. Interestingly, I have recently noticed a new trend: international associations, up to now usually arranging congresses on a rotating basis, are now increasingly interested in selecting core cities, choosing to maintain a stronger presence in particular destinations, a bit like the IMEX exhibition did with Frankfurt. Obviously they opt for the cities that feature a favourable economic, scientific, legal or legislative environment”, says Katarzyna Cioch. This means that associations making the decision to bring their events to a given destination also want to promote themselves on the local market and gain new members. If the destination’s specificity corresponds with their specialisation they have bigger chances of accomplishing this goal. In addition, they can also count on the substantive support of local scientific circles. “It is crucial to maintain good relations with representatives of the scientific community. Their endorsement might immensely help to effectively secure association events. To solidify the relations in question I mostly make scientists and decision makers in Polish associations aware of the fact that they do not have to do everything on their own when entering a race to organise an international conference or congress. We are the ones who prepare an appropriate offer and if required might even

be involved in its presentation. We also search for partners, who should participate in a given project, and maintain relations with them”, explains Anna Górska. Fam trips usually comprise the second stage in selecting an appropriate destination for conferences or congresses. You should definitely make all the essential preparations to enthral visitors. “Obviously the number one goal is to secure the coveted congress. But if this does not happen, a fam trip is an excellent advertisement and an investment for the future. After all, many associations hold a wide range of events. Even if we do not secure the event that we were aiming at it is still very likely that we will attract another one – perhaps smaller but also generating considerable economic impact. This is exactly what is happening in Poznań”, says Jan Mazurczak.

THE BASICS The people responsible for selecting a destination for association events also take into consideration the safety of their guests, a trend inspired by the increasingly frequent terrorist attacks and social turmoil in various parts of the world. This is the most universal factor along with a given city’s setting and the number of flights it handles. Since association events usually gather several thousand participants, the aspects related to convenient and easy access gain in importance, more so than in the case of smaller events commissioned by events and

corporations. “Efficient transportation is high on the list of priorities. This is why our city cooperates with airlines to prepare the most optimal solutions. Depending on the situation, we ask carriers to apply larger aircrafts for routes already available in their network or to introduce brand-new routes. For example, during the recent IPSA World Congress the Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) reinstated services to Poznań, ordinarily suspended in the summertime. I believe that this solution was beneficial to all of us”, says Jan Mazurczak. Finally, venues also play an important role – their setting, adequate number of rooms, facilities. This makes first-rate infrastructure a necessity to even consider relations with major players on the market. It is worth emphasising that customers increasingly often inquire about the support available from potential host cities. “In the case of the European Congress of Psychiatry Warsaw offered free-of-charge city transportation for all participants and a chance to hold the welcome reception at the Palace of Culture and Science, also for no charge”, says Anna Górska. Besides the already mentioned fundamental issues – the endorsement of local ambassadors and the appropriate infrastructure – it is safe to say that association representatives also appreciate enthusiasm and dedication. A destination simply has to prove that it really cares about hosting a given event.  Michał Kalarus


Photo: Joanna Pieczara



The statement that, according to Materna, captured the very essence of the issue to such degree that he not only wrote it down, but also underlined it, was made by Gerard Pedraglio, Managing Director of Publicis/FCB, one the world’s largest advertising agency networks. All of this happened back in the early 1990s, when the advertisingmarketing-event sector in Poland was still in its infancy, and Pedraglio voiced his view in the course of training aimed at people creating the local branch of Publicis - Krzysztof Materna and Wojciech Mann. How did TV celebrities find their way into a major corporation?

From MdM to MM Communications Some people even now recognise Wojciech Mann and Krzysztof Materna mostly as the TV comedy duo behind such shows as Za chwilę dalszy ciąg programu and MdM, czyli Mann do Materny, Materna do Manna. Broadcast in 1988-1994 and 1994-2001, respectively, both brought them huge popularity and recognisability. In early 1990s the MM Communications agency appeared on their professional resumes. Where did this idea come from? “It was so long ago that I could basically echo people interrogated by the latest committee of inquiry and say that I do not remember”, says Krzysztof Materna. “At this time Wojtek and I were quite popular TV personalities well-known in the, shall we say, talk show-parody category. Marlboro, representing the tobacco industry operating without many of the currently valid restrictions, asked us, as public figures, to host the then-renowned Marlboro balls. With time we also started to act as their creative directors, coming up with various concepts and booking performers. This was when it became necessary to make our activities legally sanctioned. As a result, we decided to establish our very own agency MM Communications”.

More or less at the same time Publicis/FCB was looking for people to set up its Polish branch. This was a veritable advertising giant created through the merger of two other agencies – the American Foote, Cone & Belding Communications (when the merger took place in 1988 it was among the top ten advertising agencies in the United States, with more than 100 offices in 37 countries) with the French Publicis Communications. “We became the ‘prey’ of Publicis’ headhunters”, relates Krzysztof Materna. “Wojtek was the president of its Polish branch, I was the vice president and together we drew many young people into advertising. On the Polish market we handled services for companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Renault or Johnson & Johnson. At the same time, we were intensely learning about the advertising market – in Paris, Los Angeles, New York. The first contacts with professionals from the West inspired us to adopt a different approach to this, so to speak, business”, Materna explains, adding: “However, we realized quite soon that although the knowledge and experience gained at Publicis was unquestionably valuable, we do not really want to abandon our heretofore activities and focus exclusively on working in a corporation where, and there is no denying the fact, Paris always had the last word. We also did not have the right type of mentality. Finally, we decided to leave Publicis and concentrate our energy on MM Communications, where we could focus on what interested us the most – the organisation of events”. Materna’s most vivid memory from this period involves the above cited view expressed by Gerard Pedraglio, who himself actually admitted that both Materna and Mann would find it difficult to give up their own tastes in favour of creating messages aimed at the broadest target group possible. Taking into account their professional experience it would be odd if he had thought otherwise. Naturally, this does not mean that their initiatives did not meet the expectations of the Poles – quite the opposite. It could be claimed, however, that they accomplished everything on their own terms.



FAMA Academic Youth Arts Festival at the top of the list. Add to this the time Materna spent shooting films (as the assistant of director Jerzy Gruza), his acting experience and directing efforts, and it becomes hardly surprising that working for a corporation was not enough.

Photo: Joanna Pieczara

Solidarity of Arts ”I believe that despite all of the difficulties, defeats, rejected concepts and submitted proposals, in all the years working at MM Communications I have never done anything contrary to my taste”, says Materna. He emphasises that this task was not made any easier by being a recognizable public figure. “When leaving Publicis I decided that I will not become involved in any project that I would consider ill-matched for me and that I do not want to be associated with. This is not an easy path, since it is totally incompatible with what is going on today in the event sector, with the dominating approach KRZYSZTOF MATERNA to event development. As a result, MM Communications is not an agency, Born in Sosnowiec in 1948. Master of ceremonies, whose portfolio boasts a large number director, actor, satirist, screenwriter. Co-author of TV of projects and an impressive financial programmes such as Za chwilę dalszy ciąg programu, MdM, performance. Essentially we work to czyli Mann do Materny, Materna do Manna and 60 minut na godzinę. Co-owner of the MM Communications agency keep our team afloat (and let me which organises such events as the Solidarity of Arts mention that it involves some truly festival, the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, the Miller, outstanding professionals, such as Możdżer, Namysłowski concert tour and most recently Maciej Partyka, the agency CEO, the Pożar w Burdelu: Fabryka Patriotów. Rockopera Narodowa cabaret tour. A soccer fan, Materna enjoys Tomek Motyl, Adam Tyszka and Radek playing tennis and golf. Bębniak)”. Recently the agency has been When Materna and Mann decided to join forces and create Za chwilę dalszy ciąg programu and then MdM, both predominantly focusing on the organisation of two major events – the already had a wide range of professional experience. “We met with Wojtek Solidarity of Arts festival and the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. What at a certain point in our lives. Both of us had our share of successful is more, MM Communications is not only responsible for the logistics of projects. (…) When working together, we created a duo, but we never the Gdynia event, but also supervises its selection of artists, with stopped being involved in separate undertakings. We continue to do so Krzysztof Materna as the festival’s creative director. Ever since its first and this does not bother us in the least. It is one of the reasons why there edition in 2009 Solidarity of Arts is headlined by some of the biggest were never any conflicts between us”, Materna explained in an interview. names in international and Polish jazz. What is more, the festival also The sheer number of his professional experiences, achievements and, demonstrates that it is possible to create popular events which do not finally, the list of people he met along the way, for whom and with whom cater to the lowest common denominator, but try to shape the public’s he had an opportunity to work, is truly impressive. The beginnings of tastes. “The most satisfying moments in my life as an event professional? his presence on the event market, to use the current terminology, date When I had tears in my eyes after the Możdżer+ concert, which left the back to the time when Materna was studying at the Ludwik Solski entire audience simply speechless. Only later would they tell me (or Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow. In other words, without posted on Facebook) that they experienced the sense of participating in bringing age into equation, we are discussing events from more than 40 something extraordinary, that the concert actually took them to another years ago. This was the period when the student cultural movement was world”, says Materna. “I also remember when Quincy Jones told me that enjoying its heyday, with festivals, theatres and clubs giving rise to the not only am I organising the largest jazz festival in Poland, but I am also careers of such luminaries as Agnieszka Osiecka, Tomasz Stańko, Marek organising the largest jazz event anywhere in the world”.  Maria Krzos Grechuta, Maryla Rodowicz, Ewa Demarczyk, Wojciech Młynarski, *The cross heading is inspired by the title of Krzysztof Materna’s book Przed Jonasz Kofta, Jacek Kleyff, Krzysztof Jasiński and many others. Państwem Krzysztof Materna (dla przyjaciół Siostra Irena). Przygody Krzysztof Materna was then playing the role of a master of ceremonies, z życia wzięte, published by Wydawnictwo Znak in 2013. later also trying his hand at organising particular events, with the cult

Ladies and Gentlemen, Krzysztof Materna*



Bishop's Castle is newly opened hotel and Guests appreciate mix of modern interior design in old, historical Castle walls. The history of the Castle goes back to the 18th Century and many signs from the past can be found in the hotel. We offer 199 rooms and apartments, Conference Center and SPA & Wellness Zone with swimming pool. All the buildings are surrounded by 40 hectares of green nature. Furthermore, the hotel is located in the green heart of Poland – Podlasie region. There are still some small, delightful villages, wild river Bug and the most beautiful Arabian horses in the world. • 199 rooms • 460 beds • Conference Center with 15 conference rooms • over 1500 sq m conference area • SPA with swimming pool • many MICE industry awards. Joanna Puchałka Sales & Marketing Manager

Lodz is one of the bigest polish cities which has become a great conference destination. It's only 120 km to the captial city (a one hour drive conection by highway, trains and buses). Tobaco is a boutique, historic facility in the restored Cigarette Factory. Designers' interiors and eye-catching brick fusion with modern architectural solutions bring the history of Lodz. The hotel offers 115 rooms with 184 beds, a Relax Zone and a Conference Center with 7 rooms for more than 200 participants. Hotel Tobaco has become an important point on the map of meeting planners and event agencies. The award-winning "Kretschmer Restaurant" serves regional dishes based on influences from Polish, Russian, German and Jewish cuisine. Our Guests love our energetic interior, tasty traditional cousine, multi laguage staff, hotel transport in packages and very good location in the city center. We kindly invite you to check our diversified business offer, Sandra Fengler, Sales and Marketing Manager

ZAMEK JANÓW PODLASKI Zamkowa 1 21-505 Janów Podlaski +48 83 379 08 50 +48 83 379 08 52 +48 502 676 291

TOBACO HOTEL ul. Kopernika 64, 90-553 Łódź +48 42 207 07 07 +48 42 207 07 07 +48 505125577

Photo: ARAM


INTEL EXTREME MASTERS 2017 – an event different from all the rest


Photo: ESL Helena Kristiansson

Photo: ESL Patrick Strack

Photo: ARAM

Hundreds of players, thousands of visitors and millions of spectators in front of their computer screens – Poland hosts one of the largest e-sports events in the world. In addition to delivering a first-rate gaming experience, Intel Extreme Masters is also a grand multimedia show. ARAM once again handled the development of its latest edition. The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) final event is the culmination of the longest e-sports tournament series staged in several cities around the world. Each year the event is growing in popularity and in 2017 the 11th series finale in Katowice attracted more than 170,000 fans. What is more, thanks to online transmissions, more than 46 million spectators were observing the players’ efforts live on the screens of their computers (a growth of 35% compared with the year before). Organised by ESL Polska (Electronic Sports League), the event has expanded so much that for the very first time a decision was made to hold it over the course of two weekends. The League of Legends final game was staged on 25-26 February at Spodek in Katowice, while the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Star Craft II tournaments took place on 3-5 March. In addition, the IEM Expo took place in the adjoining International Congress Centre (ICC). The venue also hosted the Cybersport Cup of Poland final and Heroes of the Storm and Cross Fire tournaments. About 1,300 people were involved in services tailored to the event.

PROJECT AND DEVELOPMENT For the fourth year in a row ARAM handled the creation of the event’s concept and its detailed stage design, lighting and technical project. The company was involved in all comprehensive arrangements as regards the event’s technical details (supervising the construction of the main stage and three smaller stages for IEM EXPO, along with TV studios for broadcasting purposes). ARAM representatives programmed the course of the entire show (lighting and multimedia), carried out its implementation and supplied the majority of indispensable construction equipment and elements. Commissioned by ARAM, Fabryka Dekoracji constructed the decorations, while Red Square prepared the multimedia graphics. The list of companies involved in the project also includes, e. g. Viva-System (special effects) and 120dB and Target Sound (lighting). On the organisational side of things, representatives of ESL Polska (which has its own event department) coordinated all the activities. 4 MAX took care of some of the fair stand preparations, activities connected with attending YouTubers were handled by the GetHero agency of influencer marketing, equip-

TECHNOLOGIES ment transportation – by Universal Express, and security – by Fosa.

ENTERTAINMENT THE PRACTICAL WAY The production of IEM applied, e. g. 1,400 of lighting equipment instruments (including 500 of the mobile kind), 400 m2 of LED displays, 340 m2 of projection screens, 25 km of cables and 900 linear metres of trusses (see the sidebar for the list of crucial equipment). “There was a lot of freedom as regards coming up with the creative concept. In the course of our cooperation with ESL we successfully worked out a common language and understanding. Our main goal involved combining the two stages used for previous editions, IEM 2015 and 2016 – we wanted to take their very best elements and use them as the basis for something better and more effective. This is why we applied several innovative solutions. For example, it was our intention to make the stage multidimensional. I believe that its character was particularly noticeable during the opening, when successive stage design elements were gradually unravelled before the spectators. In other words, we did not want to show everything at once”, explains Michał Mrzygłocki, Operations Director at ARAM. One of the essential guidelines received from the organiser was to make the main stage construction, albeit spectacular, provide the audience with a relatively easy access to the gamers. After all, the latter were the most important component of the whole show. At the same time, the spectators were not allowed to distract them. Another crucial feature involved integrating the main stage activities with particular game elements. For example, when a bomb exploded in the virtual world, this was reflected by the stage multimedia effects “reacting” to everything going on in a given game. Stage screens additionally displayed player statistics, information about their equipment, etc. “The fact that in my spare time I enjoy playing exactly some of the same games the IEM participants were competing in proved to be somewhat helpful. It was easier for me to envisage how to optimally design the stage – how much space is needed to contain all the information, how many screens should be applied for this purpose”, says Michał Mrzygłocki.

WORK SCHEDULE The construction of the main stage, together with the majority of the remaining stage design elements, was inaugurated barely four days before the event’s launch. The first stage involved building an almost 13 metre-high Layher scaffold construction. As soon as the stage’s floor, also based on Layher construction, was appropriately ready for the team of technicians the assembly of lighting and multimedia equipment began. A certain difficulty lies in the fact that both multimedia and lighting had to be first pulled up and then assembled directly to walls made of scaffoldings. The whole process applied a boom lift. The next stage consisted of assembling and installing big-screen projection screens, each more than 130 m2. Only when these crucial elements were ready, the stage became filled with competitors’ desks with computers, TV cameras and a number of successive lighting and pyrotechnics machines (already set on the stage itself). Finally, a TV studio was built under one of the walls.

PRESS THE BUTTON The discussed assembly process was a crowning of much longer preparations. First IEM-related consultations were held six months earlier, while intense production works began two-three months before the event. Despite considerable creative freedom, the designing process actively engaged representatives of the organiser (ESL Polska). “The most demanding feat was to satisfy both event and TV requirements, as well as that of the tournament itself – let us not forget that the stage tournaments involve some very high stakes (this year’s total

prize pool amounted to about 2.5 million PLN – ed.]”, says Michał Mrzygłocki. The brief assembly period and the fact that the event was staged over the course of two weekends were also among noteworthy challenges. What this meant in practice is that the whole team had to stay on site for about two and a half weeks. “We were responsible for four stages, about 10 fair stands at IEM EXPO, business zones and several ancillary smaller elements. We had more than 100 people working under our wing and the entire equipment logistics was simply enormous. The main stage was the first to be constructed, but the three remaining stages and stands had to be built almost simultaneously. In other words, on the first weekend the team involved in the discussed event was working on the Spodek-set show and at the same constructing three stages, stands and the remaining zones at ICC”, explains Mrzygłocki. Finally, the scenario of the whole event also called for detailed planning and equipment synchronising, with particular emphasis on the show opening the tournament. As a result, it was programmed down to the second, using the so-called timecode. “In consequence the show was launched at the push of a button. Then everything ran automatically. All the equipment was compatible, successfully co-creating the show. To make all this happen, we first had to dedicate a lot of time to programme all of the discussed activities”, claims Michał Mrzygłocki. The effort also called for good cooperation between all the companies involved in the project in question.  Michał Kalarus

EQUIPMENT APPLIED BY ARAM FOR IEM 2017 (SELECTION): MAIN STAGE – SPODEK ARENA LIGHTING  GrandMA2 full-size console (1)  GrandMA2 light console (1)  MDG Atmosphere APS haze generators (2)  Robe Spikie LED WashBeams (28)  Chauvet Strike 1 blinders (27)  ProLights Air6Pix moving battens (76)  ClayPaky Sharpy moving beam lights (40)  ClayPaky Mythos hybrid lights (32)  LED ProLights Solar wash luminaires (47)  Robe Robin 1200 LEDWash (30)  Robe Robin 800 LEDWash (26)

 Fourlight FL-600 moving yokes (32)

 Vari*Lite VL3500S spot luminaires (18)  Chauvet Strike 882 strobes (14)


 Curve-8 LED curtain (75 m2, 8.9 mm)

 Hi-strip video lines (750 Mb, 12.5 mm)  M3 LED displays (85 m2, 3.9 mm)

 Barco HDF W30 projectors, 30,000 lumens (2)

 Barco HDX W20 projectors, 20,000 lumens (2)  projection screens (15.5 x 8.5 m, 2)  d3 2x4 PRO media server  Barco E2 video processor






POLISH MEETINGS INDUSTRY CONFIRMS ITS VALUE THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTED ALMOST 26 BILLION PLN TO POLISH ECONOMY IN 2015 (1% OF GDP). This is the outcome of Poland Meetings Impact 2015 published in late March. The study’s main goal was to define the economic significance of Poland-set meetings and events (i. a. social, economic and business) and demonstrate their economic contribution. The report was compiled by a team of researchers and industry experts working under the auspices of MPI Poland Chapter (Meetings Professionals International) and Poland Convention Bureau Polish Tourist Organisation in cooperation with regional convention bureaux, venues hosting events and conferences, as well as meeting organisers. It is Poland’s very first publication of this kind and eighth in the world.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The entire research was scheduled for 20 months and divided into three stages (for more details see the box below). Different

RESEARCH STAGES Stage 1 – study of the profile of meeting and event participants Stage 2 – study of the organisers of meetings and events responsible for securing, coordinating and implementing particular meetings Stage 3 – study of venues divided into categories, character and specific features of hosted meetings

survey questionnaires were used as part of each of the discussed stages, designed for different participants of the MICE industry (and matched to the distinctness of their daily activities). Aimed at attendees of meetings and events, the first questionnaire was expected to define the volume and structure of their spending. The second questionnaire type was targeted at organisers and intended to define the volume and structure of funds available to organisers when working on events for buyers. Finally, the third questionnaire focused on venues hosting events. This stage included 405 venues representing all 16 voivodeships. Their selection was deliberate so as to concentrate on places with the right infrastructure for hosting meetings of groups. As a result, information was obtained about the revenues generated by funds allocated for food and beverage services, space rental, accommoda-

tion and the arrangement of sessions and entertainment. The building of an econometric model based on the data of the Central Statistical Office of Poland, intended to determine the meetings industry’s contribution to the national economy, was also among the most important tasks. Although the study was carried out throughout the whole of Poland, particular attention was paid to cities and regions with operating local convention bureaux, which made data collection more effective. In order to systematise the whole content, the authors decided to distinguish four groups of meetings: conferences and congresses, corporate events, incentive events, and trade fairs and exhibitions. In addition, the events in question were further broken down into several thematic groups (humanities, technology, IT and communications, economy and politics, medicine).


Thailand – 0.77% (2014) Denmark – 1% (2010) Poland – 1% (2015) Singapore – 1.06% (2012)

Mexico – 1.32% (2010) Canada – 1.5% (2012) Malaysia – 1.78% (2015) United Kingdom – 2.9% (2011)



P O L A N D M E E T I N G S I M PA C T 2 0 1 5




meetings industry’s estimated contribution to GDP


number of domestic and international participants of meetings and events

26,000, 000,000 PLN

11,960, 058,000 PLN

2 days


meetings and events’ 2015 contribution to the Polish economy

average duration of meetings and events

gross value added

meetings industry’s employment contribution Source: Raport Poland Meetings Impact 2015

DIFFICULTIES AND LIMITATIONS The key limitation in compiling the report involved the lack of statistical data collected by central institutions for indices recognised as significant from the MICE perspective. Another issue entailed the absence of a list of venues capable of hosting meetings and events and of a central register of organisers. As a result, this was another reason to create Poland’s very first list of this kind by drawing on the knowledge of experts and cooperation with all Polish trade associations.



The team involved in compiling the report evaluated its results as satisfying. The number of domestic and international participants of all types of MICE events in 2015 was close to 12.5 million – almost one-third of Poland’s population. The meetings industry’s employment contribution amounted to 171,000 (1.15% of Poland’s entire work-

force). According to the report’s authors, this is roughly equivalent to the number of physicians or miners currently working in Poland. Naturally, Polish meetings industry’s GDP contribution was the most anticipated figure. The eventual result at the level of 1% might be lower than earlier, more informal expectations, but nonetheless remains satisfying. Poland’s score is comparable with Denmark or Singapore – although it should be noted that studies covering the discussed countries were already carried out several years ago, in 2010 and 2012 respectively, and since then the figures might have changed. The fact that a similar comment applies to Poland was actually discussed during the report’s premiere. After all, the data presented in the document come from 2015 and do not fully reflect the activity of several major, recently opened congress-conference centres, such as ICE Kraków, G2A Arena in Jasionka near Rzeszów, Lubelskie Centrum Konferencyjne (Lublin Conference Centre) or

Międzynarodowe Centrum Konferencyjne (International Conference Centre) in Katowice. Each of them generates impressive business, which is why the present-day GDP contribution of the meetings industry might be already a bit larger (in fact, Poland’s overall GDP figures have also grown since 2015). Prof. Jadwiga Berbeka of the Cracow University of Economics admits that reaching the level of 1.5% of GDP in the next few years would be good news for the Polish MICE market. What is more, she emphasises that this goal is actually achievable. Dawid Lasek, Vice Minister of Sports and Tourism, voices a similar opinion, adding that the next report of this type should be published in about three years. The launch of the Poland Meetings Impact 2015 report was held on 20 March in the course of the Poland – Meetings Destination conference, staged as part of Meetings Week Poland 2017. You can access the whole report at polandmeeingsimpact. pl.  Michał Kalarus

THINK MICE special edition MAY - JULY 2017  

THINK MICE is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences, events) and...

THINK MICE special edition MAY - JULY 2017  

THINK MICE is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences, events) and...