Stadt Wien ehrt ihre Kongressveranstalter
© Clemens G. Schildberger

Vienna honors congress organizers after record year

Vienna's meetings industry set new records across the board in 2016: at EUR 1,072 million, the sector's contribution to Austrian GDP broke the billion euro mark once again, and with more than 4,000 congresses and corporate events generating 1.7 million overnight stays, the year represented an all-time high for the capital as a meetings destination. As a result, spirits were high among the 250 congress organizers who attended the awards ceremony at City Hall on May 10. Prof. Robert Pirker, Professor of Internal Medicine and Programme Director for Lung Cancer at the University Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna accepted the award on behalf of his fellow congress organizers from Member of the Vienna Provincial Parliament Tanja Wehsely (representing Vienna City Councilor for Finance, Economic and International Affairs Renate Brauner), Director of the Vienna Tourist Board Norbert Kettner and head of the Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB) Christian Mutschlechner. Thanks to Prof. Pirker's efforts, Vienna was selected to host the 17th World Conference of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and its more than 6,000 participants last December. Pirker was also the congress president.

World Conference against Lung Cancer to return to Vienna in 2022

The timing could hardly have been better – towards the end of his thank-you speech Prof. Pirker revealed that the IASLC would be returning to Vienna in the near future: the World Conference against Lung Cancer will be back at the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center in 2022. Anniversaries for two key figures on the capital's meetings scene provide additional grounds for celebration: Salwa Dallalah, director of the Division of Conference and Document Services at the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) was presented with a "birthday cake" in honor of 60 years of congresses for her organization. The Austria Center Vienna, represented by Head of Sales Stefanie Feichtinger, received the same honor on behalf of the nation's largest conference center, which has hosted numerous meetings of all sizes since it opened 30 years ago. The extent to which Vienna's standing as a meeting destination is conditional on international conferences is reflected in the following figures: while they made up just 18% of all meetings in 2016, events of this type accounted for more than half of all participants, three-quarters of bednights and 80% of induced economic impact in this segment. The global congress stats for 2016 released by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) put the Austrian capital in second place.

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