It’s not easy to attract the MICE industry in a city that is prospering on a different kind of visitors, a.k.a. tourists. Prague needed a good dose of magic to transform itself and still remain the same. I unveiled this and other talents of the Czech capital.
According to data released by the Czech statistical office, 2018 was a record-breaking year for tourism in Prague and the Czech Republic as a whole, with over 21 million people visiting the country last year. Chinese couples choose the iconic Charles Bridge to take their photo shooting. An enormity of school trips fill the city. When it comes to business travelling, how does the city strike a balance?
Making a virtue out of necessity
The Lobkowicz Palace, part of the Prague Castle complex, best represents this challenging task and the consequence is a beautiful one. They offer an interesting opportunity for every individual whose aim is to learn more about The Lobkowicz Collections - displaying unique art, sharing recent discoveries about the most significant pieces by Bruegel or Velázquez, and providing deeper insight into the rich history of the Lobkowicz family, one of the oldest Bohemian noble families.
“Prague has been continuously changing in the past decade, pleasantly surprising visitors and locals alike,” says Vendula Dedková, Director of Business Development at Lobkowicz Events Management. “At the Lobkowicz Palace, we are aware of these changes and participate by offering new experiences and educational activities for our visitors, scholars, students and guests of the various events we host at our venues.”
Programmes for groups
Food is always a good idea so groups can stop by at Chocotopia, a newly opened entertainment center where they will learn how to make their own special chocolate treats, or visit the wax museum to take pictures with the wax statues of Marylin Monroe or Karel Čapek, the Czech writer best known for his science fiction and for having introduced the word robot.
The Mlýnec Restaurant, with lunch provided by Zátiší Catering Group, is the best alternative for whoever just want to relax in front of the charming Charles Bridge while also avoiding the crowds. You’ll have your dose of chocolate anyway, no worries, as they serve a special mousse that is as tasty as it is ingenious.
Prague has mastered the art of taking historical patterns and develop them, adding some good dose of coolness. Take for example these three venues:
The recently refurbished Prague Congress Centre is getting ready to build a new exhibition hall and has a current capacity of 10,000 participants in more than 20 halls, lounges and 50 meeting rooms, with the largest room hosting 3,000 people. A metro station and two hotels with 800 rooms are just next to it.
“In recent years, there has been a huge development of the meeting infrastructure within the city, including the refurbishment of Prague Congress Centre,” says the Director of Sales and Marketing, Lenka Žlebková. “Main investments have been made in sustainability of the building and high technologies like new wifi network with 200 CISCO access points and 2 GB/s connectivity or the digital navigation system with LED screens that can be customised according to the clients’ needs.”
Cubex Centre Prague is a brand new and unique venue winner in the category ‘best new venue’ of the 9th Global Eventex Award. Thanks to its variable and multifunctional interiors, it is an ideal venue for the organisation of a wide range of different events such as congresses, conferences, corporate presentations, concerts, exhibitions, as well as balls and gala dinners for up to 1,700 people.
“The story behind the venue shows the traditional and genuine architectonic design of Cubism put into modern form,” says the Marketing Manager, Dagmar Alexandra Bernardová. “We combine this traditional approach with modern technology so our clients can run their events seamlessly and to high standards.”
The new multifunctional and congress centre O2 universum is directly linked to the O2 arena with its 21 halls of different sizes at disposal. The total capacity is of 10,000 visitors and the largest hall can host up to 4,500 people. “It is a complex that is unrivalled in the Czech Republic, but unique in comparison with prestigious multifunctional complexes around the world. It can serve very well for conferences and corporate meetings for several hundred participants, as well as after connection of all the premises it is suitable for congresses with several thousand participants,” says Robert Schaffer, CEO of Bestsport company, O2 arena and O2 universum. “After connecting the existing O2 arena on all four floors, we get space for up 28,000 visitors with plenty of exhibition space, several restaurants of all categories and almost unlimited possibilities for any space arrangement according to the client's wishes.”
Based on the data of Czech Statistical Office, in 2018 there were 816 hotels offering 42,487 rooms and 93,169 beds in Prague. Based on the KPMG study prepared for Prague Convention Bureau in 2017, the total MICE capacity of Prague exceeds 169,000 people and there are more than 240 venues.
In 2018, top three industries were: medical sciences, education and social sciences. According to the Prague Convention Bureau, at least 69 events will take place in Prague from November this year until the end of 2020.
HQ suggests to stay at one of the following hotels: Courtyard by Marriott Prague City, as well as the Prague Marriott Hotel in the city centre and currently under renovation, the unconventional Mama Shelter Hotel, Vienna House Diplomat (four stars), Orea Hotel Pyramida (four stars), Hotel Kings Court Prague (five stars) and Radisson Blu Hotel Prague - all equipped with spacious meeting rooms, in case you wish to host your event there.
Transfers can be arranged by Data Autotrans. From the airport to the city centre, it can take as little as 25 minutes. From the airport to the O2 universum, the Prague Congress Centre or Cubex Centre Prague, it will take from 35 minutes to around one hour.
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Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.