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Prague to make its debut at IMEX Frankfurt

Prague is set to attend IMEX in Frankfurt, one of Europe’s two major exhibitions focusing on incentive and convention tourism, which is to be held in Exhibition Hall 8 from Tuesday 19th to Thursday 21st May. This is the very first time that Prague will have its own exhibition stand at the show. A result of cooperation between Prague City Tourism and Prague Convention Bureau, the stand will offer an opportunity to show their joint potential to another nine co-exhibitors involved in the convention tourism industry, from hotels and organizers of a wide variety of events to attractive conference venues

With its presentation at IMEX, Prague intends to strengthen its position among the premier European destinations for incentive and convention tourism, where the city is currently ranked in the top 10, along with attracting buyers seeking new venues for organizing their events.

A brand new catalogue, the Prague Meeting Planners’ Guide, prepared especially for buyers attending IMEX, provides event organizers with information on a variety of venues in summary form. The City of Prague is committed to attracting those interested in convention and incentive tourism with a broad spectrum of attractions: from a wide range of cultural activities, gourmet cuisine and active holidays in the city to events organized to mark the anniversary of the birth of Emperor Charles IV, who, aside from being one of the most influential sovereigns of the High Middle Ages, laid the foundation of the future growth and prosperity of Prague.

The Prague exhibition opens on Tuesday 19 May at 9.45 am, when a ribbon-cutting ceremony, performed by Nora Dolanská, Director of Prague City Tourism, and Lenka Jarošová, Director of Prague Convention Bureau, is scheduled. As part of its accompanying programme, Prague will hold a cocktail party for its business partners on its stand on Wednesday 20 May at 5.30 pm. The City of Prague will be represented also by Eliška Kaplicky Fuchsová, Chairwoman of the Culture, Heritage, Expositions, Tourism and Foreign Relations Committee of the Prague City Assembly. She will attend a special IMEX Politicians Forum on the theme of “How Do I Attract More Meetings and Events to My Destination?” on Tuesday 19 May, where over forty ministers, mayors and high-ranking government officials will discuss the contributions of convention and incentive tourism to enterprise and employment with acknowledged industry experts.

Prague will attend this exhibition to present itself as an attractive destination for not only individual travellers, but also convention and incentive tourism (or MICE, standing for Meetings – Incentives – Conventions/Congresses – Exhibitions/Events). As the Czech Statistical Office’s data indicate, 3,667 conferences attended by almost 545,000 participants were held in Prague in 2014. Lenka Jarošová, Director of Prague Convention Bureau, adds: ”According to the latest statistics produced by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Prague ranks ninth among European congress destinations and has defended its eleventh position worldwide. On average, participants in these meetings spend three times more money than regular tourists; however, international congresses and conferences, aside from delivering economic benefits, help the city build up reputation and create a positive image.

Prague Convention Bureau pursues the goal of bringing Prague into the top ten congress venues worldwide and, by 2020, we would like to rank among the top five. IMEX is an ideal instrument for fulfilling our objectives: it provides a useful forum for networking and creating business opportunities as it is attended by almost 4,000 buyers demanding attractive destinations.” Prague rightfully ranks among top congress venues, as confirmed by the fact that it was selected to host the 56th congress of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in 2017, when over 1,200 of the most influential congress and convention organizers from all over the world will arrive in the Czech capital. Prague’s candidacy as venue for this “congress of congresses” was prepared in close cooperation between Prague Convention Bureau and the Prague City Hall; Prague managed to defeat some tough rivals, such as St Petersburg, Russia, and Gdansk, Poland.

The 2014 statistics on incoming tourism in Prague show record figures: over six million tourists came to discover the beauty of the Czech capital. Says Nora Dolanská, Director of Prague City Tourism: "Last year’s record was established by both individual travellers and congress tourists. Prague is near-ideally suited for holding congresses due to its geographical position, traffic infrastructure, attractive cultural heritage, and an abundance of hotel and presentation facilities, from historical to modern ones. Moreover, it offers foreign organizers and tourists reasonable prices and great value. It makes excellent business sense for Prague City Tourism to closely work with the Prague Convention Bureau in promoting convention tourism.

"Together, we would like to show in Frankfurt that Prague has much to offer, even in the fierce competition of  other European cities. The development of congress tourism, as a profitable and extremely fast growing sector, will, aside from generating revenues, create new jobs in Prague, especially in the service sector.”

The attractiveness of the Czech capital is appreciated not only by convention tourism experts but also by regular visitors. This year, Prague has defended its position among the top ten most attractive destinations worldwide, according to the world´s largest travel site, TripAdvisor. It took fifth place in the Travelers' Choice category, leaving behind Rome, London, Paris and other popular cities. As for this category, tourists themselves choose the best destinations according to their historical and cultural heritage and variety of services offered to visitors. The results reflect assessments of the cities by those who have visited them during the last 12 months.

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