2021 Poland Meetings & Events Industry Report

Together with municipal and regional conventions bureaux, recommended organisers of congresses and incentive trips as well as international organisations and associations, Poland Convention Bureau - Polish Tourism Organisation (PCB POT) has produced its annual Poland Meetings & Events Industry Report.

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The twelfth edition of the report summarises the achievements of the meeting industry from last year, a year which changed the landscape of business tourism worldwide. Just as it was the case globally, the meeting industry in Poland was one of the sectors of the economy most affected by Covid-19.

As we present the current edition of the report, we wish to thank the nine municipal and regional convention bureaux and the International Congress Centre in Katowice, which got involved in collecting data in their areas. Special thanks go to the recommended congress and incentive travel organisers who provided the data included in the chapter analysing the meetings and events they had organised in 2020. The meeting industry is once again starting to operate not only in the virtual world. With the safety of the participants of integration trips and conferences in mind, we are slowly going back to in-person meetings. I hope you can quickly restore your relationships after months of isolation and I wish you many opportunities to establish new business contacts that will undoubtedly translate into obtaining and organising of meetings and events in Poland,” said Rafał Szlachta, President of POT.                                                                

The data submitted to the report concern just under 5,000 meetings and events, each time involving 50 and more people (while almost 24,500 of them were held in 2019). Compared to 2019, all cities saw a decline in the number of events in 2020. The so-called second choice cities reached the projected level around 76%, while in Warsaw and Kraków the decrease exceeded 80%. It is worth noting that more corporate and incentive events (48%) took place in 2020 than conferences and congresses (46%). The smallest share of the events reported were fairs and exhibitions (6%).

Just as the year before, the top three branches in which events were held were: trade and services (34%), humanities (18%) and medicine (15%), the latter with a 1.5% increase. In 2020, as in 2019, one-day meetings dominated (69%), organised for domestic participants (88%). 68% of events took place in the first quarter of 2020. The only “decent” month during the pandemic was September, when almost 10% of the events were held.

In order to explore the full spectrum of solutions that event organisers relied on in 2020, information was also collected concerning the form of the meeting: in-person (80%), virtual (15.5%) and hybrid (4.5%). The results confirmed that the Polish meeting industry had immediately adapted to the new reality by introducing solutions to prepare not only safe but also high-tech events at the highest level.

This year's main content is complemented by a chapter on the examples of mechanisms to counter the effects of the pandemic. It contains the most important conclusions from the KRAKÓW NETWORK Protocol and analyses the data provided by members of the SITE Poland association as part of the “Destination Poland” project.  As many as 71% of the incentive events analysed were held in person, while virtual and hybrid events were respectively at 16% and 13%. The vast majority of in-person events took place in facilities located in smaller localities, which goes in line with the current trends in finding safe and less crowded places. This data is encouraging and confirms that out of the entire MICE range the incentive product has the opportunity to be reborn first, at least in a form as complete as possible, similar to what it was before the pandemic. This is, among others, due to the fact that the groups involved in such trips are usually less numerous than those attending conferences and congresses. It also has to do with the desire to motivate employees and the need to integrate teams after months of lockdowns and working from home.

The overview of the state of the meeting and event industry in Poland is possible thanks to the continued cooperation of Poland Convention Bureau POT with: municipal and regional conventions bureaux, recommended organisers of congresses and incentive trips (PCO and ITC) and international associations (ICCA and UIA). Every year, these entities collect and submit data for analysis, which allows to see the state of the meeting industry in Poland in a broad perspective. However, one should bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive description of the phenomenon nationwide.

The report is available on our website (PL).

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