The second year of the pandemic still does not allow the Lviv conference industry to work at full capacity. Quarantine restrictions, new rules for conference events, travel bans – all this does not contribute to the organization of national and international conferences with foreign speakers. Nevertheless, the Lviv conference market continues to work. In the last two years (2020-2021), the scientific community, professional event organizers, institutions and companies have learned to be flexible in their plans, adapt to new realities and respond quickly to opportunities.
In 2021 LCB team focused its work on four directions:
- cooperation with the local community;
- conference events of national associations;
- statistics of conference events in Lviv;
- promotion of Lviv as a conference destination;
- bids for international events.
What was done and what was not? What does the Lviv conference industry look like today? What conferences have returned since the abolition in 2020? How much did CB manage to support the national and international conferences that took place in Lviv?
We summarized all our work in 2021 and emphasized on the main things.
Cooperation with the local community
Regarding the implementation of the first direction, the focus was on cooperation with Lviv Honorary Ambassadors and initiative representatives of city institutions and organizations. Five scholars and one cultural figure joined the club at the 7th Gala of Ambassadors. The ambassadors of 2021-2023 became:
- Hryhoriy Dmytriv – Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv;
- Konstantyn Dmytruk – Deputy Director for Research at the Institute of Cell Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine;
- Lucjusz Zaprutko – Head of the Department of Organic Chemistry at Pharmaceutical Faculty, Poznan University of Medical Sciences;
- Ihor Mryglod – Chief Researcher, Institute for Condensed Matter Physics at National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine;
- Iolanta Pryshlyak – Deputy Director General for Organizational and Legal Affairs and Public Relations at the The Myroslav Skoryk Lviv National Philharmonic, Chairwoman of the Board of the International Symphony Orchestra «INSO-Lviv»;
- Liubov Yankiv-Vitkovska – Associate Professor, Department of Higher Geodesy and Astronomy, Institute of Geodesy, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Chairwoman of the Lviv Astronomical Society.
The newly elected Ambassadors, in addition to the honorary award, also received a certificate for 25 thousand UAH, which allows them to use the funds for the organization of conference events in Lviv.
During the year, the bureau team organized three meetings of Ambassadors’ Club, where they discussed current projects, planned activities and introduced new conference locations. As part of the Support Package, the CB managed to co-finance conferences organized by the Ambassadors for a total of 283,000 UAH.
Today the Program has 60 Ambassadors, with whom more than 50 joint projects in the field of medicine, education, science, culture, tourism, business have been implemented.
Conference events of national associations
In the second area of work on conferences of national associations, the bureau team implemented the Support Package Program. Lviv City Council supported the bureau’s initiative and allocated 1 million UAH to finance national and international conferences. This is a unique case. Lviv became the first city in Ukraine to provide financial support to conferences during the pandemic.
63 institutions and organizations submitted their applications to participate in the competition. Among them are universities, research institutions, travel companies, charitable foundations, medical institutions, educational, sports and cultural institutions. 45 winners were elected. Most conferences were held in 7 areas: science, medicine, education, tourism, culture, business, youth.
During the year, taking into account all quarantine restrictions, the organizers of conference events organized conferences, forums with the participation of national and international delegates. Thus, 7990 people took part in the conferences. The total budget of all conferences was 8,749,271 UAH. The main items of expenditure for conference estimates related to the rent of conference halls, transport, food and accommodation of participants, printed materials, excursions for delegates, technical support. The funds remained in Lviv, as this was one of the requirements of the program.
Another area of work with conference events of national associations is the formation of a database of all-Ukrainian associations. Unfortunately, there is no information resource in Ukraine, which contains data on the number, areas, contacts and the activities of associations similar to the international ICCA database.
LCB has started work on forming an up-to-date database. We have managed to compile a sheet of 629 national associations, which lists the activities, contact details and key conference events organized by these associations. At the same time, work began on the formation of an all-Ukrainian base of professional conference organizers. We have managed to gather information about 52 event agencies.
Statistics of conference events in Lviv
As for the analytics of the Lviv conference market, the bureau team continued to work with the MICE-analytics portal. We managed to establish cooperation with conference locations in Lviv: hotels, universities, business centers and other halls where conferences are held to get relevant data.
Thus, in 2021, 785 conferences of various types took place in Lviv. Of course, given all the quarantine restrictions, most were local and national conferences, as international partners did not always have the opportunity to come to Lviv. Regarding the field, most conferences were held in the medical, educational and scientific fields. The organizers of the conferences mostly chose the classic conference halls in hotels. In second place were popular conference halls of universities. However, the percentage of those who chose unique venues, such as the House of Scientists, has increased compared to 2019.
Traditionally, most conferences took place in May and September. The largest number of conference events was up to 50 people. However, there is a demand for locations of more than 500 people. And in 2022, new venues with conference infrastructure will open their doors.
An important indicator of 2021 is holding of large annual conferences that have chosen Lviv as their destination. All 40 key conferences in 2021 took place live or in a hibryd format. Unlike 2020, when most of these conferences were canceled.
Promotion of Lviv as a conference destination
In the direction of promotion this year, the bureau’s team focused on participating in national events and promoting Lviv as a city for conferences. Traditionally, we were a partner of the Event Industry Forum, where we presented an updated site with a section for professional event organizers. We visited the international forum “MICE Review” organized by the State Agency for Tourism Development, Global Mice Congress and the 26th International Tourism Exhibition UITT: “UKRAINE – Travel and Tourism”.
We also prepared a presentation on the activities of the bureau for representatives of national associations in the framework of the “All-Ukrainian Conference of Researchers”.
LCB also managed to stay in the international field of vision.
Our team hosted the online Conventa Trend Bar, an educational workshop for event industry players. We took part in the MMP forum for professionals in the MICE industry. Moreover we visited a training summit of business leaders and conference industry professionals in the Convening EMEA. Apart from this, we joined the online marathon to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day.
Another point of promotion was cooperation with the media. 10 articles about international conference opportunities in Lviv have been published by international websites. The activity of the bureau and the conference market of Lviv was mentioned more than 23 times by the national media.
The information resources of the bureau also published news about conference events in Lviv, new conference locations, supplementing the two sections “Event Calendar” and “Plan your event”, which are important for conference organizers.
Bids for international events
In the direction of working with attracting international events, this year we prepared 5 bids. 2 were won: the CIOFF Congress and the European Meeting of Crystallographers. One was rejected. Another 5, written in 2020-2021, are awaiting consideration. Given the quarantine restrictions, international partners postpone their events or cancel them altogether. There are also increasing requirements for the event, which Lviv cannot always meet due to the conference infrastructure. Thus, the bureau focuses on inviting smaller events of international associations.
2021 turned out to be a difficult year for the Lviv conference industry. However, market players are quickly adapting to new realities, and seek to return to 2019 as soon as possible. The statistics of the conferences give hope that even more conference events will take place in the city next year. The opening of new airlines will make it easier for international partners to get to Lviv and participate in business events, and new conference halls for more people will create the opportunities for large congresses.
Lviv Convention Bureau has planned a number of actions for 2022 to help speed up the pandemic recovery process. We are confident that together we will succeed.