At a time when the international conference industry is emerging from the coronavirus crisis and returning to 2019 numbers, Ukraine and Lviv are living in a new war reality. Having recovered from the first shock and adapted to the challenges of the war, PCOs step by step returned to their activities. As a rear city, Lviv has become the center of business events.
Of course, many conferences, exhibitions and corporate events were canceled and postponed after the victory. Nevertheless, there were brave people who, despite air alarms, lack of energy, limited budgets and a long list of “why not”, held their events. LCB team collected statistics of conference events held in 2022 in Lviv. Let us share with you some of its key numbers.
In the last war year, 593 conference events took place in the city. The most, of course, were conferences – 386.
In second place were corporate events – 104. Third place was for various training sessions, seminars, round tables, etc. (82). Then there were exhibitions – 21. Compared to previous years, the number of exhibitions has decreased. This is understandable, because all venues in Lviv, such as the Palace of Arts or the Lviv Arena, hosted internally displaced persons for more than six months and were centers for humanitarian aid. Only in autumn, they were able to at least partially open their doors to event organizers.
If we talk about the seasonality of conference events, we see that the number increases in autumn and winter. The spring months were the hardest. There were almost no conferences. Back then, most event organizers were focused on helping their teams, moving to safe cities, and volunteering. The conference halls served as shelters for internally displaced persons.
As for the number of delegates, compared to the pre-covid and pre-war times, the number decreased by three times. Before coronavirus 291 144 delegates visited Lviv. Whereas in 2022 – 51 852 people. The largest number is in October and December. It was then that large exhibitions and forums with the largest number of participants took place.
The number of international events, which was high in previous years, decreased this year. 133 international conference events were held in Lviv.
Despite the limited opportunity to get to the city due to the lack of flights, foreigners still came to Lviv for the conference. However, in most cases, they were speakers, co-organizers of the event or came as part of a delegation with a humanitarian, military, or medical mission.
This year, Lviv became the place of interstate economic conferences. For example, the city hosted the Ukrainian-Czech Business Forum and the Ukrainian-Turkish Business Forum.
Not being able to host international delegates, Lviv became the venue for many national and local conferences. 282 Ukrainian level conferences were held in Lviv in 2022. 178 local level measures.
The key topics of the conferences were: medicine, business, economy, education, IT, service sector.
Traditionally, the city hosted the Western Ukrainian Economic Forum for 1,000 people, the Youth Policy Forum “Molodvizh” for 3,000 people, the IT Conference – IT Arena for 1,000 delegates, and the biggest dental exhibition “Dental-Ukraine” for more than 3000 participants.
In addition to large forums and conferences, companies held their corporate events in Lviv. Important diplomatic meetings were also held here. For example, the meeting of the President of Ukraine with the President of Turkey, a meeting within the framework of the Lublin triangle with the Presidents of Poland and Lithuania.
The organizers of conference events chose conference halls in hotels the most – 432 conferences.
In second place is the academic type. 106 conferences were held within the walls of universities and scientific institutions. The indicator has decreased compared to previous years. It can be explained by the fact that for a long period universities did not work at all. Scientific conferences were held online. In addition to hotels and universities, the organizers held their events in other locations such as museums, restaurants, libraries, co-working spaces, media libraries, etc. The main thing for all the organizers was to find a conference hall with a shelter and a generator, to be able to have a coffee-break, and logistical issues.
Although several large forums were held in Lviv during the 2022 war year, the majority of events were for up to 50 people. There were 350 of them in total. 180 conferences were attended by 51 to 150 people. 39 – from 151 to 249. Fear of crowding, logistical issues, the huge number of people who fled the country, and setting up shelters are among the reasons for holding small-format events.
But despite the constant war threat, psychological state, economic situation, conferences, corporate events, exhibitions took place. And this is already a big victory for Lviv’s conference industry. Each conference is an educational, scientific, cultural added value. Each event is about funds for local suppliers, business support, taxes paid, jobs. And also – a new form of fundraising for the military, support for injured civilians. Plus one way to be united with friends and colleagues, get support, discuss all challenges together and find solutions.
It is obvious that the war does not allow the conference industry in Lviv to return to the numbers of 2019, when 812 conferences were held in the city. Nevertheless, the number 593 is encouraging, considering all the circumstances. There is support from international partners. There is a pent-up demand for the conference industry in Ukraine. There are prospects.