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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » December 1, 2014
Poland - Meetings Destination
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EXPO XXI Warszawa: Working for Warsaw
December 1, 2014   
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by Żaneta Berus

EXPO XXI Warszawa is one of the Polish capital’s best known venues built specifically for the meetings industry. Each year, we host over 200 events ranging from major trade fairs, concerts, exhibitions and seminars to smaller conventions and various cultural and sporting events. Many of these are open to the public. We also take part in cultural and charity projects by making available over 20,000 square meters of professionally equipped space. EXPO XXI Warszawa is visited by around a million people a year, including 200,000 business visitors from abroad.

According to estimates by independent experts from the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH), EXPO XXI brings in over 70 million euros a year to Warsaw. This figure includes revenues from the venue’s own operations and money that our visitors spend in Warsaw. In 2014 alone, EXPO XXI Warszawa hosted 34 large fairs, including seven international fairs, in addition to around 100 other special events such as congresses, corporate events, political conventions, product launches and even movie shoots. 2015 looks just as promising with 33 major bookings so far, plus over 100 other events and counting. Such figures are a good sign that there will be many months ahead packed with interesting projects and new opportunities for our venue to develop.

As for our biggest recent achievements, I should mention the bidding procedure we won for the organization of the international FTTH (Fiber to the Home) Conference on fiber optics, scheduled to take place in February 2015. This prestigious event with thousands of people in attendance is held in a different country every year and thanks to the hard work of the EXPO XXI team, Warsaw will now be hosting it. Taking part in such international bidding procedures, we are not there solely as EXPO XXI, but above all as representatives of Poland and Warsaw.

We know that hosting such prestigious events is an achievement for both us and the city, which is why we encourage the Warsaw authorities to work with us. Like other cities in Europe and Poland, Warsaw could join in efforts to develop a benefit package for guests from abroad. Our proposal is for such packages to comprise public transport discounts, cultural attractions (admission to museums, theaters, concerts, etc.) and transfer to and from exhibitions and conventions. Packages such as these are standard practice in many European countries and it is also common for prestigious events to be held under the auspices of the authorities in the host cities. Venues and organizations that bid to hold international events are backed by declarations of support from their home cities.

Many European capitals, such as London, Berlin and Paris, have professional conference and convention centers capable of accommodating up to 10,000 people. As we watch Poland’s meetings industry grow, we are positive that a venue of this kind could stimulate Warsaw’s development by increasing the city’s international renown and helping bring in large international conventions. With this in mind, EXPO XXI is ready to start talks with the authorities in Warsaw on joint efforts aimed at building and managing a state-of-the-art, professional conference and convention center, developed through private-public partnership. This idea is inspired by what we have seen in the West. Such conference centers in London, Paris and Barcelona are owned by the city authorities, but at the same time, private companies with expertise in managing such facilities are charged with operating these centers. A joint project of this kind in Warsaw would not only be an attractive financial and image-building opportunity for each party involved, but also set an example for other cities in Poland.

While the new center should be a multifunctional facility, it should be designed with a focus on conventions. The ideal location for such a venue is right across the street from EXPO XXI, on Pr±dzyńskiego Street in the heart of Warsaw. At present, the site belongs to the city authorities. We are willing to take on the task of designing the conference center, raising most of the necessary funds, managing the construction phase and once the venue has been completed, we are also ready to promote the new project together with the city authorities. Warsaw would gain a reliable, trustworthy and experienced partner in EXPO XXI along with a prestigious convention center and a prominent business landmark.

Żaneta Berus
CEO and Managing Director of EXPO XXI Warszawa
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