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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » December 13, 2015
Poland - Meetings Destination
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Polish Cities Need to Work Together
December 13, 2015   
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In order to attract more conventions and conferences to this country, Polish cities need to work together rather than wasting resources by competing against each other, Paul Kennedy, a British expert and owner of Kennedy Integrated Solutions, an international meetings industry business consultancy, tells the Voice in an interview.

Let’s start with the meetings industry internationally. What are the main trends visible? To what extent is the industry contributing to economic growth?

The underlying industry trend is undeniably up, with demand for meetings, conventions, conferences of all types increasing, and the supply even more so, with new centers, hotels and air routes being opened very frequently. The destination world is developing fast, with new destinations emerging regularly, but with some of the tragic incidents of recent months the position of a city or a whole country can be terribly affected. For example, the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) industry in Egypt is seriously depressed yet Cairo has been peaceful by many international standards for some years. Meanwhile, Paris, one of the world’s great meetings cities, through no fault of its own will have to rebuild confidence that it is a safe place to hold meetings [following the Nov. 13 terror attacks in the French capital].

As to the impact of the meetings and events business on a nation’s GDP, this can be surprising—who would have thought that in the United States the world of meetings and events employs more than the automotive industry, and in the UK more than agriculture?

I am certain the world of events and meetings is set to gain wider recognition as an economic multiplier with major benefits, including the transfer of business, scientific and technological know-how.

What do you think are the prospects of the meetings industry in Poland, including in Warsaw, which you visited recently?

My recent visit to Poland was the first in over seven years and I was surprised and impressed at the extent of the meetings infrastructure in Warsaw. It’s important for destinations to market themselves but this needs to be done in a planned and realistic way. The role of city and national convention bureaux is vital.

What does Poland need to do to attract more international meetings, conferences and congresses?

The key is for Polish destinations to work together and again I stress the important role of city and national convention bureaux. The key is to get events to Poland rather than Polish cities spending a silly level of resources on competing against each other. It’s important to bid for business that can be comfortably accommodated in a city, not business that will overstretch resources.

What are the key factors that make international meetings organizers choose a particular destination?

There are lots of reasons and, frankly, weather, gastronomy and culture are not high on the list. Research shows that the most important criteria are the accessibility of the destination/principal meetings venue, and price/price flexibility. Also important are quality of service, quality of facilities and personal safety, with this last issue once again rearing its head recently. Also key is newness/difference. Speed of response to inquiries is also important and, for me, a very important issue is the people involved in the supply chain in a given destination working together as a team.
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