Popularity of Riga prompts significant rise in business tourism in the city Last year Riga hosted almost 600 international conferences, congresses, and corporate events. A third of these were part of Latvia’s Presidency at the Council of the European Union, the number also includes more than 250 conferences not associated with the Presidency as well as 100 international corporate events. 45 of the conferences and congresses not associated with the Presidency were organized by various European associations, they were confirmed by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
The three largest conferences, bringing together 4,700 participants from over 26 countries, dealt with medicine and the IT sectors. The National Library of Latvia has become one of the most popular conference venues as it offers competitive prices and quality service. In addition, a large number of conferences are hosted by universities and colleges, for example, the Riga Technical University (RTU) and the University of Latvia (LU).
“Although business tourism has been affected by the security situation across Europe, with entire major events being canceled, Riga has succeeded at bringing several high-profile events to the city. One of the largest conferences this year will be in September. It will be attended by 3,400 participants who will spend four days in Riga,” says Aigars Smilt?ns, Director of the Tourism Development Bureau’s (RTDB) brand MEET R?GA.
The RTDB has observed that Riga is becoming an increasingly popular destination for the organization of conferences, congresses, and corporate events. “As compared to other Nordic destinations, we can offer competitive prices and quality service. I have to admit though that conference and congress organizational trends are also changing – bookings are made with less time remaining until a given event, and orders and bookings at hotels and restaurants are increasingly often made by the organizers themselves, leaving less work for the local professional organizers of congresses and conferences,” explains Smilt?ns.
This year, too, the RTDB will continue to promote Riga as a destination for conferences, congresses, and corporate events. In the first quarter of the year, RTAB / MEET R?GA participated in several fairs and contact exchanges – Convene in Vilnius, Central & Eastern Europe MICE exhibition in Berlin and the Baltic countries’ MICE contact exchange in Paris. In addition, substantial publicity has been generated, in cooperation with several major partners, in the leading media of the sector.