2022 Meeting Statistics - Successful Restart for Vienna as a Meeting Destination
"Vienna continues to inspire meeting planners even in challenging times and the city managed to turn the tide in 2022," said Christian Woronka, head of the Vienna Tourist Board’s Vienna Convention Bureau (VCB). Sustainability has gone from trend to necessity for the meetings industry, while diversity and inclusion are also playing an increasingly prominent role in the event planning process. "We were able to add a number of exciting new arrivals to our portfolio of locations in 2022, and 2023 will bring another exceptional venue – Casino Zögernitz, which will reopen as the House of Strauss. We’re really pleased about this continuous growth," he added.
Meeting Numbers Back to 79% of 2019 Total, Participant Numbers at 74%
Vienna continues to enhance its position as a global meeting center. While all other key figures for the Vienna meetings industry are still below pre-crisis 2019 levels, the total number of congresses exceeded the all-time high thanks to a sharp rise in the number of national congresses. This was the result of a combined effort by all stakeholders in Vienna's meetings industry: the 4,339 meetings (congresses and corporate events) held in 2022 represent a 143% increase over the tally for 2021 and 79% of the pre-pandemic 2019 total. All meetings together brought Vienna around 451,000 attendees, who generated a total of 1,187,000 overnight stays - a 222% increase in attendees compared to 2021 (74% of the 2019 level) and a 317% increase in overnight stays (75% of the 2019 level). Vienna's meeting industry thus contributed 9% to the total number of overnight stays in 2022 (13.2 million overnight stays).
Large-Scale International Congresses Return
Despite a new record total for the national congress segment, it is international congresses that remain the most decisive factor in terms of economic impact: accounting for just 12% of all meetings hosted in 2022, this segment contributes 43% of all participants and 72% of overnight stays, as well as fully 79% of both induced economic impact and induced tax income for the City of Vienna. Large-scale congresses attracting several thousand participants started to return in 2022, particularly during the second half of the year. Already more than 50 congresses with over 1,000 participants each are lined up for 2023. Amongst them, 16 are large-scale congresses with more than 3,000 participants and another four will again exceed the 10,000 mark.
Vienna Strengthens Position as Medical Hub
Even before the pandemic, Vienna was a renowned hub for medical congresses. After a slump in 2020 and 2021, the segment rebounded in 2022 to immediately set a record – events in the field of human medicine accounted for the lion's share of overnight stays generated by congresses in Vienna (45%), the highest to date. Next came the economics/politics (15%) category, followed by natural sciences and humanities (9% each) and United Nations congresses (9%).
New Locations Expand Destination’s Portfolio
2022 brought a number of exciting new additions to the capital’s portfolio of meeting locations, including Ariana at Seestadt Aspern, Weitsicht Cobenzl in the Vienna Woods Biosphere Reserve and the Heidi Horten Collection. Another location will open in 2023: the Casino Zögernitz building, which is being rebranded as the House of Strauss. It will be followed by the Wien Museum, which will officially reopen at the end of 2023, before the site becomes available for events from 2024.
Environmental and Social Sustainability
"Sustainability in all its rich variety has also evolved from a trend to become a necessity for the meetings industry," commented Christian Woronka. "Vienna has more than 40 eco-certified venues, from the Austria Center Vienna – the nation's largest congress center – to institutions steeped in history such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the National Library, as well as numerous modern conference hotels," Woronka said. Since 2010, Vienna has staged more than 668 ecolabel-certified meetings – equivalent to 42% of all the certified meetings held in Austria during this period. “As a trailblazing city for public transportation, Vienna has everything in place in terms of mobility and performs at a consistently high level in international comparisons. And thanks to the strong social and environmental standards in Austria, we have a very strong hand overall," Woronka confirmed. The VCB also helps organizers to integrate social impact workshops or social city tours into their programs and sets up partnerships with projects including the multigeneration Vollpension café and magdas hotel, which gives refugees a foothold in the labor market.