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Business tourism boom in Katowice. Back to pre-pandemic numbers

– 2022 marked a return to pre-pandemic numbers from before 2020, according to the latest report “Business Tourism Market in Katowice in 2020-2022.”

– 2020-2022 were a time of dynamic economic changes in Poland and around the world, triggered mainly by non-economic factors (COVID-19, Russian invasion of Ukraine).  Despite this, attendees of conferences left almost PLN 151 million in Katowice.

– In 2022, visitors who did not use accommodation spent around PLN 172.33 in Katowice, while those with the accommodation in hotels spent around PLN 837.73.

– In 2022, Katowice venue which took part in the survey organised a total of 6,426 business events, the largest being WUF 11

fot. Radosław Kaźmierczak

“The statistics prove that our strategy which aims at developing business tourism, attracting new business events and investing in those already here is successful. The report for 2020-2022 shows that the Katowice brand allowed us to find the way in the new reality when we held online or hybrid events. And watching the last few months we can say that we are already back to the pre-pandemic situation,” says Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice. “We highlight the fact that thousands of visitors mean a real profit to the city and our residents. Hotel and conference facilities are developing, catering companies, restaurants, cab drivers and local shopkeepers are making money. On average, a conference participant who stays for a night spends more than PLN 837,00 here whereas the rest spends around PLN 172,00. And what is more important is that many people who come to Katowice on business are eager to return here to attend a concert of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra with their family or to go to one of the music festivals known throughout Europe. This is an excellent promotion of Katowice,” the mayor adds.

A number of major business events and meetings were held in Katowice between 2020 and 2022. However, between February 28, 2020 and the end of 2021, almost all of them had to be organised in a hybrid form. Such a solution, imposed by the Covid-19 and the health restrictions, prompted the organisers to invest in modern premises for video and audio transmission, to expand internet connections, to purchase appropriate software and to improve communication techniques of the “online” formula. In 2022, the Katowice venues which participated in the survey held a total of 6,426 business events such as the Intel Extreme Masters and the European Economic Congress, ABSL Conference, PRECOP Conference, International Trade Fair for Mining, Energy and Metallurgy – EXPO KATOWICE Fair and the Silesian Science Festival.

However, the most important event between 2020 and 2022 was WUF11, held in Katowice on 26-30 June 2022. WUF is the world’s largest conference event on urban development. It is held every two years and its first session was organized in 2002 in Nairobi. So far the forum has been hosted in Vancouver, Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi, among others. It is organized by UN-Habitat, one of the agencies of the United Nations. The World Urban Forum in Katowice was held for the first time in Central and Eastern Europe. A total of 17,000 people participated. 10,000 people came personally from 174 countries whereas 7,000 joined “online.” The theme of the Polish edition of WUF was: “We change our cities for a better future.” During the 5 days of the Forum there were more than 500 discussion sessions, panels and substantive meetings. The event was held at the International Congress Center, Spodek Arena and also in many other locations (zones) in the city area.

“In the context of the research on the expectations and preferences of conference meeting participants, Katowice is a city that meets the requirements,” emphasizes dr Krzysztof Cieślikowski from the Department of Sports and Tourism Management at the Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, who is also the author of the study. “Despite a very difficult economic situation not all of the planned investments in the hotel industry were halted which is a huge success. Now hotel chains are resuming their plans, and even new investments are being scheduled. This is not a random choice of investors as they have carried out many analyses and calculations. This shows that this market has a good chance for development. The local entrepreneurs are seeing benefits which result from these contacts and relationships. They are joining the process, which also strengthens Katowice. There is an exchange of so-called “know how”, which in turn translates into the quality of life of the residents,” he adds.

fot. Radosław Kaźmierczak

Delegates with accommodation spend more

The total number of conference meetings and other business events in Katowice in 2022 was 6,426, out of which nearly 24% (or 1,529) lasted two days or longer.

Compared to the previous years, the business tourism market is slowly returning to its 2019 level and recorded 6,453 events. However, the number of event participants has decreased, with 552,849 people in 2022, compared to 1,020,187 in 2019. This is the result of hybrid events.

The total number of conference days in Katowice in 2022 was 7,962, meaning the average duration of conferences and other business events was 1.24 days.

The highest number of conference meetings and other business events, as well as conference days, was recorded in October. On the other hand, the largest number of participants in such events visited Katowice in May and June 2022.

It is worth noting that 301 different events (business, sports, cultural) were held at the International Congress Center (ICC) in Katowice in 2022 alone. They were attended by 688,621 people. This included 128 conference meetings and other business events attended by 234,087 people (compared to 727,823 people in 2019).

The expenses of participants for various services at the conference venues and in the city are related to business events and conference meetings. The overall expenses of the surveyed delegates who stay for a night in Katowice in 2022 is PLN 837.73 / person which is PLN 413.47/ night. With the average length of stay of a person is 2.04 nights, visitors who stay overnight spent on average about PLN 409.85 per day (in 2019 it was PLN 365.39), and the cost of one night was about PLN 202.29 (in 2019 it was PLN 194.74). In 2022 visitors who did not use accommodation spent on average PLN 172.33 in Katowice. In 2022, the total expenditures of participants of conference meetings and other business events in Katowice amounted to more than PLN 151 million (151,266,340.47).

“Plans for the development of the business tourism market are ambitious. More significant international meetings are held in the city. Katowice is European Capital of Science 2024 so further infrastructural investments are being made to improve, among other things, the city’s rail connection to the Katowice airport, and the city’s accommodation base is also developing. Despite the turmoil in the global economy caused, i.e. by Russian attack on Ukraine, the business tourism market in Katowice is expected to recover and grow in the near future,” the report says.

Numbers on business tourism in Katowice in 2022:

– 6426 business events

– 25 hotels with 2,622 rooms. 4,987 guests can be accommodated there.

– 301 different events at the ICC (business, sports, cultural). 688,621 people participated in person. This included 128 conference meetings and other business events attended by 234,087 people.

– The overall expenses of the surveyed delegates who spend a night in Katowice in 2022 amounted to PLN 837.73, including PLN 413.47 for overnight stays.

– Visitors who declared any expenses in Katowice, but did not use accommodation, spent around PLN 172.33 in 2022.

– Total expenses of conferences participants was nearly PLN 151 million

You can find the full report at:

fot. K. Kalkowski

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