The 61st ICCA Congress in Krakow has been consigned to history, but the impressions will remain forever. Not only with me but also with the more than 900 participants who came at the beginning of November to the capital of Malopolska (6-9.11.2022).
For the first time in Poland
Only a few months ago, no one could have imagined that so many people would decide to travel to Krakow. The war in Ukraine and related security concerns in Poland, the increasingly difficult economic situation or distances, fortunately, proved to be obstacles that could be overcome. Participant registrations were pouring in until the last days. This was the first congress after a two-year break where all participants could meet live in one place. Congresses: 2020 in Kaohsiung, and 2021 in Cartagena were virtual and hybrid events for global pandemic reasons.
The pandemic and other events have taught me a different view of the world. I am glad that for the first time I was able to participate in the ICCA Congress, and that it was held in Poland. I am glad that I was able to talk to professionals from the meetings industry and hear a lot of superlatives about the organisation of the congress and impressions of my stay in Poland. I hope that all this will bear fruit for our industry in the coming years.
There were also meetings after years with people I had met during my previous professional experience in Poland and abroad (Connections in London). I was also able to finally talk face-to-face with people I knew from LinkedIn, Twitter, Zoom or various online events. One note here, it is a good idea to update the profile picture on your social media accounts from time to time.
Why the ICCA congress is so important
Years ago, when I was tying my fate to the tourism industry, I learnt about this mythical event – the ICCA Congress, which is organised every year in different parts of the globe. I then thought, will it ever be possible to organise this congress in Poland? It could be said, keeping an appropriate scale of course, that awarding an ICCA congress to a given city and country is like organising the World Cup or the Olympic Games. Insiders know that this requires a lot of effort by a lot of people and beating competing destinations.
The ICCA Congress, if any, may be organised in Poland again in about 30 years. That is why I have to write this because I cannot understand the people who could have participated in this event and did not take advantage of it or the people who were in Krakow but did not appreciate the importance of this event. Fortunately, these people were in the minority.
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- Destination marketing campaigns of convention bureaux
- Influencers in the MICE industry
The MICE industry has come to Krakow
The dream of many Polish representatives of the meetings industry has finally come true. Who came to the ICCA Congress in Krakow?
- ICCA members
- association members
- owners of DMCs, PCOs
- representatives of the conference and congress venues
- hotel employees, including large hotel chains
- representatives of technology companies #eventtech
- journalists from trade media (BoardRoom Magazine, Think MICE, AMI)
- staff from other destinations – local and national tourism organisations, including city convention bureaux, and national convention bureaux
- experts and more than 100 speakers
All of them were able to come to Poland and get to know Krakow. Below you can watch my evening walk in Kraków.
@callmejaro 🟢 Evening walk in Kraków. Sukiennice, Galeria Krakowska, Rynek Starego Miasta, Bazylika Mariacka, krakowskie dorożki, kamienice i ulice #Kraków #krakow #eventprofs #iccaworld #iccacongress22 #krakowthehostcity #togetherwecan #destinationpoland #eveningvibes #eveningtime #polska #tiktokpolska #visitpoland #polskatravel #malopolska #wieczor @krakowcityguide @krakowplaces @viennahouse ♬ CUFF IT – Beyoncé
Opinions about Krakow as a MICE destination
In conversations with guests, I have heard many times that they envy the ICE Krakow Congress Centre. Its location is near Wawel Castle, whose view can be admired from the upper parts of ICE if only during coffee breaks or informal meetings. The modern design and, above all, the functionality of ICE Krakow, allowed us to organise the most important ceremonies and speeches in the Auditorium Hall and smaller sessions and workshops in other halls. In addition, a team of professionals watched over every element to ensure that the event went according to the organisers’ plans.
— Jaroslaw Marciuk ☕️ call me Jaro (@JaroslawMarciuk) November 9, 2022
Delegates repeatedly emphasised during their talks that they felt safe in Krakow, were charmed by Polish hospitality and were surprised by the cleanliness of the city. These are things that we may not notice or appreciate on a daily basis, but they definitely caught the attention of the international congress participants.
Unique venues in Krakow for event organisers
Other venues in Krakow were also the venues for additional ICCA Congress events
- Juliusz Słowacki Theatre (Opening Ceremony)
- Stara Zajezdnia by DeSilva in Kazimierz (Gala Dinner)
- Tauron Arena (ICCA Challenge Night)
- Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow (Out of The Box special session)
- Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (special session)
With flags in the Old Town Square, adverts at tram stops or the Tauron Arena illuminated, it was impossible not to notice that an important event was taking place in Krakow.
Interesting facts during the Krakow congress
In conclusion, I wanted to mention two more things. A technological curiosity was the speech by Rafat Ali – CEO and founder of Skift – who appeared as a hologram on the stage of the Auditorium Hall during the opening ceremony.
This year, the ICCA Best Marketing Award jury awarded first place to ICC Wales for its ‘Protect Duty Report’ campaign, although I must admit that my favourite was ‘The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza’ presented by Visit Porto and North of Portugal.
— Jaroslaw Marciuk ☕️ call me Jaro (@JaroslawMarciuk) November 15, 2022
Presentations and discussions
The motto of the congress was ‘Together We Can’ and the themes were currently important issues for the global meetings industry:
- DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion)
From the Polish perspective and our region, what is happening beyond our eastern border is equally important. Of course, the issue of the war in Ukraine came up in direct conversations, and I was waiting for this key topic to appear in the official part of congress.
Finally, in the end, Brian Allan from Rock Your Business sang a song together with Polish and Ukrainian children and congress delegates. Tears of emotion appeared in the eyes of many …
ICCA Congress on social media
The official hashtags of the 61st ICCA Congress in Krakow were:
Below is a Brand24 report of who and what was posted on social media before, during and after the Krakow congress.
🟢 Quick & Sweet #ICCACongress22 @iccaworld Social Media Report:
✅ All Mentions: 452 (Twitter 245, Instagram 139)
✅ SM Reach 1.78mln
✅ AVE 170k $#TogetherWeCan #KrakowtheHostCity #DestinationPoland
Deetails? Send me DM. Created with @brand24 #eventprofs pic.twitter.com/SjRI4fOuoE
— Jaroslaw Marciuk ☕️ call me Jaro (@JaroslawMarciuk) November 18, 2022
See the most active and the most influential social media users and content creators below.