When EBSA 2021 — the annual gathering of the European Biophysical Societies Association — wrapped up at the end of July, it was a moment worth celebrating for the members of Vienna’s meeting industry. The conference marked the first in-person event at the Austria Center Vienna since the pandemic, and the city truly shined.
“When it comes to hosting international congresses, Vienna is unbeatable,” said Elena Pohl, president of EBSA and head of the department of biophysics at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, in a post-event interview. “But it’s … much more than the unique charm, numerous sights, and friendly locals that make the city so attractive. What I found incredibly important was the highly efficient, customer-oriented partnership between the different organizations that represent the tourism sector.”
Pohl isn’t alone in recognizing how Vienna is distinguishing itself as a premier global meetings destination. Throughout the last two months, the city has welcomed elite scientific and medical associations including the International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy, and EUROSPINE. The future looks even busier, too, with groups like the International Congress of the World Muscle Society and the European Society of Pathology on the way. Here’s a snapshot of why so many organizers are welcoming attendees to Vienna.
Location, Location, Location
Currently, Austrian Airlines operates 16 direct flights each week from the U.S., including options from Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York’s JFK and Newark. In addition to the country’s home carrier, numerous European and international airlines offer regular connections between Vienna and more than 150 destinations around the world. The airport is already back to 90 percent of its 2019 levels. For European attendees, getting there is especially convenient: The majority of European capitals are less than three hours away by plane.
Getting Around the Greenest City in the World
Once attendees arrive in Vienna, the city’s 715-mile network of public transportation simplifies their stay with no need for any kind of car service. It’s an important part of making the attendee experience easy — all three of the city’s conference centers are located on public transit routes — but it’s about more than convenience: Vienna is focused on distinguishing itself as an eco-friendly place to live and do business. In fact, Resonance Consultancy placed Vienna at the top of its recent rankings of the World’s Greenest Cities. As event organizers focus on reducing their carbon footprint, the Vienna Convention Bureau offers a wide range of resources including a Green Meeting certification process.
New Hotels Are Opening Their Doors
Vienna’s existing infrastructure stands out for organizers, but the city’s new hotel additions continue to set it apart: a recently completed, expansive renovation of the 663-room Hilton Park Vienna, a new 303-room Hotel Andaz, and the dazzling views from JO&JOE’s 20,000-square-foot rooftop terrace, to name a few.
Vienna has plenty of five-stars in its future, too — adding to a collection that already includes a Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, two Luxury Collection properties, and other elite hotels for VIP guests. In 2022, the city will welcome a new, 111-room Almanac Vienna, and the new Rosewood Vienna, and 2023 will bring a new, 151-room Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Vienna’s expanding portfolio of hotels include innovative properties like the Dormero HoHo — one of the tallest hotels made of wood and a leading example in sustainable design and construction.
An Awe-Inspiring Sense of History — And Next-Generation Technology
In 2020, the Austria Center Vienna — already voted the world’s best congress center for IT infrastructure in 2016 — leveled up its offerings with new virtual studios, LED walls, a green screen studio, and a virtual living room. Recently, the venue unveiled Hybrid Circle, a new 360-degree event concept that leverages multiple cameras and eight screens to make face-to-face attendees and remote participants feel a true sense of connection.
Ready to Bring Your Attendees to Vienna? The City Wants to Help Pay for It.
When you learn more about Vienna, it’s easy to see why other organizers like Agnes Borg of EuropaBio call the city “a trailblazer when it comes to smart urban solutions [and a leader] in sustainable technologies and innovation projects.”