A HIT IN THE BULL’S EYE! 61,000 persons visited ICE Kraków!
Already in October 2014, just before the opening of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, the new facility received much acclaim. In the press, we could see titles like: ‘A place doomed to success’, ‘ICE tailored to current needs’ (Gazeta Wyborcza), or ‘The utilisation potential of facilities is growing’ (MICE Poland). Now the time has come to summarise the first quarter of activity of ICE Kraków!
ICE Kraków attracts?
Plans of construction of the Congress Centre in Krakow in the area of Rondo Grunwaldzkie date back to the 1970s. For many years, Krakow inhabitants waited for the creation of a facility that would meet the standards of organisation of the most prestigious congress and cultural events from around the world. Opened on the 16th of October 2014, the ICE Kraków (International Conferences & Entertainment) Congress Centre acts like a magnet – it attracts not only organisers of events, but also inhabitants of Krakow and Malopolska and tourists.
51 events in two months and a half
From its official inauguration to the spectacular closing of the year during the New Year’s Eve ball, ICE Kraków functioned for a period of over 70 days, during which the calendar of events was almost fully packed. As a result of this, 51 events were carried out. The range of these events was extremely diverse: from international congresses, through Polish nationwide conferences and corporate meetings, to the whole gamut of cultural events (concerts, ballet and theatre shows, ice shows or meetings with writers). International Interventional Cardiology Workshops, the 11th Polish Nationwide Training Conference – Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the Congress of Polish Infrastructure, the Messiah oratorio performed by the Capella Cracoviensis Orchestra or the 20th anniversary of existence of Sinfonietta Cracovia the Orchestra of the Royal City of Krakow – there are only some of the events worth particular attention. The Congress Centre was the host of press conferences broadcast live by Polish nationwide TV stations, such as Polsat Boxing Night Szpilka vs. Adamek or New Year’s Eve Party in Krakow – the City of Kings. During the first quarter of its activity, the Congress Centre was visited by almost 61,000 persons.
The functioning of the prestigious Congress Centre in Krakow was widely covered in the media. During the period from the 1st of September till the 31st of December 2014, around 370 articles connected with the activity of ICE Kraków appeared in the traditional press. Electronic media wrote about the Centre around 1,300 times, whereas social media referred to this topic almost 1,800 times. Information about the facility appeared also in prestigious international magazines, such as The New York Times, The Huffington Post, or Travel + Leisure Magazine.
The opening of ICE Kraków as a facility serving the meetings industry led to an increase in the number of events organised in Krakow. In the future, this will help to reinforce the already strong position of the capital of Malopolska as one of the leaders of business tourism in Poland. Events of this kind generate also economic impact for Krakow. New orders are received by catering and transport companies. Guests of the Congress Centre generate also revenues in the hotel and restaurant service sector. Nearly 10 million tourists visited Krakow in 2014. Thanks to ICE Kraków, the tourist season will be longer, because business tourists will visit the city not only in summer and winter.
Changes in the neighbourhood
Already now we can observe favourable changes in the direct neighbourhood of the building. Renovations of pavements are under way, part of them being already available to pedestrians. The opening of ICE Kraków was also the factor that accelerated renovation works in the underground passage under ul. Maria Konopnicka – inhabitants of the Podwawelskie housing estate can use this shortcut again. A bicycle route and parking places for bicycles were put to use, and new plants were planted at Rondo Grunwaldzkie. Also, the vacant building situated at ul. Barska was demolished. A new cafe was opened, and another hotel is being finished. The neighbourhood will change along with the development of the facility itself, but it is a long-term process. The area surrounding the Congress Centre is covered by the ‘Monte Cassino-Konopnicka’ Area Development Plan, which determines specific rules of land development.
The Congress Centre is the facility that Krakow has missed until recently. It was established to serve as the business and cultural flagship of the city. It is a place of dialogue between representatives of various industries and sectors. To summarise the first three months of activity of the Congress Centre, we can say that the process of building the brand of ICE Kraków has already started, which is reflected by ambitious plans for further years.