Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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PCMA Convening EMEA: International Meeting Scene Meets In Vienna

At present, around 460 meeting and business events industry executives (30 of whom are participating via digital channels) from 41 countries are meeting in Vienna. The Vienna Tourist Board, the Austrian National Tourist Office, Hilton Vienna Park and Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center brought the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) regional annual meeting to the city following a joint acquisition process. The conference is highly significant for Austria as a meeting destination: it gives the Vienna Tourist Board and the Austrian National Tourist Office an excellent opportunity to show meeting industry decision makers – who are heavily courted worldwide – the qualities of the destination as well as its continued attractiveness for congresses and corporate events first hand. The PCMA network represents a range of disciplines, with members covering a broad spectrum comprising everything from medical societies to major international technology companies. Agencies, suppliers and hotels are also present when the challenges of the future are addressed at Convening EMEA.

Sherrif Karamat, CAE
PCMA and CEMA President & CEO

“Business events play a critical role in the social fabric of communities and societies around the world. As challenging as the last two years have been for the business events industry, it was a time of forced innovation, and if we expect to transform our industry, we need to take a strong leadership position working towards a regenerative and sustainable economy. Our partners throughout Vienna support these same values. From the beginning of this partnership Vienna has engaged its collective community to deliver a memorable experience for our 460 global participants. Vienna is demonstrating how destinations will be successful in attracting meetings.”

Opportunity to position location in minds of core target audience

Convening EMEA is an omnichannel event for business event professionals from the entire EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa) that brings together event organizers and the meeting industry. This year, experts from the associations sector (congresses) as well as the corporate sector (corporate meetings) will be getting together to discuss the challenges of the future, inspired by the slogan “Together we move forward”. In 2022, participants can expect an extensive program with more than 20 sessions, moderated by international corporate speaker, performer and TV personality David Meade – including presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and case studies, organized around the three themes of future, engagement and planning. The sessions will be complemented by conversation starters, 1:1 levels 30 meetings and a number of digital detox or inspiring environments to connect, learn and share. Gerd Leonhard, leading futurist and humanist, and Colleen Bisconti, Vice President Events and Experiences at IBM, will be keynote speakers, alongside business model experts Patrick van der Pijl and Niki Seelan of Business Models Inc. The social program consists of a series of Exploration Tours curated by the Vienna Tourist Board. These tours provide insights into many of the different sides to Vienna as a meeting destination and are designed to provide inspiration for planning future events. The Austrian National Tourist Office will also take the opportunity to present offers from the convention bureaus of the other federal provinces in a series of Postal Tours. Convening EMEA will be organized in accordance with the criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel for Green Meetings.

Norbert Kettner
Managing Director, Vienna Tourist Board

“This coming together of key decision makers in the meeting industry at Convening EMEA in Vienna offers opportunities for our entire visitor economy, and it comes at an ideal time, too. It sends out a strong message, visible beyond Austria's borders, about the restart for us as a global meeting destination – something which is already reflected in the latest key indicators: Vienna was once again named among the most successful global congress cities in the leading rankings and also accounted for one third of all of the conference events that took place in Austria in 2021. In 2022, around 50 congresses and corporate meetings with more than 1,000 participants will come to the city, and so far we have already secured 33 large-scale events for 2023. I would like to express my sincere thanks to PCMA, which is currently giving 460 decision makers the opportunity to see the advantages of Vienna for themselves – and will hopefully be persuaded to choose Vienna going forward. At the same time, I would like to thank our partners Messe Wien, Hilton Vienna Park, and the Austrian National Tourist Board for their concerted efforts to bring these top multipliers to Vienna.”

Lisa Weddig
CEO, Austrian National Tourist Office

“After two very challenging years in 2020 and 2021, being able to host such a renowned industry event as PCMA Convening EMEA in Austria, and especially here in Vienna, gives us grounds to look positively towards the future at the Austrian National Tourist Office. It is a great compliment for Austria as a convention location that PCMA has chosen Vienna for this event. The meeting industry is a significant driver of the tourism economy in Austria: according to the Meeting Industry Report Austria, we welcomed 1.8 million meeting guests to Austria in 2019, who accounted for a total of 3.4 million overnight stays. The industry also helps us develop into a year-round destination, as the most popular event months are in spring and fall. Implementing flagship projects like PCMA's event in our country is very important for positioning Austria as a convention location in the future. The Post Tours organized by the convention bureaus in the rest of Austria also enable participants at Convening EMEA to familiarize themselves with the nation’s strengths as a convention location beyond Vienna.”

Multifaceted tours reveal city’s value added as meeting destination

Vienna not only has the necessary "hardware" for successful meetings – including three large congress centers and a total of more than 240 venues of all sizes located at hotels, universities or unusual conference facilities such as historic palaces or clubs. The wide range of options for social programs – including catering, accommodation and leisure activities – is just one of the congress destination’s unique selling points and part of the package as the world’s most livable city. Convening EMEA participants and accompanying trade journalists will have the opportunity to experience this for themselves during seven specially curated Exploration Tours. Covering everything from a sustainable urban development in the city center, innovative architectural concepts in Viertel Zwei and a new district in the immediate vicinity of Messe Wien, to street art and exclusive glimpses behind the scenes of Viennese craft businesses, these city tours were designed to provide insights into both familiar and unexpected aspects of the nation’s capital. All the tours at a glance:

Meet us in the extraordinary: the exceptional side to Vienna

The Vienna Tourist Board unveiled its new promotional video "Meet us in the extraordinary” at Convening EMEA. The film presents Vienna as a livable city that deftly combines tradition with modernity while offering numerous advantages for conference participants. It shows them in everyday meeting situations at extraordinary locations and underlines Vienna's unique selling points with a touch of humor. Watch online:
"The acquisition process for the years ahead is in full swing. The Vienna Convention Bureau is currently working on more than 150 applications for congresses and corporate meetings. In addition, there are sales calls, appearances at international trade fairs and numerous site inspections and fam trips, where we are now focusing even more than before on the topic of sustainability in environmental, economic and social aspects as we continue to meet the demands of numerous organizers," Kettner explained. The Vienna Convention Bureau at the Vienna Tourist Board has been an official certification body for green meetings since 2011.

Austrian National Tourist Office: target-oriented support for Austria as a convention location

“In its role, the Austrian National Tourist Office focuses on the increased involvement of the entire industry when it comes to achieving our two core objectives: stabilizing the convention business after the pandemic and ensuring its future viability. In addition to year-round content marketing coordinated by theme, an image campaign is used during the peak event seasons in spring and fall. To support the industry, we draw on the knowledge available in our extensive market network, while virtual site inspections help providers enhance their digital offering. At the classic MICE events IMEX and IBTM World, we organize joint appearances for interested partners from all over Austria under the Convention Austria umbrella brand. And the industry can look forward to its own convention format in the week that brings us the Austrian Tourism Day and the Austrian Travel Business (ATB), Austria’s largest tourism trade fair, at the beginning of May 2023," said Weddig, outlining the Austrian National Tourist Office’s activities.

Vienna leads the way international as congress destination

In June of this year, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) published its annual congress statistics: conference destination Vienna once again took first place worldwide in the overall 2021 ranking – the first time it was published since the outbreak of the pandemic – ahead of Lisbon and Athens. Shortly after, the Union of International Associations (UIA) ranked Vienna fourth among the top global meeting destinations. To underpin Vienna's standing on the international meeting stage in the wake of the pandemic, the City of Vienna and the Vienna Tourist Board provided a convincing argument for organizers to choose the city, in the shape of the Vienna Meeting Fund. Initially endowed with EUR 4m, the fund was launched in 2021 to support congresses as well as corporate meetings. Demand was so high that the funds were allocated to conference organizers in full after just one year – it is estimated that its beneficiaries will induce economic impact of EUR 557 million by the end of 2023. On July 1, applications opened for funding under the Vienna Meeting Fund 2022-2024, to which Vienna has allocated a further EUR 4m to support meetings. Managed by the Vienna Convention Bureau, funding is capped at EUR 60,000 per event. Check for details.

Vienna accounts for a third of all meetings in Austria

Congresses and corporate events are a flagship segment and an important factor behind Vienna’s visibility and competitiveness as a tourism and business location. With an economic impact of around EUR 1 billion a year before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Vienna is one of the most highly sought-after meeting destinations in the world – and accounts for a third of all meetings in Austria. Analysis of the long-term – pre-Covid – averages for Vienna reveals that one in eight overnight stays in the city is attributable to meetings (congresses, corporate events and incentives).

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation, Convene and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at

PCMA’s Convening EMEA 2022 – Together we move forward

  • September 28–30, 2022
  • Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center (congress)
  • Hilton Vienna Park (HQ hotel)
  • Around 460 top decision makers from 41 countries
  • 20 presentations, panel discussions, workshops etc.
  • 7 Exploration Tours of Vienna
  • Post Tours of Austria

PCMA is committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental. Convening EMEA will be organized in accordance with the criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel for Green Meetings.

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