Travel And Tour World – The ICE Kraków Congress Centre is a monumental structure and will be a major attraction not merely as a convention centre, what motivated the building of such an imposing conference space?
Izabela Helbin : Krakow is Poland’s second-largest city and the most recognizable Polish city brand name in the world. Despite its well-established position on the tourist market, Krakow has lacked a modern purpose-built conference venue. This was the guiding idea behind the entire investment process. Thanks to the right design, we achieved an interdisciplinary venue offering 36,720 square metres of conference space, meeting the highest standards in terms of technology and architecture. The Auditorium Hall, which can accommodate 2,000 people thanks to its adjusted acoustic parameters, is at the same time one of the best concert halls in Poland. The ICE Kraków can serve as a venue for practically any event – whether it is a congress, a conference, a training course, a business meeting, a classical or pop music concert, a theatrical or ballet performance, an acrobatic show, or a customized brand promotion event. The generous size of the facility means that our imagination is the only limit. The ICE Kraków Congress Centre’s location is an additional asset – close to the Market Square and the Old Town, barely 15 kilometres from the city’s international airport and just 5 kilometres from the city’s Central Railway Station.
Travel And Tour World – With the structure being completed in October, How do you feel that it will enhance and promote Krakow’s position as a major MICE destination?
Izabela Helbin : The ICE Kraków Congress Centre is planned to open on 16th October 2014. The Meetings Industry is seeking new destinations to organize international congresses and conferences. As a country with a stable economy and a rich history, Poland meets all the criteria set by PCO and DMC companies. We are sure that the ICE Kraków will be the city’s new business showcase to encourage the MICE industry to organize its events right here. Our motto reads – “ICE Krakow – all you need to enjoy your meeting” – so at the moment of the opening of the Congress Centre, Krakow will have everything one needs to enjoy a business visit –a modern and prestigious facility, the city’s magic atmosphere, along with its very diversified cultural, culinary, services and commercial offer.
Travel And Tour World: Since the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, has the capability of holding versatile number of meetings, conventions and conferences owing to the wide spread and the different level of floors and facilities, have you started receiving bookings in prior to the opening of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre?
Izabela Helbin :
In view of the fact that the ICE Krakow offers a chance for organizing all kinds of events, there is huge interest in the facility. The Congress Centre will house four main halls: the Auditorium Hall with a capacity of 2,000 places; the Theatre Hall – 600 places; the Chamber Hall – 400 places and the Complex of Conference rooms with an area of 500 square metres. On top of this, the ICE Krakow contains a three-level, glazed foyer, offering a breathtaking view of the panorama of the city and Wawel Castle. The team in charge of ICE Krakow’s promotional and customer services was set up as early as 2008. Since that time we have been working hard to develop a calendar of events. We have attended international events such as IMEX, EIBTM, Convene, Meeting & Incentive Forums, or Meedex. ICE Krakow is a member of AIPC and ICCA. Thanks to the intensive activities of the project’s team, we have already many dates booked up for upcoming years; despite the fact the facility has not yet been opened! I think we have good prospects for the future.
Travel And Tour World: A city which is wrapped in heritage, how challenging was it for you to balance a modern structure like the ICE Krakow Congress Centre, with the rest of the city’s ambiance?
Izabela Helbin :
The ICE Kraków is an extremely modern facility thanks to which it is an architectural reference point for this part of the city. The functional system and the composition of the Congress Centre takes advantage of the natural scenic values of the site. Thanks to its characteristic, wavy roof inclined towards the Vistula River, the building has often been compared to a melting ice block. Somehow the reference to the name of ICE Kraków – International Conferencing & Entertainment, seemed only natural, though it was not our original intention. The facade is inlaid with a ceramic mosaic which consists of red and white tiles – in the colours of the Polish flag — and in various shades of grey. The appearance of the entire structure is enhanced with its glass facade and titanium-zinc sheeting. The designers (Ingarden & Ewý Architekci, in collaboration with Arata Isozaki & Associates) achieved an effect which makes the Centre smoothly blend with the panorama of the Vistula boulevards and the cityscape.
Travel And Tour: How many conferences does the ICE Kraków Congress Centre plan to hold annually?
Izabela Helbin :The number of sales days in our facility doesn’t equal the number of events that can be held in it simultaneously. Thanks to the adequate layout, the rooms are separated, so we can host as many as three different events at one time, and the guests to one event will not need to come into contact with other guests. This makes it possible to multiply the number of events to be held at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre throughout the year. Our target is to have at least 150 events for the Meetings Industry and around 100 smaller events. We also plan a minimum of 50 cultural events, for which Krakow residents will be the main beneficiaries. These are ambitious plans but this is how we approach our goal: to make the ICE Kraków Congress Centre alive for 365 days a year. Such a great project and an excellent building in terms of its functionality and visual values, deserves to be filled with events.