In an exclusive interaction with Travel And Tour World, David Pobjecky, Head of Bratislava Convention Bureau shares his insights on how Bratislava tourism and MICE industry are undergoing rapid change.
Travel And Tour World: How has tourism changed in Bratislava over the last couple of years? What are the main contributing factors behind its growth, and what challenges has it faced along the way?
David Pobjecky: Bratislava experienced a continuous growth in visitor numbers every year until the pandemic struck. During the two pandemic years combined, the number of tourists decreased significantly compared to a single previous year.
Thankfully, that challenging period is now behind us. This year, we anticipate the number of overnight stays in our city to reach approximately 90% of the levels seen in 2019. Interestingly, the number of entrepreneurs offering tourist services in Bratislava has surpassed pre-pandemic figures. This is partly attributed to the influx of one-day tourists who come to explore the city’s attractions.
However, since they do not stay overnight, they are not accounted for in the official statistics.
We firmly believe that as we expand our array of enticing services and improve the quality of our offerings, interest in our city will continue to soar.
Tourism is not solely about services; it revolves around the emotions that people share in real-time on social networks, comments, and recommendations. For this reason, our organization, the Bratislava Tourist Board, not only focuses on destination marketing and tourism support projects but also places great emphasis on conducting surveys and maintaining quality control.
Travel And Tour World: What measures did Bratislava take to attract international visitors and boost tourism?
David Pobjecky: Our active promotion of Bratislava takes us to international fairs, conferences, and presentations on a regular basis, where we engage in both B2C and B2B endeavours. Our efforts extend beyond borders as we execute PR and marketing campaigns abroad and actively engage in negotiations with foreign entrepreneurs. This includes boatmen who play a crucial role in bringing tourists to our city, as well as representatives from the airport and partner destinations.
Travel And Tour World: What is the current status of the MICE segment’s development in Bratislava, and what venues or facilities are accessible for hosting conferences, congresses, and corporate events?
David Pobjecky: Bratislava’s increasing attractiveness to event organisers and meeting planners fills us with great pride.
With a strategic approach, we dedicate considerable attention to our target markets, actively engaging in international fairs, B2B forums, and showcasing our destination at fam trips.
Our emphasis centers on positioning Bratislava as a prime venue for hosting small and medium-sized events. Concurrently, the city actively invests in improving infrastructure quality through diverse city projects and new developments. In Bratislava, meeting organizers have several locations at their disposal to host events.
Notable examples include the hall of Comenius University and the splendid neo-baroque building of the Slovak Philharmonic, which notably hosted the 17th International Congress of Quantum Chemistry (ICQC), attracting more than 500 participants worldwide.
Stará tržnica offers a distinctive venue for concerts, workshops, discussions, and a wide range of other event possibilities. In addition to these options, the city boasts numerous quality hotels with ample capacity in their meeting rooms, accommodating the needs of event organizers.
Travel And Tour World: What sets Bratislava apart as an ideal destination for business meetings and events, and what are its primary advantages and unique offerings in this regard?
David Pobjecky: Our carefully crafted slogan, “SURPRISINGLY CLOSE AND EXCEPTIONALLY SMART,” perfectly embodies Bratislava as the ultimate destination for your event. Accessibility stands as a crucial factor for event organizers, and Bratislava excels in this aspect.
With its own modern airport and a mere 40-minute distance from Vienna airport, the city offers unparalleled convenience. Moreover, Bratislava boasts excellent and sustainable rail connections, adding to its allure as an attractive destination for conferences.
Additionally, Bratislava earns recognition as an exceptionally smart city, celebrated for its innovative concepts. Coupled with its strategic position along the Danube, Bratislava charms visitors with its cozy atmosphere, enchanting historical center, and cultural legacy.
Being a part of the European Union, Schengen area, and adopting the euro as its currency further strengthens its allure. Moreover, the favorable price-to-quality ratio makes Bratislava an attractive option.
Travel And Tour World: How does Bratislava adapt to changing requirements and trends in the field of MICE and integrate technologies?
David Pobjecky: In Bratislava, a keen awareness of the ever-changing requirements and trends extends beyond the meetings industry. The city takes pride in hosting the prominent ITAPA conference, a key event on digitisation and new technologies in Slovakia.
Here, esteemed thought leaders converge to discuss and shape public opinion on critical topics, spanning digitization, healthcare, economy, innovation, and cyber security. The remarkable achievements of the Volkswagen Slovakia plant in Bratislava also garner acclaim, having earned multiple awards for its innovative work. Presently, the plant is gearing up for the production of the first electric SUV (Cayenne).