A 35 percent increase in the volume of inquiries by comparison with the prior year has been reported by the Cologne Convention Bureau (CCB). As early as September, the total number of inquiries already exceeded that for the entire previous year. Many of the inquiries are again coming from the international markets, and they show that the MICE business, as well as interest in Cologne as a convention venue, are picking up speed again not only in Germany but also abroad.
Because of its evolution into a strategic knowledge hub, the CCB has been focusing on business development and targeted lead management for quite some time. Other factors that have led to the remarkable increase in inquiries include the new convention location Confex by koelncongress, which will be open for business in 2024, and the strong post-crisis need for in-person events in an attractive location such as Cologne.
In addition, the Convention Bureau’s Fam Trips and its implementation and acquisition of prominent conventions have proven successful in 2023. At the end of September the CCB team, in cooperation with the MICE Club, welcomed eight event planners coming from all over Germany to Cologne.
At the beginning of November, ten decision-makers from German associations cooperated with the specialist journal Verbändereport (Association Report) to visit the Cathedral City. They participated in a tour, enjoyed a cultural programme and gained insights into Cologne’s hotel and event location landscape.
The congresses that took place in Cologne in 2023 included the annual meeting of the German Society of Audiology (DGA – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Audiologie e.V.) in March and the European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) in May.
Other events coming up this year include the FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE Conference 2023 (focusing on molecular life sciences), which will be held at the University of Cologne from November 23 to 25. The decision to hold the conference in Cologne was thanks to an initiative of the Convention Bureau.
The CCB is holding talks with the organizers of a wide variety of international association congresses in order to attract these and other scientific congresses to Cologne in the 2024–2029 period. With the support of the team, Cologne will host the 23rd workshop conference of the German Association for Behavioral Therapy (DGVT - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Verhaltenstherapie e.V.) in 2024 and the conference of the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) in 2025. An initiative of the Convention Bureau is bringing the 40th congress of the German Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (DGII - Deutschsprachige Gesellschaft für Intraokularlinsen-Implantation, interventionelle und refraktive Chirurgie) to Cologne in 2026.
In its acquisition work the CCB is already taking into account the new multifunctional congress and event location Confex, which will offer space for more than 6,000 visitors. Confex will initially open its doors for events in summer 2024, and it will also stage large-scale business-related events starting in autumn 2024, thus utilizing brand-new capacity opportunities for Cologne as a convention location.
Dr Jürgen Amann, CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board, says, “The excellent level of inquiries shows that Confex is already closing a gap in the array of opportunities offered by Cologne’s congress infrastructure. As a result, our city is being recognized internationally as a congress destination at a higher European level. In addition, our Convention Bureau has access to a wider range of opportunities for its acquisition and organization of congresses.”
The team will join its partners from Cologne at the sector trade fair IBTM Barcelona from November 28 to 30, 2023 in order to present all that Cologne has to offer as a location for meetings and congresses to a specialist audience. The CCB will be accompanied by Hilton Cologne, Koelncongress GmbH, the Cologne Marriott Hotel, the Maritim Hotel Cologne and the Radisson Blu Hotel Cologne.