What is so special about Riga? How will Riga be presented at IMEX? What are the secrets to stay fit and active during the exhibition in Frankfurt? We spoke with Aigars Smiltans, Marketing and Communication Director of Meet Riga Convention Bureau about these and further topics.

1. Please tell us the main USP’s for Riga in 3 words.

Riga’s main USPs are – affordable, diverse and delightful.

Why affordable – Riga hotels and meeting venues offer rates, which are very competitive compared to other Nordic countries. Further more, all hotels offer rooms rates including full hot buffet breakfast (4 and 5 star segment), free WiFi throughout hotel and they are recently built or renovated.

How diverse – Riga has a multilayer history of various historical periods, which you can see within Riga and also on outskirts of the city. All of those historical periods can also be used to host theme events and enrich programs of incentive and team building groups or as a great platform for a product launch.

Just delightful – Riga as gastronomic capital of the Baltics offers modern Latvian cuisine, where local chefs are using local fresh produce of Latvian farmers and creates from those products delightfully delicious dishes, which will tickle taste buds of gourmands! Latvian chefs also are offering classy food, which is very similar to traditional German food due to the long lasting 700 years of German presence in Latvia.

2. What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to Riga?

Riga is famous with its architecture, in particularly the Art Nouveau architecture, which samples can be spotted in the Old Town of Riga and throughout the central part of the city. Art Nouveau architecture is very refined and detailed and Riga proudly could be named as Northern capital of Art Nouveau. We also have several hotels, which have been built within the historical buildings of Art Nouveau and offer glamorous interiors and affordable rates. The second thing Riga can be proud of is the modern Latvian gastronomy and the diverse restaurant scenery in the city!

3. What is your CVB team doing to attract international customers and to compete successfully in foreign source markets?

First of all, Riga is a new Meetings destination in Europe, while local hoteliers and DMCs started to focus on particular niche markets only after EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) organized their annual meeting in Riga back in the year 2000. We also had quite a limited number of conference hotels and venues. It changed in last decade and many new hotels were open, which have conference rooms, historical meeting venues were restored and also new ones were open. Riga is still developing its meetings infrastructure and each year it is adding to its existing inventory new hotels with an additional rooms and meeting hall capacity. The MEET RIGA brand was established back in 2011 as an addition to Riga Tourism Development Bureau. We started to promote Riga CVB with the brand name MEET RIGA, being a pioneer with this name and at the present we are still working on doing things a little bit different then the rest of Convention bureaus.

4. How do you plan to present Riga’s MICE product at the upcoming IMEX in Frankfurt?

Since first year of MEET RIGA participation at IMEX Frankfurt back in year 2011, we have created special presentation, which stands out from saturated Meetings industry crowd. This year MEET RIGA will be presented at IMEX Frankfurt 2015 as fairy tail story from the book of marvels, where story-teller will be part of presentation.

MEET RIGA also went away from printed catalogues and offers fully digital version of MEET RIGA handbook for Meetings planners and various other digital materials, which are stored at USB memo stick. This is small green initiative of MEET RIGA to reduce paper printed materials.

5. How do you stay fit and active during the 3 days of IMEX or at other tradeshows? Please share your secrets!

Ever since the first time MEET RIGA was attending IMEX-Frankfurt back in 2011, we have a busy time during the 3 days of the trade show. First of all, you need to be positive in your emotions and set your mind on positive thoughts, be happy! Second thing would be brain-food, which you eat during those days. Each person has own food preferences, which helps to survive intensive trade show days. I prefer to have a lights breakfast and also light lunch, but during the day I am grabbing some dark chocolate and extra cup of black coffee alongside of isotonic-sport drink. A glass of fine wine on the evening is always a pleasant way to end the day! We are not hosting happy hours at MEET RIGA stand F280, but we are happy to see everyone throughout the day and provide information about what Riga & Latvia can offer to meeting & event planners.

Meet us at MEET RIGA stand F280: Here you can get more information.

You have any questions? You are interested in organizing your next event in Riga? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Your contact person at MEET RIGA convention bureau:
Aigars Smiltans
Marketing Director
tel. +371 2232 0416

Your contact person at tmf:
Ulrike Kiesel
Project Manager Content & PR
tel. +49 (0) 931 9002 114