Just coming back from Latvia, where I visited both the capital Riga and the city of Jurmala (despite not at all far from Riga Jurmala is quietly situated in midst of forest and sandy beaches of the Baltic sea), I recommend that you take a closer look at this destination if you haven’t done so yet. It is worth it!
Situated in the North East of Europe, Riga is the largest city among the 3 Baltic capitals (the others are Vilnius and Tallinn) and easy to access. The Riga International Airport is practically located half way between Riga and Jurmala and the third city suitable for conferences, Sigulda, is also only 50 km away from the capital. Sigulda is better known as a destination for incentives and teambuilding. There are other cities like Liepaja and Rezekne which have infrastructure more suitable to conferences.
All within easy reach and without long transfers, compact and yet each place with a totally different appeal! To plan an event or conference there will open a new horizon to you and give a different touch to any program.
Latvia as a destination will be present at upcoming ibtm, together with key representatives – DMCs, hotels, congress space and CVBs . If you plan to visit Barcelona and ibtm late November, you will have the chance to read a few stories about the destination before (here on tmf-dialogue.net) and therefore know exactly who you will need to meet in Barcelona to discuss some great future events!
The new Latvia Convention Bureau has been established in May this year. It is an initiative of some key players in the Latvian meeting industry – and it will focus on increasing the amount of congresses and meetings in the destination. The CVB Board consists of DMC companies, the Intl. Exhibition Centre and the main professional associations.
At a meeting with representatives of Baltic Travel Group, Latvia Tours, the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, the Riga Intl. Airport, Riga CVB and a representative of merks, the developer of the new congress centre planned , I got an update of the plans in a nutshell – and why this all makes sense for the development of the destination.
The National CVB will set up all that is necessary for the regional and international promotion of congresses. Latvia has developed transport, hotel and venue infrastructure, country and municipalities are ready to participate in destination marketing. Latvia has all conditions for international congresses. On the To Do list is the engagement of Ambassadors from key knowledge areas, preparation of bids and development of congress research. Whereas Riga has set up its own active Convention Bureau already some years ago, it now needs more resources to pull in the rest of the destination – for example the number 2 in international conferences in the country, the city of Jurmala, not more than 25 minutes by car or train from Riga centre. A centre of Spa treatments and serious medical wellness, spread over the forest along the wide beaches and with a hotel infrastructure inviting focused and serious business conferences, Jurmala offers unique incentive and meeting possibilities.
A second good option to combine smaller meetings with outdoor activities is Sigulda at the entry to Gauja National Park, just around 50 km away from Riga.
Riga, the capital with a beautiful old city (an UNESCO World Monument) is the centre of international meetings in the country and has a growing hotel infrastructure plus presently a few new and sought-after locations to offer (next story!).
The International Airport (RIX) is permanently expanding – in very near future there will be additional 19 gates added to the existing building – and it is easy to reach from allover Europe or Asia (via Turkish Airlines). Finnair also has excellent connections via Helsinki. The combination of good value for money with unique historical and contemporary venues, great food and many options for Wellness, Health and Relaxation or sports activities should be very attractive to event organizers from Asia too!
The congress infrastructure can cater for congresses and events for several hundred pax in the Radisson Blu Hotels, the congress centre of the Bellevue Park Hotel or the National Library, among numerous other hotels with good meeting rooms.
The new congress centre will be opened in 2021 and will be the one missing link to host congresses of a substantial size in the destination!
For more information please contact:
Investment and Development Agency of Lativa, Ms. Lelde Beņķe, Lelde.Benke@liaa.gov.lv
More stories about Latvia and Riga on tmf-dialogue.net: