Sit down for a minute and do some brainstorming – what are the most important criteria for you when choosing a destination for your/your clients’ next events, congresses, incentives etc? Well, of course, we don’t exactly know yours but definitely the following aspects play a significant role: venues of different sizes that offer state-of-the-art technologies and differ from conventional ones, excellent hotels with good service and meeting capacities, a city that is affordable and easy to reach as well as safe.
Now the question arises: is there really a destination that fulfills all these criteria? Well, there are different destinations that come into our mind, but there is one that definitely matches every single one of these aspects: Riga!
So, let us have a closer look at this bubbling city up in the young Baltics…
The full range of conference facilities, high quality hotels and venues for special theme events in such a “small” city is impressive. You can find large halls suitable for major international conferences and smaller venues for seminars. Riga has the largest exhibition centre (Ķīpsala International Exposition Centre) and the largest convention hotel (Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & SPA Hotel) in the Baltics. You can find conference venues such as the National Library of Latvia, the Culture palace Ziemeļblāzma and the Splendid Palace. Not to forget the VEF Cultural Palace – that definitely is among the most impressive venues in Riga. Constructed in the 1960s, it underwent major renovation and has been reopened at the end of last year. (The grand hall with a large balcony has more than 800 seats while the chamber hall offers convenient seating for 200-250 guests. Several smaller premises are available as well and, last but not least, the majestic two-storey foyer can also be used for standing receptions and various other events).
Furthermore, there are a couple of unusual venues that planners should take into consideration as well, like The Great Guild and the Riga Art Space. Or have you ever thought about choosing “beer” or “golf” as a theme for your event? Then the Aldaris Beer museum and the Ozo Golf Club might be good ideas.
There is also a big variety of hotels in the city – ranging from 3-star to 5-star hotels. Most of them offer meeting rooms of different sizes. In 2017, 400 new hotels rooms have been added to the 6500 existing ones. New hotels opened are among others the Pullman and Kempinski (more about them in a later article).
The majority of hotels (and most of the venues) are located in the city centre which makes it very easy to reach the venues by foot. A walk in the city centre after a long meeting is a welcome break from working and concentration routine as well.
Due to so many new hotels mushrooming up, competition between these hotels is higher than ever– and this leads to reasonable prices. E.g. if you hold an event in in Nov or Feb your delegates can stay in a centrally located 4-star hotel in double or two-bed room for something between 60 and 90 Euro per night.
Let us move on to the feature of “Reachability”. Riga is easily accessible as it lies at the crossroads between East and West, North and South. Riga International Airport is the leading airport in the Baltics with half of all passengers coming to and going from in the Baltics. Throughout 2017, over 6 million passengers passed through the airport; in the first months of this year, a remarkable growth of 19 % of passengers could be recorded.
In the upcoming summer season, Riga International Airport will offer passengers the widest range of destinations in its history – travelers will have an opportunity to choose from 100 direct flights to global destinations, which will be provided by 19 carriers. The national carrier AirBaltics holds the market share of approx. 50 %, followed by Ryanair (15%) and Wizzair (9%). Lufthansa, SAS and Finnair are further airlines.
Once arrived at Riga International Airport, it doesn’t take long to reach the different hotels as the airport is located only 9 km from the city centre which makes the transport easy and fast. If you don’t stay in Riga but are travelling to one of the other Latvian cities – then that journey too is short and pleasant. Jurmala is located only 10 km away and Sigulda approx. 60 km.
Riga is perfectly suitable for events and congresses as well as for incentives and motivation trips. The Latvian capital has a rich and diverse culture that reflects different eras: the German Hanse, the Swedish and Imperial Russian era, Latvian first independence before the 2nd World War, the Soviet period after the 2nd World War and the modern independent Latvia today. Each wave of settlers left its mark on this port city, so most of the city’s main attractions, its great architecture, are linked to its multicultural heritage. Only by walking through the city, you can get own ideas for various programs.
In Riga itself there are many options for incentive programs – such as the “Riga Black Balsam Discovery Tour” or the “Opera Backstage Tour”. Ask MEET RIGA for more information. Another possibility – and you should definitely take that into consideration – is to travel to one of the other Latvian cities for an incentive day trip, namely to Sigulda. This small Latvian city (approx. 11.500 inhabitants) is just an hour drive away from Riga and there are many, many possibilities for such programs. But more about that in a separate article.
Very important when it comes to organizing meetings: the safety of a city/country – and Riga resp. Latvia can score points there as well.
More than 50 different business exhibitions take place in the Latvian capital every year, welcoming around 7,000 exhibitors and almost a million participants. Numerous notable international events were held in the last years – including a NATO Summit, the World Ice Hockey Championship, Eurovision, Latvia Presidency of the Council of the European Union – as well as many international conferences. There was not a single disruption case! Latvia is a politically stable country that is also not paralyzed by social strikes (as it is the case in many European countries).
But there is much more that distinguishes this city from its competitors. A young and vibrant restaurant scene, welcoming people and good service – it is a mix of all this together that makes Riga so special.
MEET RIGA and partners are exhibiting at IMEX 2018 being held in Frankfurt from 15-17th May 2018. You can check out all that Riga/Latvia has to offer and you can also book a personal appointment for detailed information and discussion for your next event planning. You can access their stand (F280) details and make an appointment here.
Your contact at tmf:
Head of Content & PR
+49 931 9002 114