Moscow is “getting more and more interesting for business”
Ksenya Bokyova, from Moscow City Tourism Committee, talked to Event Point International.
In terms of tourism, Moscow is a very attractive site. What about for business and events? Ksenya Bokyova shares with us the strategy of the city for the meetings industry and some of the key features that make Moscow an important player in this sector. Venues, transportation and hotels are a plus.
What is Moscow’s strategy on the MICE sector?
In 2019, Moscow participated in eight largest tourism exhibitions: World Travel Market (WTM) Latin America in Brazil, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Seoul International Tourism Industry Fair (SITIF), International Travel Expo (ITE) in Hong Kong, Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE), ITB Asia in Singapore, World Travel Market (WTM) in London, and IBTM World in Barcelona. During this period, Moscow’s exhibition stand was visited by tens of thousands of people, while the participants of the stand held thousands of business meetings and negotiations. In 2019 Moscow with its renewed booth won in total 6 prizes, two of them at the WTM in London.
In 2020 Moscow will continue to present its tourist potential abroad, establish a dedicated MICE promotion of the city and will participate in 8 international travel markets around the world: Brazil (WTM Latin America), Germany (ITB Berlin), India (ITB India), Spain (FITUR), China (ITB China), Singapore (ITB Asia) and France (IFTM TOP RESA), Moscow (MITT).
Besides that, we provide large-scale communication campaigns in Europe, and attract large-scale business and world-level entertainment events to Moscow.
What is the added value of the destination to host meetings, events and incentives?
Moscow has the necessary infrastructure, enough to hold any exhibition or a conference event. These are conference centers and hotel chains that can satisfy the needs of almost any audience, not to mention business clusters and business quarters. Their standards and quality meet the international standards requirements.
Along with outstanding infrastructure and meeting facilities, Moscow has one of the strongest scientific communities in the world, represented by research institutions, universities, local branches of international associations and many more.
One of the advantages of Moscow is the fact that it is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Tourists arrive in the city at four international airports - Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky - and nine railway stations located near the city center. Total passenger traffic flow in 2018 reached more than 97,5 million people.
A well-developed urban transport system links all Moscow districts. The Metro is the main means of transport for the inhabitants and guests of the city. During the day, it is convenient to travel by bus, tram, and ecological electric bus, and at night - by bus, with some routes operating 24/7. The city has about 50 thousand taxis, almost 25 thousand car sharing. According to the travel metasearch site, Moscow ranks seventh among the European capitals and is among the world's TOP 20 capitals with most affordable 5* hotels. The top 25 best hotels in Russia according to the TripAdvisor Travelers Choice 2019 includes ten hotels of Moscow.
The city has developed a unified navigation system that includes all types of public transport. Even an inexperienced traveler who does not speak Russian can choose a convenient route and plan transfers. It is interesting and informative to walk around Moscow, ride a bike, go on river cruises, sightseeing bus tours and much more.
Moscow is a global city, cultural and business center. A city that definitely makes a big impression and opens up a whole range of different opportunities for its guests. In Moscow, everyone will definitely be able to find something suitable for him at every time of the year. Now it is characterized by a situation where the concept of "seasonality" is almost leveled. A big role in this is played by numerous holidays and festivals, which have become a new attraction of Moscow, which actively attracts people from all regions of Russia, and recently-from abroad.
And what are the weaknesses? What is missing to become a more competitive city?
Moscow today is increasingly recognized as one of the international tourist centers. It is constantly developing and improving its infrastructure to make the staying in the capital as comfortable as possible.
Every year it becomes more and more competitive and this is proved by numerous ratings. For example, in November Moscow won “World’s Leading City Destination” of one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, World Travel Awards. And Grand Final Gala Ceremony of World Travel Awards 2020 will take place in Moscow.
What investments have been made and what are the future projects?
Recently Moscow has shown to the whole world its readiness to hold big international events.
On September 14 and 15, Moscow hosted a special program as part of the 23rd session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly. Over two days, more than 270 ministers, delegates and representatives of the public and private sectors from more than 60 countries attended working sessions, official meetings and cultural events. Though it was the first time when the Russian capital participated in this event, everything was organized perfectly.
Moreover, Moscow won the category “World’s Leading City Destination” of one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, World Travel Awards. Grand Final of World Travel Awards 2020 will take place in Moscow.
What about MICE venues, what does Moscow have to offer?
Moscow as a capital of the biggest country in the world has become open for new opportunities for travel business and is now offering a variety of ideas for incentive groups with all kinds of interests from all over the world.
Moscow offers a huge variety of venues for MICE groups such as historical mansions in the city center, modern loft spaces in the skyscrapers, 60 meters underground halls as well as 200 meters up in the clouds rooms with amazing views on the whole city.
The country's main exhibition has historically been the venue for major industry events. VDNH EXPO provides comprehensive services for the organization of exhibitions and Congress events - from renting multifunctional exhibition grounds, conference rooms and meeting rooms of different capacities to the design and construction of stands, organization of participation in exhibitions, advertising and PR-support, freight forwarding support.
And what about the hotels capacity?
For hosting guests in Moscow, there is a well-developed hospitality industry, which includes around 1800 hotels and similar accommodation facilities. There are 42 hotels operating under the brands of the world’s leading hotel chains, with a total number of rooms exceeding 13 thousand: Four Seasons, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, InterContinental, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Radisson, Ritz Carlton, Swissotel, etc.
Thanks to affordable prices, the number of hotel guests has tripled and reached 14 million people. On average, hotels are 77% full.
What is the weight of business tourism in the number of international visitors? What are the numbers?
The city’s attractiveness is increasing over the years, it’s getting more and more interesting for business: organizers choose Moscow as a venue for international-caliber business conferences measurably more often.
Additionally, Moscow is a hub city for regional events and conferences. Thus, 41,5% of the tourist arrivals to Moscow from CIS are for business events/corporate travel purposes.
Maria João Leite
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