On 2nd July, Norman Foster's emblematic building will be celebrating its 18th birthday. Since its opening, the Centre has boosted event tourism in the city, attracting and hosting over 2,500 events and welcoming more than 1.75 million visitors. As a result, the Centre has generated 1.9 million overnight stays and an economic impact for the city of €1 billion, a figure which is more than 33 times the cost of its construction.
In addition to the key role the Valencia Conference Centre has played in the local economy, we should not forget the urban transformation of the area surrounding the building, in which a new district of leisure facilities and services has grown up, alongside five 4- and 3-star hotels providing over 1,000 hotel rooms within a kilometre of the Conference Centre and boosting its appeal as an international congress venue.
The increase in activity has undoubtedly improved Valencia’s position on the international stage. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), one of the industry’s most influential international organisations, the number of international congresses held in the city has grown by 250% since the Conference Centre was opened, and the venue has welcomed over half of the delegates taking part in international congresses in Valencia. According to the latest statistics, Valencia ranks 14th in Europe on the list of preferred event tourism destinations (excluding capital cities) and third in the ranking of Spanish cities, well ahead of its immediate rivals.
Over the last 18 years, the Conference Centre has pursued a strategy that has set it apart from its competitors based on the sale of services and the production of events (the Centre currently produces 90% of its congresses), which has boosted business, increased customer satisfaction and added to the city's wealth by generating direct and indirect employment.
This strategy has included intensifying the Centre’s relationship marketing policy with the help of ambassadors (renowned Valencian professionals that support the venue's bids in their forums). This has been pivotal in attracting business, with 60% of the Centre’s activities coming from these sales promotion efforts. In addition, the Valencia Conference Centre has established an innovative management policy centring on striking a balance between functionality, efficiency and sustainability. The actions that come under the Global Sustainability Plan include the building’s photovoltaic roof, which has already generated 2.1 million kWh of energy since it was installed in 2008. These sustainable initiatives are one of the areas customers value the highest in their satisfaction questionnaires, in which the Centre receives top marks in all areas.
In the words of the Valencia Conference Centre’s Managing Director, Sylvia Andrés, “This anniversary is especially important as it means the building is eighteen years old. The Centre continues to be highly active, balancing the vitality of youth with the wisdom of experience, thanks to its human resources, which include our own staff, and to our ambassadors, the Valencian doctors and scientists that present and support our bids and to whom I am grateful, more than ever, for believing in this project. Our suppliers are also part of our team as they are our strategic allies. Without them, our customers’ events would not be as successful as they are”.
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.