An Unexpected Visit to Lviv in 2017

In 2017, our editor-in-chief travelled to Lviv to follow the 17th annual ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting, in what is a small tribute from our team

14th Mar, 2022

With most of the ukrainian cities being bombed and overrun by Russian troops, our entire team feels horrified and extremely concerned for the people, places and historical resistance that made the country an autonomous and democratic nation within the European space.

In 2017, our editor-in-chief, Marcel Vissers, travelled to Lviv to follow the 17th annual ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting, in what was our first coverage of the Ukrainian city.

We leave it here in this article as a reflection of what the city was and represented before this nameless tragedy - prepared to return in the near future and help rebuild it with our modest contribution.

Until this time it would be unlikely to travel to Ukraine to check out the meetings industry. However, when I received an invitation from the city of Lviv last year to attend the 17th Summer Meeting of the ICCA Central European Chapter, I thought I might give it a try. After searching for a bit more information, I was captivated in an instant. Lviv, a little known city in western Ukraine, charmed me in many ways and for many things... 
Marcel A. M. Vissers reports
It is not an easy task to define Central Europe. However, knowing that cities like Budapest, Vienna and Prague take a central position is a good starting point. And perhaps we should also add Kyiv. All these cities have in some way a connection to each other. Lina Ostapchuk - former director of the Lviv Convention Bureau - gave me an excellent description. Lviv, also known as Lemberg, has had many names over time, reflecting the city’s troubled history and positioning it as a landmark of Central Europe’s cultural and historical heritage.

“If you have never been to Lviv before, you might feel like you are getting a glimpse into an old world, primarily because of the eclectic architecture, the narrow cobblestone walkways and music playing everywhere in the city centre. The café society, so common in Europe, is widespread in Lviv and you will likely feel at home embraced by the international culture that has been a part of this region for centuries,” said Ostapchuk. I think that all participants went away with similar feelings. Lviv maybe an unknown city but it’s definitely a major asset to help move Ukraine to a prominent position on the meetings industry map.

The event was attended by 60 participants from 10 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular Poland, Germany, Austria and others. The central theme of the event was "Safety and Security of Our Meetings". Panelists focused on the definition of security and discussed risk management techniques. Experienced conference organisers from Germany, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine shared their views and presented case studies on how to maintain a positive image when safety issues affect tourism. The conference opened with the keynote speech "World in 2030: Global Trends & MICE" by Valeriy Pekar from Ukraine.

One of the panels, "How to develop a successful strategy to make sure our meetings are safe?" focused on discussions of risk management techniques. Moderated by Anna Górska, experienced conference organisers from Germany, Poland and Ukraine - Stefan Lohnert, Anna JÄ™drocha, Krzysztof Zieniewicz, and Olexandr Filts - shared their views and case studies with the audience. During a brief session on cybersecurity moderated by Anton Skrypnyk, Mykhaylo Shmelyov from Microsoft (National Technology officer for CEE Multicountry Europe at Microsoft, Ukraine) and Jaanika Merilo, expert in innovations and e-services from Estonia and Ukraine, talked about cybercrime and innovative IT solutions for organising large-scale events. Tina Altieri from Singapore presented "Top six strategies you should know when dealing with and handling an incident" during a Skype session.

Since many of the participants were not very familiar with the beauty of Lviv nor Ukrainian culture in general, the conference was complemented with a series of cultural events. One of the highlights was definitely the Retro car tour. Apparently Retro cars are very much the fashion in Lviv. It’s not unusual for owners of vintage cars to make them available for tours through the old city. A rather pleasant experience that I was able to get a taste of on a number of occasions. But the highlight of my trip to Lviv must have been the opening of the Mozart Festival in the magnificent Lviv Opera House. Here people still dress up to go to a concert. Also, please forgive me… I had never heard any music composed by Franz, Mozart’s eldest son. Listening to ‘First day of Spring’ I thought I would remember Lviv as a fresh, healthy and pure city.


A convention centre. However, there is hope! The Lviv multi-purpose complex is an investment project with high social significance. The project involves the construction of a conference facility with a capacity of up to 2,000 attendees as well as other activities such as concerts (for 7,000 seats), sports events (up to 5,000 visitors) and exhibitions (area up to 5,000 m2.). It is designed to generate sizable economic and social benefits to a diverse range of stakeholders, starting with local SMEs and extending to the broader beneficiaries of Ukraine’s increasing integration into the international community

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