Covering the Dialogue Between UITP and Hamburg on Public Transport!

Hamburg is set to become the centre of the mobility world in 2025 and 2027 as it has secured the nod to host the next UITP Global Summits. We spoke to both sides of this partnership.
6th Jun, 2023

Hamburg will become the centre of the mobility world in 2025 and 2027 as it secured the nod to host the Global Summits of the Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP) a non-profit advocacy organisation for public transport professionals. Over the years, the Hanseatic city has become a global reference in diversified public transport with smart urban mobility, technolgical breakthroughs and the zero carbon emission goals. By integrating both events as important pillars in Hamburg's strategy for the mobility transition, UITP and local partners will ensure that the impact of the Summits will last beyond 2027, bringing benefits to global transportation as well as directly to the Hamburg region.

To talk about this multi-year cooperation, HQ spoke with Laetitia Delzenne, Head of Events at UITP, and Michael Otremba CEO of Hamburg Tourist Board, who we asked what they are looking for in a partnership at this level, how they intend to spread their related impacts across the board.

Michael Otremba, CEO of Hamburg Tourist Board 

1) What factors and criteria stood out in the selection process?

Hamburg has convinced with an ambitious mobility strategy, which is also reflected in the applicant consortium. Under the motto “How do we change mobility for the world to come? − Only together”, Hamburg was able to make it clear in its application that sustainable mobility can only be achieved together with all sustainable mobility offers. At the same time, great support from our industry, research community and associations, as well as broad political backing, came to bear. An attractive and innovative concept as well as flexibility and creative will for the organisation of the event, convinced the UITP selection committee. The decision in favour of Hamburg is also a desire of breaking new ground and involving the public in professional exchange at the summits.

2) How do you plan to expand the conference programme and experiences to meet the city's tangible goals in the sector?

The choice as venue for the world’s largest public transport congress confirms Hamburg’s pioneering role in innovative mobility solutions. This is also an important impulse for the transport and traffic industry in Germany. German mechanical engineers can show the world they have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to intelligent on-demand transport, alternative drives, or energy-efficient technologies. Public passenger transport also plays a key role in climate- friendly mobility. This makes international exchange and mutual learning even more important. Together with the City of Hamburg, we want to use the full potential of the UITP Summit 2025 and 2027 to advance climate protection worldwide.

CCH - Congress Center Hamburg where the congresses will be held

3) How urgent is it to get back to conference rooms and networking in Hamburg around these sector clusters?

In Hamburg, we feel an enormous longing for personal encounters and real inspiration after the pandemic. This is also shown by the guest numbers in 2022: Hamburg is very well positioned and has already reached more than 95 per cent of its pre-crisis level. The well-booked calendar of events underlines our confidence that Hamburg’s importance as a conference and congress location will continue to grow. The congress will give us additional tailwind for our innovative public transport strategy by providing us with an important additional argument for investing in transport in Hamburg. This applies, for example, to our strategy for integrating up to 10,000 autonomously driving vehicles into public transport.

Laetitia Delzenne, Head of Events Management at UITP

1) What were the key features and benchmarks within your RFP that tipped you towards Hamburg?

UITP has been looking to strengthen the role and its relationship with the host destination as part of its bidding process, particularly for this 2+1 bidding process, part of UITP new events strategy. To us, the destination is part of the promise and value proposal for our attendees, and it should illustrate and align with some of our strategic objectives to become a strong partner in advancing further public transport messages. Our RFP is a set of various criteria along three main categories: logistics, association objectives and finance. The Hamburg proposal covered all these aspects, featuring an entire ecosystem of local, regional and national stakeholders who supported the bid proposal, and who we will be able to rely on.

2) What legacy do you intend to leave for Hamburg and how do you think this collaboration could enhance your outreach and framework?

We wanted to assess the proposed legacy each candidate wanted to achieve by hosting the Summit. Side by side with Hamburg, the 2025 & 2027 editions will play a key role in Hamburg’s strategy and act as important focal points and accelerators for the implementation of the Hamburg-Takt (the city’s plan for the mobility transition) and the mobility transition as a whole. An important area will be to attract younger and more diverse target groups to the UITP Summits, while strengthening Hamburg’s regional start-up ecosystem. Another objective is to make the Summits accessible to non-specialists through a set of specific parallel actions. With strong support from Hamburg’s stakeholder ecosystem, the Hamburg Summits should be seen as platforms and showcases for the advancement of public transport, not only by the German federal and local governments, but also by the German states and the European Commission.

3) In the wake of a pandemic that turned event planning upside down, what changed in your calendar and what criteria affected the organisation of your events?

Prior to 2020, UITP had already started an analysis of its events model − the pandemic only accelerated the need to be agile, to change, as well as to serve our membership as best as possible. By the end of 2021, UITP decided to implement a new event strategy, which will see our Summit become annual from 2025, but also the association’s only remaining paying event where the sector meets. In parallel, UITP will strengthen its free services to members through small or mid-sized events based on local, regional or project-based needs, as well as developing its webinar offering, supporting other member-related events, and strongly developing the capacity building of its Academy programme. UITP has developed many of its medium-sized events and many structural activities in 2022 in a hybrid format, but we have to admit that this is not the way we want to go with our medium and large-sized events. Those events have served a certain purpose for which direct contact is primarily important. Our next UITP Global Public Transport Summit will be held in person, 4-7 June in Barcelona, and we look forward to continue this ongoing dynamic where our members and our industry meet again.

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