MEET RĪGA, the CVB of the Latvian capital is set to close its doors until the end of the Summer, when the new Riga Investment Agency will take over. In the meantime, the city is getting ready for #Phygital Events with sustainable goals in mind.
Time flies and the Baltic destination needs a wind of change. The restructuring of Riga Tourism Development Bureau is covered by larger plans to remodel the city administration, merging under the same roof Investments, Tourism, PR and the city’s Marketing. How is it going to look? “We still don't know, but hopefully synergy between various departments will benefit from the consolidation process,” says Aigars Smiltans, Riga’s meetings & events ambassador.
March 2020 brought the industry to a big unknown: what to expect in upcoming months? However, MEET RIGA was able to organise several webinars, as well as delivering further information for hotels and suppliers on health safety protocols. 2020 also showed which local suppliers were ready to change and those that have stagnated. “I would like to mirror this also towards associations. Destinations will begin to scrutinise what the real value of hosting associative events is and what kind of benefits it can bring to local society.” Smiltans is not the biggest advocate of luring association executives with incentive packages either. “Association boards need to reconsider how much do their members need to successfully host an event”, since, “in order to obtain better ratings, CVBs usually forget the main reasons why they should host events in the first place.” However, by assessing the activities of other destinations, MEET RIGA, in collaboration with the National Tourism Department, developed a support scheme for meetings and event organisers, but with a greater focus on local associations and suppliers.
5G Techritory Forum 2020 Stage 3
Health safety protocols and regulations are quite different in several countries and even the entire EU has no common protocols to date. For that reason, Riga has prioritised its customers' requirements when applying health safety protocols for hotels, venues, catering services and other service suppliers. "Event industry suppliers in Latvia are ready to receive first live event groups and to keep assembling hybrid events," adds Smiltans. In fact, some local PCOs and DMCs started to offer various online meeting solutions, platforms and virtual studios to run live streaming. For example, 3K MANAGEMENT in cooperation with MITTO.me created an online event platform, where 20 one can organise sessions on various virtual stages. For Smiltans, Riga does not need to enter the private business and destinations can assist with innovative solutions and service promoting. Last year, the city was supposed to host 5G Techritory Forum, which initially was planned as a #Phygital/hybrid event but due to travel restrictions, the forum was transformed into a 100% digital event. “MEET RIGA created a series of videos that were shown during the forum breaks, so that virtual participants could get a feel for the city as their next destination.”
Finally, Riga sits very well into the frames of sustainability, heading to an almost carbon neutral destination up to 2030. The international airport is just 9 km from the city centre, and most hotels, venues and restaurants are within walking distance, which also helps to align local suppliers on the same wavelength. “We are slowly adapting and establishing procedures, behaviours and a mindset to leave a minimalist carbon footprint here.”
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