Congress Market is Recovering
With Leiden European City of Science 2022 on the horizon, conferences and conference organisers are increasingly looking to participate during this remarkable year.
In 2019 Leiden had the honour of welcoming a record amount of conference delegates. Moreover, in the same year Leiden finished in the top 5 of national conference destinations, in an annual ranking by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association). The pandemic had a tremendous effect on conferences not only in Leiden, but anywhere in the world. Most conferences in Leiden in 2020 were postponed, while others were hosted online. Leiden also hosted its first, very successful, hybrid meetings in 2020. This year, since the restrictions on conferences are still in place due to COVID-19, most conferences are still being held online or in a hybrid form. We are, however, seeing a clear desire amongst both organisers and delegates to return to face-to-face meetings. Recently, we have been focusing mainly on recovery — and with great success.
As European City of Science, Leiden is attracting a lot of scientific conferences and events in 2022. All are looking to participate in this special year in which Leiden will be the stage for European science and knowledge. The Leiden Convention Bureau is still in the middle of the acquisition process, nonetheless more and more conferences choose Leiden as their location for 2022. Two examples are the International Semantic Web Applications and Tools for Healthcare and Life Science Conference (‘SWAT4HCLS’, January – 100 participants, 4 days) and the International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific (June – 160 participants, 6 days). The prediction is that Leiden will host a record-breaking number of conferences in 2022. This will help the recovery of the congress market in Leiden, which is a very positive prospect. And last but not least, the legacy of being European City of Science will help build Leiden as the true City of Science for years to come.