The Valencia Conference Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary, enhancing Valencia as a tourism brand
At the end of the last century one of the city's most emblematic buildings was born in Valencia. Designed by Norman Foster, the Valencia Conference Centre is a landmark in the city's history as a congress and conference venue.
The building that was envisioned as one of the city's strategic focal points for event tourism is celebrating its twentieth anniversary, having become one of its most important business forums and a benchmark in management, innovation and activity.
Over the last twenty years, Valencia has undergone a profound transformation, becoming an attractive, dynamic and cosmopolitan destination with a wide range of cultural and leisure activities on offer. The improvement of access routes and the creation of new infrastructures, such as the Valencia Conference Centre, have enabled the city to become a prestigious tourism brand today, increasing its international events by 270% and ranking 35th in the European league table, according to statistics compiled by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
The role of the Conference Centre in this positioning has been essential, as it is the city venue that attracts the largest number of international congress delegates to Valencia. Its contribution is not just limited to increasing the attractiveness of the city; instead, it is a genuine driving force for the local economy, given that business tourists reduce the seasonality of traditional holidaymakers and have three or four times their spending power. In fact, since it was opened on 2nd July 1998, the venue has held 2,700 events in which two million people have participated, generating two million overnight stays and an economic impact of €1.1 billion, over 36 times the amount it cost to build the Centre.
This activity comes mainly from congresses, which represent 60% of its total turnover. However, one of the aspects that sets the venue apart from its competitors is its capacity to host any type of event. By way of example, its versatility and functionality have served to host large meetings such as the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; to turn it into a fashion show catwalk for L'Oréal and Goldwell; to transform the inside of the building into a real hypermarket with shelves for food companies such as Mercadona, Consum and Carrefour; to create real television stages for programmes such as the Spanish talent shows Tú si que vales, and Operación Triunfo, and for the Spanish Football League and Moto GP gala dinners; to become the setting for numerous advertisements such as the Spanish Christmas lottery; to turn the stage of its main auditorium into a spectacular ice rink for figure skating, and for leading companies such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi to present their latest cars to the audience just a few metres from their seats. This potential reflects the capacity of this space to overcome any challenge and is the reason why it has gained the loyalty of numerous national and international companies.
In the words of the Centre's Managing Director, Sylvia Andrés, "the Palace has achieved and continues to achieve its objective of improving Valencia as a destination for large meetings, and this must continue to be our goal. Our ambassadors, prestigious experts that help to attract congresses, the venue's staff and our strategic suppliers, are the cornerstones of what we do and without them, the success of this project would not have been possible".
Its ambassadors are precisely the protagonists of one of the initiatives that the venue has launched to celebrate its anniversary. In an ad hoc section created on the organisation's website, entitled 20th Anniversary (www.palcongres-vlc.com), the venue's 20 most significant milestones have been put together, reflecting the history and evolution of the building and its events through a series of testimonials and videos. Plans are also underway to hold a gala dinner on 11th December to thank and recognise the work of its ambassadors. Coinciding with this event, the Spanish Association for the Blind (ONCE) will be printing a picture of the Centre on all its lottery tickets for that day.