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Hamburg: First-tier destination offering second-tier prices

Florian Gerdes, marketing manager Conventions, at the Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB) tells M&IT the key areas he is working on.

Q: Can you tell me more about MICE business funding in Hamburg and how this is used to generate more business from the UK?

A: During low demand periods, HCB can support planners by providing congress funding – for more details, we invite planners to contact our team directly (note: there is no guaranteed funding).

Q: What initiatives and drives is Hamburg involved in to create more interest from the UK?

A: The UK is our number one foreign source market and we connect with planners through country-wide roadshows, a dedicated PR campaign as well as participation in industry events such as The Meetings Show.

Q: If an event organiser approached you to ask what Hamburg can offer, what advice would you give them?

A: We’ve established ourselves as a place where event attendees can easily access the people leading innovation in our priority clusters, including media and IT, aviation, life sciences, logistics and mobility, creative industries, healthcare, renewable energies, and maritime industries.

There has been substantial investment in the local innovation economy, and as a very modern city at the forefront of innovation, we’re an exciting destination for planners. Recent examples of this innovation include cutting-edge advancements in smart city mobility, connectivity, transport, and technology, ranging from the Airbus A380 factory to the world’s first electric-powered bicycle trailer.

Q: Why come to Hamburg and not Berlin?

A: We’re the largest city in Europe that is not a capital, and we’re the second-largest city in Germany so benefit from being highly connected with a really broad venue and incentive offering. I always call Hamburg the hidden jewel of Germany, because within Germany it is regarded as a first-tier destination, but crucially, it offers second-tier pricing.

Q: The science sector seems a very important area for Hamburg. Has this created interest from corporates wanting to hold events or product launches here?

A: Yes, we work closely with the relevant clusters – Life Science Nord cluster & Healthcare cluster – to attract and host meetings and events in the science sector.

We’ve won the bid to host the following forthcoming events:

  • European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) annual congress in 2021. Around 2,000 specialists are expected at the event, which will take place at the CCH (Congress Center Hamburg).
  • The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) annual meeting 2021. This is the largest global gathering of stem cell scientists and will bring as many as 4,000 researchers from around the world to the city. CCH – Congress Center Hamburg is the host venue.
  • The International Society for Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders (ISHCSF) conference in 2022  – attracting around 500 specialists.

More than 500 companies and research institutions with 20,000 professionals are involved in the science sector, this includes five universities, three technical colleges, two university hospitals and more than 150 medical clinics. The Leibniz Science Campus (named InterACt), a pioneering research lab dedicated to biology and infection research, recently opened in Hamburg. Other stakeholders include renowned research institutions such as the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz and the Leibniz Associations, as well as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

Q: What are the strongest connections between Hamburg and the UK?

A: As well as our varied offering and geographical proximity, Hamburg has a strong heritage with the UK. Close links between Hamburg and the UK date back a long way. Hamburg’s merchants and shipowners traditionally sent their sons to be educated in London – these men were influenced by the country and brought the English way of life back home. Examples of this are Hamburg’s sprawling landscaped gardens and the founding of the first English-style rowing club in Germany. Another celebrated and more recent link is the Beatles. The band began their international career on the stages of Hamburg’s infamous St Pauli district.