Lausanne Montreux Congress announces six wins for 2019

Lausanne and Montreux have joined forces to create Lausanne Montreux Congress (LMC).

Their combined strength brings together two business regions that have a portfolio of four conference centres, over 7,000 hotel rooms as well as 283 meetings and incentive spaces.

Representatives of LMC (Steeve Pasche, Director Lausanne Tourisme and Christoph Sturny, Director Montreux-Vevey Tourisme) spoke exclusively to M&IT about their future plans.

How many events will Lausanne Montreux Congress (LMC) host in 2019?
LMC officially forecasts that for 2019 there will be six international congresses, each expecting between 400 to 1,200 participants. The themes of these congresses vary from atomic sciences (e.g. European Centre for Atomic and Molecular Computation), biological research (e.g. European Drosophila Research Conference), life sciences, journalism sciences, technological fields concerning films (e.g. International Federation of Film Archives) and electronics (Institute of Electronic and Electronics Engineers).

Do you expect it to increase from 2018?
In comparison to 2018, where LMC held five conferences across the sectors of Sport, Energy, Humanities and Social Sciences, we have already seen great growth. However, due to the longevity of these events and the bidding process, many of the events held in 2018 were confirmed before the creation of LMC, and as a result, makes it difficult to compare years.

How many meetings and incentive visitors come to LMC from the UK?
Whilst Lausanne Montreux Congress focuses predominantly on the congress market, both destinations continue to be active in the MICE segment as separate entities. Looking at the official tourism statistics, it is clear that the UK is a very important market for both destinations, for leisure tourism, the meetings industry and also international congresses. With a total of 127,595 overnights in the two destinations, the UK takes 5th position on the official statistics for the Lake Geneva Region (2017). We estimate that 66 per cent of these overnight stays were for meetings and congress business in Lausanne and 50 per cent in Montreux.

What attracts them here?
The British are already very familiar with Switzerland, even beyond their appreciation of the cheese and chocolate. It is the British who invented winter tourism in Switzerland and have been coming here for many years, with Montreux considered a winter resort until 1940. The region has many special links to the UK, including influential literature inspiration. Lord Byron’s visit to the Chillon Castle inspired him to write The Prisoner of Chillon.

From a business perspective, next to safety, service quality and the efforts for sustainable events, the great accessibility of the region is one of the key arguments for event organisers to come to Lausanne and Montreux. Thanks to several direct flight connections from all over the UK and the famous Swiss railway system, travelling to and within Switzerland could not be easier. The local transport cards which are provided free of charge to all participants and hotel guests are a great added value incentive and provide a great ease of travelling.

Together as a partnership we also have four key conference venue partners we work with, alongside a number of unique incentive venues such as The Olympic Museum and Chaplins World – this provides event organisers with an extensive venue portfolio to choose from.

There are a great number of quality hotels in close proximity to the venues, in total offering over 6,000 rooms, making accommodation easy and comfortable for delegates of all group sizes.

How much revenue does this create?
Since 2017, 16 congresses have been confirmed by Lausanne Montreux Congress, with a total of 8,350 delegates. Based on calculations made from Oxford Economics and the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau (SCIB), the economic impact generated by this performance represents a total revenue of about 16.5 MIO CHF (£12.7m).

What developments are there for 2019?
2019 is the year where we will look to strengthen the partnerships of Lausanne Montreux Lake Region following on from the successes of 2018 in order to face the strong competition and the complexity of the market. Furthermore, if LMC continues to grow and build on our successes, a potential partnership with Geneva CVB could be a logical next step. This would place the whole Lake Geneva Lausanne Montreux region in a much stronger position.

How are you working with the government to make LMC an active congress destination?
Making the two leading cities of the same Canton (Vaud) work together to boost the congress business is highly appreciated by the government. The collaboration with the cantonal government as well as the city councils is very important and adds to the success of LMC.

What is LMC’s budget to attract congresses?
Currently LMC has an annual budget of ½ Mio. CHF (£390,000) to attract congresses.

Are there any new venues or new hotels?
In terms of new openings, we have the Vaudoise Arena which will be the biggest sporting and meeting venue of the whole region (capacity: up to 10,500 pers.) and the renovation of the Lausanne Beaulieu Congress Centre following an investment of 100 Mio. CHF (£77m) which is set to be completed in 2019.

Other exciting openings include Platforme 10, a new cultural hub in the heart of Lausanne next to the train station which will house a complex of three museums (Fines Arts, Photography, design & Contemporary Arts), with the first set to open later this year.

Lausanne city centre will also see the opening of a Moxi Hotel under the Marriot Group and the 2020 Youth Olympic Games HQ, VORTEX, will open in the heart of Lausanne’s University. The Olympic Capital of Lausanne will also see the International Olympic Committee HQ move to a new spot in Lausanne Vidy by the lake shore.

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