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Prague: The Next Best Up-And-Coming Sustainable Business Destination

March 7, 2018

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Overlooking Prague from the Equestrian Statue of Jan Žižka of Trocnov on Vítkov Hill

IMAGE: CzechTourism

A business destination where history and culture meet modernism and exceptional technology; a city with its finger on the pulse of commerce, business success and sustainability – is this possible in one location? Prague has undergone radical change over the last two decades, paired with preservation of a rich and intriguing cultural and environmental heritage. So where better for your next sustainable business destination?

 

 

 

Sustainable Business Tourism – Why it Matters

 

Business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are coming together to form a partnership approach to success. Business leaders are increasingly finding out that CSR matters – not just for the greater good of our planet – but for business success and bottom line results too.

 

Much of the focus within CSR rests on issues such as social well-being. However, a central issue within CSR is sustainability – an area that is experiencing mushrooming growth. The International Trade Centre (ITC) currently covers a staggering 230 sustainability initiatives that are applicable to more than 80 different sectors, in 180 countries around the world. These largely didn’t exist just 25 years ago. Sustainable business strategies and approaches are hugely important, and nowhere does this apply more obviously than business travel.

 

But how do you ensure that meetings, exhibitions, employee rewards and incentives, and conferences all take place under the umbrella of genuine sustainable business tourism and not some watered-down, greenwashed version? How do you book your next meeting, exhibition or conference knowing that you’re making the right decision both for the planet and for your delegates, candidates and employees? Simple. You choose Prague.

 

 

 

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Havlíčkovy sady - Grébovka Park in the picturesque neighbourhood of Vinohrady

IMAGE: Prague City Tourism

Prague as a Business Destination

 

Prague, as the capital of the Czech Republic, offers a plethora or unique and enticing opportunities and qualities as a business destination. Known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, the depth of history, architectural richness, business diversity and lush green space make Prague an incredible city to visit, whatever the reason.

 

 

Yet, in Prague, you find something truly exceptional. This city on the Vltava River is famed worldwide for its awe-inspiring beauty. It’s a city of harmonious contrast, where old meets new in transcendent fashion. Whether it's rambling through the Franciscan Gardens or an evening of socialising in the Old Town Square after showcasing your business in state-of-the-art facilities at the Prague Congress Centre, Prague has enough beauty to please the eye of any beholder.

 

Furthermore, Prague is enticing as a business destination because you can make use of exceptional and first-class services at a reasonable cost.

 

This is all available in the heart of Europe, in a city that doesn’t have a ‘low-season’ – a city which is very much at the forefront of developing and improving the burgeoning sustainable meetings industry.

 

 

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The famous Frank Gehry & Vlado Milunić-designed Dancing House Building (aka Tančící dům)

IMAGE: Prague City Tourism

Prague as a Sustainable Business Destination

 

On many levels, it has made sense for Prague to step up its A-game when it came to its sustainable businesses destination offer. Being at the heart of the continent, it is easy and convenient to reach from any part of Europe. In fact, 69 airlines fly into Prague with 15 million passengers passing through. There are three international railway stations. The city itself is connected harmoniously via the Metro system and generally doesn't suffer the same kind of heavy traffic and pollution that befalls most other major cities. And it’s also a relatively small city. Walking and cycling from point to point is both easy, and enjoyable. Going green is very much an established part of life in Prague and it stands to good reason that businesses should seriously be considering such an organically green city for their sustainable MICE tourism purposes.

 

But here's just a few more reasons why Prague is incomparable as a sustainable business tourism destination:

 

  1. Its state-of-the-art business facilities, whatever the size of your event.

  2. Its ‘out of the office’ history, culture, socialising and tourist attractions.

  3. Its offerings for staying and dining.

  4. Its credentials as an eco-friendly city.

 

 

Let’s take a look in more detail.

 

1. Prague’s State-of-the-Art Business Facilities

 

For the Largest Business Events, Conferences and Exhibitions

 

Prague offers a diverse choice for large business events. The Prague Congress Centre comprises of more than 70 halls, lounges and meeting rooms and has a total capacity of 9,300 attendees with 140,000 Sq Ft of exhibition state to boot. Originally built as the Palace of Culture Prague in 1981, it underwent a complete reconstruction in 2000, along with a major redevelopment in 2017, and is known as something of a landmark venue in Prague. It’s also renowned throughout Europe as being one of the largest and most extensively equipped business centres on the continent. Other venues for large events include the Prague Exhibition Grounds, the PVA Expo and the O2 Arena.

 

Medium-Sized Business Facilities

 

Prague is bursting at the seams with venues for mid-size business meetings. You can choose from a wealth of options to ensure you find the venue that is spot on for your needs. Use the venue finder tool available from the Prague Convention Bureau to narrow down your search. Just to give you a taste, you could choose between the strikingly modern Forum Karlin, or the culturally and historically impressive Zofin Palace, or even the majestic Prague Castle itself.

 

For Smaller Business Functions

 

Again, as with mid-size facilities, Prague has a wealth of options available depending on the needs of your business. Choose between standard hotel offerings, as well as more interesting facilities such as the Meeting Rooms at the National House of Vinohrady or Brevnov Monastery.

 

 

 

Boating on the Vltva River

IMAGE: Prague City Tourism

As-Needed Business Facilities for the Business Traveller

 

Prague also offers some interesting working environments if you need to connect to your businesses remotely and catch up on some work. It's also teeming with options for those who wish to escape the confines of the hotel business hub and instead branch out and explore the local enterprise scene.

 

Pracovna translates as ‘home office’ and that’s exactly the environment you’ll find here. Whether you need some office facilities for an hour, or a place to meet for a (fair-trade) coffee with a business connection, this is the perfect spot. Locus offers an English-language co-working space right in the heart of the city. The Paper Hub in Paralelni Polis (aka Parallel Polis) is a fabulous place for business meet-ups as well as being Prague’s first Bitcoin café.

 

2. ‘Out of the Office’ Offerings

 

Part of choosing a destination for sustainable business travel is ensuring your attendees – whether they be your clients or employees – have access to sustainable, enjoyable and enriching opportunities and activities ‘out of the office’ or away from the meeting rooms. Prague has much to offer on a number of fronts; not least culturally and historically.

 

Architecturally, not many cities are able to rival the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed magnificence of Prague. Despite its compact size, it is alive with Romanesque chapels, Baroque palaces and gardens, and Gothic Cathedrals. Dotted between these you’ll find Art Nouveau and even Cubist architecture. It works, and it works beautifully well. The Rotunda of St Martin, the Wallenstein Palace, and the Cathedral of Our Lady before Týn will all etch their mark on your memory.

 

Altogether, this architecture, along with the Vltava River, makes Prague an

impressively picturesque city. You can wander back and forth over more than thirty different bridges as you explore and feast your eyes on a number of natural and man-made river islands. You could even take to the river for your meeting or offer delegates a chance to unwind on a city river cruise.

 

Yet the cultural depth is not only witnessed on the outside. Music, as one of the most important manifestations of human culture, is intrinsically linked to the city's cultural identity, and Prague certainly does not disappoint. Whether you’re after an evening unwinding listening to a classical orchestra at the Rudolfinum, or dancing the evening away on one of the plethora of world-class dance clubs, there’s something musically for everyone. This is to be enjoyed in a city famous for its beers.

 

 

 

The Neo-Renaissance façade of the City of Prague Museum

IMAGE: City of Prague Museum

 

The Museum currently runs fourteen buildings of various characters, showcasing some of the very best European Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles, and contains both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Three of the buildings are modern villas; collectively known as the "Architectural Triangle", which includes the renowned Villa Müller, and are a must-see for any lovers of modern architecture.

 

As part of the 100 year anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia, the Museum will be launching an exhibition dedicated to the revolutionary year 1848 (known as the Prague Uprising) and an online website exhibition covering the First World War in Prague. Historical photo documentation and selected prints from the collections of the City of Prague Museum will provide visitors with a real sense of the battlefront, and what it was like living in Prague in the last years of the declining Austro–Hungarian Empire.

 

For downtime, Prague has an overwhelming number of historic gardens, parks and green spaces – over 200 of them! In fact, these are arguably some of the most worthwhile spots to visit in the city. Even better, these spots typically offer panoramic views of the city itself. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to wander the Palace Gardens which sit just beneath Prague Castle, Wallenstein Gardens, or indeed the Petrín Hill Gardens.

 

Beyond the sites of Prague, you can also enjoy spectacular shopping opportunities. For sustainable and eco-friendly shoppers visit Pragtique for alternative art-based Prague-themed eco-friendly souvenirs, HNST.LY for boutique Czech craft, or Modernista which offers items focusing on Czech design.

 

But whether you’re visiting Prague for business or pleasure, we highly recommend you factor in time in your itinerary for seeing some of the following sites:

 

  • St Vitus Cathedral
  • Prague Castle
  • Veletržni Palác
  • Charles Bridge
  • Prague Jewish Museum
  • Cathedral of Our Lady before Týn
  • Wenceslas Square
  • Convent of St Agnes
  • Old Town Square

 

Business travellers in Prague will also find an enormous choice of organised activities with team building or team socialising in mind. From Segway tours of the city, to canoeing expeditions, themed-Murder Mystery nights and paintball games, there’s always plenty to choose from.

 

 

A conference room in the Canarias Conference Centre at the Hotel Occidental Praha

IMAGE: Barceló Hotel Group

3. Sustainable Staying and Dining

 

It is not enough to choose a business destination based on venues and activities alone. You need to be sure that your attendees are comfortable, well looked-after, but still attaining the sustainability objectives you’re striving to achieve even when they're getting some much-needed rest. Fortunately Prague comes up trumps here as well.

 

 

The rooms are kitted out with cutting-edge technology in line with Barceló Hotel Group's B-Room concept, and offer spectacular panoramic views of the city. Everything you will need to for your business is right here at your disposal: free high-speed WiFi, flat screen television and a work desk where business travellers can work on their laptop. The hotel also incorporates a new B-Lounge lobby bar, serving a wide range of drinks and local Czech beers along with traditional Czech cuisine. Staying in Prague really doesn't get much better than this.

 

They've also recently built a brand new conference centre 'Canarias' which comes complete with its own private terrace. This new conference centre can host up to 100 delegates and is a welcome addition to Occidental's already comprehensive meetings facilities; bringing the total number of meeting rooms available in the Occidental Praha up to nine. The meeting rooms utilise natural light to its fullest potential and provide the perfect backdrop for your sustainable business meetings.

 

As part of the Barceló Hotel Group, sustainability is placed high on the agenda at the Occidental Praha. This is a hotel which understands the need to preserve the natural environment through their various initiatives and take extra measures to ensure the absolute minimal environmental impact. Rest assured, even the most ardent environmentally-conscious business traveller will not be left disappointed.

 

Then there’s dining out. Wander throughout the streets of Prague in search of some great food and you won’t be disappointed. Recommended spots for delicious fare include:

 

  • Kavarna Oh La La: With French food in a stylish setting, this is an eco-friendly, relaxed eating spot.

 

  • Rebio: Rebio may run on green principles, and offer dishes mostly using ingredients that are seasonal and organic, but it looks sleek and professional inside - laid out to Feng Shui principles. Even better, they support a range of ecological, social and cultural projects. This is feel-good eating.

 

  • Maranatha: Another sleek-looking restaurant, perfect for wining and dining clients or employees with a clear conscience is Maranatha, a vegetarian restaurant using only organic produce.

 

  • Sicily Café: A low-key, organic and fair-trade, renewable energy-powered café is the delightful Italian Sicily Café.

 

  • Puro Gelato: If you’d like a guilt-free but indulgent snack as you enjoy Prague’s sights then make a stop at Puro Gelato. Not only will you discover unique and unconventional flavours, you’ll also know they’ve been prepared using only organic ingredients and no artificial additives.

 

Whatever your taste, you can always be sure to stay and dine in Prague whilst visiting on business without compromising your organisational sustainability and CSR objectives.

 

 

Taking a gentle stroll through the beautifully green and peaceful Petřín Hill before climbing the Eiffel Tower-inspired Lookout Tower is a must

IMAGE: Prague City Tourism

4. Prague’s Credentials as an Eco-Friendly City

 

Combining Prague’s rich and diverse natural, cultural, historical and architectural landscape with its constantly improving exceptional world-class facilities for business, makes it hugely desirable as a business destination. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that. But what Prague offers above and beyond being a desirable destination for business professionals is the fact that it is home to perhaps one of Europe's most thriving, authentic sustainability movements. This is a city which is rich with social entrepreneurs working tirelessly behind the scenes to build solutions and make changes for the betterment of their community, businesses and the planet. And that's something which remains all too often undisclosed by the mainstream media.

 

But things are changing. 2017 saw Prague join the Global Sustainability Index (GDS-Index); the "Rolls-Royce" standard of sustainable meetings. Prague has also been rewarded by achieving 5th spot, worldwide, in the Arcadis 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index. Prague is fast

becoming one of the most sustainable and liveable cities in Europe. It is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore the fact and that only bodes well for environmentally-conscious businesses.

 

As the recent BSR Report: The Future of Sustainable Business stated: “Business as usual won’t get the job done — and sustainability as usual won’t suffice. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, build truly fair and inclusive economic growth, and navigate a radically reshaped world, it is time for change.”

 

Make no mistake about it: Prague is at the very forefront of the kind of sustainable change the world needs right now. The only question is: how ready are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about how the Prague Convention Bureau can help you organise your next sustainable business meeting or event, please visit:

 

www.pragueconvention.cz

 

 

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