"Our country is not characterised by abundance of traditional spaces for large business events, however, we try to transform that into an advantage for Lithuania as an attractive destination of business tourism, which includes organisation of congresses, conferences and other business events as well as incentive travel, by emphasising the variety of non-traditional spaces, such as manor houses, castles, museums, rural tourism homesteads and the like. Besides, we have a great advantage in the area of security which is a special focus of everyone – the first place granted to Lithuania in terms of security in the Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum is a strong argument," says Ms Irena Achonen, an expert of the Department of Tourism who coordinated our country's presentation at a very recent largest international business tourism exhibition IBTM held in Barcelona (Spain) and who believes Lithuania's ambition to become the leader of business tourism of the Baltic region is realistic.
According to her, the ability of a country to attract business events (congresses, conferences, etc.) is also determined by a strong tourism trademark of the country and the country's image as well as convenient air connections, short distances between major cities within the country, the ratio between the price and Western quality and professional services, a well-developed tourism infrastructure. Lithuania possesses all of those factors, therefore, at the IBTM exhibition, it attracted even the interest of event organisers from far-away markets, such as the USA, Canada and Australia.
"In 2018-2019, at least 10 new hotels will open in Vilnius – including such global hotel brands as Hilton, Marriot, Radisson and Ibis, while the number of rooms intended for the guests of the capital will grow at least 1.5 times. These chains contribute to attracting business events into a country, because they specialise in the segment of business customers. In addition, the Exhibition and Congress Centre LITEXPO became one of the most modern ones in the Baltic States following reconstruction completed this year. Lithuania witnesses not only a boom of hotels, but also that of restaurants, which is very relevant for business tourists. They are looking for exceptional gastronomic experiences, therefore, they have appreciated the fact that Lithuanian restaurants have been awarded the rankings of a prestigious restaurant guide in the Nordic countries White Guide and included among the strongest restaurants in the Baltics for the second consecutive year. For this reason, we supplemented the presentation of Lithuania in Barcelona with tasting sessions with a contemporary interpretation of the Lithuanian cuisine arranged by one of the best restaurants of the country," points out Ms Indrė Trakimaitė-Šeškuvienė, Acting Director of the Department of Tourism.
To promote business tourism as one of the four principal areas of tourism in Lithuania (alongside cultural, natural and health tourism), at the exhibition, the Department of Tourism presented the country's first electronic catalogue of business tourism with the installed innovative search tool of companies providing business tourism services. With the help of this tool, you can choose the number of participants, the type of venue and location of a planned event, and the catalogue will provide you with a list of possible suppliers. The catalogue's database contains information on the ideas for incentive travel, possibilities to organise business events in the main cities, towns and resorts of Lithuania as well as exclusive conference venues.