Aarhus Universitet

Hope arises in Aarhus during COVID-19 with international congresses on the horizon

4/22/2020
Photo: Jesper Rais, Aarhus Universitet

Despite the current corona crisis, international academic conferences show unabated interest in Aarhus as their host city.

Most of this year’s scheduled international conferences are being postponed to 2021 instead of being cancelled, and 2022 will most likely become a record-breaking year when it comes to the number of meetings and conferences held in the city.

COVID-19 has caused a crisis and immense uncertainty in every tourism organisation – and Aarhus is no exception. However, the business tourism in the city senses the dawn of better things.

Most of the international conferences and congresses that were planned to be held in Aarhus in 2020 are being postponed to 2021. This way, most of the 2020 turnover will not be lost. One of the events, that have been rescheduled from 2020 to 2021, is the major ’Rehabilitation International World Congress’ with approximately 2,500 expected delegates.

Together with the future local organising committees, Aarhus University, KongresKompagniet, The Municipality of Aarhus and the city’s business tourism operators, VisitAarhus Convention Bureau is working to secure previously scheduled conferences for a later time and to attract more conferences for the years to come.

We are all hands on deck to make sure that we are in a strong position once again when this crisis is over, and 2021 and 2022 are looking very promising. The collaboration between the local operators is incredibly strong in this city, and despite corona, we continue to see an increasing interest in Aarhus as host city for international, academic conferences. This provides much needed hope in this difficult time,” Pia Lange Christensen, CEO at VisitAarhus, says.

Within the past month, dedicated efforts have led to Aarhus being chosen as the host city for a large, international medical congress in 2022 with more than 1,300 participants, and other bids are currently being submitted to bring more international conferences and congresses to Aarhus. This information creates renewed optimism among the local companies in Aarhus, which have been deeply affected by the measures taken during the corona crisis.

These things help to bring reassurance and confidence in what lies ahead. Not just for us, but for the tourism industry in Aarhus as a whole. And right now, those things are exactly what we need. It is great to know that an exciting market awaits on the other side of all this, and it is simply fantastic to see how the entire city can come together to have conferences postponed rather than cancelled,” Niels Pallesen, Hotel Director at Wakeup Aarhus, says.

Looking even further ahead as well, the future looks bright for business tourism in Aarhus. It looks as if 2022 will be a record-breaking year for Aarhus’ congress and conference market. Three large science conferences have been confirmed for May, July and September 2022, among these the YMCA World Council and International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference. On top of this, the city will host a vast number of other meetings and conferences throughout the year, just as VisitAarhus Convention Bureau together with Aarhus University are working persistently to bring more business to the city. Furthermore, 2022 will be a big event year too, as for instance the world’s longest offshore boat race, The Ocean Race, visits the city.

Conferences and Congresses are Invaluable to Aarhus

Hosting international conferences and congresses have great value to Aarhus. According to VisitDenmark, each international business tourist visiting Denmark on average generates a turnover of DKK 4,160 per day. This is the highest average amount spent daily among all tourist categories. In total, the international conferences and congresses scheduled for 2021 and 2022, that VisitAarhus Convention Bureau have knowledge of at this time, are expected to generate a tourism turnover of DKK 182 million. 

The international conferences bring great business and are good investments for Aarhus. They generate a turnover at the city’s businesses within accommodation, meeting venues, restaurants, cultural attractions and transport. And at the same time, they contribute to the branding of Aarhus and attract talent to the city’s companies,” Pia Lange Christensen says.

Besides their economic impact on the city, conferences and congresses boost the international visibility of Aarhus and bring new knowledge, innovation, talent, profiling, new networks and international business opportunities. 

The news of the promising business tourism prospects for 2021 and 2022 only confirms why it is very important for us to focus on attracting international conferences to Aarhus. They provide an important diversity in the market which works as a safety net in times like these,” Niels Pallesen, Wakeup Aarhus, says. 

For further information, please contact:

CEO Pia Lange Christensen, VisitAarhus, telephone: +45 2910 0309, email: plc@visitaarhus.com

Examples of International Conferences Which Have Been Postponed Due to COVID-19:

• Rehabilitation International World Congress (RIWC), 2,500+ participants
possibly the largest professional convention with attendance from all parts of the world that Aarhus has ever hosted. The event puts rehabilitation on the professional and political agenda.

• The Neurosciences and Music VII, 400 participants
the world’s main conference within its field at which key experts from across the world come together to put focus on research in the link between neuroscience and music.

• MRFood, 100+ participants
an international conference on the latest research within food and its impact on our health and sense perception.

• International Conference on Mindfulness (ICM), 550+ participants
major conference which through the presentation of the latest research puts focus on mindfulness and its ability to make an impact on today’s society.

Conference Highlights 2022:

• International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference, as many as 1,000 participants
the broadest interdisciplinary conference within the field of childbirth.

• Medical convention, 1,300+ participants
major international congress. Recently booked, therefore the name of the event can not be announced.

• YMCA World Council, 1,500+ participants
world goals, volunteering and sustainability are on the agenda when Aarhus welcomes YMCA’s World Council meeting for the world’s largest youth organisation.

• More to come …

About VisitAarhus Convention Bureau

VisitAarhus Convention Bureau is the division within VisitAarhus, which has as its purpose and goal to support and boost business tourism in Aarhus and the surrounding region. Many years of close cooperation with local business-tourism players and Aarhus University has made it possible for VisitAarhus Convention Bureau to assist in attracting meeting, convention and conference events from the national as well as the international market. Part of these efforts is VisitAarhus Convention Bureau’s free, customised assistance and consultancy for everyone with an interest in bringing conferences and conventions to Aarhus.