Venice competes for conference business

Italian city invests in a new convention bureau

Palazzo Ducale, Venice
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Best known as an incentive destination, recent openings have seen Venice compete more aggressively for larger meetings and conferences. UK event planners can expect to see more marketing of Venice in the future, because a new Venice Convention Bureau came into operation in June (it was originally planned for April) with an investment of £170,000.

The Hilton Molino Stucky on the Giudecca became Venice's largest hotel when it opened in 2007 with capacity for 1,000 people and one of the best rooftop bars in the city. Jane Jones, project management director at DRP Group, used the hotel last May for an event on behalf of online recruitment company Monster. "The conference area is fantastic, the food wonderful and the staff were really helpful," she says.

Two more conference venues are due to come onto the market in 2011: the Palazzo del Cinema, which is undergoing a £60m refurbishment and will seat 2,150, while the 200-room Hotel Excelsior is also being refurbished, at a cost of £77m.

After 14 months of restoration, the Punta della Dogana opened in June in a fantastic location at the point where the Grand and Giudecca canals divide. It is designed to showcase the collection of Francois Pinault, but offers a new incentive option for art buffs.

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