Uncovering Lviv: The Surprising Rise of an Eastern European Business Events Hub

20th June 2023

Nestled in the western part of Ukraine, just 70 kilometers from the EU border with Poland, Lviv stands as a vibrant and resourceful city in Eastern Europe. Known as the last hidden gem of the continent, Lviv offers surprising opportunities and, against all odds, it has become a hub of support and success, fostering bold ideas and innovation. Lviv's strategic location, economic strengths, ease of accessibility, and well preparedvenues for conferences and events are factors to consider the city as competent business events destination.

Words Vicky Koffa

Lviv’s journey to getting a place on the meetings industry map is intertwined with its historical resilience. During the Russian invasion, the city faced significant challenges but managed to rise above the adversity. It opened the first rehabilitation center in Ukraine, “UNBROKEN,” catering to both civilians and soldiers affected by the conflict. The city became a shelter for more than 150,000 temporarily displaced people, a center for humanitarian aid, and a refuge for international diplomacy. 

“Our city currently lives in two directions,” says Yuliia Katynska from the Lviv Convention Bureau“It tries to survive and help refugees all while boosting the economy with new projects and business events. Focusing on security, our PCO’s cover all possible scenarios to provide safety to delegates.”

“As a convention bureau, we keep everyone informed of the current situation, prepare proposals and even organize some site inspections for interested organizations. We understand that right now it is hard to invite international associations to bring their delegates here, so we encourage smaller projects where they can be useful, where their expertise is needed,” she continues.

Economic Strengths

With 100 businesses relocated from the eastern part of Ukraine, Lviv has capitalized on its potential as a knowledge and economic growth hub. Approximately 40 research and development institutes have brought the city at the forefront of innovative breakthroughs, garnering international recognition, such as Time magazine’s “Top 200 Best Inventions” and the “Top 100 Best Developments in the World” by the American journal “R&D Magazine.” 

In other sectors, there is a biotechnology cluster that unites 18 companies. The city’s thriving IT sector has earned it a place among the top IT business outsourcing destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Sustainability and Accessibility Focus

Lviv’s commitment to sustainability is evident through projects like the Sustainable Energy Positive & Zero Carbon Communities (SPARCS) Project, which aims to transform the city into a climate-neutral and people-oriented community. The city is in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) investing in green sustainable infrastructure in water and wastewater, urban transport, district energy, buildings energy

efficiency, and solid waste.

Thanks to its efforts, Lviv won the EBRD 2020 Sustainability Awards that demonstrated innovation, best practice and leadership, as well as the Gold Award for Environmental

and Social Best Practice.

Lviv’s strategic location and excellent transportation infrastructure make it easily accessible to visitors from around the world. Whether by plane, train, bus, or car, reaching Lviv is convenient and hassle-free. The city’s international airport connects it to major European destinations, ensuring seamless travel for conference attendees. Additionally, Lviv’s proximity to the EU border and its status as a Ukrainian city make it an ideal meeting point for international conferences and collaborations.

Event Venues

A wide array of venues suitable for conferences and events (luckily untouched by the war) can be found in Lviv. With 136 conference venues, including 47 halls accommodating 100-299 people, six halls for more than 1,000 people, 18 halls for 300-499 people, and 13 halls for 500-999 people, it offers versatile spaces to meet diverse requirements. 

The Emily Resort, for example, offers capacity for 1,400 delegates and 1,500 sq.m. of exhibition space, whereas the Arena Lviv and the Fest Republic can hold meetings for up to 1,200 people with over 3,000 sq.m. of exhibition space.

Lviv’s Impactful Conferences

Thanks to its sturdy spirit, Lviv boasts 593 international and national conferences held in 2022, all with the same purpose: to provide moral support and create a legacy. In fact, currently there is no event in Lviv without some charitable donation for the Ukraine Armed Forces and civilians who suffered from the war, or policy amendments to help the nation in the global stage.

A case in point was Lviv’s hosting of the United for Justice conference in March 2023. The event brought together key national and international political and justice officials as well as NGOs to discuss the ongoing accountability efforts. Katynska said: “A Dialogue Group on Accountability for Ukraine was established. The long-term legacy impact from this convention will be the increased international cooperation for the sake of justice, not only for Ukraine, but world-wide.”

One month later, in April 2023, Lviv hosted another important convention which will directly impact the country’s war-wounded. The International Rehabilitation Forum saw specialists from all over the world converging in Lviv to discuss solutions for the treatment, prosthetics and rehabilitation of war victims. During the Forum, participants learnt about the UNBROKEN project and saw for themselves the work of Ukrainian medics working in emergency conditions.

Lviv has gained recognition as an emerging conference destination due to its hosting capabilities and the success of various high-profile events. Combining historical charm with innovative spirit, the city invites the world to discover its conference scene. “Looking into our future, we understand that Russians will be our problem for a long time, that security issues will be with us for a while, and we must find ways to live with it. Key priority for us is to create a safe environment for business events and tourism at large. To this end, we are planning to organize the Lviv Tourism Security Forum to unite all world experts and think together to find these solutions,” concludes Katynska.

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