Meeting Hubs in New Europe: Walkable Cities
When talking about congress destinations, walkability and easy access to key points of interest for meeting planners are huge advantages, especially in current social-distancing times. Event attendees value easy access between congress centres, hotels, restaurants and other infrastructure. Walking is underrated and should be encouraged more, as it is the most democratic and sustainable means of transport.
We have decided to evaluate all certified MTLG destinations from this perspective as well. The walkability score will become an important standard for destinations in 2021. The key index that we took into account is the Walkscore Index. We compared it to the MTLG – General and transport infrastructure and the Numbeo Traffic Index to provide an accurate assessment. We started with destinations of similar size – those that fit in the L category (destinations that can host up to 2000 congress attendees).
CITIES WITH THE HIGHEST WALKABILITY INDEX
Among 27 evaluated cities, these are the most easily walkable:
1. Burgas 4.80
1. Graz 4.80
2. Salzburg 4.75
3. Innsbruck 4.78
4. Bratislava 4.75
5. Tallinn 4.73
6. Ljubljana 4.70
7. Trieste 4.69
8. Thessaloniki 4.67
9. Krakow 4.64
10. Zagreb 4.60
Bratislava is a textbook example of a walkable city
It achieved a combined score of 4.75 on our scale. This score comprises of:
If we look at the Walkscore Index alone, it achieved a score of 4.98 (index of 99), making Bratislava a “Walkers Paradise” according to their assessment. This means that key points of interest are easily accessible on foot.
MTLG – General and transport infrastructure
Bratislava’s solid transport infrastructure earned the city a combined score of 4.88. It is an easily accessible destination by car, train or the Danube river. It is also relatively close to the Vienna airport. Other parts of Bratislava’s general infrastructure (from public transport to access to the internet) also achieved excellent scores.
Numbeo traffic index
Bratislava achieved a score of 4.40 on the Numbeo Traffic Index. The index is a composite of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system. It is a complex index that paints a very clear picture of the traffic situation in individual destinations. 67,13% of people in Bratislava combine walking and public transport as the main means of transport. This is a great statistic, considering the percentage in neighbouring Vienna is 81,44 %. According to Numbeo, improving public transport and reducing traffic in the city should be Bratislava’s main priority. Despite being positioned in the XL category, Vienna is still a good role model, achieving a walkability score of 4.89.
“IN THE MIDST OF AN EPIDEMIC, BRATISLAVA’S WALKABILITY REPRESENTS A UNIQUE CONVENIENCE, AS KEEPING DISTANCE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.“
Except for the tram line, Bratislava’s city centre is closed off for traffic. This makes the city seem even more friendly and safe. The quality of public spaces improves that image even further. Another interesting byproduct of walker-friendly cities is increased development of the local economy. From small privately-owned stores and boutiques to different service providers and the creative industry. This is especially true for Bratislava’s old city centre, where local providers depend on walkability. Walking allows for the development of diverse social bonds and enriches the experience of congress guests.
An unwritten rule is that the maximum acceptable walking distance from the hotel to the event venue is 2,5 km. In Bratislava, a 2,5 km radius contains almost the city’s entire meetings offer; from hotels, conference halls and special venues. This is great added value and with the help of local hosts, you can create an attractive walking map for attendees, allowing them to see Bratislava in a completely different light. a perspective that most business guests don’t see.
If you like walking or cycling, you will feel at home in Bratislava.
Learn more about the meetings industry in Bratislava at: https://www.visitbratislava.com/convention/