Gothenburg – View From the Top
With nine exhibition halls and 50 meeting rooms under the same roof, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg already ranks as one Northern Europe’s finest MICE venues. But the big news is, the complex will soon have the largest fully integrated hotel – Gothia Towers, exhibition and conference facility in Europe.
Plans are in place to add a third, even taller tower to Hotel Gothia Towers and extend the hotel’s original East Tower. The new tower and the extension, which is slated to be ready in the second half of 2014, will increase the number of rooms by more than 500 to a total of 1,200.
The 704-room Hotel Gothia Towers, one of the biggest hotels in Scandinavia, will soon be one of the biggest hotels in Europe. A third, 29-storey tower is planned east of the existing two towers. The new tower will bring the total number of rooms to 1,200. The hotel is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2014.
The next five years will see the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre investing a total of some SEK 1 billion (approx $130 million) in approved and planned projects.
"Our aim is to further strengthen the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre’s position as a top-class international venue – and to increase the impact made by Gothenburg," says Lennart Mankert, MD of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.
"The expansion will make us one of the absolute elite venues of the international meetings industry," says Roger Holtback Chairman of the Board. "The decision to invest billions of kronor in this project will mean that this will be by far the biggest investment the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre has made."
"The main reason is to give the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre the ability to seriously compete for conferences and events on a global level."
Carin Kindbom, President and CEO of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, sees the new hotel as a boost for the whole of Gothenburg. "The intention is to achieve strong growth on the meetings side," she points out. "The expansion is necessary to lift the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre venue to the highest division."
She sees great potential, especially for international congresses.
"We’ve enjoyed fantastic growth in this segment. In fact, 2010 was a record year with over 330,000 conference delegate days," she says.
"With one of the largest hotels in Europe as an integral part of our facility, we are looking to attract more conventions and more foreign visitors every year, something that will benefit all the hotels, restaurants, shops, transport companies and the like in Gothenburg."
The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre’s integrated business model, in which all elements – exhibitions, trade fairs, meetings, hotel and restaurants – are in-house, is a key success factor according to Carin Kindbom.
"This concept enables us to take full responsibility for our guest’s stay, while the various business areas create synergies within the Group.
"Providing everything under one roof also means we save time for delegates. In fact, not having to spend time getting from one place to another is a trump card when people are deciding where to locate their congresses and events.”
In Carin Kindbom’s view, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is pretty well uniquely placed: "We’re in the middle of town, right on the ‘Avenue of Events’, within walking distance of most everything. So, we have everything we need to take on the battle for the biggest events."
"The construction work will be in two phases," says Petter Ullberg, Deputy Managing Director of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Business Area Manager Gothia Towers.
The Crown Tower, as the existing East Tower will be named after the addition of six more storeys, will be opened in summer 2013. In addition to some 50 exclusive rooms, the extension will also house a wellness centre with three pools, a gym, sauna and hammam. The third tower, i.e. the new East Tower, will be 29 storeys high and have over 450 rooms.
The opening is expected to take place in the second half of 2014.
Final negotiations with contractors are ongoing and construction is scheduled to start in September this year, about the same time as the tremendously popular annual Gothenburg Book Fair takes place.
The hotel will have over 1,200 rooms
Additional area: 40,000 m2
The new tower will be 100 metres high. Only the Liseberg Amusement Park Tower (116 m) will be higher in Gothenburg
The current East Tower will be extended to 82 metres
The 77-metre-high West Tower (the tallest today) will be the lowest of the three
The three towers will be linked by glazed overhead walkways, 55 metres above street level
There will be twelve new meeting rooms, plus several lounges, and rooms for break-out sessions, etc.
Seven meeting rooms on the 28th floor, 82 metres above street level, will have panoramic windows