Participants of international conferences come from many different countries and are usually people involved in the world of science, medicine, higher education, business, etc. The idea of their arrival by bus, train or car, and driving or traveling for 5, 10, 15 or more hours is simply unacceptable. Often it is not even possible, as in the case of participants arriving from other continents. Conference participants are, generally speaking, very busy people with stringent schedules who are unused to traveling that way. Hence, the proximity and accessibility of an airport served by flights to and from the participants’ countries of departure is a necessity. Conferences frequently involve the participation of several thousand people. In that case, adequate congress hall capacity and hotel accommodation can only be found in cities or, at best, in large hotel resorts, whose offer of amenities parallels that of a small town.
Team building activities, various corporate gatherings and social events, and incentive trips are usually organized outside the city, in less urban surroundings. The purpose of these events is for participants to relax from their daily activities and stress, to get to know each other better, and to have fun. Needless to say, employee gatherings can take the form of a sightseeing tour, usually abroad (so called city-break). If this is not the case and if the participants are neither geographically dislocated nor prevented from traveling outside the city, a rural setting is a good choice of location.
Seminars, educational events, training, board meetings, and similar events can be organized both in and outside the city. A one-day seminar, which participants will be attending after work or in the course of the business week, is best organized in the city, thus ensuring accessibility and satisfactory attendance. Opting for facilities and a hotel in the city is also a wise choice when the event being organized is very formal.
Less formal events, providing not only educations but also rest, recreation, and entertainment, should be set outside the city, in the mountains or close to the sea, a river, or a lake. These events are planned to last several days as there is not much sense in taking a group of people outside the city only to have them return the same day.
There are obviously many more factors impacting the decision whether to choose an urban or a rural setting for any particular event and they vary from one event organizer to the next. Balancing the demands and wishes of superiors, directors, and employees, and prior good and bad experiences are just a few of the factors to take into consideration.
Whether an event is set in or outside the city, on mountain, sea, river, or lake, the aspects that are crucial to its success will certainly be good organization and preparation on the part of the organizer and the host, as well as a positive, optimistic approach that can be vital in steering an event either in a good or in a less desirable direction.