The bureau is awarded for bringing the dream of a huge new conference venue for Tallinn closer to reality.
The Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association has heaped praise on the country’s convention bureau, naming it the winner of its Best of the Year award for 2017.
The association’s chairman of the board, Verni Loodmaa, handed the prize to the Estonian Convention Bureau at a ceremony at the Strand SPA & Conference Hotel in Pärnu on March 15.
The award, established in 1994, recognises organisations or individuals for their “outstanding contribution to the nation’s hospitality and catering industries”.
Nominations for this year’s winner were open to the hotel and restaurant association’s 198 members, with the final decision made by the group’s board.
“Our association praises the ECB for all the hard work it has done over the last 10 years to boost Estonia’s reputation as a conference destination,” Loodmaa said.
“They have also been relentlessly lobbying for the creation of a much-needed, large multifunctional conference centre in Tallinn, keeping the subject on everyone’s mind and bringing partners together to help bring that dream closer to reality.”
Massive conference centre
The bureau announced in December 2016 that Tallinn’s city government had approved the disused Linnahall entertainment complex, a massive harbour-side structure dating back to 1980, to be renovated into a large-scale conference centre and concert hall.
Plans include converting the structure’s former ice rink into 12 multifunctional meeting rooms, the biggest of which will have a capacity for 2,500 people.
There will also be a 3,500-seat concert hall and a 500-seat black box theatre, along with a string of shops and restaurants on the sea-facing edge of the building. The target date for completion is 2019.
“We are deeply honoured to be recognised in this way by the [association], a much larger organisation than ours whose members cover such a large swathe of the tourism sector,” said ECB Managing Director Kadri Karu accepting the award.
“It means quite a lot to us that the conference-focused work by our three-person team is being noticed and appreciated on such a wide level.”