Lviv’s business events community has its focus on the future despite the challenges of the current conflict, with the Ukrainian city still securing bids for international conferences this year and beyond.
Yuliia Katynska, deputy director of Lviv Convention Bureau, said they are already planning for a post-war business event recovery.
“We are talking with our partners on how to communicate correctly so that conventions and congresses will return to us,” said Katynska.
“Every business is now holding its front line now but the war will end. And Lviv will be ready to welcome back international meeting organisers and delegates.”
When the conflict began, Ukrainian PCOs switched from organising festivals and conferences to starting humanitarian hubs, collecting essentials for those in need and organising logistics near borders, railway stations and local institutions.
Catering companies and restaurants worked with charities to distribute food. One of them, Fest Catering Company, together with the international World Central Kitchen, fed almost 35,000 people a day in Lviv.
Hotels opened their rooms to the displaced while restaurants prepared food for defense forces. In fact, two new hotels opened in Lviv during the war – the Best Western Market Square and Emily Resort, with their bars and cellars since becoming bomb shelters for civilians.
The Leopolis Hotel Lviv provided rooms and meeting space for foreign volunteers in addition to providing shelter for people from Kyiv and the eastern regions. In the basement where there used to be a cigar room, is now a storage area, with thermos flasks, generators, rechargeable lamps and candles.
Arena Lviv Stadium, one of the largest venues in Lviv, has morphed into a humanitarian volunteer hub for displaced people with more than 25,000 people passing through the venue. Arena Lviv employees now help orientate refugees and volunteers and get them familiar with their new surroundings, while Arena Catering, which once served football matches, assists with food delivery around-the-clock.
Lviv Tourism Office transformed their office into a media centre at the beginning of the war, and helped create shelters and humanitarian hubs, in addition to organising charitable events to collect money for Ukraine.
But the city is also focusing on a post war recovery, with Lviv set to host global conferences this year and secure more for the future.
In November 2022, Lviv won the title of European Youth Capital 2025, with European Youth Forum Board Member Tom Matthew saying that despite the challenges, Lviv introduced a detailed plan “that is full of hope and aspiration”.
Earlier this year, Lviv hosted the International Rehabilitation Forum as a follow-up convention to a similar one a year ago, with specialists from all over the world including representatives of international institutions, foundations, international Red Cross and Red Crescent societies coming together to discuss rehabilitation for people affected by the war.
This convention was followed closely by the Ukrainian-Israeli Rehabilitation Summit in May. In June, 700 participants and 40 speakers converged in the city for the Lviv Urban Forum to discuss architecture, urbanism, city planning and the rebuilding of Ukrainian cities.
Upcoming international conventions booked for Lviv include the European Society of Women in Theological Research Conference 2023; International ABDOS Conference 2024; Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop 2025; European Crystallographic Meeting 2025; 6th International Conference “UNESCO Historic Cities, Heritage of Peace” 2025; and International Conference on Solid Compounds of Transition Elements 2026.
“I think that as soon as it’s possible to host groups, as soon as it’s possible to host exhibitions, conferences, congresses, there will be a boom. I’m sure of it,” she said. “We only have to be strong.”