Europe's highest congress and event center Gurgl Carat celebrated its official opening after the compulsory break caused by the pandemic.
The Gurgl Carat is located at 1,900 meters in the Tyrolean town of Obergurgl.
The Gurgl Carat was officially opened last Thursday. Around 100 guests from tourism, science and politics came together in Europe's highest conference center to take part in the official opening. The young building already has an eventful history. After completion in January 2020 and the first events, the Covid-related break followed in March of the same year. There followed an up and down of smaller and larger events with protective measures, cancellations and the first international events. The official opening ceremony with the blessing of the building marked the formal restart after the pandemic. In the long term, the Gurgl Carat should not only contribute to the revitalization of the village center, but also make Obergurgl the top congress destination in the Alps for guests from Germany,
Optimistic view of the future
After two challenging years, the Gurgl Carat can unfold its full potential for the first time in 2022. “In the spring, some events were still affected by the protective measures. The summer season has been running without any complications so far, which is why the first major events were able to take place in Gurgl,” says Gurgl Carat Managing Director Felix Kupfer, pleased about the latest developments. In particular, the location's modern event technology will be a major competitive advantage in the future. "Due to its equipment, the Gurgl Carat is particularly suitable for technically complex events such as hybrid conferences, live broadcasts, panel discussions and product presentations," says Kupfer. The guests at the opening celebrations also got a foretaste of the technical possibilities. In the largest hall, Schalfkogel, which offers space for up to 500 people, the hosts presented the heart of the building - the 100 m² front screen with full HD projection. The audience experienced many other highlights in the two-hour program: such as the excellent hall acoustics, which are particularly evident in the video feeds, the large stage, on which the keynote speakers stand in the right light and the controls from the control room, which ensure that everything runs smoothly responsible for the event. The Gurgl men's choir and the Sölden music band provided the background music for the afternoon. which is particularly evident in the video clips, the large stage on which the keynote speakers stand in the right light and the control from the direction, which is responsible for the smooth running of the event. The Gurgl men's choir and the Sölden music band provided the background music for the afternoon. which is particularly evident in the video clips, the large stage on which the keynote speakers stand in the right light and the control from the direction, which is responsible for the smooth running of the event. The Gurgl men's choir and the Sölden music band provided the background music for the afternoon.
An alliance for congress tourism
The task now is to connect the modern event center with the existing infrastructure in the best possible way in order to create new synergies. The foundation for this was laid with Ötztal Tourismus Congress GmbH, which is operated by Ötztal Tourismus, the municipality of Sölden and the University of Innsbruck. The common goal: to establish Obergurgl as a congress location and university village in the long term. Ernst Schöpf, Mayor of the municipality of Sölden, is convinced that thanks to the cooperation and the good infrastructure in Obergurgl, the best conditions for the up-and-coming congress tourism are given. Sara Matt, Head of the Transfer Office at the University of Innsbruck, also emphasizes the advantages of the Obergurgl location: “Science happens much more efficiently up here than at a meeting in the office.
Obergurgl - a location with tradition
It is no coincidence that the most modern congress center in Austria is located in Obergurgl of all places. Since the founding of the Bundessportheim in 1951, today's Obergurgl University Center, events and training courses have been held regularly in the small mountain village. Even then, Obergurgl served as the Alpine research center of the University of Innsbruck. The Piccard Hall, built in 1988, continues to contribute to the development of Obergurgl as a congress location. After the event building no longer met the latest technical requirements, the old hall was demolished and the Gurgl Carat was built in its place.
The new location should not only continue the conference tradition of the place, but also strengthen the year-round congress tourism. "A location at this (high) level in connection with the high-quality orientation of the hotel and overnight accommodation and the unique alpine environment is a unique selling point in this segment," says the CEO of Ötztal Tourismus Oliver Schwarz. It is now a matter of bringing these three things together in order to further promote tourism in the MICE area (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) in Gurgl.
About the Gurgl Carat
Meetings, congresses, product presentations and cultural events have been taking place in the Gurgl Carat since January 2020 under the motto "Alpine space for inspiration". The futuristic building, whose shape is reminiscent of a cut diamond, can accommodate up to 500 people. This makes the event location in the village center a homage to Gurgl, the "Diamond of the Alps". The Gurgl Carat is part of the long tradition of congresses and science in the Tyrolean town. The connection between business, science and culture is also reflected in the operating company, which consists of Ötztal Tourismus, the University of Innsbruck and the municipality of Sölden.