Wroclaw in Poland has been announced as the location of the 2019 annual overseas conference for The Specialist Travel Association (Aito).

The city in south-west Poland – often called the ‘Venice of the North’ as it stands on 12 islands in the Odra River and its tributaries – will host the conference from November 21-24.

The conference will run business sessions and breakout events aimed at business owners and senior managers at travel agencies or tour operators as well as affiliate business partners and tourist boards. Speakers have yet to be announced.

Aito described the city, in the Lower Silesia region, as one of Europe’s ‘hidden gems’ and a less well known, alternative city break destination for the trade to sell to clients. It boasts striking modern architecture, historic landmarks and a thriving cultural scene, according to Aito.

Chairman Derek Moore said: “After an activity-packed 2018 mid-haul conference in Ras Al Khaimah, in 2019 we are heading short-haul, to Poland’s fourth-largest city, to explore its fascinating and turbulent past and its lively cultural centre.”

He added: “Wrocław also offers quirky features such as the 200 bronze gnomes dotted around the city – symbols of a dark period of history in Poland – and the romantic ‘Hansel and Gretel’ buildings, which appear to hold hands.”

Aito Agents chairman Gemma Antrobus said: “Wrocław offers attributes which our Aito Agents and their clients will love, whether seeking historical sights and Gothic architecture, beautiful gardens and pretty squares, or exciting theatres, festivals, lively nightlife and the buzz that comes with the large student community. Wrocław really delivers a city break with a difference.”

Iwona Bialobrzycka, UK regional director of the Polish Tourism Organisation, said: “We are thrilled to be the host of Aito’s Overseas Conference this year. As the largest city of Lower Silesia, Wrocław is the region’s administrative, economic and cultural capital.

“The city’s history is a wide mix of influences that speak of the varied cultural influences on a place that was, at different times, claimed by Prussia, Austria, Germany and, of course, Poland itself. It’s an academic centre with 22 institutions of higher learning and over 120,000 students, which means that the city boasts a dynamic array of nightlife and activities for visitors to enjoy, too.”

Wrocław was European Capital of Culture in 2016 and hosted The World Games in 2017.

Flights to Wroclaw take two hours out of Luton or Stansted or four hours out of Heathrow via Warsaw. Alternatively, delegates can take a two-hour flight to Kraków or Katowice and an intercity train to Wrocław.

Accommodation will be in a five-star hotel in city centre. The gala farewell dinner will be held in an “exciting and unexpected location”, according to Moore.