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Gurgl Carat officially opened

Congress center duly inaugurated after the enforced Covid break

A bright blue sky, rushing mountain brooks that shimmer in the sunshine, a unique mountain backdrop all around – this is how guests are welcomed in Gurgl to the official opening ceremony of Gurgl Carat. On 14 July 2022, about 2.5 years after the first event, the official opening ceremony of the event center took place.

Published 25.07.2022

The shining Diamond

It is not just the weather that makes Gurgl, the Diamond of the Alps, shine on this sunny day in July - the opening of Gurgl Carat also contributes to this unique scenery. Due to the pandemic, the official opening ceremony was a long time coming but now the congress and event center has been duly inaugurated. The ceremony, including the blessing of the building, was celebrated with many guests from the fields of tourism, business and politics. The Gurgl men's choir, together with Sölden’s brass band, provided the musical framework for the event.

Events at the highest level

Not only the altitude of 1900 meters above sea level makes events in Europe's highest conference center a true highlight. Thanks to the high-quality equipment and state-of-the-art technology, every event becomes a highlight full of superlatives. The more than 100 visitors to the opening celebration were also highly convinced. In the Schalfkogel hall, which accommodates up to 500 people, the Gurgl Carat shows top-class performances. The heart of the event center – a 100 m2 front screen with full HD projection - is staged with image and video material from upper Ötztal. The hall’s excellent acoustics are evident in the video clips and the presentation ceremony. On the large stage with presentation screens and stage lights, both the presenter and interview partners have enough space for interesting talks and discussions about Gurgl Carat and congress tourism in Obergurgl.

From left to right: Mag. Jakob Wolf (club chairman of the Tirolean People's Party), Mag. Ernst Schöpf (mayor of the municipality of Sölden), Priv. Dr. Sara Matt (head of transfer office at the University of Innsbruck), Felix Kupfer (managing director of Gurgl Carat), Mag. Oliver Schwarz (managing director of Ötztal Tourismus & Gurgl Carat)

From left to right: Mag. Jakob Wolf (club chairman of the Tirolean People's Party), Mag. Ernst Schöpf (mayor of the municipality of Sölden), Priv. Dr. Sara Matt (head of transfer office at the University of Innsbruck), Felix Kupfer (managing director of Gurgl Carat), Mag. Oliver Schwarz (managing director of Ötztal Tourismus & Gurgl Carat)

Alpine space for inspiration

In the future, people will come together in Gurgl and at Gurgl Carat under the motto "Alpine space for inspiration". The glacier-crowned village has already a long congress tradition dating back to 1951. For 70 years, events and training courses have been held regularly in today's University Center in Obergurgl, the former federal sports center. The construction of the Piccard Hall in 1988 sharpened the image of a congress and research location at the heart of the mountains.

The construction of Gurgl Carat in the place of the former Piccard Hall finally put Gurgl in the premier league of congress locations. In addition to the ultra-modern Gurgl Carat congress center and many years of expertise in the implementation of events, Obergurgl also boasts excellent infrastructures. The distances in the village are very short: only 200 meters from the nearest mountain gondola, a maximum of 10 minutes from the hotel or apartment and the huge ski and hiking area right outside the front door. Therefore, Gurgl offers truly perfect conditions for thinking, discussing and finding inspiration.


An alliance of business, science and culture

The operating company of Gurgl Carat also shows the consistent orientation towards high-quality congress tourism. Ötztal Tourismus, the municipality of Sölden and the University of Innsbruck are joint shareholders of the event center and can contribute their expertise in tourism, culture and science. At the opening celebration, all representatives of the institutions agree that Obergurgl will grow into one of the top congress locations in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

The advantages of the congress and university village of Obergurgl:

Comments on the official opening

“Gurgl Carat is currently Austria’s most modern congress center. The highlight is certainly the 100 m² screen with full HD projection. Thanks to the spectacular event technology, new formats such as hybrid events can also be implemented very easily. This gives us a big advantage compared to other long-established event centers. The biggest plus in Gurgl is the hotels’ high quality (21 four-star hotels in a village with only 400 residents) and the proximity of all accommodations to Gurgl Carat in the village center. Our guests can walk to most hotels in no more than five minutes, and the mountain gondola is just 200 meters away. Once they have arrived in Gurgl, they really do not need a car or bus anymore. They can fully concentrate on the topics and the event.”

Felix Kupfer, Managing Director of Gurgl Carat

“Unfortunately, the unofficial opening in March 2020 was the worst timing imaginable. Despite this fact, it was possible to anchor the Carat congress center in Gurgl (as well as in the entire Ötztal) through a careful development of the brand. We were always convinced that if we were allowed to advertise and operate Gurgl Carat properly without any Covid restrictions, nothing would stand in the way of a successful future. This has already been impressively demonstrated by the first “Covid-free” events.”

Mag. Oliver Schwarz, Managing Director of Ötztal Tourismus & Gurgl Carat

Gurgl Carat will optimally complement the already existing university center in terms of size and quality. This makes Obergurgl even more attractive for scientific and other events. The keyword is highest university village. (...) The University of Innsbruck wants to be an active, good, value-added partner who works together, conceptually and in terms of content, to make Obergurgl a recognized tourism, science and business hotspot at the highest level."

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Tilmann Märk, Rector of the University of Innsbruck

“Gurgl Carat sees itself as a state-of-the-art congress venue – also in terms of technology, presentation and communication options. Gurgl Carat is the brand-new edition of the former Piccard Hall, which was a real hit back in 1989. However, the Piccard Hall was getting on in years as a congress and event center, and the technical backing no longer worked either. That is why we decided to plan a totally new building: Gurgl Carat that, thank God, we were allowed to open today.”

Mag. Ernst Schöpf, Mayor of the Municipality of Sölden

“Despite the many digital possibilities, there is still a great desire for face-to-face meetings and face-to-face events. The meeting and congress country of Tirol offers an ideal combination of modern locations and alpine landscape, as meetings are often only separated from nature by a pane of glass. Gurgl Carat is a valuable addition to this offer and an architectural landmark and masterpiece. We are therefore pleased about the opening of this jewel, especially since the conference and congress industry contributes significantly to our goal of strengthening year-round tourism."

Karin Seiler, Managing Director Tirol Werbung

“Gurgl Carat is interesting for the university because we have been holding conferences in the university center for many years. We would also like to have larger conferences here in the village. But we are limited to 150 participants in our own seminar center. That is why we are very happy to have such a magnificent conference center here and we would like to invite and motivate our scientific partner institutions worldwide to hold their conferences here at Gurgl Carat. For our scientists it is an incredible treasure when large conferences are held with participants from all over the world: they can take part there, get involved and there is simply an exchange of ideas with colleagues from around the globe.”

Priv. Doz. Dr. Sara Matt, Head of transfer office at the University of Innsbruck

“Probably one of the most important infrastructure projects in recent years. Thanks to Gurgl Carat, the region has catapulted itself into the top league of congress locations. A high-quality group of guests can now be addressed almost all year round.”

Benjamin Kneisl, Chairman of Ötztal Tourism

"As one of Ötztal’s mayors, I am particularly pleased that we can open Gurgl Carat - a great new congress center - in Ötztal today. Gurgl Carat is not only an alpine space for innovation, but also an enrichment for the congress and seminar location of Tirol. (...) Here in the middle of Obergurgl, away from the provincial capital of Innsbruck, a great event location has emerged, which is of enormous importance, especially when it comes to added value in upper Ötztal. When entrepreneurs, politicians and visionaries from all over the world gather here at the heart of the Ötztal mountains and forge ideas for the future, it is certainly particularly easy in view of Obergurgl’s fabulous scenery. Similar to the village of thinkers - in Alpbach - I can well imagine that upper Ötztal will also establish itself as a conference location that attracts guests from near and far."

Jakob Wolf, Chairman of the Tirolean People's Party


Lara Brunner

Lara Brunner is a freelance copywriter and specialist in content marketing. As a studied Germanist, she writes about all topics related to Gurgl Carat in the Carat.Blog. The Tirolean-by-choice seeks and finds inspiration for her texts amid unspoilt nature in Gurgl. That is why she spends most of her free time in the Ötztal mountains. With hiking boots or on skis, she prefers to explore the many three-thousand meter high summits in the immediate vicinity of Gurgl Carat.

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