Page 1

May 2018 //


18 //

KONGRES PEOPLE // Nicolaas Houwert, Dušica Čarapić, Klara Rogina, Juraj Holub

26 //

KONGRES JOURNEYS – MEETOLOGUES // Belgrade, Catania, Podgorica, Salzburg, Vienna

HIDDEN GUEST // 42 // KONGRES Alpe Adria Convention Centres

cOnT Ribu TERS eDitor-in-chief // GORAZD ČAD Editor of the magazine is a geographer and historian by profession. he united his professional education and love of discovering new lesser-known meetings destinations with love and passion for the meetings industry. in meetologues he shares his enthusiasm with the readers. NATALIjA BAH ČAD // meetings anD eVent manager an unforgettable member in the editorial board of travelogues. She has insight into the soul of destinations based on many years of practical experience with the organisation of events. She is interested in everything from the history, geography and destination marketing to care for the tiny little things that make the big events. assistant eDitor // Jasmina Jerant a creative writer since childhood was brought into the meetings industry where she can release her passion for storytelling. She seeks for unusual, hidden, and charming facts that make a town or a building shine in a different way. She believes that places are like people. in each one of them you can find something amusing. aJDa BoraK // eDitor intelligent content Since she was a young girl, she was in love with stories. Constructing reality and creating stories with words is for ajda a game that never gets boring. the beauty of her job at Kongres Magazine is in the endless amounts of stories she is diving in on a daily basis. VisUal & serVice Designer // JUrKa mihelin Visual and Service designer, who considers design thinking a must. friendly, with a passion for learning. Loves dogs, swing dancing and white space. a bit of perfectionist and also quite short.

aDele graY // proofreaDer adele has been living in Slovenia since 2007. as a native English speaker who is also fluent in the Slovene language, she plays an important part in our team. She is passionate about Slovenia’s beautiful nature and shares her love of Slovenia through her popular blog



POPulaR KOngRES MagaZinE cOnTEnT Stories you won’t find in any other media





BehinD the scenes

meet BUsters

Voice from the top

case stUDies

an editorial look behind the scenes of the most exciting congress hotels in the region.

Busting or confirming 10 meetings destination myths about which you have always wondered about.

Exclusive interviews with meetings industry experts on the current challenges of the meetings industry.

Examples of good practice cases of events and meetings industry projects presented with concrete results.

off the Beaten mice tracK introducing new innovative congress products that surprise with aesthetics and creativity.

hiDDen gUest Unique evaluation of hotels by hidden congress guests using more than 400 criteria.

VenUe of the WeeK overview of interesting congress providers through experiences and special offers.

mtlg meetologUes

Who is Who

incentiVe iDeas

a golden guide for meeting organizers, which, since 2010, has been revealing fresh and interesting European meetings destinations.

interviews with meetings industry professionals that reveal the stories of their success.

the most comprehensive collection of incentive ideas that already includes 270 programmes, which is up-dated weekly.

Kongres telescope

the next generation of talented individuals who will shape the future of the meetings industry.

Secrets about non-European meetings destinations through the brilling editorials of Kongres magazine.

Kongres face to face A current comparison of the closest competitors following the Kongres MtLG methodology.

YoUng talents

enfant terriBle in each of us lies a little enfant terrible. the editorial board chooses the most interesting ones.

creatiVe BreaK Examples of good practice in the field of marketing of meetings destinations, hotels and events.

What’s hot Presentation of the most interesting destinations through the toP 10 column. ratings are given for convention hotels, car launch destinations, special venues and more.

A word from the editor


THE POWER OF WORDS Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief //


This year Kongres magazine is celebrating its twelfth anniversary. As the conceptual ‘father’ of the project, I set myself a target to build a recognised, modern publication with quality content. The editorial board, consisting of trusted and valued partners and colleagues, searches for topical content that addresses important issues and presents examples of good practice.

What is our place in the reality show in which we live?

As a form of media, Kongres began in the age of the internet and our fundamental reflection from the beginning has been the relationship of printed media to the internet. We were among the first to be aware of changing reading habits, and therefore the online reach of our portal is among the highest in the industry. On the other hand, however, we also understand the power of printed media, which enables the publication of quality and more in-depth stories. Through a combination of printed publications and websites, two different methods of reading and storytelling are combined. In addition, our aim is to offer an unblemished view beyond the established patterns. It is our duty to pose new questions and present themes from other perspectives. By doing so, we create new context, which also includes the idea of ‘New Europe’ unburdened by classic thought patterns and a creative sense regarding important aspects of the meetings industry.

Through various activities, we try to influence the decisions and habits of meeting planners in order that they will organise better projects. Better events enable a better society which in turns creates even better events. We are aware that words can change the world. It seems that trust in the power of speech is constantly being questioned. This is evidenced by numerous affairs connected with manipulation, abuse of information, half-truths and lies, and the fixing of numbers that have shaken the world’s media. We wonder where in such a world is there a place for professional media such as Kongres magazine. What is our place in the reality show in which we live? Human beings are only as good as their word, and the same applies to media.

We believe that we can contribute to a better congress industry and improved events. New for this year is an upgraded version of the printed edition of the magazine which brings even more in-depth stories, the aim of which is to overcome the boundaries between events and other areas of creativity. Fear of the decline of the media is ever-present, however, hope remains! A preview of the new printed edition can be seen below. You are invited to a dialogue with us! Gorazd Čad Editor-in-Chief



Six steps to an engaging participants experience Events are organised mainly for participants Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief //


Definition The participants’ journey, or user experience, stems from a multitude of interactions among participants at events and their experience of the event on a rational, emotional, sensory, physical and spiritual level. The starting point In planning events it is often the case that organisers forget the most important thing – that is planning the entire user experience of participants. Consequently, numerous events fail or are unsuccessful. There needs to be a comprehensive approach, which is understood as a mandatory part of the ‘Power to the meetings’ methodology. The end result is the satisfaction of participants, which can be achieved despite the subjective experience that some individuals may have had. The concept The term began to be used in the 1990s, when Don Norman began to develop a methodology for Apple Inc. Today, the company’s products are a synonym for an exceptional user experience. The characteristics of the products and services, which have changed the world in recent times, is to solve one of the problems of the user experience. Similar companies are those such as Uber, Tesla, Airbnb, Snapchat, and the list could go on. Importance of user experience Relatively few event organisers get involved in planning the user experience, a lot of them, however, realise its importance. It requires a lot of interdisciplinary knowledge. Toleranca marketing believe that, over time, the independent profession of planner of user experience at events will develop.

The basic condition for ensuring a good user experience is understanding and knowledge of the participants of an event and their needs. The user experience is therefore the sum of all the participants’ senses prior to, during, and after, participation at an event. The key role of the user experience is to create events with added value for participants, where they will feel good and will experience

positive emotions. It is about solving the universal problem of interaction among participants of events at all points of contact. The field of event organising is a very complex one, as everything must be planned from websites, communication systems, price politics, hotel accommodation, promotional campaigning, branding, networking, to arrival at the event, content, entertainment, staff, cuisine and layout of the venue. Tips and tools 1. Conceptualisation The most creative phase of a project is setting the concept of an event, for which the use of an Event Canvas or classic brief is recommended. This enables organisers to define the theme in a creative way and seek visual, verbal and professional elements that connect the event. Tool: Event Canvas 2. Needs analysis In this phase, user research should be carried out as well as interviews with key stakeholders. The choice of focus group is very important, as it must be relevant to the target group of participants at the event. In this way it is possible to measure the subjective component of the expectations of quality services and the expectations of participants in general. Tool: Pre-Event Survey 3. Designing a story board The essence of every event is the story that needs to be told. The visual creation of the event is based on the techniques for preparing film scenery. Through group work, scenes and characters are visualised, which will be personally experienced by event participants. Tool: Event Storyboard 4. Testing the user experience Next follows testing of the user experience which has been written on the storyboard. The selected focus group evaluates all those individual points raised on the story board as a whole using the following attributes: valuable/useful/desirable/accessible/credible/achievable/ user-friendly. Tool: Event Experience Grid


5. Impressive event execution At an event it is key that the user experience is structured as logically, clearly and intuitively as possible. The satisfaction of participants depends primarily on their expectations and whether we know how to impress them. Therefore, every event must include essential elements, which participants expect, as well as elements of surprise, which have the greatest effect on satisfaction. Tool: 10 Wow Moments Matrix 6. Analysis of the event A key part of a project is measuring its success or whether it exceeded participants’ expectations. Through the use of a structured questionnaire, the rational and emotional dimension of an event can be measured. Tool: Post-Event Survey Recommendations The pitfalls of inspiration and raising expectations If an event is organised on an annual basis, the expectations of participants increase. What impressed them the first year, could just be considered satisfactory the next. The level of satisfaction is connected with that of exceeding participants’ expectations. Therefore, when organising events it is exceptionally important to include elements of surprise – over time, unexpected elements can become the expected. This is why event organisers must constantly aim to upgrade participants’ enthusiasm and impression and add elements of surprise.


Inspiration CISCO LIVE Conversation at any point of the customer journey Cisco Live is the biggest conference of the company CISCO in the EMEA region. It is regarded as one of the most important conferences in the area of digital marketing in the world and is held in places such as Barcelona, Milan and Berlin. The conference offers visitors inspiring content, but it is its conceptual approach, which is based on a well-thought-out user experience, that especially impresses visitors. According to marketing director Gerd De Bruycker, the centre of modern marketing is the B2Me concept – 67% of the user experience today is digital. Cisco dedicates tremendous attention to this concept in three key phases of a project – before, during, and after an event. The main focus is on the needs of participants and their profiling, which enables the creation of engagement that can be measured using the Engagement Index and a comprehensive approach to measuring added value.

Additional Information and Inspiration



Exclusive interview: Gernot Marx

Interview with the Managing Director of Salzburg Convention Bureau Gorazd Čad //

Personal archive

Q: Can you describe your start in Meetings Industry? After my trainingship in my early twenties, I was transferred to London by Starwood Hotels & Resorts to work in the groups and events department. So my very first job was in the Meetings Industry already. And I got adopted by so many great people there, that I didn’t even think of any leisure tourism at that time. I still remember those years as the most exciting and shaping times in my live. Q: What attracted you to Salzburg? A: It was the level of quality the destination represents. I never wanted to work for an employer who’s not aiming to be best in class. I’m okay if it sounds snobbish, but I think you shouldn’t compromise on the level of service you give a guest or client. And in terms of quality I also worked for some of the best hotels in the world. In this way, Salzburg offers me the freedom to live and work for what I belief in. Q: According to you what is the perception of Salzburg among meeting planners in Europe? If people think of Salzburg, they think of the city of Salzburg. But Salzburg is one of the nine Austrian states and its capital city Salzburg is identically named. So this is somehow confusing, but you find regions like Zell am See – Kaprun, Saalfelden-Leogang and others in the Salzburger Land, too. Many people don’t know that we offer such large capacities. When we speak to people or welcome them to product experience weekends on site, they know that we can do the large, but also the exclusive stuff as well. We are the unrivalled number two in the Austrian Meeting Industry after Vienna. We have a market share of approximately 20 percent. Vienna has more than 40. The other 40% is shared among the 7 other states of Austria. This makes us proud and confident to tell people why Salzburg is a fit for their events. Q: Who are your main competitors in Austria and Europe? It depends on the kind of events and regions in our state you want to compare. However, we compete with large XL destinations as well as the small hide-aways. We are in competition with metropole cities, trendy up and coming destinations and the Mediterranean. If you market a destination like Salzburg, with so many world renown assets and alpine resorts, it will be hard to drop names you compare with as there are many. The more important question we ask ourselves is: Does the client know, which destination to choose to make their


event a success? And we aim to help them finding the answer. Even if it sometimes is not in our favour.

Q: What is your vision and what hopes do you have for the future

of Salzburg? We are marketers with an option to form the industry. So “hope” is not a factor to rely on. Having said that, we belief in Salzburg as a stage with pre-set backdrops of stories told by architecture, culture, nature and its population. More hotels will come and venues will be built, but this is not our core vision. Nine out of ten tourism businesses in Salzburg are family-run. They are forming a broad economic foundation and a specific appeal, continuously investing in their products. The vision is organic growth in all fields and keeping that personal touch.


Q: How is the meetings industry encouraging greater diversity and

inclusivity? I admire London for their idea on the #LondonIsOpen campaign and was positively surprised that equality of women became a subject at last years’ ICCA congress and this years’ IMEX. However, the industry is good at talking diversity, but very slow executing it. One year we pilgrim over bridges to a congress, the other year we go to destinations where those claims and values are totally neglected. I miss a little honesty in the discussion of social responsibility. Let’s say it like it is: With the financial capacities and economic dependencies of some in the industry, it will stay hard calling for diversity more forceful.

Q: How are you viewing the state of modern meetings industry? My vision is a meetings industry that is impact driven. An industry, that give’s itself a bigger meaning by understanding the source of its business. It does not exist because of infrastructure. Nobody would build a conference venue, if associations and corporates wouldn’t understand the importance of meeting people in person. So the supplier side has to understand why people want to connect, learn and speak to each other face to face. It is our job to empower people to communicate in the best possible way and deliver what’s necessary.

Q: Can you tell us about the variety of special venues that Salzburg offers? Again, this depends on the event and client you talk to. For some the high-end, luxury venues are just good special enough. But others consider a chalet in the middle of nowhere as a once in a live-time experience. So what I want to say first is, that special does not always mean luxury, XXL venues or the maximum of AV equipment you can put into a location. In Salzburg you can stand on a locations terrace in Q: Do you switch off when travelling? 3.029 metres, meet at lake side event resorts, or experience products Oh, yes. Usually you see me wearing headphones at airports. And I at dedicated automotive event spaces. We are also the only destisometimes just wear them with no music on to just enjoy the silence nation in Europe with airport hangars, purpose for a moment. We are a creative industry and built for events. But we have the large congress need to take our time to let the mind wonder venues for thousands of delegates and internato come back with great ideas again. Silence tional chain hotels with hundreds of bedrooms in is a great way to let this happen. Nobody would build Salzburg, too. a conference venue, Q: Is music important part of your life? It always has been. I play instruments and Q: Where would you take someone to “feel” the if associations and was a DJ for quite some time. It still helps vibe of Salzburg and what is your best incentive corporates wouldn’t to unwind when I get home or deejay on idea in Salzburg? weekends. Music should also play a bigger If you really want to feel a destination, you understand the role at conferences and congresses. I still do have to go where the locals go. Salzburg is a importance of meeting not understand why the concept of business social micro-cosmos so it would be a few stops. people in person. festivals isn’t adopting any quicker. SensoriWe would start at the historical city center of al marketing would be very important for us, Salzburg at Café Tomaselli, which is the oldest but this would be another discussion. coffee house of Austria. Dinner at one of the many roof top restaurants. Or we go up the mountains to Mama Thresl, a quirky hotel, with Q: Where do you go when you need to take an Ibiza-like mountain club called “Hendlfischa break? erei” on 1.800 metres. Again, the best incentive idea depends on I either go on city trips or stay close to home. In summer we go to the the region you select, the delegates backgrounds and how brave lakes and mountains district and rent a house there. People always the planner is. look very doubtfully at me, when they hear that I stay so close to home for my holidays. But I travel all the year and why go to a beach when you have such a picturesque landscape right at your doorstep? Q: Is there a certain formula for a good meeting destination? The same applies for winter as of the ski resorts in the Salzburger Personality, Passion, Know-How. We unite those things with a very Land. For our city trips we go anywhere in the world really. Flights are strong and individual personality of the locals driving our values, a perfect from Salzburg, event if we have to connect at some European great passion for their destination, but also sending kids to our world hubs, but I love to discover the local vibes of other cities. leading tourism-schools to become the best serving the best.


Congress delegates in Ljubljana spend 3.7 times more compared to leisure travellers.



Habits and expenditures of conference delegates in Ljubljana Jasmina Jerant //

Ljubljana Tourism/J.Kotar; Blaž Pogačnik

Ljubljana Tourism and its Convention Bureau recently announced the survey findings on the habits and expenditure of international delegates attending conferences held in the Slovenian capital. The findings showed that Ljubljana has been successful in strengthening its image of a developed meetings destination, which also contributes to a more positive perception of Slovenia and South-east Europe in the eyes of potential clients.

International association congresses and other forms of business meetings are recognised as an important economic activity for Ljubljana in terms of investment into the sector’s offer. The key focus of the research titled »Conference delegates, their customs and expenditure 2017«, carried out by Toleranca Marketing agency on behalf of Ljubljana Tourism, was to establish the actual spending patterns, habits and expectations of the international congress guests.


WHO ARE THE CONGRESS GUESTS IN LJUBLJANA? The survey was carried out in September 2018 during 4

congresses, sampled 302 guests (out of total 2,204).


employed in public sector


81% travelled to Slovenia by plane


possessed a MA or PHD degree



in average

30-49 old


40.34 years old

PASSIVE participants




attending a congress in Slovenia for the


first time


ACTIVE lecturers

WHERE ARE THEY STAYING AND FOR HOW LONG STAY 72.6% - 2-4 nights 65.9% - 3-4 nights


3.97 days




1 - 2 days






50% safety*

education and training programme quality


destination’s accessibility

* the factor of destination safety significantly increased, compared to a similar survey carried out in 2008



very satisfied or satisfied with the feeling of safety in Ljubljana, which positevely distinguishes the Slovenian capital from a number of other meetings destinations

AVERAGE SPENDING Congress delegates in Ljubljana 3.7

times more than leisure travellers*

* According to a research from Valicon in 2015 (Analysis of tourist expenditure in Ljubljana), a leisure guest spends around 135 euros a day, including the expenses for transport and overnight stays.

494 euros/day for: 1,482 euros / over a three-day event

transport to and from destination

registration fee

overnight stay

food (other destinations around the globe: 1,502 euros)




other personal expenses



culinary experiences

kindness and hospitality of the local residents

destination’s accessibility

the city’s cleanliness and tidiness

value for money

efficient congress staff

shopping and entertainment


event reached or even exceeded the expectations


would return to Ljubljana and be interested about the events in the region

14 KONGRES IN FOCUS // original


New acquisitions on the Belgrade meetings and events scene Gorazd Čad //

hilton Belgrade; mama shelter belgrade

The last two new hotel acquisitions in Belgrade are so completely different that it’s very difficult to compare them. However, what they do have in common is two exceptional terraces, which are excellent choices for event organisers, especially in the warmer months. The Hilton Hotel is situated in the centre of Belgrade, heralding the arrival of new hotel chains to Serbia’s capital. It was built with congress guests in mind, as it has one of the best hotel congress centres in the city. The congress halls, which boast high ceilings and natural daylight, are suitable for even the most demanding of productions. There is also a wonderful garden, ideal for coffee breaks and receptions. The 242-room Hilton Belgrade is the city’s fifth four-star hotel. The Mama Shelter hotel, which is the hip brand of the Accor hotel chain, is an entirely different story. Belgrade’s Mama is located above the newly-built shopping centre in the street Rajičeva ulica, right beside the legendary ulica Kneza Mihaila (Prince Michael Street). The concept of the hotel is simple: one restaurant, one bar and rooms for guests, together with a funky interior, designed to reflect the brand’s ‘Feel at home’ philosophy. The hotel offers 125 designer rooms, and the added bonus of a modern shopping centre with top brand names. What most attracts event organisers to both hotels are the two terraces with great views, which are loved by event organisers since they ensure a truly spectacular backdrop for events. The rooftop terrace of the Hilton hotel is illuminated at night in shades of violet which emphasise the monumentality of the space. The focal point is the rooftop bar and the Skylounge restaurant. The furnishings are traditional and, as it is typical for the Hilton brand, elegant. We estimate that there is room on the terrace for around 150 standing guests. The exceptionally professional staff, who know how to create a suitable atmosphere, are deserving of praise. The terrace at Mama Shelter extends across an area of over 500m2 with views of Kalemegdan and New Belgrade. The designers used numerous trends, colours and styles on the terrace, which they combined with the ecletic, slightly wacky whole. The terrace, which is connected to the main dining room, is colourful and full of fun surprises and more intimate hidden corners. The central bar with its trendy cui-

sine is the heart of the space. The menu also features local dishes. Staff dressed in a casual style are a key part of the experience. It seems that the terraces of both hotels have rapidly become cult and, for event organisers who want their event to be noticed, they are an excellent choice.


THE KONGRES MAGAZINE ROUNDTABLE ON MEETINGS AND EVENTS IN LJUBLJANA The whole city should ‘live and breathe’ the meetings industry Ajda Borak and Jasmina Jerant //

Kongres Magazine

On Wednesday, 28th of March, a little piece of history was created. The 10 ‘knights’ of the Ljubljana Meetings scene gathered at a roundtable and discussed the past, present and the future in the development of meetings industry in the Ljubljana region. In order to reach an objective and present a holistic view, it is necessary that all the angles and positions are represented, and that every voice is heard. And so, the ‘knights’ sat at the table and shared their thoughts about the meetings scene in Ljubljana. The discussion was led by the editor-in-chief of Kongres Magazine, Mr. Gorazd Čad, who has been a very active observer, co-creator and critic of meetings industry in Ljubljana for over a decade. Those attending were key representatives of Ljubljana’s meetings industry: CONVENTION BUREAU LJUBLJANA ▪▪ Jan Oršič, Head of Convention Bureau Ljubljana, has been working in the business for over 8 years. PROFESSIONAL CONGRESS ORGANISERS - PCOs ▪▪ Breda Pečovnik, Congress and Commercial Programme Director / Director General Assistant at Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress centre, with decades of experience in the meetings industry. ▪▪ Špela Terpin, Strategic Marketing Director at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, has decades of experience in the business. HOTELS ▪▪ Gregor Jamnik, General Manager at Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, has been in his current position since 2007. ▪▪ Saša Zor, Director of Sales and Marketing at Intercontinental Hotel Ljubljana, has been in meetings industry since 2008. ▪▪ Sandi Kovačevič, General Manager at Hotel Cubo, with over a decade of experience in meetings industry. DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANIES (DMCs) ▪▪ Miro Hribar, CEO at Intours DMC Slovenia & Croatia, with 20+ years of experience in travel business and more than 10 years of experience in destination management company. ▪▪ Barbara Hunt Vodopivec, Head of MICE department at Kompas DMCI, with 8 years of experience in tourism.

EVENT AGENCIES ▪▪ Melinda Rebrek, CEO and owner of Pirana Productions, with more than two decades of experience in event management and production. ▪▪ Marko Križnik, Manager at Agencija Promo, founded his agency already in 1990. A platform for constructive debate was created, and many thoughts and opinions were discussed. The participants jointly observed that, as a meetings destination, Ljubljana has made significant advances in the past decade. Ten years ago, for example, when meeting international buyers, the professionals from Ljubljana’s meetings industry “had to take along a map of Slovenia to show where Ljubljana was actually located on the world’s map,” emphasized the Head of CVB Ljubljana, Jan Oršič. Since then, the Slovenian capital has transformed from a small, relatively unknown city to a widely known meetings destination. However, Ljubljana still needs to work on its destination image to become a world known meetings destination, participants agreed. Ljubljana’s recognisable brand has mostly been founded on the destination’s firmly established characteristics as a boutique, green and sustainable city. However, as noted particularly by the representatives of DMCs (Mr. Hribar and Ms. Hunt Vodopivec) and Event Agencies (Ms. Rebrek and Mr. Križnik), Ljubljana is still lacking more colours alongside its ‘green’ image. As Mr.Križnik from the DMC Agencija Promo pointed out: “Ljubljana is too nice, it is not sharp enough. It needs a more eye-catching identity that would be established according to the new demands of the meetings industry.” In order to brand it more, there needs to be a more emphasized marketing strategy that would make Ljubljana’s brand identity even more attractive or, as Mr. Jamnik from Best Western Premier Hotel Slon noted: “Let’s get somewhere new.”

There is a lack of out-of-the-box thinking.


As from the side of event planners (Ms. Rebrek and Mr. Hribar), the As one of the main obstacles for competitiveness of Ljubljana on a bureaucracy seems to be the key problem about why there aren’t any global market the attendants of the round table stressed out the inmajor, international, out of the box events in Ljubljana. The complicatsufficient meetings infrastructure. Ljubljana at the moment cannot ed bureaucratic procedures make event planning difficult, and non-cohost a congress for more than 2000 participants. The city lacks the operation between the stakeholders makes it very hard for the event number of hotel rooms as well as other suitable infrastructure; many planners to create attractive and unusual events. Ms.Rebrek (Pirana of the attendees pointed out the lack of larger congress halls. Both Productions) also commented that Ljubljana has a lot of interesting representatives of the participating PCOs, Ms.Pečovnik (Cankarjev event locations, but many of them are more or less thematically predom Cultural and Congress Centre) and Ms.Terpin (GR – Ljubljana Exdisposed, and therefore they make it harder for the event managers hibition and Convention Centre), agreed that the Ljubljana’s PCOs in to create conceptual and creative events. But in order to be able to compete with foreign PCOs the meetings industry, there is not enough outfor meetings organisation and hosting, need to of-the-box thinking, noted Ms.Rebrek and addbe more competitive with bigger PCOs. At the We need to design and ed that if the “infrastructure is neither technicalsame time, Ms.Terpin stated that: “The collably nor by size of a flexible nature, then Ljubljana oration between PCO and the city of Ljubljana set trends, not just is losing in attracting huge world’s brands.” is crucial because when a PCO is bidding for a follow them. congress, it is not only selling the congress hall, On further notice, Ms. Rebrek (Pirana Producbut it is also selling Ljubljana.” tions) and Mr.Kovačevič (Hotel Cubo) both agreed that Ljubljana could rather design, set As noted on the side of the hoteliers (Mr. and create trends, than just follow them. HowKovačevič, Mr.Jamnik, and Ms.Zor), Ljubljana in ever, this can be only achieved with “more investments into the ofthe past years got richer for some world known hotel brands, which fers and preparations of huge global events,” added Ms.Rebrek, while also pinned Ljubljana on the world map of meetings destinations and Mr.Jamnik (Best Western Premier Hotel Slon) agreed that Ljubljana brought some brand-loyal tourists to the town. However, the hoteneeds “a concrete concept and a bigger budget so it can brand itself liers expressed the wish that more of the world known hotel brands according to the new directions in the meetings industry.” Additionwould invest in the city so that this would make Ljubljana a more ally, more lobbying, resources, courage and foresight are required as competitive and recognizable destination.


well as being tuned into the wishes of the local community to achieve a return on investments.

round table participants stated, the service has gotten much better within years, but “the cooperation between the economic and educational system is crucial for improving the development of tourism in Ljubljana,” noted Ms. Zor (Intercontinental Ljubljana). But this is a complex problem where a lot of public institutions and private stakeholders should put their effort in resolving it on a long run.

This approach is of the utmost significance, particularly now when the ‘Generation Z’ is on the move and will soon represent an influential part of the meetings industry, as Mr.Hribar (DMC Intours) noted. Their demands and expectations are of a different nature from those that the MICE industry has been used to. Thus, it is crucial for Ljubljana to be ready for this new generation, also in terms of new technologies in the event industry, and the city must have an ear for new creative solutions that stand out In the past decade, the and can attract the upcoming generation rising inside the meetings industry. little provincial time

Finally, the ‘knights’ at the roundtable concluded that it would be their dream if the meetings industry in Ljubljana was so developed and coherent that the whole city would ‘live and breathe’ with the hosted meetings scene. There is still work that needs to be done for this to be achieved, however, what is important is that when taking this path, every professional in Ljubecame a world-known bljana’s meetings industry should not be looking The city in the past year gain a lot in terms of destination. at the obstacles along the way but rather at the connectivity, but there is still a lot of room for imchallenges ahead that will aid the continuous provements. Although the air connectivity is dedevelopment of Ljubljana at the same tempo veloping, and also some of the low-cost carriers as in the past decade. This way, the roundtable are providing flights to Ljubljana, it still seems not agreed, Ljubljana will without a doubt become a world-known meetdeveloped enough to attract large meetings from abroad. All of the parings destination. ticipants at the round table agreed that the flight connections should be improved in order to promote Ljubljana for bigger events. The successful roundtable of important stakeholders in the Slovenian meetings scene was one of many more to come in the near future. There was also some critics on the service sector – which is actually “a global problem and not just local,” as Mr.Jamnik pointed out. The


It is a pleasure to open a hotel in Serbia

Exclusive interview with Nicolaas Houwert, General Manager at Hilton Belgrade Jasmina Jerant //

Sander Baks; Hilton Belgrade

Serbia’s capital recently welcomed a new upscale addition to its old town. Hilton Belgrade, a new-build seven-storey 242 room hotel, offers travellers world-renowned Hilton hospitality in a prime location in Belgrade and in close proximity to major sights. Hilton Belgrade, the first new-build hotel in Belgrade for several decades, also offers 656 square metres of meeting space, including a ballroom for up to 500 guests. In an exclusive interview, we talked to the hotel’s general manager, Nicolaas Houwert, about Hilton Belgrade, its business offer, its contribution to Belgrade’s meetings industry, as well as about Belgrade’s hospitality, lifestyle and scene that make it an increasingly popular leisure and business destination.

Q: Before coming to Belgrade, you used to manage the Hilton Paris Orly Airport which was opened in 1965 and was one of the first international hotels in Europe. Now you are managing a hotel that has just been opened. How would you compare these two experiences? The best thing about working for Hilton in different countries is that you have to mold yourself each time to fit the needs of each unique property. Working in a completely new hotel is quite a rewarding experience. Hilton Belgrade is a stunning design hotel and finished with the latest technology. Small details in the room will make the guest experience even more personalized, from special USB chargers for international devices to bluetooth compatible radios to play music directly from your phone. Also, in a new environment the procedures need to be adapted in order to be specific to the hotel and market - a sort of pioneering which requires an entrepreneurial approach. Q: What are the greatest challenges in regards to that? Opening a hotel is all about recruiting talented professionals, not so much on the basis of experience – but more on individual personalities. I have to compliment the team we work with in Belgrade, as I found candidates to be willing to work, dedicated and enthusiastic to learn new things. It is therefore a pleasure to open a hotel in Serbia. Q: How were you involved in the process of the hotel’s develop-

ment? I was the first to arrive from Hilton and all recruitment of the operational team started with one laptop, a mobile phone and a small office space. The construction of the hotel was managed by the onsite project team of the investment company, supported by project managers from Hilton. My involvement was focused on setting up the


office, start the recruitment and making the hotel ready for the grand opening.

Q: Hilton Belgrade is the first newly-opened hotel in Belgrade in de-

facilities to accommodate the needs and interests of all types of guests.

Q: The hotel will also have 656 sq.m. of meeting space including a cades. How will it contribute to Belgrade’s position as a destination? ballroom for up to 500 guests. What are your predictions or expecBelgrade has great potential for business tourism. When we consider tations in regards to the meetings industry in relation to hotel? the Nikola Tesla Airport, which has an increasing number of passenHilton Belgrade has big expectations when it comes to the congress gers every year, and I do not want to be modest, I am sure that Hilton niche. We cater to our business guests by offering 11 meeting rooms, Belgrade will bring new business tourists to the with natural daylight and can welcome up to city because there is a shortage of accommo500 delegates. One special feature is Oasis, our dation capacities in Belgrade. I think that when urban garden in the heart of the hotel. This seHilton opens its doors, there will be space for cluded area is adjacent to the Tsar Dusan ballWorking in a developing some other segments of business room, and will be the perfect venue for opencompletely new hotel and economic change, so I am really optimistic air coffee breaks, lunches, cocktails and private when it comes to all this. events. We have seen a big interest for wedding is quite a rewarding ceremonies as the setup is unique for Belgrade. experience. Q: There will be 242 rooms and suites, rooftop bar & dining overlooking Old Town, spa Q: The hotel is located in the Old Town and its treatment rooms, sauna and fitness centre, location within historical surroundings makes it and even executive lounge. The level of ofa prime location in Belgrade. How, do you think, fered luxury seems to be perfectly fitting the will that contribute to the congress offer? demands of business guests. Was that the aim? I am convinced the location of the hotel is perfect for congresses. Our Certainly, because Hilton Belgrade offers many advantages to both hotel will fulfill the Hilton standard, but the design and interior of the business and leisure travelers. Due to our excellent location in the hotel will exceed expectations. Not only is the city center in walking disheart of Belgrade, in proximity of the National Assembly, numerous tance, also the accessibility and ease of parking in the underground parkembassies and international organizations, we anticipate to weling will play an important role. Having meeting rooms with high ceilings come both individuals and group travelers. The hotel offers various and natural daylight, will make convening even more more enjoyable.

20 KONGRES PEOPLE // who is who

Travelling unveils new dimensions of this world not known to the naked eye Interview with Dušica Čarapić, the Director of Sales at CentreVille Hotel in Podgorica. ajda borak //

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Dušica Čarapič, a petite lady with a grand mission. She has been director of sales for the CentreVille Hotel since its opening. Čarapič took over a so-called ‘tabula rasa’ (more commonly referred to as a ‘blank slate’) and has created not just a popular hotel but a popular place – the Living Room, Podgorica. The lobby of the CentreVille Hotel is not a typical hotel lobby, it is a place where locals and tourists feel like they are at home. The cozy atmosphere, great modern design, and almost daily programme of events that are conducted in the Living Room, has built the reputation of this hotel as an urban trendsetter. Ms. Čarapić, with her colleagues, organises around 500 events per year. When asked which has been her favourite so far, and which was closest to her heart, she said that is an impossible question to answer. But, when talking about how she personally ensured every cushion in the lobby was positioned as it should be when she organised a fashion show, a humble smile of pride appeared on her face. Dušica is a perfectionist, a hard-working leader who has contrasts inside her. She is strict and cool, she understands the trends in the hotel industry and knows exactly what it takes to realise them. She is a lady with a plan. And she is succeeding in that plan as if nothing exists that can stand in the way.

Q: What are the CentreVille hotel’s congress capacities? Located at the luxurious Capital Plaza Complex in Montenegro’s capital city, Podgorica, the CentreVille hotel offers a world-class blend of warm hospitality, peaceful comfort, and unparalleled amenities. CentreVille is at the epicentre of Podgorica’s business and leisure district, therefore it is the perfect location to hold diverse meetings and events. The hotel has 122 rooms and suites as well as four state-of-the-art fully-equipped conference rooms which can accommodate up to 300 people. Q: What kind of MICE events and incentives does the hotel offer? Based on the hotel’s capacities, we focus on events or incentives for up to 100 participants. This makes CentreVille Hotel & Experiences stand out for high profile events. Our aim is to attract new European markets in order to promote the hotel, as well as Montenegro itself, as a destination.

KONGRES PEOPLE // who is who 21

Destination MICE branding is of high importance, considering that Montenegro is an upcoming destination which has a lot of potential for further development.

Q: How important are events as a strategic tool for you? While thinking about the travel industry in general, people tend to imagine leisure comes first. However, the MICE industry has become one of the major growth drivers in the past years. Fully understanding what attracts MICE travellers and how to catch their attention gives us a competitive advantage in the Montenegrin market. Therefore, events are the main strategic tool for CentreVille Hotel & Experiences. This said, I see Podgorica as a new MICE destination in the future.

Q: How important is congress tourism for Montenegro? Congress tourism, as part of general tourism, is very important. Montenegro is a diverse country. This said, all types of tourism are equally important and significant. As a land of diversity and huge potential, Montenegro is an ideal congress destination. Amazing hotels, great auditoriums, quality food, respectable culture – all easily approachable. Q: If you had a magic stick, what would you instantly change to increase the development of congress tourism in Podgorica? I’d build a contemporary congress centre.

Q: What is your hotel’s marketing strategy for congress activities? We use all the potential of social networks, as we reach large numbers of people in that way. We aim to design creative adverts, engage a wide range audience, listen to their needs, and implement their feedback into our strategies. Destination MICE Social media also plays an important part in branding is of promoting MICE business as it increases awarehigh importance, ness and improves and maintains a high level of customer service while communicating directly considering that with target audiences. Montenegro is an In addition to social networks, we are present in highly regarded publications, we organise sales upcoming destination, calls, etc.

Q: In your opinion, what are the key challenges for Podgorica’s event

industry? Podgorica has become a very advanced and viable conference city. With new airline connections from all around the world, we see lots of potential for development of the events industry. We are working hard to improve and promote the original value of the city, as well as initiating, co-ordinating and organising cultural, artistic, economic, sports and other events that contribute to the enrichment of the tourist product. Preservation of the tourist area, the environment, and cultural heritage are also challenging, however, promising. The existing distinctive tourist sites of Podgorica are being used to promote tourism in the city and are being directed into the formation of its distinctive tourist product.

with a lot of potential for further development.

Q: What, in your opinion, is a must-see for every visitor to Podgorica? Montenegro is a small country with good communication facilities, modern infrastructure and diverse, stunning landscapes, which make it a perfect destination for conferences, business meetings and incentives of any size. The mild Mediterranean climate and favourable geographical location allow Montenegro to be a year-round MICE destination. In my opinion, Plantaze Vineyardas, the biggest of its kind in Europe, is a must-see venue in Podgorica. The diverse range of landscapes, food, and good wine amazes all visitors. Q: How would you rate the city’s tourist infrastructure (bars, restaurants, nightlife, leisure activities, sports activities, cultural venues…)? Is the range of facilities and services developing? Which venue would you recommend to congress tourists as a must-see? Podgorica is the upcoming centre of Montenegro. As the capital city, it has many advantages. All the cultural activities, sports fields, restaurants and bars are vibrant throughout the year. As the perfect congress tourist venue, I would suggest the luxurious Capital Plaza complex, which is the most contemporary business and leisure centre in Montenegro.

Q: How many events have you hosted in the

past year at CentreVille? Considering the fact that the hotel opened in October 2016, which means we have been operating for almost two years, in that time we have succeeded in organising more than 500 different seminars, meetings, and events.

Q: What is the percentage of congress guests that have stayed at the hotel in the past year? Seventy percent of the total number of guests are business travellers, which equates to approximately 25,000 congress travellers during the year. Q: Who is a typical CentreVille guest? CentreVille’s typical guests are contemporary, strong, powerful and confident. They are ready to lead, meet, mingle and explore whilst being open to new knowledge. Q: What is your management strategy? We serve as we would like to be served. We feel like home. We take care of our guests’ needs. Q: How do you compete with other congress hotels in the city? What is your hotel’s priority? Quality of service is our priority. The CentreVille brand is urban, contemporary and eclectic. Atmosphere and approach are what makes us different from the competition. As stated above – we feel like home.



T: +382 20 684 000 I E: I W:



Interview with the Assistant Project Manager in GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Jasmina Jerant //

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While studying at the Faculty of Tourism Studies – Turistica, Klara Rogina was lucky to discover an interesting sector of tourism called »the meetings industry«. For her, it all started with attending the Future Leaders Forum in 2017. Just little over a year later, she expresses an incredible happiness and pride to be working as a freelance for the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Q: What is your favourite meetings brand? GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is a place where ambition, innovation, knowledge and collaboration are deeply valued. I have only been working here for a month, and I am already impressed with how the GR team manages to organize and carry various types of business events, everything from congresses to fairs and even concerts. Q: What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Probably moving to Amsterdam for 5 months. I received an opportunity for an internship at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Since I don’t consider myself as being a verry brave person, leaving my friends and family for almost half a year is definitely the bravest thing I have ever done. Q: What’s your alternative career fantasy? Being a ballet dancer. I started dancing at the age of 7 and ever since then, ballet is the one thing that always puts a smile on my face and helps me to relax after a stressfull day. I enjoy nothing more than being in the Opera house on a Friday night, watching the Nutcracker or Swan lake already for a 50th time. Q: What are you obsessed with at the moment? Doing my job as best as I can and becoming a permanent employee of the GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. Since I’m only 22 years old, I am even more motivated to make sure that the projects I am working on, are executed in the best way possible. Q: Your goals before 50? Living a life that will still bring a smile on my face every morning.



An App that helped make over 120,000 events more interactive Ajda Borak //

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We had a talk with Juraj Holub, the young and talented marketing manager at Slido - the provider of an app that makes audience interactions easy. One of the biggest challenges that he faces at Slido is setting the right priorities.

Q: Please explain to our readers what are the main features of Slido?

Our mission at Slido is to enhance communication and increase interaction at events and meetings. We built a web-based app that allows event planners and meeting owners to crowdsource audience questions for Q&A and panel discussions as well as engage participants with live polls. To flip sides and put it from a participant’s perspective, when you sit in the audience, Slido enables you to submit a question without raising a hand. And if a speaker uses a live poll to listen in, you can simply express your opinion by sending a vote.

Q: Who was the Slido designed for? It all started with a simple idea. To collect feedback from students. While lecturing at Comenius University in Slovakia, our CEO, Peter Komornik, wanted to find out what his students thought about his lectures so he could improve them. Instead of giving out paper sheets to collect feedback from students, he designed a simple app to do it in a much more convenient way. From there we moved to the conference world, another place where learning happens. That’s when we implemented the first client feedback function and built two core features - live Q&A and polls. However, we didn’t stop at that. Having used Slido at a conference they were attending, many business leaders took it to their own companies. Now more companies than conferences are using our platform to make their team meetings more open and productive. Q: What are the statistics behind the success of Slido? We don’t like talking about success. After all, it means something completely different to everyone. I will share some numbers, though. In 2013, we worked on 250 events in the entire year. Now, around 2,500 events use Slido every week. When we total it up, to date we have helped make over 120,000 events more interactive.


Q: What are the main features in a marketing strategy in a technology company like Slido? In comparison with other tech solutions, event apps and audience engagement platforms have one major advantage. The more they get used at events, the more exposure they get as participants try them first hand. From those participants, many organise their own events and meetings and they take Slido with them the next time such an occasion occurs. It creates a snowball effect. Therefore, from the very outset, we have focused on building partnerships with some key global events to get that (snow)ball rolling. That was, and still is, our strongest marketing channel. But you need to be patient. For instance, our partnerships with SXSW and Web Summit took years to build. It’s about building trust, which takes time. Q: As a marketing manager working in an industry that is developing so rapidly, how do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and tools? I read practically every day. Less about the latest hypes and fads and more about sociology, philosophy and psychology. I believe that it’s crucial to understand the essentials of human behaviour before you can implement communication and marketing techniques. My favourite publications are Aeon Magazine, Harvard Business Review and New Philosopher. Recently, my colleague Lucy put Fermat’s Library on my radar. They re-publish academic papers with ground-breaking ideas from the present and past. Q: Please name some of your favourite marketing campaigns? It’s much more than campaigns these days. From a marketing perspective, almost any part of business can be viewed as marketing nowadays. In any case, it all starts with developing an amazing product that solves a major problem for users. For example, the Slack communication platform has completely replaced internal email in many growing companies. Users found the platform so valuable that most of the initial growth was driven by word-of-mouth. So in their case, an amazing product = amazing marketing. But that’s not where it ends. Even the best products need marketing

support. The most successful companies successfully tapped into cultural shifts on which they built their brand. For example, Nike bet on the rise of an individual and his or her striving for a healthier lifestyle in the late 80s, and it has been rising ever since. It was not shoes that they were selling but a better, healthier self. The mood in society also allowed such messages to be spread. This strategy is no secret in the marketing world. However, it’s an incredibly difficult trick to pull off.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for you regarding your position at Slido? In this phase, it’s setting the right priorities. There are so many things that we could be working on, so we need to assess and decide which activities we believe will most drive the business. You can’t spread yourself too thin. Even though it’s necessary in the early stages, you can’t wear too many hats for too long. You need to start focusing on one area and get as good as possible at it to help the team prosper. Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests that have added value to you as a marketer? I’m an avid reader and I always carry a hard copy of a book with me at all times. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi works such as Frank Herbert’s Dune, Dan Simmons’s Hyperion or dystopian classics such as 1984, Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451. It’s like time travel. Many ideas in those books work like self-fulfilling prophecies. In a recent report, the BBC revealed that business giants such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos found inspiration for their inventions, be it self-driving cars or virtual assistant Alexa, in sci-fi novels. And then I love cycling, especially long tours of over 1,000km. It helps improve perseverance and patience. Q: If you didn’t need to work for money, what would you be doing? I would combine bike touring across the Americas from Alaska to Patagonia with writing a novel. Ah, and one more important thing - photography! I love photography.


No city can bear a million people as well as Catania can and is, therefore, rightly so, a perfect place for organising any kind of events or meetings.


Catania MTLG - 2018 Insider

Why is catania the »Must see and must experience« destination? Jasmina Jerant //

Convention Bureau Italia; UNA Hotel Palace

INTRO 2018 Catania, with its 320,000 residents (and more than 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area), is the main industrial, logistical and commercial centre of Sicily and the second largest Sicilian city. Located on the east coast of the Italian island, Catania is more known for its volcano than for its meetings industry. However, Catania’s recognition on the meetings map has been rapidly growing. Conference delegates can expect to find tasty Mediterranean delights such as sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, almond pastries, chiosci (kiosks) offering several types of aniseed beverages, and its diverse range of seafood served in numerous places spanning from simple local eateries to high-end modern restaurants. Then there’s the city’s sandy beaches that stretch for kilometres, and its incredible architecture, which has earned Catania a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as one of the Late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily), and Mount Etna, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which silently and protectively rises above the city’s horizons. Catania’s kind and welcoming spirit, range of cuisine, landscape, cultural and historical heritage, coastline and perfect Mediterranean climate make it a must see and must experience MICE destination. NEED TO KNOW 2018 There are countless special venues with extremely rich history and beautiful settings. The Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò, protected by UNESCO and today home to part of the University of Catania, holds events in its many rooms. The Teatro Massimo Bellini opera house is famous for having a river running beneath it, which makes it one of the best acoustic venues in the world. Pallazzo Biscari, dating back to the 17th century, is where the Prince of Biscari still lives with his family. And last but not least, a prestigious building dating from the last century, that has been restored according to local traditions and Sicilan style – UNA Hotel Palace 4*. DID YOU KNOW? No city can bear a million people as well as Catania can and is, therefore, rightly so, a perfect place for organising any kind of events or meetings. A proof for this claim is Catania’s annual festival St.Agata, also one of the biggest celebrations in the world. As a mark of respect to its Saint, Catania holds three days of solemnity every year from 3-5 February, when the reliquary statue of St. Agatha is on a fercolo (a silver carriage) brought from her spot in the Cathedral out onto the streets among people. Every year, more than one million people

gather on Catania streets. The event is surprisingly well organised, everyone is very composed, and a day after the festivities it is barely noticable that a million people had been through the city in the past few days. BEST INCENTIVE IDEAS The Myda cooking school is where the acclaimed chef Loredana Crisafi teaches cooking classes in a modernly equipped kitchen. Another great chance to find out about Catanian food and its hidden treasures is the Streaty Tour that takes participants on a tasting tour of Catanian food. And, of course, a necessary visit to ‘Mama Etna’. In winter it is possible to ski on its slopes, while all-year-round 4x4 jeeps with experienced guides from Etna Finder take participants on an offroad adventure to see the hidden corners of Etna and its lava valleys. Particularly sought-for are the spectacular and famous evening trekking tours to see Etna’s eruptions (which, opposite to what one might think, rarely happens). THE PERFECT GIFT On the way down, it is possible to stop at one of the cellars, scattered around Etna’s slopes, that stretch from dense green forests to dark volcanic caves, from fertile fields and vineyards to the Star Wars-like lava desert, and get some Etna Rosso or Etna Bianco – wines from vineyards that grow in the fertile black volcanic soil that gives them a distinctive taste. A truly rare delight. BEST KEPT SECRETS Etna serves its residents so well that one of the villages on its slopes is known for having one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world - the average age in the village is 95! This is thought to be connected to its Mediterranean climate, nutritious food, good wine and siestas. Etna, though, not only provides good soil, but its unique biodiversity also provides a home to many hundreds of animal species, as well as the locals who live in its shadow. VOICES FROM CATANIA Daniela Marino, Sicilia Convention Bureau WHAT’S HOT 2018 Catania hosts annually between 800 to 900 congresses and corporate events. However, when including the local CME (Continuing Ed-


ucation in Medicine) courses that are compulsory for all the health professionals in Italy, the number gets much higher. When accounting for all these professional courses (for example, one hotel in Catania confirmed 1,100 events during 2017 from which 50-60% were represented by CME meetings), then there are between 3,300 and 3,500 events held in Catania per year. ARE Energy Access Investment Forum / 13-15 March 2018 The annual ARE Forum has become the key milestone event in spring where the clean energy off-grid sector gathers together. Participants from all over the world identify and get introduced to the most interesting actors to present their own business proposals. Venue: Grand Hotel Villy Itria 4* / 265 delegates The 3rd EUSAIR Forum / 24-25 May 2018 The 3rd Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) focuses on the Connectivitiy issues, especially on challenges and opportunities for Transport and Energey networks in the EUSAIR Region. Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 700 delegates “Geosciences for the environment, natural hazard and cultural heritage” / 12-14 September 2018 The joint Congress is organised by the Italian Geological Society /SGI) and the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology /SIMP) and is the privileged place for the meeting of the different actors operating in

the world of Geosciences. Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 200 delegates XXXIV Congresso Nazionale Forense / 4-6 October 2018 The National Forensic Council (Coonsiglio Nazionale Forense - CNF) organizes the National Congress of Forensics (Congresso Nazionale Forense) as a moment of analysis, reflection and proposition on the condition of the justice system and on the constitutional and juridical law. Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 1500 delegates The 5th European Airway Management Congress / 4-7 December 2018 EAC 2018, the Congress of EAMS – the pan-European medical Society focusing on improving the management of the patient’s airway by anesthetists and critical care personnel. Venue: Four Points by Sheraton Catania 4* / 300 delegates

WHO TO CONTACT Sicilia Convention Bureau SCARL Via GIacomo Leopardi, 28 95127 Catania (CT) Italy T: +39 095 227 64 20 E: W:


Salzburg MTLG - 2018 Update Salzburg - Meetings in the heart of Europe Gorazd Čad //

Salzburg Convention Bureau

INTRO 2018 Salzburg’s alpine scenery has long been attracting film makers. One of the legendary films that celebrated the beauty of the mountains of Austria, and particularly Salzburg, is the romantic musical ‘The Sound of Music’. In addition to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Summer Festival and the Christmas Market, the film, made in 1965 with the majority of the scenes filmed in the city and its surroundings, is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. It is impossible to dispute that the city is photogenic. However, there is significantly more to Salzburg than just the stereotype picturesque film set. The city is a centre of hi-tech companies, a development hub for the automotive industry and, in all likelihood, a city with one of the highest qualities of life in Europe. Red Bull, which has long been more than just an energy drink, undoubtedly personifies the new spirit of Salzburg. The company could be ranked amongst the world’s best event organisers and media houses, rather than among drinks producers. However, this is far from the only such story in the city, and we are pleased to confirm that we can also include in this the Salzburg congress industry, which is in excellent shape. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Salzburg is one of the most important cultural metropolises in Europe. The musical virtuoso Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart left an indelible and lasting effect on the city. Directly after the Vatican, Salzburg was one of the most important religious metropolises. Baroque squares, small passages and an abundance of churches and monasteries, which will certainly make an impression on you, testify to the rich heritage of princes and bishops – in architecture as well as in art and culture. This is why Salzburg is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Hiring venues for events is simple since all the main castles are managed by the Salzburg’s Castles & Palaces Management company, owned by the Salzburg State Government, which since 1993 has been managing Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Salzburg Residence, Hohenwerfen Fortress and Mauterndorf. DID YOU KNOW? The founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, is a big fan of various aircraft. This is what led him to build one of the most unusual and special venues in Europe – Hangar-7. This unique building was designed by the architect Volkmar Burgstaller, who created a space that offers visitors a three-dimensional experience whereby, in its interior, one

feels as if there is a wide sky above them. It is built from 1,200 tonnes of steel and 380 tonnes of glass, which form 1,754 glass panels of which no two are entirely the same. The space is a meeting place of art, entertainment and first-class cuisine. Hanger-7 can be hired for events, under the condition that the owner himself agrees. Red Bull takes co-branding very seriously. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Salzburg offers two faces. For those who would like a more traditional incentive programme, we recommend a workshop making the famous Mozartkugel chocolates. About 90 million of these chocolates are produced every year. By attending a workshop, visitors can learn all about the chocolates and have a go at making them . The great thing is that it is possible to arrange workshops for anywhere from 10 to 500 people as they can be held in any location as an eventstation and also be included as part of a dessert buffet. For adrenaline junkies, the surroundings of the city offer an abundance of options for fun and speed - speed race tracks, ice cart races and snowmobiles as well as off-road courses. The World Mountain Bike Championship has been held in Salzburger Land several times, and mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes can be used on its numerous downhill tracks. PERFECT GIFT Real Mozartkugle chocolates are wrapped in silver-blue foil and are only sold in four of Salzburg’s Fürst confectionery shops and on its website. All the other versions, according to the opinions of colleagues from Salzburg, are just imitations. The first nougat balls, filled with marzipan and covered with chocolate, were made in 1890 by the Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst, who named them after the city’s most famous fellow, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The chocolates achieved lightning-quick success. Today, the silver-blue wrapped chocolates are still made by hand and to the same method as that used by Paul Fürst. However, they are only produced from the end of September to the middle of May, when temperatures are not so high that the quality of the chocolates would be affected during transportation. BEST KEEPT SECRETS Salzburg is also certainly a town of beer. Traditionalists swear by the Augustiner-Bräustübl-Mülln brewery, which has been brewing various


Salzburg - the most inspiring city in Austria. Salzburg was even ranked the seventh most inspiring city to visit globally by


types of lager since 1621. The huge garden can accommodate 1,400 visitors and is one of the city’s most special venues. The most important of the city’s beer brand names is Stiegl, which produces a whole range of beers, from lagers to wheat beers and dark Dunkel beers. It has been brewing beer since 1492 and still today remains independent from the large breweries. Congress guests can get acquainted with the brewery by visiting the Stiegl Keller beer cellar, which is literally ‘buried’ in castle hill and offers various spaces for receptions and events. Even more interesting is the Stiegl Brauwelt Museum, which shows the brewery’s five-hundred-year-old history and, at the same time, is an exceptionally unique venue. OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK A venue which has no match in Europe is situated at Salzburg airport. Amadeus Terminal 2 is an exemplary example of how to fill an empty airport terminal which is otherwise only operational occasionally during the winter tourist season. The venue was immediately exploited by the largest car makers, who linked the possibility of accessing the terminal by plane with the promotion of new cars. The terminal is among the largest of the unique venues in the city, and can accommodate up to 1,700 guests, or 840 in a banquet arrangement. The vast car park is a great advantage and can be part of the experience with the possibility of branding. VOICES Gregor Gritzky, Messezentrum Salzburg Monika Steinberger, Sheraton Grand Salzburg Stefan Schweinester, Stieglkeller Brigit Meixner, Salzburgen Burgen & Schlosser Julia Weber, Imlauer Hotel Pitter

WHAT’S HOT 2018 17th International Electronics Recycling Congress IERC / 17-19 January 2018 The IERC, the event every year held in Salzburg, is the recycling industry’s most important event bringing together international producers, recyclers, equipment manufacturers, recycling associations, refurbishers, standards bodies, NGOs, regulators and many more. Venue: Salzburg Congress / 450 delegates Audi A8 Central Launch Training / Sep 2017- Feb 2018 Corporate Automotive Event / Product Launch & Training Venue: City of Salzburg / 10,000 delegates Juice PLUS+ LIVE! / 21-22 April 2018 Corporate Event: International Juice PLUS+ franchise partners participating at the event of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of superior quality food supplements. Venue: Messezentrum Salzburg / 5,000 delegates IONICA e-mobility congress / 21-24 June 2018 Congress & Exhibition: IONICA Expo will be the biggest and most varied electro-mobility event to date. Over 4 days at the IONICA Congress, visitors (15,000) will be able to experience the next level of electro-mobility, whilst top class experts (400) will be exchanging their progress, views, ideas and visions. Venue: Zel lam See – Kaprun / 15,000 visitors and 400 field experts and speakers at the congress SEOkomm & OMX / 23 November 2018 Conference / Exhibition: Large scale conference and exhibition for search engine optimization and online marketing for the German speaking markets. Venue: Brandboxx Salzburg / 2,000 delegates WHO TO CONTACT Salzburg Convention Bureau Auerspergstrasse 6 5020 Salzburg, Austria T: ++43 (0)662 / 88987 E: W: RESULTS OF MTLG 2018 We visited Salzburg in April 2018. Salzburg participates in the MTLG 2018 destination evaluation. The results of this year’s evaluations will be known at the end of June 2018. More information can be found on the website


Podgorica MTLG – 2018 Update

The jewel of Balkan, a developing city with an old soul Ajda Borak //

Tourism board podgorica, duško miljanić

INTRO 2018 It is a common belief that Podgorica is a boring city that lacks the architectural consistency and the common facilities that are found in the majority of European capitals. Whilst this may be true on first glance, the hidden secret of Montenegro’s capital is its embracing and friendly soul. When visiting Podgorica, you get the feeling that time has stopped. Sitting in one of the city’s restaurants or bars, you feel as if you are in a time capsule, and the view that accompanies your cup of morning coffee is like looking at a brief history that has been written through centuries. Podgorica is ideally positioned to develop MICE tourism. The dominant profile of visitors to the city is business tourists who stay two days on average. This is why it is necessary to extend their stay by offering additional programmes – mini trip programmes/active holidays in nature, getting to know the city’s culture, gastronomy and wine - all of which also provide the best reflection of the city’s spirit. From Podgorica it only takes around an hour to reach the beautiful beaches in the south of the country, or to reach the mountains where you can hike in summer and ski in winter. Podgorica is a welcoming, hospitable and friendly destination, with an old Balkan soul, where a fusion of modern demands and old tradition are present all around. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Podgorica’s touristic infrastructure is being upgraded and new brands and congress capacities have opened in the city. The Hilton Hotel, Hotel Verde, Hotel CentreVille, the Capital Plaza are the names that are contributing to the development of congress tourism. The opening of the Hilton Hotel brought the city the largest exhibition/convention room with a large seating capacity. The CentreVille hotels offers modern multi-purpose venues that can be set-up in a variety of styles and are perfect for organising a convention or conference for up to 150 guests. The incentive programmes in Podgorica are versatile and are developing in accordance with visitors’ requests. Tourist agencies provides classic sightseeing activities and special packages for MICE events. DID YOU KNOW? Within Podgorica there is an extensive green space making Podgorica one of the “most green” European cities. The Park of Njegoš and the Park of Karađorđe are the oldest parks in the city. Located near the city center, Brdo Gorica is a popular walking spot and a paradise for

people who enjoy recreation. At the peak of the mountain there are magnificent panoramic views of the city and in the heart of the forest, sports-recreation courts can be found. Montenegrins love long talks over drinks (usually coffee or beer). There are many, many cafes that you can choose to sit, relax and take the opportunity to grab your own beverage of choice! Don’t forget to try rakija…but be careful because it contains quite a high rate of alcohol. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA The best incentive ideas in Podgorica incorporate traditional and modern elements with gastronomy, outdoor activities and cultural events. The city and its nearby surroundings are suitable for many active incentives – hiking, biking, free climbing, birdwatching, skiing, sailing, fishing etc. The Lake Skadar National Park, just a 15-minute drive from the capital, is a land of opportunities for incentives for all nature lovers. The rich flora and fauna, the phenomenon of the crypto-depression, the settlement for rare and endangered species of birds, make it unique in the region and beyond. The park offers numerous attractions and opportunities for recreation: hiking and biking trails, boat and ship cruises, churches and monasteries with fantastic views etc. And Montenegro’s beaches in the south of the country are just around an hour’s drive from the city centre. THE PERFECT GIFT A bottle of Montenegrin wine from the Šipčanik wine cellar would make a perfect local gift for just about everyone. The 13. Jul Plantaže grows the uniqueMontenegrin Vranac wine. The wine is an intense ruby colour with purple hues. Its aroma and taste is reminiscent of ripe sour cherries, dark forest fruit and prunes with sweet, spicy tones, leaving a pleasant feeling in the mouth and a warm aftertaste. Vranac wine is full in taste, rich in alcohol and extracts and has balanced acids and an extraordinary tannic structure, meaning it is suitable for ageing. So, a bottle of Vranac is a ’must take home’ piece of Montenegro. BEST KEPT SECRET The Doclea archeological site, also known as the ’Montenegrin Pompei’, originates from the Ilyrian Docleati tribe that populated the area of western Podgorica up to the area of Nikšić. Doclea was surrounded by the Morača, Siralia and Zeta rivers. In addition to providing natural protection, Doclea had powerful city walls, towers and bastions that surrounded the town’s plateau. It is considered that the greatest



economic and cultural revival of Doclea happened in the 4th century, during the rule of Diocletian. And at the beginning of the 5th century it lost its power, especially after the earthquake in 518 that caused a lot of damage. Doclea is only 4km from the city centre and is a protected cultural heritage site. VOICES FROM PODGORICA Tatjana Popović, Tourist Organisation Podgorica Dušica Čarapić, CentreVille Hotel Jelena Burić, Hilton Hotel WHAT’S HOT 2018 Montenegro carefully protects its traditions, and this is reflected in the numerous popular events that bring together the country’s cultural, gastronomic, sporting and historical aspects. Market events are very popular in Podgorica. The ’Market Caravan’ event is held at the Green Market and focuses on promoting traditional local food. With the aim of promoting the Skadar region, the traditional event ’Day of Crab’ will be organised in June. There will be a wide range of crab dishes accompanied by a comprehensive musical and cultural programme.

’Ajmo na Moraću’ is a special sports and tourism event held on the bank of the river Moraća, under the footbridge, every weekend in July and August. A nice way to meet the locals! WHO TO CONTACT Tourism Board Podgorica Ulica slobode 47 81000 Podgorica, Montenegro T: +382 20 667 535 E: W: RESULTS OF MTLG 2018 We visited Podgorica in March 2018. Podgorica participates in the MTLG 2018 destination evaluation. The results of this year’s evaluations will be known at the end of June 2018. More information can be found on the website


Vienna MTLG - 2018 Update Why is Vienna a smart congress city? GOrazd Čad //

Vienna Convention Bureau

INTRO 2018 I often find myself wondering what is Vienna’s recipe for success. The city ranks in first place on almost all ranking lists. Usually the answer is related to the accessibility of homes and transport, the abundance of green spaces and its planning for a sustainable future. Only rarely, however, do we talk about the relationship between the city and visiting congress guests. There are cities in the world which can prove quite stressful for congress participants, and then there is Vienna. From first-hand experience I can confirm that the city is easy to get around, pleasant and enjoyable and already belongs among the socalled ‘smart’ cities of today. Vienna’s city authorities are convinced that the ‘smart’ city can grow whilst at the same time reducing the use of natural resources. One of the crucial initiatives is the intensive inclusion of the city’s residents, since there is a desire that innovations help improve living standards for all. It is all this that places Vienna among the smart cities of the future and makes it an excellent meeting destination. NEED TO KNOW 2018 With the ambitious project ‘Smart City Wien’, which began in 2011, Vienna has been ranked number one among smart cities for several years. The city is aware that changes can’t take place overnight, therefore the project has very clearly-defined goals. The focal point of the project is the radical preservation of natural resources, the development and active use of innovations and new technologies, and a high and socially balanced level of living. The most visible result of the project is the new Aspern Seestadt residential neighbourhood, which is considered one of largest European urban development projects. It represents a first-class living laboratory for the development of sustainable and innovative energy saving technologies and optimal living, which is why Vienna ranks among the world’s leading meeting destinations. DID YOU KNOW? Vienna is also a centre of innovation in the meetings industry. The start-up scene in the city is growing and developing rapidly. The first breakthrough was achieved by the company Superevent, which has developed one of the best mobile applications for events. Last year the company Waytation attracted a lot of attention in the congress market, as the only company in the world that enables an understanding of participants’ user experience. By tracking participants move-

ments after an event, it enables an understanding of interests and better planning and optimisation of events. The company Lineapp triggered a real revolution, which allows sound to be broadcast via wifi directly to mobile devices. The system represents a real revolution in simultaneous translation and also offers numerous other options for users such as ‘silent disco’ and ‘keynote talks’. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA There is always something happening in the creative city. Every year around 15,000 events are held in its 120 concert halls. Events can be held in any of the 27 palaces, over 100 museums and 110 galleries. The list of incentive programmes is comprehensive and diverse and includes everything from traditional programmes to culinary adventures. Based on the city’s characteristics, we consider that some of the most attractive and authentic programmes are those that are truly Viennese, such as waltzing lessons led by one of the capital’s best-known dance schools, or a chance to get acquainted with Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School - one of the oldest in the world. The list is practically never-ending. For more details take a look at the list of incentive ideas and social events programmes here: https://www. THE PERFECT GIFT Sachertorte is a wonderful Viennese classic cake with a moist, light texture, sweet apricot jam and a thick layer of icing made from dark chocolate, which will certainly remind you of a visit to Vienna. The recipe is still one of the best preserved of secrets in the patisserie world, even though it is copied in numerous forms throughout the world. Today in Vienna there are two types of Sachertorte available, which differ only slightly from each other. In the Sacher Hotel version there are two layers of jam, whilst at the famous Demel patisserie there is only jam on the top and the sides. BEST KEPT SECRETS Vienna is regarded as the culinary capital of Central Europe. According to the latest data, it is in 10th place based on its number of Michelin stars. Real foodies will be impressed by original specialties, which are bound to also impress congress participants. The Kolbl family estate has been in existence for over 100 years. It sells its traditional prod-


ucts at the city’s Naschmarkt market. Kolbl is best known for its chillies which are grown over an area of 4,400m2. Believe it or not, in Vienna’s surroundings Ursual Kujal and Harald Thiesz cultivate over 50 different types of figs, which they turn into various culinary delights. Organic farming is the motto of the young farmer Oliver Kaminek, who, in addition to top-quality wines, also breeds rare Mangalica pigs, also known as ‘wool pigs’.

European Heart Failure Congress / 26 – 29 May 2018 The European Heart Failure Congress is the world’s leading congress where experts in cardiology discuss strategies for a universal approach towards the prevention and treatment of heart failure. Venue: Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center / 6,000 participants

VOICES FROM VIENNA Christian Mutschlechner, Vienna Convention Bureau Susanne Baumann-Sollner, Austria Center Vienna Martina Candillo, Messe Wien Monika Scheinost, Hofburg Vienna Svetlana Usenko, Le Meridien Vienna

36th Congress of the ESCRS / 22 – 26 September 2018 The 36th Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) offers a unique forum for discussion and learning, which ensures that international ophthalmological know-how is shared all over Europe. Venue: Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center / 9,000 participants

WHAT’S HOT 2018 Every year over 3,700 congresses and corporate events are held in Vienna. It is difficult to choose the most important among then, however, below we have listed a few of the biggest events that have, or will, take place this year.

UEG Week 2018 / 20 – 24 October 2018 UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious GI meeting in Europe and is now a global congress. UEG Week attracts around 14,000 participants each year from around the world. Venue: Austria Center Vienna / 9,000 participants

European Congress of Radiology / 28 February – 4 March 2018 The European Congress of Radiology (ECR) is the annual meeting of the European Society of Radiology (ESR). It is a trend-setting, dynamic and service-oriented congress, well-known as one of the most innovative meetings within the scientific community, embedded in a unique and inspiring ambience. Venue: Austria Center Vienna / 20,000 participants

WHO TO CONTACT Vienna Convention Bureau Vienna Tourist Board Invalidenstraße 6 1030 Vienna Austria T: +43-1-211 14-555 F: +43-1-211 14-599 W:

EGU General Assembly / 8 - 13 April 2018 The annual EGU General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event. It attracts over 14,000 scientists from all over the world, of which more than half are early career scientists. Venue: Austria Center Vienna / 15,000 participants


Cities are not only smart due to smart technology, but also due to numerous solutions which improve the lives of its citizens and therefore also participants of congresses and events.


bElgRaDE MTlg - 2018 uPDaTE A warm and always hospitable congress city Gorazd ÄŒad //

franCiS aMiand


Belgrade is not in Belgrade, because, in fact, Belgrade is not a city – it’s a metaphor, a way of life, a way of thinking. Momo Kapor

INTRO 2018 It is difficult to compare Belgrade with other central European capitals such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. It has more in common with Athens, or even Berlin. This Balkan ‘Berlin’ is a city that constantly surprises with new corners, bars, hotels and other attractions. Belgrade is the only metropolis in the territory formerly known as Yugoslavia, and this fact, when combined with authentic Serbian friendliness and hospitality, makes an exceptional combination. Don’t expect shiny infrastructure and a clear historical perspective in Belgrade. A look behind the scenes isn’t altogether positive, fortunately, however, the city has a youthful, colourful and occasionally also Bohemian vibe. Therefore, congress guests will feel great in Belgrade. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Belgrade is becoming the largest construction site in the Balkans. New hotels are opening one after another. In March this year the superior five-star Hilton hotel and the hip Mama Shelter hotel both opened at the same time. And this is just the start of significant investments in congress infrastructure in the city. March was also the conclusion of a tender for a public-private partnership project to renovate the Sava Centar - the largest congress centre in the Balkans. The sole partner that applied to the tender was the company Delta Holding, which, based on the contract, must invest a minimum of 12.5 million euros, by which it will become a 49% owner of the exceptionally important congress centre. The notorious ‘Belgrade on Water’ project is also very promising, where in 2019 a W. St. Regis hotel is due to open. DID YOU KNOW? The legendary Sava Centar, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary, is still the largest conference centre in the Balkans. The over 100,000m2 space includes 15 conference halls and a main auditorium with 3,672 seats and numerous accompanying rooms. By its anniversary year last year, it had hosted 35,000 cultural events, which had been attended by 15 million visitors. In addition, 10,000 congresses have taken place in the centre, which have been attended by 2 million visitors. Despite showing signs of wear and tear, the centre has a special charm, and is also famous for its exceptionally functional design. The new investor, Delta Holding, has ambitious plans that the renovated centre could accommodate from 6,0007,000 congress guests.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA In terms of the development of incentive programmes in Belgrade, there is no lack of wacky ideas. Quite a number of them are nostalgically-led, and these are the ones we like the best. Whist the former Yugoslovia did not survive the test of time, everything connected to it is still fascinating for foreign visitors, including congress guests. A ride on Tito’s blue train, exploring the brutalist architecture in New Belgrade, and IMT tractor races – these are just some of the many options available from the numerous DMC and incentive agencies. The range of authentic programmes is also attractive, such as those that allow visitors to find out more about Serbian cuisine, traditions and culture. Among the most popular are Rakia tours and various cookery courses. PERFECT GIFT Pinjunkie is the trademark of AleksandraTopić, a graphic communication student, who is involved with graphic design, photography, and designing t-shirts and brooches. These have also long been his favourite fashion accessories, therefore he has dedicated himself to them through his trademark. His first collection contains 15 sets, all of which are graphically strong, which is not surprising considering his background. BEST KEPT SECRETS Luxurious villas, luxury cars with tinted windows and security cameras warn visitors that they are entering a part of the city which many called ‘Serbia’s Beverly Hills’. In this area there are numerous villas and diplomatic residences, as well as the rich ‘upstarts’ that prospered following the break-up of Yugoslavia – the majority of which in a questionable way. The area was also home to the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević, the turbofolk star Ceca, the widow of the notorious war criminal Željko Ražnatović Arkan, and the ill-reputed Karić family of businessmen. A guided tour of this part of the city is a special experience, where visitors can see the Royal Palace and the White Palace, as well as the House of Flowers mausoleum and the Museum of 25th May – the location of the grave of the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito. VOICES Igor Kovačević, Serbia Convention Bureau Milica Todorović, Hilton Serbia


Ksenija Lubarda, radisson Blu Belgrade Jelena Krivokapić, Mama Shelter tijana Maljković, Chamber of Commerce and industry of Serbia WHAT’S HOT 2018 Belgrade is breaking-through to the top of the region’s congress cities. Last year it occupied 51st place on the iCCa rankings, with 50 congresses recorded. this year’s season, according to local partners, will be even more successful. Below are some of the biggest events due to take place this year, among the sporting event of the year – the EuroBasket final.

survival and quality of life for people with Cf by promoting high-quality research, education and care. it is an international community of committed scientific and clinical professionals. Venue: Sava Centar WordCamp 2018 / 14 - 16 June 2018 WordCamp Belgrade, organised by the WordPress foundation, will cover areas such as the community of WordPress business owners, developers, marketers, designers, content strategists and educators and many more. Venue: Sava Centar

The 14th Congress of the EFSM / 5 - 8 May 2018 the 14th Congress of the European federation of Societies for Microsurgery with the joint events WSrM half day Symposium and EMtra (European Microsurgical training and research association) Symposium. Venue: hotel Metropol

13th Annual Congress WFCCN & 10th UINARS / 25 – 28 october 2018 the World federation of Critical Care nurses meets annually across the globe to discuss, collaborate and prepare initiatives for the year ahead. Venue: Sava Centar

Euroleague Final Four / 18 - 20 May 2018 the turkish airlines EuroLeague final four in Belgrade from 17 - 20 May will bring the top club event to the continent for the first time this century to a city that has had its fair share of big basketball events. Venue: Belgrade arena

Who to contact Serbia Convention Bureau Serbia tourist Board Čika Ljubina 8 11100 Belgrade, Serbia Phone: +381 11 6557 101 fax: +381 11 2626 767

The 41st Conference ECFC / 6 - 9 June 2018 the European Cystic fibrosis Conference is aimed at improving the




GR - LJUBLJANA EXHIBITION AND CONVENTION CENTRE GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre

CATEGORY E - Convention Centre OPENED SINCE 1921 Ljubljana Fair Congress, from 1955 at present location MEETINGS STAR Convention centre NUMBER OF HALLS 24 CAPACITY OF HALLS Number of seats cinema: 2,200 Number of seats classroom: 1,200 Number of guests reception: 2,100 Number of guests banquet: 1,200 Surface area (m2): 26,031 m2 ADDRESS Ljubljana exhibition and convention centre Dunajska cesta 18 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia T.: +386 (0)1 300 26 39 E.: FACILITIES Kocka, max. 2,200 participants Kupola, max. 1,600 participants Marmorna hall, max. 1,400 participants Urška, max. 500 participants (ability of partitioning) Povodni mož, max. 560 participants (ability of partitioning) New halls Sonet, Oda, Gazela, Meduza for receptions and exhibitons Stebrna hall for receptions and exhibitions Forum - smaller conference room Jurček - special room for registrations and admissions EXTRAS External platform – 10,194 m2 The only exhibition and convention centre in Ljubljana with specialised knowledge and own production fairs

INTRO The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre, which along with other exhibition centres grew in post-war Yugoslavia in the fifties with substantial financial investments, reflected the rapid post-war development in the country. LOCATION The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre is located on the Dunajska road, north of the Ljubljana railway station. Its location close to the city centre represents a significant competitive advantage and also contributes from a sustainable point of view. Beyond convention activity the proximity to shopping, entertainment, recreation etc., also responds to the needs of conference delegates. Accessibility by public transport is gaining importance, so the current location is very suitable for congress tourism. ACCESSIBILITY Location in the city centre provides time and cost-effective access by plane, train and bus. Positioning the convention centre downtown also minimises the cost of transfers and allows time savings (hotels – convention centre, convention centre – outside the meetings industry, convention centre – public transport). In addition it allows for sustainable behaviour of congress organisers and participants (the use of public transport, walking and cycling). COLD APPETISER – Architecture and Aesthetics The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre was planned in the modernist style by the architect Branko Simić and built in the tradition of boldly designed exhibition spaces. The most impressive hall, Kupola, originally hosted sports and cultural events, which they later gave space to in the newly built Hala Tivoli and Cankarjev dom. After her model there similar halls were taken forward in the Belgrade and Skopje Fairs. An important part of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre is also the circular, partially glazed pavilion E or ‘Jurček’, which took its name from its spongy structure and today serves as an impressive entrance hall and registration area. WARM APPETISER – Staff and customer service The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre team has over ten years of experience in organising meetings, congresses, fairs and special events. The centre has hosted events of the highest importance, such as the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – OSCE, the 15th session of the ACP-EU and many others. A breath of fresh air has come through the new administration in the last few years in improved services and becoming comparable to international centres with a high level of professionalism and a thorough knowledge of the meetings industry.


MAIN COURSE – Quality of facilities The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre today consists of seven large halls and several smaller conference rooms. The most sophisticated design, the Kupola Hall, was built in 1967 and is the first building in the former Yugoslavia with monocoque construction (with no intermediate support). The Kocka hall is the largest space available for various events, mainly for concerts. The Marmor Hall is primarily intended for conferences. Hall C, designed by Milan Mihelič in 1967, is also interesting. The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre was completely renovated from 2001 to 2008. In 2011, the complex was expanded with four new halls: Oda, Gazela, Sonet and Meduza. DESSERT – Catering and additional offer An important part of the offer are the 10,194m2 of outdoor areas, which can be used for accompanying events, such as parking or show rooms. Customers have many catering providers from different category qualities, including the best Slovenian catering companies. A nice addition is the Beer Shop Bunker, where you can choose from 70 different types of beer. This is also a nice place for small private parties. A coffee shop snack bar, which offers a variety of coffees and hot drinks, also operates within the Beer Shop Bunker.


FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES Like all congress centres of this type are the basic prices for the bare halls, where you need to add costs for equipment in order to arrange your event. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The exemplary decorated Jurček pavilion, which after renovation became an elegant and spacious entrance hall and reception room. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY The Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre is positioned as a mid-sized regional exhibition and convention centre. As a result of a number of past investments and reforms and with the new administration in place they have really lifted the level of infrastructure and come in line with the highest international standards. After renovation, the centre functions in a very fresh and tidy way and gives the impression of a well maintained centre that is the equal of similar centres in Europe.

4.81 Luxury


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4.81 Final Grade


CANKARJEV DOM Cultural and Congress Centre Cankarjev dom - Cultural and Congress Centre

CATEGORY E - Convention Centre OPENED SINCE 1980, fully renovated 2006-2013 MEETINGS STAR Convention centre NUMBER OF HALLS 22 CAPACITY OF HALLS Cinema: 2000 Classroom: 560 Reception: 1000 Banquet: 600 Surface area 36 000 m2 ADDRESS CANKARJEV DOM, Cultural and Congress Centre Prešernova cesta 10 1000 Ljubljana FACILITIES Gallus Hall- The largest plenary auditorium in Slovenia Linhart Hall- 562 seats Štih Hall- amphitheatre with 253 seats Kosovel Hall- 204 seats Meeting room from E1 to E6 and from M1 to M4 The first and second lobby for exhibitons and fairs Large reception for gala events Club CD with a view of the city EXTRAS Own PCO agency Professional technical team

INTRO For Cankarjev dom, it seems like it’s been here since time immemorial. For 33 years the legendary institution has been a synonym for cultural and humanistic activities and meetings industry tourism in Slovenia. The most impressive aspect is that the original programme vision under leadership of the legendary director Mitja Rotovnik has been completely fulfilled. In Cankarjev dom the cultural-artistic programme and congress activity have been excellently complementing each other at all times of operation – a paradigm, which is particularly of interest today. All this places Cankarjev dom among one of the higher-quality and more interesting convention centres in Europe. LOCATION Cankarjev dom is located in the centre of the city within the main modernist square and neighbouring all the major institutions of the Slovenian state. Square of the Republic, where it is located, is important for Slovenia in urbanistic, architectural and symbolic terms. It was conceived as a political centre of the state and it actually transformed the image of the city. On a symbolic level it is associated with events that have transformed the history of Slovenia during the struggle for independence. From the perspective of the meeting industry it represents a meeting focus for Ljubljana. ACCESSIBILITY The administrative centre in which lies Cankarjev dom lies makes it easily accessible on foot, by car or by public transport. Under the Square of the Republic there is a large parking garage, and the latest one is just a stone’s throw away under Congress Square. Both are sufficient to cover the needs of motorised conference guests. A great advantage of the location is that all the city’s attractions, and especially the key hotels, are within walking distance. In these terms Cankarjev dom is a very friendly and nice location for conference guests. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics Cankarjev dom is the work of architect Edo Ravnikar and is an integral part of his design for the Square of the Republic. It was created in the era of modernism and is considered a key example of monumental architecture, comparable with achievements of Alvar Aalto in the Finlandia convention centre. A number of smaller details are surprising, the most astounding the fact that the architecture of the building has preserved its value. With the current renovation, which has triggered heated controversy, the convention centre acquired more elegance and a contemporary feel with more natural materials. Above all, some of the original planning errors were removed, such as a relatively low ceiling in the lower lobbies. The exemplary building maintenance is particularly impressive, as it is a rarity in comparable centres in Europe.


WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine Without Cankarjev dom and their team the Slovenian meetings industry would probably not be what it is today. Many personnel have formed in Cankarjev dom. A large number of specialists for individual segments provide a superior execution of events. Above all, one of the advantages is the connection with culture. For this reason, in production terms, this opens up completely new possibilities. MAIN DISH - The hotel’s congress services Cankarjev dom boasts 22 multi-purpose conference halls and represents the largest purpose-built convention centre in Slovenia. A big advantage is the diversity of spaces for different convention needs. The largest hall, Gallus, with 2,000 seats, is still today the concept of extraordinary acoustics and is the only hall of this type in Slovenia (Auditorium). The venue’s total surface of 36,000 m2 can accommodate up to 5.000 visitors. With extensive lobby exhibits it has already carried out a number of conferences with large accompanying exhibitions. This year’s renovation now completed, all spaces will be adapted to modern technological requirements, making them more useful, more comfortable and more beautiful. DESSERT - Extras Cankarjev dom is the culprit that catering has established itself as a concept and type of service in Slovenia. For many years the main protocol events in the country were held at Cankarjev dom. It is not surprising that this part of the offer is exemplary, arranged with an excellent centre for the production and distribution of food. It seems that together with the institution two of the largest Slovenian catering companies have also grown – Jezeršek catering and Vivo catering. FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES Due to the complexity of the architecture it takes some time for orientation.


4.85 Luxury


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TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES A sustainable approach, with bees on the roof in the middle of the city, its own crop of honey and an environmentally friendly business philosophy. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY The cultural and convention focal point of Slovenia and a place where Slovenian history is happening. One can not imagine Ljubljana today without Cankarjev dom; it and the Slovenian meetings industry were created together. On top of that Cankarjev dom is a perfectly oiled congress machinery, which does not show its age and which after recent renovations is in excellent condition.

4,85 Final Grade



CATEGORY E-convention centre OPEN SINCE 2007 NUMBER OF HALLS 4 convention halls 8 meeting rooms CAPACITY OF HALLS 9000 sqm of land maximum 550 persons in cinema set-up (Grandis Hall) ADDRESS BRDO CONGRESS CENTRE Predoslje 39 4000 Kranj T: +386 (0)4 260 10 00 E: MAIN FACILITIES Brdo Castle- the most important protocol facility in Slovenia Kokra Hotel 4**** with 66 rooms Duck's island with a log cabin and catering offer »Jezero« (lake) cottage for private celebrations Golf driving range Relaxation centre Vrelec Zois restaurant EXTRAS Castle Park with 7,446 exotic plants and unique flora and fauna

INTRO Highest state protocol events, exclusive congresses and conferences, exquisite formal and informal solemnities, and other luxurious happenings take place at Brdo pri Kranju in its natural environment with the beautiful scenery of the mountains. With almost 500 hectares of surface at the doorstep of the Alps, Brdo estate boasts in rich natural and cultural heritage. There you can admire thousands of vegetable and animal species and their numerous habitats, unique beehive endings, scattered hayracks, former castle stables and orangery, open-air sculpture collection, and last but not least the Brdo Castle as the most prestigious building on the estate. LOCATION Thanks to the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union in 2007 an excellent facility was created by the architects Bevk and Perovič. The new centre, and indeed the whole estate, is managed by the public institution Protocol Services of the Republic of Slovenia (JGZ Brdo), which in addition to Brdo is also looking after the Strmol castle, the Villa Podrožnik, government buildings and some other smaller facilities across the country. ACCESSIBILITY The heritage of the Brdo Estate consists of 500 hectares of protected natural heritage, the Brdo Renaissance castle, eleven lakes, a castle park with 7,446 exotic plants, two avenues, protected forests, the hotel Kokra, hay racks and hives, all of which is complemented by the most modern convention centre in the country. It is not possible to find a more prestigious location in Slovenia. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The Brdo Estate is only about 10km away from the Ljubljana Airport and to the capital city on the nearby highway is 30km, with all the other major tourist attractions of Gorenjska nearby. As for air accessibility, Brdo shares the fate of other Slovenian tourist destinations. Especially commendable in terms of transport is the plentiful supply of free and beautifully landscaped parking. WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine Architecturally the convention centre fits beautifully into the existing spaces and even upgrades them. Together with the preserved Zois Pristava a rich spatial unity was formed with a glass facade, giving the centre an open character that blends with the landscape. Through the large glass surfaces are magnificent views of the lakes in the historically protected park. The entire facility allows participants a visual connection with nature and works in a very Zen-like way. The interior spaces shimmer with minimalist design and you will not find better materials, processing and functionality throughout, not even with the direct competition. The architects fully succeeded in creating a distinctive architecture.


MAIN DISH - The hotel’s congress services The interior is designed as a space of open communication – the ground floor allows for the organisation of a variety of events, from receptions to press conferences, meetings and exhibitions. At the centre of the building is located the heart of the convention centre – a large double height hall. The main feature here is the use of materials, dominated by warm oak panels that make for an exemplary convention working environment. Multimedia, sound and other equipment is first-class and works flawlessly, as is expected from a protocol centre. As a curiosity, the conference halls are named after dragonflies, one of the features of the Brdo estate, which symbolically also reflect the centre’s sustainability. DESSERT - Extras If not quite perfect, the protocol catering aims to be. Any error is difficult to detect, but therefore also harder to ignore. The bottom line is that at Brdo you will receive one of the best services in the country. An added advantage is the experience with the most demanding events, meaning services close to excellence with an added value in the integrity of the offer. What makes Brdo particularly attractive are the external locations for active incentive programmes, or simply for enjoying the excellent cuisine.

FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES Very rarely, although it can happen, is that due to the priority of high protocol visits they close the entire area. In such cases, administrators find you an alternative solution. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The solar power plant on the roof of the Brdo Convention Centre, as part of sustainable thinking. Free parking for conference guests. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY What is necessary to appreciate is what is hidden below the minimalist exterior. The centre is different, Zen-like and exudes elegant luxury. If during the construction the government’s decision to invest in it was doubted and even generated some negative reactions, the superior architecture, functionality and successful business have contributed to the positive image. Today the centre is an important player in the field. We rate it as an all-round excellent convention centre, without any serious errors, which at the moment represents the pinnacle in its field.


4.84 Luxury


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4,84 Final Grade



CATEGORY E-convention centre OPEN SINCE 1961 NUMBER OF HALLS Congress: 5 meeting halls Exhibition: 250m2 in the foyer CAPACITY OF HALLS Number of seats - cinema: 500 Number of seats - classroom: 60 Number of guests - reception: 150 Number of guests - banquet 40 ADDRESS Bled Congress Centre Cesta svobode 11 4260 Bled, Slovenia T: +386 4 572 97 79 E: MAIN FACILITIES - Main hall for 512 participants - Srednja dvorana za 100 - 130 udeležencev - Small hall for 36 participants - Exhibition area in the foyer of 250 m2 EXTRAS The Bled Congress Centre operates in direct co-operation with the newly-established Bled Convention Bureau, which was founded at the end of 2016 and has given a great boost to the local congress industry.

INTRO The Bled Congress Centre is more well-known to the wider public as the Bled Festival Hall. As such, it is well recognised and enjoys a reputation for its combination of cultural and congress programmes. The hall was built in 1961 for a chess grandmasters tournament. In the period that followed, the hall hosted a wide range of events from top Slovenian music acts to numerous congresses and other events. In 1989, prior to the Bled World Rowing Championships, the first major renovation of the hall took place. In 2017 the southern part of the Festival Hall underwent thorough renovation. The hall illustrates the philosophy of the future development of congress infrastructure in Bled, which is not based on expanding capacity but rather on improving its quality. LOCATION The Festival Hall occupies one of the most beautiful and prestigious locations next to Lake Bled and has superb views of Slovenia’s only island and the magnificent Bled Castle. It is this location that also makes the congress centre suitable for celebrations, weddings and other protocol events. The natural environment of Bled and the surrounding peaks of the Julian Alps make it exceptionally attractive for business meetings, as nature fills people with energy and creativity. Bled and its surroundings also offers a wealth of possibilities for interesting incentive programmes. ACCESSIBILITY Bled is easily accessible. Slovenia lies in the heart of Europe and can easily be reached by air, road and rail. Ljubljana International Airport is a mere 30-minute drive from Bled, while Klagenfurt Airport in Austria is another nearby option. Bled is compact, with all its facilities and sights being within walking distance. Since the majority of visitors to Bled arrive by car, we rate its accessibility as very good, other than the problem of parking in the surroundings of the congress centre. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics Opinions are divided about the architecture, however, the building, with its large glass surfaces, certainly blends in well. Its entirety feels classical and is pleasantly unobtrusive - thanks to its timeless design. Even more is offered by its interior design, which, at first glance, appears fresh, minimalist and not overly complicated. The use of natural colours and materials contribute to a feeling of well-being. The thorough renovations in 2017 have resulted in the entire centre becoming more competitive. Following the renovation, the renovated part of the hall can now host events for up to 200 people in a single area, or it can also be divided into several smaller areas with the use of moveable walls. WARM APPETISER – Staff and customer service The centre has basic multimedia equipment, whilst for more demanding productions it hires equipment from verified external partners. The team is professional and has a lot of experience, including with highly demanding projects such as the Bled Strategic Forum. However, at lot of work is still required in the area of marketing and understanding the needs of today’s congress guests, which is what makes a difference in today’s market.


MAIN COURSE – Quality of facilities The Bled Congress Centre was built in 1961 for a chess grandmasters tournament. In 1962 it hosted the first festival of Slovene hit music. This was followed by important congresses, concerts, exhibitions and other events, among them sports events. Over time, however, the building began to show signs of age. In 1989, prior to the Bled World Rowing Championships, it underwent a thorough renovation. An extension was added on the southern side and a larger stage was built. The gallery was replaced by several smaller halls. Nineteen years later, in 2008, the parquet flooring in the main hall was replaced, and new seating and stage equipment was installed. In 2011 refurbishment of some of the interior areas of the Festival Hall took place (foyer and toilets). The classic auditorium is famous for its good acoustics and technical equipment. Its functionality, however, could be further improved if the seating was not fixed. DESSERT – Catering and additional offer The Festival Hall relies on external catering providers from Bled or other reputable Slovenian catering providers such as Jezeršek Catering. The quality of the food and service is, therefore, largely dependent on the amount clients are willing to spend.

FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES The golden times of the Bled Festival Hall have already passed, however, despite this, in the past it amassed a lot of positive references, which is why we would also expect more active marketing and promotion of the centre than it really deserves. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The majority of Bled’s various categories of hotels are in close proximity to the congress centre and are suitable for congress guests. In total 2,500 rooms in hotels and guest houses/bed-and-breakfasts etc. are available. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY The Bled Congress Centre is more well-known to the wider public as the Bled Festival Hall. It is most well known for its combination of cultural and congress programmes. The key problem of the centre remains that it has too few accompanying halls and the structure of the main hall. This problem is often addressed by hiring halls in nearby hotels. The last renovation of the centre at least partly solved this problem. Since the latest renovation, Bled Congress Centre has been shown in a new light and it feels modern and attractive. Despite this, however, it seems that in Bled the importance of the multiplicative effects that the congress centre creates are not fully realised. Many hotels have built their own small congress centres, with which they compete on the market. Opportunities, therefore, remain, and we hope that a group vision of the development of congress tourism in Bled will prevail.


4.53 Luxury


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4,53 Final Grade


TRIESTE CONGRESS CENTRE Stazione Marittima Congress Centre

CATEGORY E-convention centre OPEN SINCE 1984 NUMBER OF HALLS 12 halls CAPACITY OF HALLS Number of seats - cinema: 600 Number of seats - classroom: 250 Number of guests - reception: 600 Number of guests - banquet: 400 Surface area (m2): 6,753m2 ADDRESS Stazione Marittima Congress Centre Trieste Terminal Passeggeri SpA: T: +39 040 6732255 E: MAIN FACILITIES - Magazino 42 with two halls (3,000m2) - Maritime Station Congress Centre - Molo IV (2 halls of 1,200m2 and an auditorium of 120m2) - 300 parking spaces EXTRAS Eataly Trieste, which is located in a former wine store on the central Trieste embankment. The three-story building extending over 3,000m2 is a treasure-trove of the best gourmet Italian gastronomy.

INTRO Trieste has great natural conditions to prosper in the meetings industry, which the city has used to its advantage many times in its history. It is defined by the Karst limestone plateau above the Bay of Trieste. The combination of the incredible variety of landscape at the juncture of the Adriatic, the Alps and the Dinaric plains, a number of Karst phenomena and a rich cultural heritage makes Trieste an excellent starting point for development of the meetings industry. The favourable climatic conditions are an additional attraction for event organisers. Trieste has historically always been a transitional area linking the Mediterranean and Alpine countries. Due to the mixture of influences, the entire area is colourful and diverse. LOCATION The congress centre is located in the heart of the city centre next to the harbour and the famous Piazza Unita d’Italia main square. It is one of the most picturesque locations in the city and is also the location of the passenger terminal for cruise ships. The renovated former dock warehouse Magazzino 42 is also nearby. It is a top-level special venue which is a great complement to the facilities offered at the congress centre. The recently renovated Molo (Pier) IV is also located at the harbour, which is currently the ‘hottest’ congress destination in the city. ACCESSIBILITY Trieste’s geographical position enables good accessibility. The city is connected with the main European motorway corridors. The railway infrastructure is solid and the Italian rail system is one of the most developed in the region. The worst part is air accessibility, since the city is dependent on nearby Ljubljana and Venice airports, as Trieste airport offers few flights. However, in recent times the number of destinations covered by low cost carriers such as SAS, Ryanair and Vueling has been increasing. The city of Trieste has good communal infrastructure, which enables a high quality of living, aside from the highly industrial areas around the new harbour. Trieste ranks very high on the quality of living scale in Italy. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The Stazione Marittima Congress Centre is one of the city’s main historic buildings. Inaugurated on 28th October 1930, the building is one of the major works by the architects Umberto Nordio and Giacomo Zammattio. The conversion of the old harbour station into a modern congress centre was carried out in stages starting in 1984. Thanks to the last renovation works of the ground floor premises, carried out in 2002, the congress centre is now able to house several exhibitions simultaneously. The stateliness of the building is reflected in the vast rooms and exhibition areas. A double grey marble staircase leads from the entrance to the first-floor foyer, which is flooded with natural light thanks to the enormous glass walls overlooking the charming Gulf of Trieste. WARM APPETISER – Staff and customer service The company Terminal Passageri has been managing the facilities at the Port of Trieste since 2007 and has a licence for a period of twenty-five years. The company also manages the car parks and maintenance of the harbour infrastructure and the organisation


of events. The experienced team also produces its own events. It works closely with the Promo Trieste convention and visitors’ bureau. Everything operates harmoniously, however, event organisers that are used to high-tech centres may desire more up-todate methods of communication and general congress services. This is perhaps why the otherwise very attractive facilities are too often vacant. MAIN COURSE – Quality of facilities Among the three congress venues, there is quite a substantial difference in terms of quality. This is most visible in the central congress centre, which is showing signs of age and is in urgent need of renovation in terms of technology and content. Warehouse 42 is an entirely different story, and for events and receptions in particular, is ‘almost’ an ideal venue. The ‘almost’ is due to the pillars which somewhat spoil its entire look. Molo IV, however, is among the best halls in the city and perhaps even in the entire region, as its volume and historical patina also enable production of the most demanding events. Therefore, there are three very different concepts, which can also be considered as an advantage, as it allows for locations to be customised to meet clients’ requirements. DESSERT – Catering and additional offer Congress events can be spiced-up by visiting Eataly Trieste, which is in close proximity to the city centre. The concept of Eataly is simple: a covered market which combines everything from bakeries to butchers, to delicatessens and underground wine cellars. FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES We feel there is a lack of more orderly infrastructure, smart direction and in general a more modern approach. Congress centres are not only buildings, rather they should be a complete experience. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES Trieste is the second name for coffee. Coffee is great in the city and for most of its residents it is the first thing on their daily schedule. Espresso from Trieste rules. And to quote the coffee doctor Ernesto Illy, “Cappuccino is the female side of coffee, espresso is for men”. There are over 50 coffee companies operating in Trieste today. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY Trieste’s politicians are also obviously aware of the current shortcomings in infrastructure. In 2020 the city will become the European Capital of Science, and for this purpose a new congress centre will be built with a large hall with more than 1,000 seats as well as three smaller halls. The nearby central Trieste railway station will also be renovated. These measures will logically round-off the existing facilities and provide a leap in the quality of Trieste’s congress industry. Despite solid results, it still seems that the local congress industry could achieve even better results, if the infrastructure would allow, and with somewhat more ambitious marketing of the city.


4.28v Premium


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4,28 Final Grade



Ivan Meštrović – an artistic incentive par exellence Jasmina Jerant //

Mare Vavpotič

Many recent neuroscience studies focusing on the connection between art and the brain, have confirmed the long-believed assumption that art does indeed invoke one’s brain towards more cognitive awareness, focus and proactivity. In fact, through its beauty and inspiration, art charges the senses leading to greater creativity and innovation. The exhibition of the work of Ivan Meštrović in Ljubljana’s Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Centre (CD), held between 13 February and 20 May 2018, was a perfect opportunity to experience this and allowed visitors to become immersed in the work of one of the best known 20th century sculptors. After experiencing the exhibition, visitors felt inspired in the pursuit of their newly-found creative innovativeness and, consequently, in their own projects. The reason? A sudden awareness of the beauty of the circle of life. FROM SHEEPHERDING TO THE ARTISTIC THRONE IN ONLY A DECADE In late 19th Century, a shy and introverted boy was born in, nowadays Croatian, village of Vrpolje. Not long after he was sheepherding, he became one of the most renowned world’s sculptors of all times. His skilled hands, charged with a genius talent of which even the big master Auguste Rodin said to be »the greatest phenomenon among sculptors«, brought him to the artistic capitals of the world. To this day, Ivan Meštrović’s artworks continue to render him unparalleled among his contemporaries. His work co-shaped artistic scenes in several European countries and the USA, where he pursued his artistic path. ATTAINING ETERNITY Ivan Meštrović was an artistic genius of the 20th century whose work still inspires today. The selection of his works exhibited in Ljubljana’s Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress included over fifty works, sculptures and drawings from private and public Croatian collections. The exhibition offered a new insight into the sculptor’s masterful art and contributed to the scientific study of his Mediterranean sensuality expressed in his work depicting nudity and eroticism, often underlined with the story of human life from birth to death.

Rodin leaves his pupil to continue in his steps. Ivan Meštrović, the young sculptor, is an authoritative leader of the New School of Sculpture.

New York Times, November 25, 1917

As the curators of the exhibition noted, “the human body was the main source of inspiration for Ivan Meštrović. Regardless of the stylistic orientation and thematic framework, the sculptor invariably explored the mystery of the body. Corporeality and eroticism in sculpture constitute a prominent segment of his entire body of work, with which, he actually refers to the primordial human need to create and procreate life, to attain eternity.” AN ENHANCED VIEWING EXPERIENCE A subtle touch, as subtle as Meštrović’s creation of “massive forms and large surfaces on which light is content to lie quietly,” as the New York Times wrote about Auguste Rodin’s famous pupil in the memoir dedicated to Rodin in 1917*, the curators of the exhibition used a special lighting scheme to highlight all the subtleties of Meštrović’s work and enhance the viewing experience. It is so powerful that the first thing that comes to mind is the surprising realisation that this kind of change in illuminating exhibits should always be used in sculptural exhibitions. Visitors could further explore by seeing each of the exhibited masterpieces: from Adam, to Two Widows, to the Old Woman and to the Well of Life. An endless circle of human dignity, love, passion, pain and persistance. It reminded the observer of the things that matter and are worth pursuing. The brain was charged, the mind was ready for new beginnings and new achievements. To persist, to enjoy, to be aware of oneself. Isn’t that what it’s all about?



Gourmet street food – not an oxymoron! Jasmina Jerant //

Odprta kuhna (Open Kitchen)

Ljubljana’s city centre on Fridays sizzles with special flavours, colours and smells. Slovenia’s most popular open-air food market, Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna), runs from late March to late October and attracts gastronomic enthusiasts as well as those who are just simply curious or hungry. Open Kitchen is held in the central market area, located in the centre of Ljubljana’s historic old town next to the Ljubljanica river. The central market, designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik plays host to the famous, colourful and tasty Open Kitchen. LJUBLJANA’S MAIN GOURMET ATTRACTION The recently-opened sixth season of Open Kitchen saw chefs from some of Slovenia’s finest restaurants once again putting on their aprons and turning on their stoves in order to widen the culinary horizons of domestic and foreign gourmets. Along the lines of similar food markets abroad, the basic idea of Open Kitchen is to allow visitors to sample a wide variety of foods all in one place. However, one distinct feature differentiates Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen from other similar food events in Slovenia and abroad: the street food is conceived and prepared by top-notch Slovenian chefs. This allows visitors the rare opportunity to enjoy pleasant socialising in the open-air, and, for a reasonable price, the chance to try a wide array of amazing culinary creations and supremely prepared street food classics, not to mention unique desserts and ice-creams. ALL IN ONE PLACE IN ONE DAY The key criteria for the street food offered at Open Kitchen is quality combined with creativity and innovation, which are accompanied by local and seasonal ingredients. The idea for Ljubljana’s Open Kitchen was introduced six years ago by Lior Kochavy, who wanted to showcase Slovenia’s top cuisine in one spot. The main acclaim of this food market is its versatile play on Slovenian cuisine stemming from several of the country’s gastronomical regions, thus it presents an innovative introduction to Slovenia’s gastronomy. AMONG THE BEST STREET-FOOD MARKETS IN THE WORLD As Lior Kochavy says, the focus of Open Kitchen is on Slovenia’s culinary treasures that constantly impress and astonish him. And he is not the only one, since foreign visitors have an unparalleled opportunity to try the creations of some of Slovenia’s best chefs all in one day and one place. And word about Open Kitchen is out! Foreign media and acknowledged

food bloggers became curious, came, saw, tasted and have several times ranked Open Kitchen as one of the best food markets in the world, which puts Ljubljana amongst the world’s capitals of street-food. LOCAL AND GLOBAL CREATIVE BITES AND SIPS Alongside authentic local delicacies prepared by chefs who follow Slovenia’s rich culinary traditions, it is possible to try dishess from different parts of the globe: Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, African, Lebanese, Italian, American, Oceanic, … Visitors can try creative bites accompanied by the best domestic and foreign wines, sparkling wines, cocktails, craft beers and other interesting beverages. TASTE OF THE STARS – EVENT AND INCENTIVE The main stars of the event are the tempting plates cooked up by their creators who knead, mix, fry, roll, grill and work their magic to provide great food and drink and an excellent atmosphere. Open Kitchen is a mixture of everything: happiness, friendship, and a pure joy for life. It makes an ideal event to offer business guests, conference delegates or even as an incentive to immerse one’s soul into food, wine, cocktails and Ljubljana’s joie de vivre.



Athens - unesco world book capital 2018 Jasmina Jerant //

City of Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau

Athens is a Metropolis rapidly rising as the top choice destination for millions of visitors. As an excellent XL Meeting Destination as well as the 2nd among the 15 Best Destinations of the New Europe Meetings Star 2017, this historic city offers an interesting location and ideal weather, and has infrastructure befitting a major European capital. This year the city is proudly answering to an additional calling. Athens has been named World Book Capital for 2018. WORLD BOOK CAPITAL 2018 World Book Capital is an initiative of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The title is nominated every year to a different city and the programmes run from 23rd April (World Book and Copyright Day) to 22nd April of the following year. The whole year is full of books, reading, culture and events that promote knowledge that, these days, is sought after and readily accessible to all. The aim of the festivities is to bring books to every neighbourhood and to every corner of the city. Athens 2018 World Book Capital aims to offer to the citizens and visitors a unique cultural experience.

ten for the first time, combined with events, workshops or guided tours. Distinguished foreign writers are visiting Athens, speech events broaden public’s horizons, a mobile library is travelling through the city’s neighborhoods, artistics events such as theatre, dancing, cinema, art or video are spotted in different parts of the city along festivals, and pop up libraries. Athenian Literary Walks are taking place during the year: writers, academics, historians, a.o. are guiding the participants in hidden treasures and secrets of Athens based upon books. A literary relay race is also taking place through the year, with writers from different backgrounds passing the floor to their favorite writer – a race full of surprises and stories to tell! Public pop up readings in unexpected spots of daily life offer a pleasant creative break, while the city will be filled with creative and substantial programs that will make Athens an inspiring place to live, work and discover.

MORE THAN 250 EVENTS A selectively curated program dedicated to the world of books combined with arts, will celebrate evolution, forward thinking and creativity for a whole year. Over 250 events including inspirational hubs in the form of round tables, open discussions and creative dialogues and with the presence of distinguished writers throughout the year will be a major part of the program. Under the motto “Athens is reading - Books in the city” a vivid patchwork of events, artworks, projections, walking trails, bottom-up initiatives and workshops, aspires to become the absolute literary ground of open dialogue - not only for the creators, stakeholders and intellectual elites but, most importantly, for all its citizens, as well as visitors. A DIVERSE PROGRAM The program is spread in various pillars, such as Books & the Arts, Celebrating Reading, Discover Reading Treasures, Open Collections & Archives, Conferences, Round Tables & meetups, Festivals, Reading Everywhere, Readers Welcome, Educational Events. The Open Collections project, for example, includes more than 30 of the most important museums, archives, libraries, institutes in Athens, that open their doors to the public and show their hidden treasures, of-

National Library of Greece

KONGRES survey 55

The More I See, The More I Know, The More I Improve! How satisfied are you with international MICE associations? Gorazd Čad //


Amongst survey respondents the international ICCA, MPI and AIPC associations are held in the highest esteem. Ljublja On the initiative of our readers, in autumn 2017 we carried out research into the satisfaction of meeting planners with international MICE association. The research was carried out from August to December 2017. We invited 3,215 organisers to participate and received 612 responses. This represents 20% of all respondents, which means that it is a statistically credible sample. More than 85% of meeting planners responded to our e-mail invitation, whilst there was also a large share of individuals who took part in the survey via social media. Structure of respondents The structure of participating respondents was interesting. Out of 54 countries, we received the most responses from Germany, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. Based on activity, the structure among respondents was as follows: Incentive Travel House Event Management Agency

15.0% 15.0%

PCO - Professional Congress Organiser


Association Planner


Destination Management Organisation


Corporate Planner


Venue Finding Agency


Convention Centre




Membership of associations As many as 92.5% of all respondents are members of various international professional associations. Among them, the highest number are enrolled in the MPI, ICCA and SITE associations. The structure of respondents based on association membership: Other (see explanation)


MPI - Meeting Professionals International


ICCA - The International Congress and Convention Association


SITE - The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence


PCMA - Professional Convention Management Association


ASAE - The American Society of Association Executives


DMAI - Destinations International


IAPCO – The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers


UFI - The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry


AIPC - The International Association of Convention Centres


UIA - The Union of International Associations


Most respondents are members of various national and/or regional associations and other specialist associations, such as Alagaev, DeGefest, the CEO Institute, FICP, MICE Germany, whilst numerous among them are also members of MICE Club, EVCOM, ADMEI, and CEFA.

Almost 3% responded that they are not members of any international professional associations. The majority of respondents have been members of associations for more than five years (70%), 12.5% have been members for 3-5 years, whilst a smaller percentage have been members for a shorter length of time. Association brand names based on their reliability and power The most trustworthy brand names of associations are ICCA, MPI, AIPC and SITE. We asked all respondents to rank associations based on the level of power of their brand. They were rated on a scale from 1 to 10. The list of the ten most trustworthy associations is as follows: ICCA - The International Congress and Convention Association


MPI - Meeting Professionals International


AIPC - The International Association of Convention Centres


SITE - The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence


PCMA - Professional Convention Management Association


ASAE - The American Society of Association Executives


IAPCO – The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers


56 KONGRES survey

ECM - European Cities Marketing


DMAI - Destinations International


AACVB - The Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus


Key reasons for membership of assocations The main reason for enrolment is networking and education The following are among the most important motivations for enrolling in international associations:

tion(s) of which they are a member, whilst there was an equal share who responded that they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Twenty-two and a half percent of respondents are somewhat satisfied, which means that there is a lot of room for improvement. Added value of membership fees and participation in events Respondents rated the added value of associations quite critically, Some value for money


Good value for money

22.5% 15.0%



Not enough value for money



A little value for money


Member Benefit Programme


More value than I would expect for the money


Annual Event Discounts




How would you rate the quality of the activities of the associations? Professionalism and representation are among the activities that international associations carry out best Professionalism

score 3.6


score 3.4


score 3.3


score 3.2

Special Events

score 3.1


score 3.0


score 2.9

Benefit Programmes

score 2.7

This question is also related to the question about general satisfaction with the organisation(s) of which respondents are members:

Exactly 70% of those surveyed rated the value of membership fees as justified and appropriate, whilst 30% were critical of the membership fees. Among them, there was a relatively high share who were critical of the value of membership fees. The data about the number of congress and events of various associations which respondents attended last year is also interesting: 2-4 events


1 event


8-10 events


5-7 events


More than 10 events


In connection with this we also asked about the added value of various events which respondents attended. The results are as follows: Some value for money


Not enough value for money

22.5% 20.0%

Totally Satisfied


Good value for money

Neither satisfied not dissatisfied


A little value for money


Somewhat Satisfied


More value than I would expect for the money


Very Dissatisfied


Somewhat Dissatisfied


Half of those surveyed responded that they are satisfied with the work of the associa-

Among those surveyed, the majority responded that they have a positive opinion of the added value of association events. Sixty-seven and a half percent are of the

opinion that events create added value. The share of those not satisfied, however, is a relatively high 32.5%. How can associations make events more valuable to you? We have gathered the responses into ten recommendations, since individual responses were repeated and relate to the same challenges: 1. Content - High level content, they should continue to provide diverse content for all audiences, including young leaders and senior planners, and they should continue to provide top themes related to the industry. 2. Networking - Members’ business introductions and exchanges and providing more networking opportunities are key. 3. Communication - Good speakers, innovation, emerging themes and networking 4. More business-driven - Have better members. Most attendees come for the free drinks and free food, not really for the true meaning of the event. 5. To serve the planners interests and be more inclusive – to have a better understanding of the needs of members. 6. Follow the trends - Educational topics clearly linked to business trends in the macro economy. Try new things, experiment and get input from participants. It is important that associations showcase new ideas, tools and concepts. 7. Be more local - Regional instead of global events. 8. Registration fees - Decrease the costs

KONGRES survey 57

Associations as a source of information for members The majority of respondents swear by personal contact. As many as 82% of respondents believe that events are a key source of information and meeting new members and partners. As part of this questions we asked meeting planners two questions connected with their satisfaction based on the quality and method of association(s) communication. How satisfied are you with the association as a source of information?

of registration fees. The aim of associations is to gather members and get new ones and not to make money on registration fees. 9. Joint Ventures - It would be good if associations unite and hold combined events. 10. Format of meetings - Smaller, interactive meetings that get to the bottom of a subject. What types of events would you like to see in the future? Inspiring collaborative events with a high quality of education combined with engagement and networking The responses to the question about what kind of events respondents would like were also interesting. Some of the most interesting responses are shown below: 1. Crowdsourced events - asking members for suggestions for topics and speakers, also allowing more time for attendees to exchange ideas at sessions 2. Interaction in conferences and knowledge transfer between attendees 3. Forums that regroup international associations and their challenges 4. Making meetings more dynamic 5. Innovative events with a wider range of experiences, also scientific 6. Training sessions, study tours, with more discussion and brainstorming sessions 7. More online training sessions and hybrid events 8. Events with good content in small interactive sessions and great networking breaks





How likely would you be to recommend association membership to a colleague? Ninety-percent of those surveyed would recommend the association to a colleague. Among them, as many of 67.5% would do so without hesitation. Very likely


Fairly likely

25.0% 22.5% 10.0%

Somewhat Satisfied


Slightly likely



Very unlikely

Totally Satisfied


Somewhat Dissatisfied


Very Dissatisfied


How do you prefer to meet/get to know other members? Networking events


Annual events


Via online social communities


Monthly meetings

How innovative and creative do you think the association of which you are a member is? Get inspired! Respondents rated the innovativeness and creativity of individual associations on a scale from 1 to 10. In both areas, associations scored an average of 6 stars or were rated as adequate. Therefore, there is still great room for improvement.


To what extent would you like to increase your opportunities to get to know other association members? The responses to this question confirm that the main reason for membership of associations is networking, an area in which there is still room for further improvement, according to the majority of respondents. Very much






A little bit


Not at all


Among the methods for getting to know other members, respondents chose: In-person networking events


Association membership directory


Social/cultural events


Association website



score 6.08


score 6.05

Respondents made some concrete suggestions and ideas for improving the work of associations. Some of the most interesting are listed below: 1. Rotation of management and leadership. 2. Bring professionals into the room and engage with members. 3. We don’t all have a lot of time. Don’t waste our time with stupid sales messages. 4. More out of the box, more interaction, more in-depth. 5. Deliver value to members in everything you do. 6. Run events without any gimmicks in order to get real members to attend. 7. It’s very hard to do more. as associates are increasingly concerned with daily results. However, it is important to promote initiatives in which associates can share experiences and boost innovation.



THE RITZ CARLTON Budapest, Hungary

HOTEL CORINTHIA Budapest, Hungary




Mark: 4.95

Mark: 4.94


5.00 First Impression

5.00 Congress Hall


4.87 Extras

4.82 Hotel bed


200 rooms and suites

414 rooms


295 - 495 €

134 - 195 €


The exceptional staff, who set the standards for hotel services in the region and execute them to perfection, whilst at the same time working elegantly and in a unforced manner with outstanding attention to detail.

Great value for money. In other European destinations you would pay considerably more for this level of service.


The Ritz Carlton justified all our expectations and we simply have no negative comments to make. This is also what sets it apart from the competition.

There are hardly any flaws in a hotel of this ranking, except the high prices, which are justified by the excellent service.


The beautiful building is located in the centre of the city and all the main attractions are within walking distance. The exceptional hotel concierge service is ready to assist in organising trips to explore the city.

The Royal Lounge – a space intended for congress organisers which offers the perfect work and relaxation conditions during an event.


The Ritz Carlton is a synonym for quality and superior hotel services.. The hotel is located in the heart of Budapest. We were not only extremely impressed by its location, but also by the professionalism of its staff, the arrangement of the hotel, and top-notch cuisine. The entire hotel experience has been thoughtfully designed, with the well-being of guests of paramount importance. The congress centre also follows this philosophy so that the four congress halls are customised to the most demanding clients.

The Hotel Corinthia has a character that sets it apart from other hotels in the city. The elegant building, top-notch service and excellent congress facilities place it at the very top of the regional congress hotel services. It has the biggest selection of congress halls in Budapest, all of them 5 star, and includes 31 meeting rooms, the baroque-style Grand Ballroom and the special Executive Lounge which is suitable for holding private congress meetings. Luxury comfort, modern elegance and technology bring the offer together.


The best meeting hotels and convention centres We evaluate hotels and convention centres which are recommended to us by our readers and which are focused on congress tourism. For the 2017 award, we evaluated 25 new hotels and re-evaluated 12 hotels from last year. In total 151 evalutions by hidden guests were carried out, which enables a true high-



HILTON IMPERIAL Dubrovnik, Croatia





Mark: 4.85

Mark: 4.84

Mark: 4.83

5.00 Location

5.00 Location

4.99 Lobby

4.61 Extras

4.35 Accesibility

4.05 Accessibiilty

380 rooms

147 rooms

236 rooms

362 - 523 €

206 - 436 €

107 - 119 €

Churchill’s Room,a unique 23-square-metre dining room that caters for small functions for up to 12 people, which is located on the ground floor.

The personalised service and attention to the smallest detail, as well as the hotel’s above average friendly and professional staff.

The celebrity culinary team. This Belgrade hotel scene has acquired a passionate, dedicated and experienced culinary team in a new hotel that was born under a lucky star.

The only negative side to a hotel of this category is the price. It is completely appropriate if judged against quality, but it can dissuade corporate partners who might have a limited budget.

Perhaps just the high prices in high season, which are not in accordance with the policy of four-star hotels of some corporate clients.

A culinary celebrity team – the Belgrade hotel scene has acquired a passionate, dedicated and experienced culinary team in a new hotel that was born under a lucky star.

The most beautiful and romantic special venue in Athens is the Roof Garden Restaurant at the Grand Bretagne

The top business centre has seven meeting rooms and a large conference hall for up to 260 participants.

An integral part of the story is the central market, which in the warmer months turns into a very special event space.

Hotel Grand Bretagne is in a world of its own and definitely falls into the top league of regional hotels. It is a hotel institution, which will never disappoint. The highest standards in comfort, cuisine and overall pleasure wrapped inside a package that still defines the standards of what quality should feel like in Athens. A big plus is the option of combining conference halls and hotel capacities with its subsidiary hotel, King George, and thus opening up possibilities for larger groups.

Award for the leading hotel in each brand of the Hilton Worldwide chain, and it convinced us too with its luxury and superior level of customer service. This hotel with a soul speaks for itself and is also an excellent choice for congresses, budget permitting of course. The hotel has witnessed many historic congress events and banquets, which continue not to disappoint right up to today. This is a serious hotel institution with a deep soul.

Radisson Blu Old Mill took a risk and in doing so it has come out very well - just the right aesthetic balance has been captured. It has retained all its original ingredients that make this a top quality hotel whilst the new space has been balanced with the story of the former mill. The result is an elegant concept - an authentic hotel, a cult restaurant and a dynamic lounge bar, all of which gives a new dimension to Belgrade tourism and at the same time has set new standards.

quality comparison. We deliberately avoid the possibility that part of the evaluation is made-up of online surveys. We believe that, by using such a method, the information obtained would only reflect the opinion of those users who choose to participate. Therefore, we will continue to use the hidden guest methodology, which, in our opinion, ensures the best quality results, despite the fact that this method is time-consuming and demanding.




GRAND HOTEL KEMPINSKI Strbske Pleso, Slovakia




Mark: 4.96

Mark: 4.90


5.00 Employee Attitude

5.00 First Impression


4.25 Accesibility

4.35 Accesibility


149 rooms and suites

98 rooms


300 - 365 €

246 - 295 €


You will be surrounded not only by magnificent nature and hi-tech, but also with great employees who have mastered the concept of luxury catering to perfection, where guests can enjoy full privacy.

There are numerous options for teambuilding activities and which are available throughout the year. A nearby golf course, the Black Stork Golf Resort and skiing, walking and biking are a small part of the possibilties.


Prices can be quite high for ordinary congress guests, but the hotel will repay you with really top-notch service.

The offer of the High Tatras doesn‘t quite match the level of the Kempinski hotel, where guests are offered everything they need for a pleasant stay.


The Navy Museum with its newly renovated submarines and a collection of objects from the rich nautical history of the Montenegrin Littoral.

The picturesque location, with views of the High Tatras, can be appreciated from the luxurious Zion spa which streches over 1300m2.


The hotel sets new regional hoteliers’ standards and also sets Montenegro among the most luxurious tourist destinations, so it isn’t surprising that it was nominated for the World Luxury Awards 2015. The ratings of its individual criteria speak for themselves; the hotel offers comfort, a range of top quality materials, luxurious elegance and a high quality offer of its spa centre, for which a visit is a very special experience and why many famous and rich people have already visited Regent Porto Montenegro. You too can reserve your space among the VIPs in one of its 51 rooms.

The hotel is an attractive Slovak tourist icon, in a picturesque location, which makes everything look like a fairytale. It is a simple hotel which awakens the imagination, raises the heartbeat and is perfect for congress events of the highest order. It is an institution where guests can relax in the wellness center, indulge in culinary treats from the chefs, taste some excellent wine or fully focus on meetings and events with a view. Lovers of culture will certainly appreciate the artwork throughout the hotel. The Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras has won multiple awards which are justified by the experience it offers.


The best meeting hotels and convention centres We evaluate hotels and convention centres which are recommended to us by our readers and which are focused on congress tourism. For the 2017 award, we evaluated 25 new hotels and re-evaluated 12 hotels from last year. In total 151 evalutions by hidden guests were carried out, which enables a true high-


KEMPINSKI PALACE Portorož, Slovenia


HOTEL LONE Rovinj, Croatia




Mark: 4.89

Mark: 4.88

Mark: 4.86

5.00 Congress Hall

5.00 First Impression

5.00 Hotel Breakfast

4.49 Accesibility

4.45 Accesibility

4.43 Accesibility

181 rooms and suites

153 rooms and suites

236 rooms

217 - 279 €

322 - 424 €

273 - 408 €

The majestic Crystal ballroom is known for hosting famous guests, including the Austro Hungarian aristocracy in the early 20th century. It is the perfect choice for glamorous events, gala dinners, balls and weddings.

Professional and helpful personnel and kindness everywhere Wellness Centre Aquapura SPA extends over 3,600 m2 and is one of the most prestigious wellness centres in this part of Europe.

The Croatian architectural studio 3LHD is signed under the architecture of the Hotel and numerous Croatian artists and architects co operated in its interior design. The result is a minimalist, balanced Y-shaped terraced unique architecture.

I had a hard time finding any flops, but what I could mention is the orderliness of the coastline, where the quality of the offer just doesn’t match that of the hotel.

Very high price in the summer season, but it is justified by a high level of service and a prestige location.

Disorderly parking on the otherwise glamurous driveway spoils the first impression at arrival to the hotel.

ROSE Spa - an elegant wellness centre with different treatments coming from the salt pan tradition of Portorož and Piran.

For the more active of congress participants a private marina and swimming pool are available, as well as a few hidden spots for a special party under the stars.

Cultural and visual ”deserts” like the art creations by Ivan Franka in the lobby called “Room for running ghosts” and hanging gardens “much more can be discovered all over the Hotel.

The Kempinski Palace is simply an excellent congress hotel. With their experience in incentive travel, conferences and complicated corporate events, they have set new standards and assured the number one spot in the region. Since the last evaluation, the Palace hotel has had major improvements in terms of service quality, staff and cuisine. In addition to the standard, topnotch Kempinski service you would expect, the hotel has its unique style, which accentuates the legendary character and Habsburg elegance. All of this shows why the Kempinski Palace is at the top of the luxury offer in Slovenia.

Upon entering the hotel you instantly feel positiv¬ity and calm. The natural colours and wood blend nicely with the green surroundings, which can best be observed from the outdoor pool. Privacy is guar¬anteed by the many hidden corners simply intended for events. This was also one of the reasons why the hotel has acquired numerous titles as best hotel and has become a trademark of Carinthian tourism. At the time of our last assessment there has been a change in hotel management, which is today clearly at the peak of the regional hotel offer. Steered by German precision and Austrian charm it is the concept of excellence in every field

Upon entering the hotel you instantly feel positiv¬ity and calm. The natural colours and wood blend nicely with the green surroundings, which can best be observed from the outdoor pool. Privacy is guar¬anteed by the many hidden corners simply intended for events. This was also one of the reasons why the hotel has acquired numerous titles as best hotel and has become a trademark of Carinthian tourism. At the time of our last assessment there has been a change in hotel management, which is today clearly at the peak of the regional hotel offer. Steered by German precision and Austrian charm it is the concept of excellence in every field.

quality comparison. We deliberately avoid the possibility that part of the evaluation is made-up of online surveys. We believe that, by using such a method, the information obtained would only reflect the opinion of those users who choose to participate. Therefore, we will continue to use the hidden guest methodology, which, in our opinion, ensures the best quality results, despite the fact that this method is time-consuming and demanding.



Nada Žgank

Jazz and Ljubljana go hand-in-hand since both possess a young artistic heart full of free creative spirit. Whilst on a congress trip to Ljubljana, a congress guest should take a walk through the city’s jazz scene to witness its stimulating inspirations that span from one stage to another, from one summer garden to the next. JAZZ ALL WEEK LONG Jazz nights in Ljubljana take place throughout the week. After a meeting, business guests eager to enjoy jazz melodies performed by skillful and masterful artistes, can take their pick of jazz events throughout the week in the city. On Mondays, they can visit the Činčin club that pleases with its industrial-retro and laid-back atmosphere. Tuesday evenings are for visiting the Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Centre’s CD Club and its Tuesday Clubbing programme (Cankarjevi torki) which, in addition to musical concerts, also offers views of the city skyscape and its castle. On Thursdays, Du Bop offers cool and exciting Jazz Jam sessions performed by local jazz musicians. On other days, depending on the selected evenings and programme, the Gajo Jazz Club, the most prominent and oldest jazz club in Ljubljana, hosts indoor and outdoor jazz performances. Another club that offers a jazz experience on selected evenings is Repete – Jazz

& Refreshments, located in the Old Town in a picturesque setting at the top of one of the narrow winding streets that lead uphill towards Ljubljana Castle. From Repete, it is a pleasant walk towards the castle, where another Jazz jewel is hidden; at weekends, guests can listen to renowned Slovenian and foreign artists at Ljubljana Castle Jazz Club. The Prulček Bar, whose innovative decor is based on the principle of waste material recycling, prides itself on hosting a vibrant daily programme of events. The only place among the jazz venues that is located out of the city centre but still easily accessible, the Kino Šiška cinema, regularly features big names in indie rock, hip hop, metal, electronic music, contemporary jazz, and other urban genres. LJUBLJANA JAZZ FESTIVAL However, Ljubljana not only has a rich live jazz scene, but also hosts events dedicated to this inspiring musical landscape. For almost 60 years the city has played host to the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe, which this year, its 59th edition, will be held from 27 to 30 June. Proof that the Ljubljana Jazz Festival trumpets alongside world renowned jazz festivals is its recent win at the 7th European Jazz Network (EJN) Award for Adventurous Programming.


GR’s example of good practice Jasmina Jerant //

GR / Jani Ugrin

In June 2017, GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre (GR) played host to one of the biggest medical congresses in the world – the 16th edition of the World Congress in Fetal Medicine where 1,800 participants from Europe and all over the world, among them leading international experts and young researchers, exchanged knowledge on Fetal Medicine, specialising in gynaecology and obstetrics. As everyone in the MICE industry knows, rarely do congresses go entirely to plan, particularly so when there are almost 2,000 attendees. This demands even more careful and in-depth organisation and round-the-clock attentiveness to detail and unexpected changes. Tina Bizant, GR’s Head of Events and Congress Department, shared with Kongres magazine some of the challenges that the centre had to overcome in the execution of the congress. The first challenge was convincing the organiser that Ljubljana was the perfect destination to host the congress, even though the majority of the previous congresses had been held in coastal cities (including eight years earlier in the Slovenian coastal town of Portorož). Another challenge for GR was to provide complete local organisational support: full technical equipment and logistics. In addition to

hosting plenary sessions, GR organised parallel social events and a gala dinner for all participants. However, preparations for the gala dinner hit two obstacles. The first was the plan for the dinner to be held in a lovely open space in the city centre, however, a bad weather forecast forced the organiser to quickly react according to ‘plan B’ and move the gala dinner to an indoor hall. The second obstacle to be overcome was that the organiser of the Fetal Medicine congress was used to classic gala dinners, and GR needed to convince their client of the benefit of the latest ‘out of the box’ gala dinner concept. Despite these two minor set backs, GR succeeded in executing a gala dinner that satisfied the organiser, “We did it together with the Jezeršek team and it was an astonishing finale to the congress and an excellent experience for all participants and the organisers”, said Tina Bizant. In addition, GR had to organise an excursion for 400 participants. However, on the day of the departure, it was informed that a further 50 had applied to go on the trip. GR had to arrange transfers for an additional 50 people - ad hoc. “Once again we proved our flexibility and ‘saved’ the organisers one more time«, Tina Bizant added.




“Šibenik is the most photogenic city in the world“, says Croatia’s most popular photographer, Ivo Pervan. Thus, an ideal way to spend a short break in Šibenik is to take a stroll through the streets of its medieval old town and photograph it. However, not just ordinary amateur photography, but professional photography which participants can learn on a guided Šibenik photo tour called »Šibenik, you are beautiful« and organised by Šibenik Plus. No special equipment is needed, just an ordinary camera or mobile phone will do. What makes this tour special are the two guides at visitors’ disposal; a tour guide who knows all the treasures and secrets of beautiful Šibenik - which boasts two UNESCO World Heritage monuments, and a photo guide who is a professional photographer. Šibenik is often called a cultural diamond. The tour guide shows participants all the best parts of the city whilst the photo guide teaches them how to capture the best shots and take professional photos. An additional special highlight of a tour is the photo album that participants receive at the end of the tour as a souvenir containing photos of them taken during their tour. The photo tour leads through narrow stone streets and passages, past

churches and palaces, and allows for countless opportunities to get some great snaps. Participants walk the length and breadth of the old town centre passing the famous, as well as the hidden parts of the charming city. The tour includes visits to sacral buildings, monasteries, small diners that tell a gastronomic story of Šibenik’s past, and the UNESCO-listed St.James Cathedral (Katedrala Sv.Jakova), while the climax is the imposing St.Michael’s Fortress (Tvrđava Sv.Mihovila) from where there are panoramic views over the town as well as over St.Anthony’s Channel (Kanal Sv.Ante), the Kornati National Park with its hundreds of islands, and the Šibenik archipelago. To make the experience even more authentic and true to Šibenik’s character, the guides enhance the tour with stories about the real Šibenik, its hidden treasures, its people, customs, tradition and historical stories that are embedded in the city’s heart. In order to get even closer to Šibenik’s soul, the creative photo tours also include a break to taste traditional local food, prepared and served in the authentic Šibenik way. This tour can be offered to congress delegates seeking an experience full of adventure, beautiful images, hidden passages, aromas and tastes of the real Šibenik.

KONGRES BRIEFings // Union Hotels 65

RENOVATED PREMIER ROOMS IN HOTEL LEV The 22 newly designed Premier Rooms in Hotel Lev opened their doors. The corridor on the first floor of the Hotel Lev is designed in a »back to the roots« style. The combination of color shades and wooden wall coverings that were used in the first rooms at the opening of the hotel back in the 60s. The first floor where the Premier Room are is dedicated to Luciano Pavarotti. Each of the rooms on this floor is decorated with a memorabilia plaque with Pavarotti’s illustration, which is associated with one of the Pavarotti’s occasions at the Hotel Lev. The open-plan design of the Premier Rooms is complemented by a neutral color palette, modern furniture, and luxe fabrics, that will pamper all of the guests senses. The technological demands are sophistically integrated.

NEW FITNESS CENTRE BY GRAND HOTEL UNION Modna Hiša (the Fashion House) used to be Ljubljana’s fashion monument. In 2017 the Union Hotels became the owners of this long deserted and inactive building, with a master plan to revitalize it and again make it a popular place. From March 2018 the former fashion hub is a house of health and recreation, opened for all the active hotel visitors as well as for the locals, providing with top-quality services, training programmes and workout equipment for a healthy lifestyle. The biggest fitness center in the country is opened round-the-clock, every day of the week. It is equipped with the top fitness gear and features also all sort of different exercise. It is spread over 1300 m2 in four floors.

A PLEASANT AND SAFE PARKING IN CITY CENTRE For local visitors looking for a safe and comfortable parking facility as close as possible to the Ljubljana city center, voffer a perfect solution. With the changed parking rates at the Grand Hotel Union Business car park, all city center visitors gain a safe and affordable place to leave their vehicles – just a few meters away from the Triple Bridge. For just EUR 1.20 per hour for the first 3 hours, the “in-and-out” local visitors will no longer need to worry about finding a parking space that will not make a hole in their wallets.


Cankarjev dom does not need to call 112 More than 700 participants attendeed EENA (European Emergency Number Association), the event on emergency services in Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana between 15 and 27 April. The participants, including emergency services and public authorities’ representatives, as well as researchers, telecom regulators and suppliers, came from 55 countries around the world; Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the USA, to name a few. Over 80 leading experts and practitioners from the emergency services field addressed high-level policy and regulatory matters as well as operational and technical issues during the plenary and parallel tracks. In addition, attendees had an opportunity to meet 30 exhibiting solution providers from around the world.

MORE THAN 1200 HEALTCARE PROFESSIONALS IN CD The 13th Congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology – EuroPrevent 2018, organised by ESC – European Society of Cardiology, was between 19 and 21 April held in Ljubljana’s Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Centre. More than 1200 healthcare professionals from more than 40 countries through 3 days of scientific exchange participated at 800 abstracts and clinical cases submitted. The event included 55 scientific sessions, 140 international expert faculty members, industry-sponsored sessions and workshops. CD is a proud host of scientific events of internationally resounding character that mark Slovenia on the scientific map of the world. Diverse meetings, ranging from business to scientific, are doubtlessly all the more inspirational in an arts and convention venue with a distinguished artistic tradition.

ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY FOR HUMANITY The 18th IEEE International Conference on Harmonics and Quality of Power (ICHQP) was held in Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana between May 13-16 2018. The IEEE PES ICHQP 2018 conference, that gathered around 500 attendees from all over the world, was organised by University of Ljubljana, and Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The conference covered plenary sessions, keynotes, panel discussions, paper and poster presentations and also tutorials. Participants from universities, research centres, utilities, industries and regulatory agencies discussed and presented topics related to power quality.

KONGRES BRIEFings // Šibenik 67

ŠIBENIK’S CULINARY EXCELLENCY - CHEF’S STAGE Chef’s Stage – the international gastronomy and hospitality congress, gathering together world-renowned chefs that combined owned 20 Michelin Stars, was held in the medieval Šibenik between 19 and 20 March. The idea behind the event was to present Croatian and regional cuisine to international gastronomic scene. The congress hsoted numerous world renowned chefs and guest speakers all coming from glamorous backgrounds of the gastronomic and hospitality industry. Congress program was held at the Amadria Park’s Convention Centre Šibenik, while the master classes and gala dinners were held at Barone and St.Michael’s Fortresses, Bibich winery, MY Casablanca (luxury motor yacht), National Park Krka and at the Tavern Pelegrini.

Historic Urban Landscape in walled cities Mayors and high representatives of 18 cities from 15 countries in Europe, together with representatives of national heritage authorities and international experts and resource persons gathered in Šibenik at the “Walled Cities, Open Societies” Workshop. The objective was to discuss the management of historic walls and fortifications in urban World Heritage properties in Europe, with a special focus on implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) in those properties. The meeting took place in Šibenik’s Hotel Ivan, Amadria Park between 5 and 6 March. Participants also took part in a field visit to the World Heritage property of Šibenik and other urban heritage sites, to develop a better understanding of the HUL approach through a teamwork simulation using Šibenik as a case study.

Hidden Šibenik - Kayaking The best way to explore the charms of famous Šibenik’s sea side is offered by an incentive called »Hidden Šibenik – Kayaking.« The kayaking tour along Šibenik’s secrets and historical diamonds includes picnic in nature, professional guidance by a licensed guide that leads participants through the St.Anthony’s Channel while telling the stories about the Šibenik’s history connected to the St.Nicholas Fortress (16th Century fortress inscribed into the UNESCO List of World Heritage) and waters.


GREEN KEY SOLUTIONS IN GR GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre in mid March organised and held the 57th Home Fair (Sejem dom) accompanied by environmental Quality Label in Construction award. The oldest and largest specialised international fair in the field of construction in Slovenia and in neighboring countries, focuses on the latest trends and novelties in sustainable construction. This year’s edition brought around 600 exhibitors from 33 countries and 55,000 visitors into more than 20,000m2 exhibition space in all of the GR halls and in three prefabricated halls. The added value of the Home Fair was its current and sustainably oriented accompanying programme for its visitors with more than 120 professional and independent free advice offers and lectures.

EUROPEAN HIGH-PROFILE EVENT IN LJUBLJANA GR hosted from 25 to 27 April one of the two biggest congresses of the 2018 in Slovenia. The 9th edition of the TEN-T DAYS (Trans-European Transport Network) brought to Ljubljana more than 2000 delegates and 26 European ministers of transport. Iztok Bricl, the GR’s director, told for Kongres Magazine: ’’The TEN-T Days is for the GR, after the 7th Congress of League of Communists of Yugoslavia 1958 and the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of OSCE in 2005, the largest and certainly the most notable high-profile event of congress character.’’ GR beside space for the congress and its accompanying futuristic lab and exhibition, provided gala dinner for approximately 2000 delegates.

Slovenian wines among the World Champions The jubilee 60th International Wine Competition – Vino Ljubljana was in mid April traditionally held in GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The 43 degustators from 15 countries evaluated 425 samples from 23 countries. Among the 425 samples, the countries with the most samples were: Slovenia with 140, Czech Republic with 71, Slovakia with 44, Romania with 31, Austria with 23, Republic of Macedonia with 18, and Germany and Montenegro with 15. Other countries, beautifully spanning over most of the world’s continents (except for Antarctica and Australia) brought to Ljubljana in average more than 4.5 samples. On the ground that 70 to 75 percent of samples come from abroad every year, the Vino Ljubljana remains interesting not just for the domestic but also for foreign winemakers.

KONGRES BRIEFings // Bratislava 69

A BREATHTAKING INCENTIVE ABOVE BRATISLAVA Spanning by the Danube River, the UFO steel bridge boasts with UFO Restaurant at the very top of its tower. The spot offers mesmeric and unforgettable views of the city, where the guest can take in the entire city from a height of 95 metres. For the adrenalin seekers, guests can now catch Bratislava from a completely different perspective - through the UFO Skywalk. Or if a guest is looking for more than just a walk through the cloucs, one can try the UFO Abseiling, which is another extraordinary and unforgettable experience. It provides an experience of hanging from a rope from the observation tower down to the beach under the UFO tower.

THE BRATISLAVA FASHION MAP Some people travel abroad to see historical monuments or explore nature. Others visit the cities for their fashion and design. Slovak Fashion is experiencing a revival. The number of places where you can buy Slovak fashion has grown, and Bratislava is becoming a city of great shopping. With the help of a new tool – the Bratislava Fashion Map 2018 – it will be now easier to find the latest design or fashion accessories of local designers in Bratislava and its vicinity. The map will help you to explore all of the cities hidden, and the not so hidden gems, among which are also the new local shops, concept stores, fashion studios, and showrooms.

THE LONELY RUNNER ON THE SLOVAKIAN ART SCENE The modern art of Slovakia draws influence from both Slovak motifs and European art trends. They chart the course of painting, sculpture, and illustration, and the works of new contemporary artists, such as Noémi Kolčáková Szakállová. Her artwork will make you remember the undeniable power of women. The painter’s work accompanies imaginary creatures and icons. Painted illustrations bring stylized shapes and structures. The author uses distinctive colors and lines in compositions that are very distinctive for her work and recognizable at first sight. Besides painting and drawing, illustration, art work and digital drawing, she found her way in the styling and fashion editorials for lifestyle magazines and also in creation of fashion accessories.

70 KONGRES BRIEFings // Maribor

River Festival at the oldest vine in the world The City of Maribor from May 11 to July 15 2018 hosts the 3rd Drava Festival, prepared with an educational and environmental purpose of presenting the beautiful Drava River. The festival held along- and on the river Drava has its central events held in Maribor. The festival includes numerous environmental and tourist events, which are organised by various associations and organisations. At the opening event, The King of Drava River (an individual significantly contributing to the river’s recognition and protection) was announced at Maribor’s ‘The Old Vine House’. During the festival’s two months, perfectly suitable for incentive programmes, the visitors can taste local delicacies and get to know the traditions and customs of the diverse region of the Drava river.

Maribor celebrating the 1st World Bee Day All over the world celebrations to mark the 1st World Bee Day were held. Maribor, the second largest Slovenian city, held the celebrations on 18 May 2018. To mark the 1st World Bee Day and the birth of Anton Janša, the City of Maribor prepared a guided tour of Maribor. The tour was held in Slovene as well as in English language. After the guided tour, the president of Beekeepers’ Association of Maribor Associations, Vlado Vogrinec, presented the historical development of beekeeping in the region. During the day, on the Leon Štukelj Square (Trg Leona Štuklja), the beekeeping market was held along the tasting of honey delicacies, the beekeeping exhibition and workshops for children.

THE LARGEST REGIONAL STARTUP CONFERENCE PODIM Conference annually connects more than 800 brilliant startups, investors, corpos and other stakeholders with global minds and leaders. It serves as an effective platform for investing in the most promising startups from the region. The 2018 edition was held on the 15th and 16th of May 2018 in Hotel Habakuk in Maribor. There were more than 200 hand-picked startups from 20 countries, more than 100 investors from all over the globe, and more than 150 corporate representatives from the region. PODIM Challenge awarded startup company NEXT, developing the online platform Beeping for fast, safe and effective hiring of verified household cleaners with the Slovenian Startup of the Year 2018 award.


An incentive travel hotspot The first European ‘Try before you buy’ experience Gorazd Čad //

Kongres Magazine

Taking place from April 25 to 27, 2018, Incentives Alpe Adria was very successful, connecting 20 suppliers of incentive products from the Alpe-Adria region with 20 top-notch buyers. The event was split into two segments, the try-before-you-buy experiences and one2one meetings, to which Falkensteiner Carinzia was an excellent host. What made Incentives Alpe Adria special was turning the typical trade show format upside down and allowing the participants to experience the destination first-hand before having their one2one meetings. This resulted in a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, making it easier for buyers and suppliers to talk business. On the first day, participants were split into four groups, each set to explore a different destination in Carinthia - Klagenfurt, Villach, Velden, and Nassfeld. They were given an iPad to create a photo reportage and embarked on their journeys. ▪▪ The first group experienced the town of Klagenfurt, visiting the City-Parish Church of St. Egid, followed by some active fun (archery competition) at the Sportpark Wörthersee and wine tasting in the Ried-Seewiese vineyards. ▪▪ The second group explored Nassfeld, making their way to the Carnic Alps Geopark, visiting the Gailtalbauer Farm, where they tried some homemade regional specialties and finding out more about honey production at the Kronhofer honey farm. ▪▪ The third group started their exploration of Villach by going to the Monkey Mountain, a place where monkeys are running wild, followed by an eagle show on the Landskron Castle. The group was immensely active, as they went on a canoeing tour of Lake Fakker See and tackled high-reaching obstacles on a teambuilding programme. ▪▪ The fourth group got a chance to see Wörtherse from the most stunning lookout point in Carinthia - the Pyramidenkogel. Later on, the group learned how to make sushi, jumped on a speedboat to go to lunch and experienced the historic Schlossvilla Miralago. A day packed with activities and new experiences was finished off by dinner at the Falkensteiner Cariniza. The following day, participants had their one2one meetings and later on, visited one of two fam trip destinations, Soča Valley and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.


HangaR-7 SalZbuRg The home of flying bulls Gorazd Čad //



Hangar-7 is the favourite venue of Dietrich Mateschitz, who became famous for inventing the Red Bull energy drink. The wealthy Austrian marketing guru has more than 5 billion euros worth of assets to his name and advertises through a number of extreme sports industries. He shares his love of aircraft with his friend, the pilot Sigi Angerer, which led to the idea about using hangers at Salzburg airport to store their rare legendary aircraft. Both hangers were opened in 2003. There are actually two hangers – numbers seven and eight – however, Hanger-7 is more well-known and popular as it contains a collection of legendary formula one cars, motorbikes and collectors’ aircraft. Among them, the famous Lockheed P-38 Lightning and the North American B-25 Mitchell, as well as other aircraft, and the exhibits are changed and supplemented on a regular basis. Meanwhile, in Hangar-8 aircraft are restored, including the successfully perfectly restored Douglas DC-6B, which once belonged to the former Yugoslav leader Marshall Jozip Brod Tito, and which was brought all the way from Namibia. The pride of the Red Bulls The original idea and a passion for flying soon resulted in the opening of a multi-purpose centre, which is a special venue that has no match in Austria. It is visited by around 200,000 people per year. In addition to the Carpe Diem Lounge-Cafe and the Mayday Bar, the centre also houses a TV studio where talks shows are filmed for Red Bull TV. At the entrance you are greeted by attractive hostesses in blue uniforms, whilst inside awaits a kind of hybrid between a museum, top-class restaurant, special venue and designer lounge. A subtle smell of kerosene is also in the air, which is sure to bring a smile to the faces of petrol heads. All the aircraft are still in working order, including some of the flying old-timers. Ikarus Restaurant Ikarus is a gathering place for some of the world’s best chefs and hosts a different top chef each month. Many among them have been crowned with Michelin Stars. The best table is the Chef’s Table in the kitchen, which is actually a large barrel. At the time of our visit, the 30-year-old Korean chef Mingoo Kang was the guest chef. Despite his tender age, he is credited with the popularisation of Korean cuisine, which, in his opinion, belongs somewhere between Japa-

Red Bull is the ultimate media and event house

nese and Chinese cuisine. His culinary creations are real works of art, which, of course, would not be possible without the exceptional team of the restaurant’s permanent chefs and other staff. Every month the team face new challenges and recipes from some of the world’s best chefs, which they must ensure are transformed into a flawless culinary experience. A special stage for events The space can be hired for events, under the condition that the management of Red Bull agrees. Co-branding with one of the strongest global brands is taken very seriously. There are multiple areas available for events. The Members Club on the third floor in Hangar-7 has a capacity for 40 participants, while the first-floor Restaurant Ikarus can accommodate around 100. The exhibition area of the hangar has the largest capacity and is suitable for approximately 300 participants. The biggest events organiser in the world Approximately 30% of Red Bull’s income is invested into various, and mainly very unusual, types of sports, such as freestyle motocross, X-fighters and Crashed Ice. Just for comparison, for such purposes Coca Cola spends around 9% of its income. Red Bull is a philosophy and way of life, which is driven by numerous events. The core of all events is adrenalin and daring – be more daring and move borders – and, above all, expand and enjoy the company’s philosophy and respect its community. It is this basic philosophy of the founder of the company that means that Red Bull doesn’t bring products to consumers, but rather, to the contrary, it brings consumers to products or events. Red Bull has left an indelible mark on Salzburg as well as the events industry. Therefore, a visit to Salzburg’s hangars are highly recommended.



The newly announced hotel from Amadria Park will feature 111 accommodation rooms for leisure and business travellers. The grand building, built between 1921-1923, now an upscale hotel, will carry a ‘Heritage’ label, and its story will be interwoven with urban Zagreb flair through interior design, facilities and features, making a stay in the hotel a complete accommodation experience. The new upscale hotel has an eclectic style, reflecting its century-old charm from the Secession and Art Deco eras. In successfully combining tradition with luxury, the hotel’s emphasis is placed on hospitality with the guest as the centre of the story.


The construction of the new luxurious Marina Hotel Park (the EX Hotel Park) right across the old town of Rovinj in the immediate vicinity of the new ACI marina Rovinj, represents a significant step forward in the standards of nautical tourism in Croatia. The hotel is a modern architectural masterpiece, that adds a special touch to the ancient nearby city center. Its beauty does not challenge that of the town, but compliments it, making a one of a kind symbiosis come to life. The hotel will have a total of 209 units, mostly overlooking the sea and the old townof Rovinj. The hotel will offer many spa&wellness facilities and many indoor and outdoor pools.


Hotel Princess, a 4-star category hotel, has 82 Deluxe rooms among which 5 rooms are specially designed for guests with disabilities. The hotel boasts a restaurant, a winery, a wellness centre with heated pool, four different saunas, jacuzzi, modernly equipped fitness, and 140 parking spots and also charging stations for electric cars and bicycles. For Croatia, this is the first and unique hotel of this size and category located by Croatian highway that also offers a congress hall for more than 1200 participants located right next to the hotel. However, it is also possible to rearrange or combine different sizes of venues for preffered number and size of groups.


O2 UNIVERSARIUM IN PRAGUE Prague Convention Bureau

The new complex which is directly linked to the O2 arena from the south has four floors and a total area of almost 50 000 m2. The “Small arena� will have 21 halls of different sizes at disposal in total capacity of 10 000 visitors. The largest hall with a capacity of up to 4.5 thousand people will be used as a space for organizing medium-sized concerts and sporting events. On every floor of the complex, there will be created 13 000 m2 for exhibitions and commercial use. O2 universum should serve as a modern centre especially for organizing large international congresses and corporate events.


The former Hotel Golf has put on a new name Rikli Balance Hotel by renewing its concept and new content inspired by the tradition of the local environment and the story of the Swiss natural healer Arnold Rikli, who founded a natural spa in Bled in 1854. Rikli Balance Hotel fascinates with its respect for local traditions and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The modernly designed interior with 150 rooms that tell stories about the Carniolan Bee, the Gingerbread Heart, the Embroidery of Gorenjska, the Spruce from the nearby Pokljuka and Arnold Rikli, combined with a refreshed culinary offer, thermal pools, and wellness, offer guests a completely private or business break.




MADE IN SLOVENIA // Slovene incentive products 77

Logarska dolina is a seven-kilometre-long valley where all the beauty of Slovenian’s alpine world comes together. The primeval and numerous natural features regularly attract organisers of boutique and protocol events. It is the only Slovenian valley that can be entirely privatised for an event. As far as we know, there is nothing comparable on a global scale. Nowhere in the whole world can ancestral heritage be experienced in such a direct way.

ITINERARY hedonistic enjoyment in the hotel’s alpine eco wellness centre, whose architecture will subtly transport you into a world of wellbeing and pampering, and you will be charmed by the panoramic views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.

DAY 1: THE ROAD TO EDEN 10am Arrival at Ljubljana airport 12noon Arrival at Hotel Plesnik 12noon Photo safari through Slovenia’s most beautiful alpine valley The charm of the Logarska dolina valley is reflected in a primeval environment and numerous natural attractions. The key points are highlighted for groups, whose task is to seek out the attractions, photograph them and earn a culinary surprise. Along the way you will come across the legendary Logar linden trees as well as a real ‘olcar’ who will share out some typical delicacies from his sack. 3pm Savinjski želodec - that impressed kings Zgornjesavinjski želodec (Upper Savinja stuffed pig’s stomach) is a geographically-protected cured meat, which has been produced for centuries in the area of the Upper Savinja valley, made from the best meat and bacon from domestically bred pigs. You can try the house speciality at Hotel Plesnik and find out why it also impressed the English King George V and King Alexander. 4pm Solčava shepherds’ games In the barn at the Klemenčic tourist farm, locals will stage special games that are not dissimilar to the Olympics! You can try your hand at fun family games that are based on the cultural heritage of the Solčava region and find out where the real homeland is of the game today known as golf. 5.30pm How a man of the wild cornered the gendarmes Thousands of years ago the hunters that lived in Logarska dolina used primitive weapons. You will learn how to handle a real bow and arrow, and a man of the wild will show you other survival skills. 7pm Quality time! Relax in one of the most beautiful alpine wellness centres. Indulge in

8pm Solčava culinary evening An evening full of entertaining tales from the Solčava region accompanied by traditional local songs and accordion and zither music. 11pm Alpine ‘After Party’ In the bar that has hosted everyone from statespeople to local heroes, the ‘After Party’ is a really special experience. The venue, with its vibrant energy, is yours until the early hours. DAY 2: A DAY FILLED WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEWS 8am Breakfast, Solčava Style A typical Savinja breakfast will prepare you for the active morning ahead. 9:30am With a young shepherd along the panoramic road From Logarska dolina you will be driven up the Pavlič pass where you will get on a bike and, accompanied by a shepherd-boy, discover the story of the Lintvern dragon and the life of shepherds. Along the way you will visit tourist farms where homemade delicacies await and enjoy the amazing viewpoints along the panoramic road. You can quench your thirst with natural mineral water and delight in the centuries-old forests. 12noon Lunch at a tourist farm Lunch will be served at one of the tourist farms along the panoramic road. Your taste buds will be spoilt by traditional homemade Solčava dishes. You will savour typical dishes that were once enjoyed by shepherds. 2pm

Transfer to the airport

In the midst of pristine nature

78 MADE IN SLOVENIA // Slovene incentive products

Other options: With a forester along the paths of Solčava’s mountain wood Learn about the forest wood that has been used in the Solčava region for centuries in a natural way. You will find out why larch is the most valued wood among locals and how to use mountain wood – all of which will prove to be both a useful and interesting event.

The magical Logarska dolina forest The forest in the heart of Logarska dolina awaits, full of fairytales, motor-sensory challenges and interesting insights into the meaning of the forest. This blends into a totally unforgettable experience for children, parents and all those with a thirst for adventure and new knowledge.

Getting there The main traffic artery is the regional road from the Lower Savinja valley. Logarska dolina is 60km from Ljubljana airport.

future it has great potential to also become an important Slovenian incentive destination. It is difficult to find another part of Slovenia that has so many incentive gems crammed into a small area. Rafting on the Savinja river is highly recommended, too. A journey along the calm river is possible from May to October, with the whole programme lasting in excess of two hours.

Accommodation Hotel Plesnik - The legendary Hotel Plesnik was the originator of congress tourism in the valley. The Plesnik family have been in the hotel industry for more than 60 years. The hotel is famous for its excellent service and facilities and the fact that guests are ensured discretion and privacy. It is for this reason that distinguished guests frequently visit and spread the good word about the hotel and the valley. Food and drink Tourist farms with authentic local food Gateways Jezersko - Alpine Village It is not far to Jezersko, which was once an important climatic health spa. At almost 1000 metres above sea-level, you will discover yet another picturesque Slovenian landscape, which is reminiscent of a piece of paradise and really is a utopia for hikers. There are also plenty of interesting and active incentive programmes for groups. The Savinja Valley – A ‘hot’ incentive valley Although today the valley is mostly an excursion destination, in the

Moments of Zen

The sincerity and genuineness of the residents of the Solčava region

Quality time

The Solčava region’s healthy and pristine environment, which inspires all lovers of nature and tradition

Must see

The magical forest, the Rinka Centre in Solčava, shepherds’ games, the Rinka waterfall, a visit to the Klemenšek tourist farm

Must do

Taste Savinjski želodec (pig’s stomach stuffed with a mixture of cured pork and bacon) which has always been enjoyed with relish and will remain in your memory as a delicious treat. Visit the wellness centre in Hotel Plesnik from where there are stunning views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps

Our pick

Products made from felt, and the famous hand-felted woollen Solčava sheep, known as ‘Bicka’, make great business gifts as well as a way of supporting the local Bicka Association

KONTAKT: Natalija Bah Čad Meetings & Event Manager Toleranca Marketing d.o.o. Event & Marketing Agency Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana T: +386 1 430 51 03 M: +386 40 822 444 E:

MADE IN SLOVENIA // Slovene incentive products 79

24 Hours in PREKMURJE


Prekmurje, the most exciting part of Slovenia, is a part of the Pannonian plain. Here you will experience the sentiment, the joy, and the hardship of the “people from the plains”. Since people from Prekmurje live a good distance from central Slovenia, they are even more hospitable when they get a visit. Our “Gibanica” (Prekmurian layer cake) programme is a combination of Prekmurian melody, outstanding cuisine, a modern business environment and a broad set of various incentive programmes. ITINERARY DAY 1: FLOW OF THE MURA RIVER 10:00 Arrival at the Graz or Zagreb airport 11:30 Arrival at the hotel Livada Prestige 12:00 Rafting on the Mura River – Round trip Rafting on the romantic Mura River guided by experienced competitors in kayaking and canoeing on wild waters. At the last functioning mill in Veržej (the Babič mill) you will be served lunch known under the name “büjraška malica”, which includes regional specialties like pajani krüj, zasika, česnek and žganica. 15:00 Visit to the beekeeper The Bee’s Castle is an ecological beekeeping farm in the beautiful nature of the Goričko nature park, far away from the hustle and bustle of

everyday life. You will observe the beekeeper’s work, the life of a bee family and get to know how honey “gets” from the flower to the table. 17:00 Arrival at the Hotel Livada Prestige, Sava Hotels & Resorts 17.30 Quality time! Relax in the black thermal mineral water, known for its therapeutic effects, particularly on rheumatism and musculoskeletal system problems, as well as on general well being. 19:00 Gibanica – The Prekmurian layer cake is a peculiarity among desserts and is considered to be a Slovene national culinary specialty. It prides itself with the European label Traditional Speciality Guaranteed. Learn how to make the best one. 20:00 Dinner, Prekmurje style DAY 2: TIME TRAVEL, WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE 100 YEARS AGO? 08:00

Breakfast, Prekmurje style

09:30 Visit of one of best preserved houses in Prekmurje and a meeting with craftsmen from Prekmurje: a potter, a roofer, a pumpkin seed oil producer and a genuine ham producer from Prekmurje. 12:00 Lunch a tourist farm 14:00 Transfer to the airport Other options: Photo Safari or Golf and Goulash

80 MADE IN SLOVENIA // Slovene incentive products

Getting there The motorway to Prekmurje was built only recently. Now getting from Ljubljana to Murska Sobota is no longer an odyssey, but a hop, skip, and a jump. Accommodation Hotel Livada, Sava Hotels & Resorts

Moments of Zen

Pannonian sentiment

Quality time

Listen to the mill on the Mura river and take a look at how the best flour is produced

Must see

A stork in its nest

Must do

Indulge yourself with the delicious layer cake known as the Prekmurska gibanica

Our pick

Kodila ham production

Food and drink Tourist farms with authentic local food Gateways The Mura river connects the Slovenian region of Prekmurje and the Croatian Međimurje

KONTAKT: Natalija Bah Čad Meetings & Event Manager Toleranca Marketing d.o.o. Event & Marketing Agency Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana T: +386 1 430 51 03 M: +386 40 822 444 E:


Congresses with a view The towns Crikvenica and Selce are well known addresses amongst both fans of fantastic vacations, as well as people working in the business sector. Surrounded by beautiful nature at locations that offer an irresistible view of the sea, you will find our 4-stars hotels Omorika, Esplanade and Selce, up-and-coming meeting places for business partners. Their multi-functional halls, which can be connected to one another, can accommodate 40-337 people. The halls are equipped with LCD projectors, screens, flipchart boards, microphones and a speaker system, free WIFI access and are suitable for organizing various gatherings, seminars, meetings, presentations, and conferences. The friendly and experienced hotel staff will gladly help you organize coffee breaks, business lunches and dinners.

Hotel Omorika has 115 rooms with the most beautiful view of the island of Krk and the Kvarner Bay, a restaurant that accommodate up to 500 people and a terrace that seats a hundred people. Hotel Katarina was renovated in 2016 and offers 152 rooms, an indoor and two outdoor swimming pools and a complete renovated wellness area. Hotel Esplanade is a newly renovated hotel, located next to the main town beach and the promenade. The hotel combines the traditional style with the modern and offers their guests a beautiful new outdoor swimming pool and wellness area. If you would like to let off some steam after your workday, you can do so in the fresh sea air, while playing at the sports facilities, located next to the hotels. Whether you play tennis with a colleague, mini-football, ping-pong, or mini-golf, the choice is yours. For those seeking adventure, there is an adrenaline park located near the hotel Omorika, and if you would just like to enjoy the view of the sea, with your favorite drink in hand, the hotels have several café bars and restaurants.

Jadran Crikvenica Hotels & Camps Bana Jelacica 16 │ Crikvenica-Croatia Tel: 00385 51 800 480 │ Fax: 00385 241 975 E-mail:

Catch me!



cOnvEnTa bEST EvEnT aWaRD 2018

The annual award for the best event in the region of “New Europe” Welcome, friends, to the Conventa Best Event award project! Every year Conventa draws attention to excellence in the meetings industry with an award for the best event in ‘new Europe’ the Meeting Star award is the oldest award of its type in the meetings industry. Since 2009 the organisers of Conventa, together with the editorial board of Kongres magazine, have been choosing and awarding the best destinations, hotels, and exhibition and convention centres. this year the winners of Meeting Star awards will also be joined for the fifth time by the winner of the best event in ‘new Europe’. this year the rules of the competition have been thoroughly revised, and the organisers have a desire that the competition will also become the leader in its field in the ‘new Europe’ region, just as Conventa has already become.

conference. this is the first regional ‘festival of Events and Live Marketing’. it is dedicated to all those involved in designing ‘experience marketing’ - marketing that triggers emotional interactions between brand names and buyers, and between ideas and congress participants. We will debate everything from the organisation of events to guerilla and sensory marketing. the deadline for registering your event is 15th July 2018, and i hope that you will respond to our invitation in great numbers. We look forward to seeing you at the next Conventa Crossover, which will take place from 30th - 31st august 2018 at Ljubljana’s Puppet theatre. Gorazd Čad Co-founder of Conventa

the intention is to award those events that are not only innovative and creative, but also effective - those that achieve, or even exceed, their long-term communication, marketing and business aims. We thoroughly analysed your wishes and requirements and in front of you is a new model of the competition for the Conventa Best award, which this year will be an integral part of the Conventa Crossover

register YoUr eVent

• eValUation criteria • the main criteria that will be used for evaluating events are:


Evaluating creativity in the approach based on the target group and originality/uniqueness of the concept of the event itself, which opens up new aspects in the organisation of events.

2. RELEVANCE how relevant the event is for the target group and what is the achievement of the target group and its involvement in the event. 3. INNOVATION Measuring innovativeness in organisation of events, content, programme design and technical support. innovations that are new in the region are taken into account.

4. EXECUTION the execution of the event from the perspectives of project management, management of personnel, partner relations with the client and logistical execution. 5. RESULTS OF THE EVENT Evalution of the results in relation to the established targets of the project and the funds invested, and evaluation of the added value (return on investment - roi). 6. EVENT COMMUNICATION What the event contributed to the long-term communciation and marketing strategy of the client and the event organisers. 7. SUSTAINABLE POLICIES

Communication and positioning the values and identity of sustainable management and actual implementation of measures at the event.


8. Legacy Evaluation of the long-term effects and benefits of all parts of the project and measuring its wider social influence. 9. Overall final impression of the event The overall impression: originality, creativity, added value.

• EVALUATION SYSTEM • Evaluation of submitted events is carried out on a three-stage basis according to a unique 80:20 model (80% of votes are contributed by the jury whilst the expert audience at the Conventa Crossover event contribute the remaining 20%). Evaluation process: Phase 1: Online selection of submitted events Pre-selection of submitted entries is carried out by an expert jury on

• INTERNATIONAL JURY • All submitted entries will be evaluated by a jury consisting of international experts from the field of event organisation. The jury will initially define a shortlist of events which will be announced on 17th August 2018. The jury consists of 12 members who participate and have equal votes in evaluating the submitted entries. Every member of the jury makes their decision individually on the basis of their expert knowledge, reputation and authority. Each member also has the right to raise objections and questions, as well as an obligation to explain the scores given when evaluating entries to receive the main award. The work of the jury is planned and monitored by a representative of the organisational board of the Conventa Best Event Award. A chairperson and vice-chairperson will be chosen from among all members of the jury, who will have the deciding vote. A deciding vote is used only in cases where the results of the jury’s votes are tied. Members of the jury are excluded from evaluation entries in which they are, or have been, personally involved, or where their companies or agencies are involved. The jury can decide not to make an award in a certain category if it decides unanimously that entries in an individual category do not meet the standards of the award. All the interim results of the evaluations of entries, the interim evaluations by individual members of the jury and the content of discussions among members of the jury are confidential. All members of the jury and the representative of the organisational board for the Conventa Best Event Award are committed to secrecy.

the basis of strict evaluation criteria, which are presented below. The jury choose up to a maximum of five events per category (five B2B and five B2C). All the shortlisted events receive a diploma. Applications should be submitted by 15th July 2018 at the latest. Phase 2: Live voting by the audience at Conventa Crossover At the Conventa Crossover conference, finalists will present their event to participants, who will evaluate each one using the Slido system. Presentations will take place in a combination of the Pecha Kucha format and video presentations. Each presentation should be a maximum of 10 minutes. Phase 3: Announcement of the winners onf the basis of votes counted The expert jury will choose the winners on the basis of the sum total of the points of the expert jury and the audience votes. The winners will be announced on the second day of the Conventa Crossover conference. Two awards will be bestowed – for the best B2B event and the best B2C event. In addition, the jury has the right to award one special recognition.

The confirmed members of the jury for 2018 are: Patrick Delaney, Soolnua Christian Mutschelchner, Vienna Convention Bureau Stefan Kozak, Creative Pro Jan-Jaap In der Maur, Masters of Moderation Ivo J. Franschitz, Enited Jose Garcia Aguarod, Eventoplus Kevin Jackson, Livecom Magazine Salvatore Sagone, Bea World Festival Ilka Dzeik, Event Roi Institute Davor Bruketa, Bruketa & Žinić&Grey Melinda Rebrek, Pirana Productions Luca Favetta, Professional Convention Management Association

• WHO CAN APPLY? • Awards are divided into two categories:


- Best Corporate Convention / B2B A meeting of a large number of individuals organised by a company or association with the aim of presenting innovations and acquaintainces. These events are usually invite-only. - Best Trade Show / B2B A trade show is a form of an exhibition of products and/or services that is aimed at members of specific industries.

- Best Incentive /B2E Motivational travel is a meeting with the purpose of motivating and rewarding employees for their past work. Exclusive travel is entirely organised and, in the majority of cases, also paid for by the company or organisation. - Best Product or Service Launch / B2B Events for launches of new products or services. A typical example is the launch of new cars. - Best Educational Event / Training / B2B Educating and training for employees in individual companies, which is intended to promote the development of human resources.


- Best Association Conference, Congress / B2C An interactive meeting for the expert public intended for debates, the exchange of opinions, searching for solutions and consultations. It can take place on a continual basis annually/biennially. - Best Sports Event / B2C Sports events that are organised by individual sports associations or private companies and which mainly include amateur participants and the wider public. - Best Music Event / B2C Musical entertainment events such as concerts, musicals, music festivals. - Best Cultural Event / B2C A public cultural event which includes one of the fields of art and which requires complex prepration and organisation. - Best Non-profit Event / B2C Events for non-government and non-profit organisations. - Best Festivals / B2C Multi-day events which enable an insight into achievements in particular professional or entertainment fields.

• PARTICIPANT FEES • The fee for registering one entry to the competition is the same as the registration fee for the Conventa Crossover 2018 conference: EUR 250 (+VAT). This includes a registration fee for one person for both days of the event. The winners will receive: –– Registration fee for one person for participation at Conventa Crossover 2019 –– The right to use the ‘Best Event Award’ symbol –– Conventa Best Event Award statuettev



Q: Can multiple events be entered into the competition? Individual organisations or agencies can submit an unlimited number of applications in individual categories. The fee for each entry is EUR 250. Q: From which countries can entries be submitted? Applications are open to all event organisers in the region of ‘New Europe’ (Central and Eastern Europe). Q: For which time period can events be registered? Events that were organised in the period from 1st January 2017 up to the deadline for the submission of applications of 15th July 2018. Q: Is the recipient of the award the agency or the client? In individual categories, in addition to the client, the agency i.e. the executor of the project, receives the award. Q: What kind of promotion do you assure? All finalists will be published for an indefinite period on the project website – Q: What does the participation fee include? The fee for the submission of entries is EUR 250 and includes participation in the process of evaluation by the international jury, and 2-day attendance of the Conventa Crossover conference on 30th and 31st August 2018 in Ljubljana’s Puppet Theatre. Q: Who will evaluate the entries? An international jury consisting of well-known experts in the field of event organising contributes 80% of the votes whilst the remaining 20% are provided by participants of the Conventa Crossover conference. Q: What are the evaluation criteria? The evaluation criteria can be found on the website Each criterium is evaluated on a scale from 1 to 10. The sum total of the jury’s nine evaluations contributes 80% of the final result, whilst the sum total of the evaluations of the participants of the Conventa Crossover conference accounts for the remaining 20%. Q: What does the 80:20 model mean? Evaluation of submitted events is carried out on a three-stage basis according to a unique 80:20 model (80% of votes are contributed by the jury whilst the expert public at the Conventa Crossover event contribute the remaining 20%). Q: How does the process of evaluation take place by the public? Evaluation will take place live via the Slido application through a moderated evaluation at the end of each presentation by finalists. Q: Where will the awards ceremony be held? The award will be presented as part of the jubilee Conventa Crossover conference which will take place on 30th and 31st August in Ljubljana.


• REGISTRATIONS • All events that have been concluded up to the deadline of 15th July 2018 may be entered into the competition (from 1st January 2017 – 15th July 2018) Title of the project Country Website About the project Logo Video (a short video of up to 3 minutes) Pictures (up to 15 pictures)

• SUPPORTING MATERIALS • Add supporting materials that can be used to present your entry on the website, ceremony, Vector logo Pictures (high resolution) Please include up to 20 high resolution pictures. Video Social media Address

vvTehnical requirements – photographs: Minimal resolution: 1920x1080 px / 300 dpi Format: jpeg Technical requirements – video: Minimal resolution: 1920x1080 px / 720 p Format: mp4 Hosting: YouTube, Vimeo or own website / Max. length: 6 minutes

Description of the achievement of key criteria (for each field a maximum of 1,000 characters with spaces/160 words) 1. Creativity 2. Relevance 3. Innovation 4. Execution 5. Results of the event 6. Event communication 7. Sustainable policies 8. Legacy

• WHAT DOES THE AWARD BRING • 1. The Conventa Best Event Award is a stage on which the best events are presented - those which were also confirmed by an independent jury, and where companies are able to compare their work with others. 2. After the competition, you will receive the results of the evaluation, which will enable you to further improve and upgrade the event, since the basic mission of the project is the exchange of good practice and knowledge. 3. All submitted entries will be promoted extensively via all Conventa’s communication channels and through Kongres magazine, which, based on reach, is at the top of Europe’s professional media.

4. All finalists will be listed on the micro-portal of the Conventa Best

Event Award, which is becoming a reference point of quality projects and a ‘manual’ of examples of good practice in the field of event organising.

5. Registration for the event includes a fee for participation at the Conventa Crossover conference, which is the most important annual festival of event organisers in the region, and which will be marked by a diverse and quality programme.






88 CONVENTA 2019


Explore new europe and meet new partners to create great events Natalija Bah Čad //

Conventa archives, Jani Ugrin

Ljubljana is hosting the 11th edition of Conventa Experience, from 23 -24 January 2019. The new decade of Conventa story will keep on offering a unique experience followed by the post-fam trips to the most interesting venues and destinations in the region of New Europe. Conventa has been connecting the meetings industry of “New Europe” and wider for 10 successive years. In this time it has welcomed 2,286 hosted buyers from 48 countries and 1,192 exhibitors from 17 countries from the South-East Europe and beyond. Numerous professionals from the meetings and events industry have added Conventa to their annual calendar and describe it as an unmissable event for the profession. According to the results of a survey carried out among hosted buyers and exhibitors, the 10th jubilee Conventa has been written into congress history in terms of the number of international hosted buyers (185) and the best results from the satisfaction survey. Conventa’s hosting city of Ljubljana was a Green European Capital in 2016. Conventa as well is following the sustainable standards. The unique set-up of wooden elements has become, beside the cup of coffee and an apple, the most recognazible symbol of Conventa. WHY WOULD YOU APPLY FOR A HOSTED BUYER STATUS? Because Conventa is: ▪▪ BOUTIQUE – small in size and big in quality and hospitality ▪▪ REGIONAL – presenting venues, DMC’s, CVB’s from the region of New Europe ▪▪ (Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine) ▪▪ PROFESSIONAL – organised by professionals for professionals for the 11th year in a row ▪▪ FRIENDLY – networking and relaxed atmosphere helping providers and clients to become business partners ▪▪ HANDS-ON – unique opportunity to personally experience the region

More information on Terms, conditions and application can be found at WHY WOULD YOU JOIN CONVENTA AS EXHIBITOR? Because Conventa is: ▪▪ REGIONAL – presenting venues, DMC’s, CVB’s from the region of New Europe ▪▪ (Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine) ▪▪ PERSONAL - personal approach with hand-shake is still the best way to establish loyal and trustful relationship with potential clients ▪▪ PROFESSIONAL – organised by professionals for professionals for the 11th year in a row. Using the very strict criteria only those who have a serious interest in the region and a real purchasing power are confirmed as hosted buyers ▪▪ FRIENDLY – networking and relaxed atmosphere helping providers and clients to become business partners As Conventa exhibitor you will be a part of all year-round promotional activities. The promotion is based on the constantly growing database of potential invited guests and tools such as Conventa website, newsletters, social networks and Kongres magazine. As a boutique trade show Conventa can accept no more than 130 exhibitors. More information on packages, prices and registration can be found at Deadline for the Early fee expires on 15 June 2018, so make sure to book your table. The 11th Conventa trade show will take place from 23-24 January 2019 in Ljubljana. More information about the event can be found on

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90 CONVENTA 2019

Why has Conventa become the most important event in the region for meeting planners? Natalija Bah Čad //

Conventa archives, Jani Ugrin

1. The first and the biggest specialised event in ‚New‘ Europe Conventa was the first event of its type in ‚New‘ Europe, and is also the first event that takes places at the start of the year. Many industry experts have added Conventa to their calendars and describe it as the “unmissible event of the year“. 2. A record number of invited guests From its very beginning the convention hosted 2,286 guests from 48 countries. Event organisers trust Conventa, therefore some of the biggest names in industry are among the exhibitors, such as Renault, Michelin, Citroen, MCI, Kenes, American Express Travel, European Society of Cardiology, Maritz, Marbet, VokDams, Alcatel ... 3. A high percentage of new customers every year Eighty percent of customers are new to the event every year. Conventa is the only trade show in the world with such a high share. This enables our partners to build their own customer base and work intensively on their own marketing. 4. Exhibitors from 18 countries in the region The number of countries participating in Conventa has doubled in recent years. In total, 1,192 exhibitors have taken part, among them a very high share (91%) have become permanent partners. 5. Effectiveness of business meetings In 10 years, exhibitors and invited guests have held 29,150 meetings, which have undoubtedly brought new business links and concrete sales results. On average, exhibitors hold 25 meetings, the quality of which they rate with a high average of 4.59 (out of 5). 6. Conventa has sustainability at its core Every year Conventa strives to reduce negative effects on the environment and in the organisation of the event takes into consideration various sustainability practices. The event is known for the sustainability of its stands which are constructed every year from more than 3,200 wooden crates. We have received an IBTM award for our sustainable efforts.

7. Conventa broadens horizons We are very pleased to be able to boast that the majority of educational content at Conventa is free for participants. Last year we began with professional education when, for the first time, we organised the Conventa Crossover Conference on the theme of the future of MICE and tourist marketing. 8. We reward the best Since its inception, the Meetings Star Award has become known among the circle of event organisers and in the profession as one of the few that is awarded on the basis of established standards and criteria. The awards are conferred by Kongres magazine and Conventa for the best congress destinations, hotels, congress centres and events in New Europe. 9. Conventa uncovers new destinations Emerging congress destinations in ‘New’ Europe complement Conventa. Stunning nature, rich cultural and historic heritage, excellent transport infrastructure and affordability, numerous new congress centres, hotels, and creativity, are putting ‘New’ Europe among the newest and most desirable congress destinations. 10. Measurable satisfaction Year-after-year we fulfill our promises to invited guests and exhibitors to the only trade show where both sides are treated equally, and feedback from them testifies to its success. From the results of surveys a high share of exhibitors, 88.9%, confirmed that investing in Conventa pays off. They rated the event with an average score of 4.52. Conventa remains a focal point for organisers of business events in the region of South East Europe. In addition to exchanging knowledge and experience, it also places emphasis on networking and making new business contacts.

Would you like to try the new Conventa experience? Come and celebrate with us in Ljubljana from 23-24 January 2019

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92 CONVENTA 2019

Conventa is changing the world of events Natalija Bah Čad

In the past 10 years, through innovation and a desire for change, Conventa has recorded remarkable achievements, bringing to the region 2,586 event organisers from 48 countries and 1,317 exhibitors from 18 countries. Among them, over 32,000 business meetings have taken place.

ment, which contributes to a dynamic balance between man and nature. We developed our own handbook for implementation and addressed areas where the potential for reducing harmful effects is the greatest. In doing so we are following the 4R concept (rethinking, reducing, reusing, and recycling).

For over a decade Conventa has been exceeding the boundaries of conventional business events and is regarded as one of the most innovative events in the meetings industry.

THE CONCEPT OF ‚NEW‘ EUROPE The organisers of Conventa believe in new, different, charming, and as yet undiscovered congress destinations. For this reason, Conventa was the first show on the international market that began promoting countries in southeast, central and eastern Europe, which we classify as ‚New‘ Europe. For us, ‚New‘ Europe is connected with the basic professional values of the congress industry - youth, energy and creativity – such principles are also those of the destinations which are promoted at Conventa.

Below, we have selected ten of the most notable innovations. THE 80/20 MODEL Conventa is the only show in the world that has pledged that every year a minimum of 80% of the guests invited – event organisers – will be new. By turning this model into concrete numbers, to-date 2,172 new and 414 regular customers have been brought to Conventa. Such a demanding and innovative customer-oriented model is not currently used at any events in the world. EQUALITY From the outset Conventa has operated on the basis of the equal treatment of providers and buyers. All social events are open to everyone, since the organisers believe in the transparency of relationships, without the need for privatised events, receptions and agreements that are hidden from the public. Conventa‘s organisers also believe in equal rights among exhibitors, who are able to hire stalls that are equipped for work according to the principle ‚Come, Meet, Win‘. STALLS FROM WOODEN CRATES Over the years, stalls made from wooden crates have become a trademark of Conventa. They are produced using exclusively Slovenian wood, thus emphasising the meaning of ‚local‘. In addition to the sustainability of the components, the wooden crates also contribute to a good feeling among attendees and a special homely atmosphere at the event. Conventa received an award for this innovation at the IBTM show in Barcelona in 2013. SUSTAINABLE ORGANISATION OF THE SHOW From the very first day, the organisers of Conventa have been motivated and committed to the principles of sustainable develop-

A HOLISTIC EXPERIENCE The Conventa approach is a unique formula for the synergy of experiences which we have named ‚The Conventa Experience‘. Over 98% of our partners agree that they attend Conventa due to positive experiences in the past. From the outset, Conventa has been packaged and defined using the 6 Es formula (Experience, Engagement, Education, Emotions, Energy, Entertainment). This places an emphasis on experiencing the event with all the senses, which, these days, has become a world trend among organisers of the most demanding events. CONVENTA CROSSOVER The younger brother of Conventa is the Crossover conference. The organisers of Conventa sensed the need for a different, open, and lively format for an educational-experiental event that will be engraved into the memory of the up-and-coming generation of congress organisers. The Conventa Crossover is the first event of its kind that is dedicated to tourism marketing, and which focuses on Europe in the areas of content, social, digital and experiental marketing. The previous two successful Conventa Crossovers had a far-reaching influence in international congress circles. THE CONVENTA TREND BAR The congress industry is yearning for a revolution in meetings, otherwise future generations will see today‘s events replaced by virtual reality and even a virtual future. That is why the Conventa

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organisers introduced an entirely new format of events, where people can meet in a relaxed atmosphere in an area designed as a spacious (and homely) living room. Following such meetings in Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana, these innovative, informal, networking events will also continue in 2018. AN INVITATION FOR COFFEE Conventa strives to achieve its goals of hosting meetings in a place that surprises and inspires, whilst simultaneously offering a feeling of homeliness and warmth. An invitation for coffee is a symbol of hospitality that is extended to all event participants. Conventa is not only a place for business meetings, it also becomes a pleasant living room where participants can behave as they would at home. This concept is today being used by many of the largest congress shows in the world.

INNOVATIVE ROI MEASUREMENTS From its inception, the organisers of Conventa were aware of the need to ensure effective measurement of its results and added value. Therefore, high standards are continuously introduced, whilst results are measured in real-time using the innovative V-tablet system – the first in the world. Results can be compared throughout the year, thus constant improvements in the event are a reality. AHEAD OF ITS TIME! The fact that Conventa is on-trend is proven by numerous copies of the event, as well as the generic use of the name Conventa. Four years after the introduction of Conventa, the Convene event began, which, in a similar vein, connects the Baltic States, whilst in Graz there is the Conventa events agency, and the Conventa PCO agency operates in Croatia. We are most proud of the numerous events that are organised on the basis of our principles and innovations.


icca aSSOciaTiOn MEETingS PROgRaMME (aMP) aJda BoraK //


Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is hosting the 2018 iCCa association Meetings Programme (aMP) from 9-11 July. the association Meetings Programme is designed to informally network with iCCa Members and association Executives to share the knowledge and information and the top faculty of experts about bidding, designing, organising and promoting int’l association meetings. iCCa - the international Congress and Convention association represents the world’s leading suppliers in handling, transporting

and accommodating international meetings and events, and now comprises 1,100 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide. iCCa members represent the top destinations worldwide, and the most experienced specialist suppliers. Since the establishment over 50 years ago, the iCCa network became a reliable source of information for international meeting planners for all event objectives: venue selection, technical advice, assistance with delegate transportation, full convention planning or ad hoc services.


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Editor in ChiEf Gorazd Čad aSSiStant Editor Jasmina Jerant

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dESiGn Jurka Mihelin dtP and PrEPrESS Jurka Mihelin ProofrEadinG adele Gray Photo CrEdit archive of Kongres Magazine and partners’ destinations the Kongres Magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. MaGazinE iSSUEd in January, March, May, July, September, november iSSn nUMBEr 1855-8615 PUBLiShEr, ProdUCtion and MarKEtinG toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, Si-1000 Ljubljana t: +385 (0)1 430 51 03 E: iSSUE datE May 2018 For the content production it is required to get the written editorial consignment.

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