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KONGRES MAGAZINE SPECIAL ISSUE MEETOLOGUES 2013

Conventa Have a cup of coffee with us MEETING PLANNERS’ GUIDE TO SOUTH-EAST EUROPE

ISSN 1 8 5 5 - 8 6 1 5

9 771855 861009

www.kongres-magazine.eu SPECIAL ISSUE // MEETOLOGUES 2013 // MAY 2013


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th SoUtH eASt eURoPeAN eXHiBitioN foR MeetiNGS, eveNtS & iNceNtive tRAveL

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explore the emerging destinations of South east europe over a cup of coffee.

22 - 23 JANUARY 2014, Ljubljana—Slovenia


Use it! Kongres Magazine is far from being just a magazine. It is the only provider of integrated congress marketing communications, with which you can make effective dialogue with congress customers. Because we know what congress customers really need and how to ensure their long-term loyalty, we can make above-average, high-quality, relevant, independent, in-depth and interesting congress stories. In 2013 they will dedicate to you and your customers even more.

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SPRING ISSUE March 2013

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DISTURB READING MAGAZINE

HUMAN issue: we are going to shed light on new needs and changes in the habits of congress participants, which will affect the future of the industry.

SPECIAL ISSUE May 2013 KONGRES MEETOLOGUE

SUMMER ISSUE July 2013 EXPERIENCE issue: The central theme is going to be all aspects of experiential marketing with a focus on ways to involve event participants in experiencing brands.

FALL ISSUE September 2013 EMOTIONAL issue: The success of events depends on the emotional transaction between participants and organisers. Only if the meetings industry finds a way to address the emotional side of participants, it will be successful.

WINTER ISSUE November 2013 COLLABORATIVE issue: What will social networks of the future be like and how they will affect the meetings industry, what will be innovations and what the future of the industry, all is going to be disclosed in the last issue of 2013.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST EUROPE MEETINGS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE www.kongres-magazine.eu


Our selection Page 8 CONVENTA EXPERIENCE New edition 2014 Page 12 MEETINGS STAR WINNERS 2013 FRESH MEETOLOGUES Page 46 Hvar Page 74 Novi Sad Page 84 Podčetrtek Page 54 Šibenik Page 56 Umag Page 58 Zadar Page 100 HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST - Melia Coral Umag - Hotel Spirit, Sarvar - Hotel Larix, Kranjska gora - Hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace, Trieste Page 110 VOICE FROM THE TOP Daniel Marušić Snežana Vejnović KONGRES TOP 10 Page 104 HOT 10 Affordable Meetings Destinatons Page 106 HOT 10 Sport Incentive Hotels Page 108 HOT 10 BIG Convention Centres Page 109 HOT 10 Small Convention Centres

CONTRIBUTORS Rok KLANČNIK Although Rok is no longer among us, he remains with us through a number of travelogues in which with his characteristic love of the SE Europe region he presents its colours, tastes and aromas. Rok prepared the travelogues in 2011, but even today, they are fresh, striking and written with amazing creativity. Gorazd ČAD Editor of the magazine and by profession a geographer and historian. He united his professional education and love of discovering new, lesser-known convention destinations with a love and passion for the meeting industry. In Meetologues he will try to share his enthusiasm with the readers. Natalija BAH ČAD An unforgettable member of the travelogue editorial board, who at each destination adds her icing on the cake. 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 taking care of the tiny little things that make the big events. Polona SIMŠIČ The knowledge and experience accumulated in organising advertising festivals and conferences was successfully transferred to the meeting industry, where she tells stories about the Conventa project and takes care that they are always up to date and fresh..

Robert COTTER Alongside his work for Kongres, Rob is a regular contributor to MPI’s One+ magazine as well as MICENET Asia and MICE Japan. He attends international MICE events to seek out best practice and share this with the international meetings community. Mystery SHOPPER A professional person with a minimum 15 years of international experience in the organisation of congresses, as well as knowledge of hotel and hospitality management. In addition, our examiners have verified references in the field of quality assurance of their own work in the field of the meeting industry, which provides an unbiased view. Our hidden guests are objective, fair, accurate and reliable, well-organised and pay attention to details.

kongres magazine is media partner of

@kongresmagazine

G www.facebook.com/kongres.magazine Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Assistant to the Editor in Chief Danaja Besnard Editor of Croatia Addendum Daniela Kos Editor of Kongres Telescope Robert Cotter Editorial Board Renata Balažic, Gorazd Čad, Anuša Gaši, Miha Kovačič, Viljam Kvalić, Srečo Peterlič, Tatjana Radovič, Maja Vidergar Design Nenad Cizl dtp and prepress Premedia, Andrej Juvan Translation Danaja Besnard Printing Grafični studio K, Ljubljana Circulation 6000 copies ISSN Number 1855-8615 The Kongres magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. Magazine issued in January; March; May; July; September; November Publisher, Production and Marketing Toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, t: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 f: +386 (0)1 430 51 04 e: kongres@go-mice.eu Issue date May 2013 For the content reproduction it is required to get the written editorial consigment.

Official magazine of the Slovenian Convention Bureau Member of


Editorial

FRESH CONVENTION DESTINATIONS OF THE NEW EUROPE Editorial board, Kongres magazine

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hat do Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro all have in common? They are all countries that can be geographically located in SE Europe. The definition of regions often appears controversial; so it is with south-eastern Europe, which occupies most of the Balkan Peninsula. To popular and current politics, the Balkans often has a negative connotation. Judging by political and economic news, it would be hard to find another part of Europe to which the FB status ‘complicated’ applies. An economically undeveloped area, the core of the crisis, inter-ethnic tensions… but what of an area which by demographic composition is the most diverse in Europe? As well as the most energetic, colourful, temperamental and in its own special way honest? A creative heart of Europe? We have travelled it lengthwise and crosswise, and in a special edition, which you have here in front of you, we present to you first hand the most exciting convention destinations.

has great potential, with what is at the very essence of congress events - amazing hospitality. That is why the meeting industry here is developing at an unbelievable speed. Visiting and organising an event here is widely considered to be a particularly memorable experience. This year we have expanded our preparation of Meetologue to Central Europe, which in addition to the more famous locations also offers lots of hidden surprises. Our Meetologue is going to become an special annual edition of the magazine, which will replace the destinations directory with quality content and a fair assessment of destinations. With this project we want to increase the visibility of emerging convention destinations and create awareness of varied and high-quality destinations outside traditional destinations to the European and global meeting industry. You can also get to know everything that we are writing about at the Conventa 2014 trade show, to which you are of course already cordially invited today!

This untamed region is the freshest and least discovered European convention zone. When you take the time to dig deep into its essence, you will learn that it

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HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE WITH US!


Kongres meetologue

Colours, sounds and fragrances of the meetings industry in south-east europe

Text by Rok Klančnik

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or each important event in South-East Europe – be it a birth, a wedding, a holiday...people would eat, drink, dance to different rhythms and rejoice. Each congress or incentive meeting in Central and SE Europe repeats this ritual and becomes a modern holiday. Europe is thrilled to welcome a new region of congress and business tourism with all its colours, sounds and fragrances. The participants and critics of the international meetings industry have expressed childlike joy over the entry of a new, colourful, fragrant region to the market. Working in MICE can be tough, market conditions are demanding, traditional convention and incentive destinations don’t like to share their profit and their business. Yet still – the organizers and clients wish for something new. They would like – for the same or lower price – to see the yet unseen places, taste un-tasted foods, unknown wines, hear unintelligible languages and experience undiscovered experiences. Luckily, Central and South-East Europe offers this and much more. SE Europe is a region at the crossroads of Europe. This are countries history bestowed with many experience, some bitter, some joyful. After the political cards were shuffled some twenty years ago, these countries had to and wanted to create a new image in their international relations, restructure their national economies and open up to the world, to foreign investments and foreign knowledge. Today, most of this work is done. Foreign knowledge is still streaming into SE Europe, but it is about time this region offers the best it has to the meetings industry market. Not just (new or renovated) hotels and other infrastructure, which is no longer missing. SE Europe can try to “cheat” or look for shortcuts in its development. We can learn from the experience of Slovenia, which prove good infrastructure and fair prices aren’t always enough to attract the world market. Far from it. This is why the data on convention facilities is usually accompanied by pictures of breathtaking natural beauty, culinary secrets, cultural gems, tied to the languages, religions, scripts, which can be summed up in just four words: extremely rich cultural heritage. The region certainly needed influences. They were easiest to find in our northern neighbours, which mostly influenced the countries they

were closest to. Luckily, regions like Furlanija Julijska krajina (Friuli–Venezia Giulia), Koroška (Carinthia) and Austrian Štajerska (Styria) are nearby. Since Slovenia, the most northern part of SE Europe and at the same time a part of Central Europe – depending on the context – was luckily not a part of the political conflict during the nineties; it developed its economy much faster than the other states. Its development was pretty swift since it made up for 60 percent of the markets it lost in SE markets, with markets in the West in just two years. The economic development enabled the formation of new knowledge, which the state, celebrating its 20th birthday in 2011, or better yet the experts from the meetings industry are now investing to the South and East. The region has been aware of the three P’s since the beginning, not only as a public-private partnership, but as a kind of a new mantra: people, planet, profit. This is why protecting the cultural heritage and sharing it with partners has long been a part of a rounded tourist offer. The goal of the ever growing meetings industry in sunny SE Europe is not mass tourism, but building a well rounded offer, developed with nature, local culture, social responsibility and cooperation with existing and potential business partners in mind. Even though the region offers numerous pleasant secrets, waiting to be discovered, the foundations of economic cooperation are clear: They are set by the European Union. There is no use wasting breath on politics. This public activity, we sadly cannot do without, has seeded discord and disagreement into this region far too often. That’s why we try to avoid it. So we focus on sounds, colours and fragrances surrounding the infrastructure of an emerging meetings industry in SE Europe, which are distinctive, multilayer, pleasant, unusual. We cannot put it all in the same pot and speak of a culture of the region – we are faced with a rich cultural mosaic, undoubtedly the riches on the continent. This isn’t unusual. The region has developed its culture through the centuries. Despite the predominant Slavic culture we can enjoy dishes shaped by the centuries of influence of Ottoman, Alp, Pannonian, Mediterranean cuisine; poetry containing stories of hill-folk or metropolis tribes... Actually, ten smaller often 7

overlooked nations, each adding their treasure to the treasure chest. Once, rigid religious rules, today an opportunity for celebration discovering unknown colours, fragrances, sounds, dances. There is no predominant language in the region, since more than a dozen are spoken, so nobody gets upset if the “lingua franca” at meetings and after them is English. Oh, is there anything easier than an evening at one of the fancier (zen, fusion, or whatever’s modern) restaurants in Sarajevo, Sofia or Podogrica, to relax with a glass of mojito, followed by salmon and asparagus dressed in prosciutto, then wake up to a tall cup of latte macchiato? The region as any other is following the rules of globalisation. Yet, it’s aware of the importance and the beauty of local traditions and cultural patterns, which are an echo of the gifts of nature. The region is incredibly rich since its northern area begins at the Eastern end of the Alps, slowly dropping into one of the largest flat lands in Europe – the Pannonia plain. To make the geography a bit more interesting, the plain soon rises into the Carpathians. The western borders of SE Europe are warm shores of the Adriatic. Its waves then hit the Dinarides, after that the landscape varies across the central Balkan peninsula. The Karst world turns into the dance of numerous river valleys, lake basins and in between fields, which used to and still grow cotton, tobacco and in Bulgaria – hectares of fragrant Roses. This region has always been abundant with fruits, vegetables and wood, which it never gave away for free. People had to work hard for their harvest through the centuries, which remains in their blood until today. Today, this people are – business partners. They enter the European market of business, congress tourism with a lot of zeal and a desire to work and learn. They know what becoming a destination means for a place, so they eagerly cooperate in the business process. The market needs to recognize their effort and the rewords will be mutual. Welcome to South-East Europe!


Conventa Experience

CONVENTA 2014 EDITION Interview with Miha Kovačič, exhibition director

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WHAT HAVE BEEN THE RESULTS OF FIVE YEARS DEVELOPMENT OF CONVENTA? Five years developing the Conventa tradeshow has brought interesting results. The idea of the setup of the meetings show for the region of South East Europe was to present this undiscovered region to the European meetings market. Countries of the region had, and have, similar challenges. A joint show has enabled us to find synergies and to present the region to the international meetings market. After five years we are realising that Conventa is a trademark and it is more than just a show. It represents South East Europe. This is a huge responsibility for the organiser. The focus of the show is to provide clients and exhibitors the best possible business environment in order to establish personal contacts, conduct business discussions, network and to offer professional development. So far it has hosted over 900 meeting professionals from over 30 countries. We are honored that Conventa delivers that and receives the highest possible praise for how it carries out the show. WHY AND HOW HAS CONVENTA BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? Conventa tradeshow is not a regular show. It is a marketing event of the South East Europe region. The Slovenian Convention Bureau is the organiser and Go.Mice the technical organiser. In addition there is the whole Ljubljana supply chain that is part of the organisation, plus regional and international partners. There is also a group of regional, national and international media partners. All these partners aim for the show to be a success. WHAT ARE THE AIMS FOR CONVENTA OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? Conventa will develop further in the next five years and become an even better show offering the best opportunity to experience South East Europe. We are thoroughly analysing the show every year and in cooperation with our partners enhancing the quality of the show and the experience of participants. The aim of the show is not just to grow in size - the aim is primarily to grow in quality.

WHICH TRENDS HAVE YOU CONSIDERED IN PLANNING FOR THE 2014 – 2018 PERIOD? The Conventa tradeshow has a strong informational aspect, as the majority of hosted buyers haven’t experienced the region before. Their biggest aim is to meet suppliers and to experience the region. As the organiser of the show we are aware that time is the biggest asset today. The time at the show is wisely used to the maximum benefit of hosted buyers and exhibitors. While communicating with potential hosted buyers it is important to include quality content about the region and its potential in marketing campaigns. While at the show it is essential to offer a high quality professional environment and memorable experiences for participants. Personal contact between the buyer and supplier is crucial in the meetings industry. Face to face communication is still the king and it is essential to establish trust. Without trust there is no business. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CONVENTA IN FIVE WORDS? Conventa is the gateway to meetings and incentive travel of South East Europe


Conventa Experience

CONVENTA 2014 EDITION Interview with Gorazd Čad, head of marketing

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WHAT ARE THE KEY ADVANTAGES OF THE CONVENTA BUSINESS MODEL? In addition to the basic mission and development focus, Conventa has become a meeting point for the region. Meeting planners are discovering new and unfamiliar convention destinations and it supports them in their development. Above all, it is based on experience, on a personal relationship with exhibitors and invited guests. We develop a ‘boutique’ business model and solutions that are truly beneficial for both sides. The major trade shows can simply not afford this, due to economies of scale. Every year we set measurable goals and accurately track the effects of the trade show. IN YOUR OPINION WHAT MAKES CONVENTA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TRADE SHOWS? First of all, that we - the organisers - still love what we are doing and work from the heart. If you want to create something for a long time, you have to be in love with doing it, and sometimes even a little crazy. We have our own formula for success, followed from the outset on a mutual business relationship with partners beyond a mere buyer-seller relationship, which is typical of the major trade shows. HOW WOULD YOU PRESENT THE CONVENTA BRAND IN SHORT? Conventa is simple, heart felt, warm and attractive. Our brand invites you to a personal meeting for coffee, and this sums up the essence and atmosphere of the project - hospitality. Through the brand we are trying to convince congress organisers what the DNA of the region in which we operate is like. We are trying to understand the context of the region and to facilitate for meeting planners the agony of choosing destinations on the principle of the best in one place. WHAT’S COMING UP IN THE AREA OF COMMUNICATION OF THE PROJECT? We will be maximising the involvement of all partners in the communication processes. This is becoming hybrid and dominantly digital. We will do our best to listen to our partners.

Communication objectives will be achieved by a comprehensive use of digital and related contextual marketing. Conventa will continue to tell great congress stories. The whole communication is conceived as a channel this year, which will be directed to the concrete realisation of business. On our communication platform, all the elements of successful meetings marketing are taking place. HOW DO YOU SEE THE REGIONAL MEETINGS SCENE? WHAT IS THERE TOO MUCH OF AND WHAT TOO LITTLE? Sometimes we get too self-righteous. We have to face outwards and look for creative solutions that are at least equal to, or much better than, the competition. We are missing healthy competition, because in the region in general we were not raised in this spirit. There is room for agencies and destinations who dare. How would you describe Conventa in five words to a random partner, exhibitor, buyer? FACE-TO-FACE – FRESH - COFFEE - EXPERIENCE - EMOTION


Conventa Experience

CONVENTA 2014 EXPERIENCE - EDUCATION - EMOTIONS - ENERGY - ENTERTAINMENT photos Tadej Bernik

CONVENTA RESULTS: • Boosting your business • Establishing new partnerships and strengthening existing ones • Increasing the visibility of your company • Loving, feeling and experiencing the SEE region • Integration of the meeting industry of SEE In five years the Conventa trade show attracted 1,139 international hosted buyers from 36 countries. Using various criteria, facts checks and consultations with international partners, the Conventa organisers have always strived to select only the best and most serious hosted buyers. Conventa organisers have been aware that the success of their event is highly dependent on the quality of meetings planners and have thus focused on attaining buyers of meeting industry services with real buying power and an interest in the SE Europe region. In 2013 more than 230 hosted buyers from 26 European countries attended the fifth edition of the trade show, the largest proportions of meeting planners coming from Russia, Portugal, Germany, Austria and Italy. CONVENTA: 5 REASONS TO ATTEND: • Great value for money • Meet and network with key SEE meeting industry players • One2One meetings give you the chance to get personal •  Experience first-hand the South-East European hospitality • Building and positioning your brand with Conventa’s year-round promotion CONVENTA HOT HIGHLIGHTS • Professional approach with a personal note • Education programme like no other • Face-to-face business development with great results • Discover the undiscovered parts of SEE on Fam trips • Sustainable meetings theory seen in practice •  Connecting with technology and event solution providers • Accompanying programme loaded with great energy, entertainment and culinary delights • Stay in the loop with Conventa TV • Honouring those committed to excellence • Sharing knowledge with young professionals

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Conventa Experience

EXPERIENCE - EMOTIONS “Conventa is a top quality event to meet prime partners. The trade show lets you know the potential South East Europe has to host future meetings.” Efrain Pardo, HelmsBriscoe, Czech Republic “As a professional meeting planner I’m being continuously asked for something different, value-centred, no boring meetings with supplier-partners who are flexible and who want to do business. I firmly believe that South East Europe can provide answers to many of these needs. Go there and check it out. I know you will be more than satisfied!” Patrick Delaney, Managing Director, Ovation Global DMC “The fact that I come to the Conventa show and find all the partners in the region at the show, means I can do in an hour, maximum two days, what would take me five days or even more to do as I would have to travel among other countries in the region. So in this way I can bring the South East European countries together; all the partners are at the table and I can seal the deal in a couple of hours.” Linda Pereira, Senior Partner and CEO of the L&I Communications Group. “A well organized trade show from professional and very friendly people! A very good example of a fresh and innovative trade show.” Andreas Fleischer, Andreas Fleischer Events, Germany “This is the best trade show in the region, especially for MICE business. When I say the best, I mean the most professional one in terms of the publicity, organisation & realisation, sustainability, support provided by the organisers to the exhibitors at all times.” Stanislava Borisova, Kempinski Hotel Zografski Sofia, Bulgaria

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Meetings Star 2012


Meetings Star 2012

LJUBLJANA r Award Meetings Sta pe ro Eu SE st Be stinations meeting de

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE WORLD

L

jubljana has congresses written in its genome. Long before the emergence of the meetings industry as we know it today, in 1821 Ljubljana hosted the Congress of the Holy Alliance. The legacy of the event is the Congress Square, surrounded by famous buildings and one of the city’s icons, and after the renovation it is now also an attractive venue. At the time of the Congress of the Holy Alliance Ljubljana was chosen because of adequate accommodation facilities and its strategic location. Because of the passage through the Ljubljana basin, Ljubljana has always had a linking role between South East and Central Europe. Since then, the rural town Ljubljana developed into a modern city with metropolitan attributes, forming a rounded urban tourist destination. Its centre is still the castle hill, which is a symbolic and geographic focal point of the city. It seems that Ljubljana is embedded in rural surroundings, making it a very attractive landscape. Only a stone’s throw from the city is a completely different Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park (Barje), the green outskirts of the city can be felt on the walk on the unique PST path (Path of Remembrance and Comradeship), which interconnects various rural and urban parts of the city. The combining images of Roman Emona, the medieval city centre and Baroque and Art Nouveau elements also contribute to the attractiveness of the city. The city does not have any internationally recognisable landmarks, but is has a series of small “gems” that are sufficiently attractive and appealing for tourist development. The unique marketplace with the Plečnik arcades stands out along with the river Ljubljanica with Triple Bridges, the Dragon Bridge and the Cobblers’ Bridge. The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage and, consequently, is a social attraction. It has the attributes of a big city, while creating the impression of a small and friendly town. Recently the comprehensive urban renewal also contributed to this, with which Ljubljana acquired many new areas that are closed to traffic and are also suitable for congresses or other events. The renovated Congress Square, Trnovo harbour, the embankments of the Ljubljanica River are all excellent venues for events. The city also stresses the importance of sustainable development, which is reflected in the new low-emission buses, the introduction of charging points for electric cars and other measures such as the expansion of green areas and revitalization of industrial areas that make the city really green. The city is picturesque, attractive and friendly to congress guests. Most congress guests consider the sense of security in the city as very high. The opinion of its residents is that Ljubljana is a pleasant place to live in. Geo-strategically Ljubljana is extremely well positioned and is known as an accessible destination, but it has more and more problems with its transport accessibility. Currently, the airline connections are poor, as well as the unused railway geostrategic location. This is a shame, as it is this form of transport that is the most sustainable. The lack of regular air connections and problems of the national air carrier currently places Ljubljana 13

among the less accessible meetings destinations. Competition in the region is currently much more active and ambitious. The main traffic artery remains the Slovenian motorway network. Otherwise Ljubljana is among the smaller towns, where most of tourist attractions are within walking distance. Parking problems have recently been eased with the emergence of a new parking garage and a changed traffic regime. Especially commendable is the bicycle rentals and a system of landscaped bike lanes in Ljubljana. Tourism in Ljubljana is formally and effectively positioned as a key economic activity and a generator of development. An organised destination management through Ljubljana Tourism plays an important role here. Ljubljana thus functions as a developed tourist destination, generating 13.1 percent of arrivals in Slovenia with the majority business motive of the arrival. Among lots of bars and pubs in the city centre some of them are also marked with a symbol of Ljubljana Quality as a guarantee of quality. Much has improved in this area in recent years and only those most tourist restaurants should be avoided. Also, the number of international cuisines that can be found in Ljubljana has increased and Ljubljana is now increasingly comparable with the developed world. Nightlife of the capital is not particularly attractive but Ljubljana is becoming a true regional shopping Mecca with a huge shopping centre on the outskirts of the city. Especially attractive is the recreational offer with a number of sports facilities and a high recreational culture of inhabitants of Ljubljana. Ljubljana is increasingly recognised as a base for exploring other attractions of Slovenia. Ljubljana is the most important congress destination in Slovenia, where most of the meetings take place because of the appropriate meeting infrastructure and its accessibility. Congress market in Ljubljana on the supply side consists of the Convention Bureau at Ljubljana Tourism and other congress and incentive providers. Congress buyers see Ljubljana, as a capital suitable for small to medium-sized meetings, positioned in the South-Eastern of Eastern Europe. Among capitals of the newly accessioned EU countries (EU10), Ljubljana ranks at the tail of ICCA rankings. Compared to Eastern European destinations, Ljubljana in the time period to 2008 recorded good results, while in the time period from 2008 onwards it has been falling, as opposed to the share of destinations with a larger increase. According to congress providers in Ljubljana, the congress capital has competitive advantage in factors outside the congress activities (entertainment, sightseeing, sports activities, professional opportunities), conference facilities and location (climate, environment, infrastructure, hospitality). In assessing individual factors, Ljubljana achieves the best results in terms of the attractiveness of the surroundings, security, the culinary offer of the destination, the hospitality of the local population and opportunities for non-congress activities. Poorer assessment merit factors of service quality, accessibility and image or experience. The main advantages of Ljubljana are certainly the two top conference centres –Cankarjev dom and the Ljubljana


Meetings Star 2012

Exhibition and Conference Centre (GR). After numerous renovations both are in excellent condition and suitable for the most demanding conference guests. Even in the area of hotels, Ljubljana does not lag behind, and as the largest hotelier in Ljubljana, the Grand Hotel Union has one of the finest congress halls in the region. In addition, Ljubljana also has 9 hotels with conference facilities, 3 providers of other conference facilities and 10 special venues. Well developed is also the agency offer with three active PCO agencies, 4 DMC agencies, 8 event organising agencies and 4 catering providers. After the above written, Ljubljana is a mature convention destination that meets most of the requirements to become a truly “Cool Capital for Great Meetings� as stated in the slogan of the congress destination Ljubljana. Ljubljana has comparative advantages and the experience necessary to occupy a better position in the market of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe in particular. Analysis of the relevance and effectiveness of competitiveness factors of the convention destination, Ljubljana reveals that the location factor, conference facilities and outside congress activities, are assessed as successful and are at the same time important for the competitiveness of the destination. Ljubljana less successfully meets the criteria of accessibility, quality of service, information or image, local support, accommodation facilities, which are all rated as very important factors of competitiveness. Given that it is precisely these criteria that play an extremely important role in choosing the destination and hence its positioning on the international market, they should be given more attention in the future.

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4. 44

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.4

These are rated highly since Ljubljana is an ap- pealing and attractive tourist destination with a developed infrastructure and cultural offer as well as high experiential value. The focus of this is the Ljubljana castle and the medieval town. Given the size of the city, it has an exceptional cultural and historical diversity with over 15 museums, 41 galleries, 10 theatres and experi- entially diverse and varied natural hinterland. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.1

Through history the city has expanded organi- cally and, consequently, the overall proportion of infrastructure and transport is solidly regu- lated. Among the major shortcomings are still the bad airline availability, the unused railway

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Meetings Star 2012

infrastructure and poorly controlled station- ary traffic. The city is extremely safe and in the region one of the most sustainably-oriented. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.4

In the past the tourist offer developed around business tourists, so in Ljubljana hotels are missing a truly superior luxury hotel and recognisable international hotel chains. In the range from 2 to 4 stars, the offer is wide and attractive enough. The restaurant offer is solid, especially in Ljubljana there are many green spaces that offer plenty of opportunities for sports and recreational activities and incentive programmes. D. Congress infrastructure

4.7

Most of investments in the tourism sector in recent years were aimed at improving the congress infrastructure. With two top-level convention centres and a very well developed hotel meetings offer, Ljubljana is the region’s leading congress destination. Also positive is the operation of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau. Among weaknesses we could count fluctuations in the quality of service and lack of hotels availability in the largest peak times. E. Subjective grade

4.4

Mostly Ljubljana makes a good first impression, which is partially due to the consequence of the burden with ‘”apriority” conceptions in the light of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Instead they find a congress destination which is friendly and favourable to the meetings industry while competitive in terms of price and quality at the same time. Among all regional capitals it also has a very good image that has also been strength- ened thanks to the Conventa Trade Show. Comparison with the region: According to its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.500 participants). It is positioned side by side with the new EU member states and geographically in the region of the Western Balkans. Thus, according to congress stakeholders in Ljubljana the most competitive destinations are Zagreb, Belgrade, Prague and Budapest. Compared to the newer EU capitals and countries of South East Europe, Ljubljana is ranked in the second half. It is preceded by Budapest and Vilnius, and we should also highlight the rapid growth of Belgrade. While most countries and cities in Europe, including New York, recorded a minimal decrease in the number of congresses, the cities in our immediate vicinity, mainly from South East Europe, recorded a fall on a smaller scale or record growth. At the end of last year in order to give Ljubljana a new sales and promotional momentum, a partnership called Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (LSBT), was established; it is composed of interested partners from both the private and public area. 15

Cool meetings: “Pražen krompir” on oil and onions are world famous and a very popular potato supplement with us, without which no Sunday lunch in Ljubljana and suburban restaurants passes. With a little luck and knowledge you will eat the best one in the world. The number of versions is similarly endless as with risotto and is depending on the imagination.

BEST LJUBLJANA’S MEETING HALLS for over 250 participants in plenary set up according to the editorship of Kongres Magazine are: 1. GRAND UNION HALL, Grand Hotel Union 800 seats, one of the most beautiful and elegant congress halls in the region in the Art Nouveau style from1905 2. GALLUS HALL, Cankarjev dom 1545 seats, largest hall of Cankarjev dom is tech- nically best equipped and suitable for the most demanding events. 3. PALACIJ HALL, Ljubljana Castle 270 seats, medieval structure, converted into a modern hall for receptions and various types of Banquet 4. ‘MARMORNA’ HALL, Gospodarsko razstavišče 1400 seats, Modernist Hall of exceptional spa- ciousness and flexibility suitable for a variety of events 5. ‘KATEDRALA’ HALL, Kino Šiška 450 seats, most rock hall with excellent acoustics and the most technically advanced equipment 6. ‘PLEČNIK’ HALL, Hotel Mons 600 seats, minimalist flexible conference hall with natural light and easy access 7. ‘KAVARNA’ HALL, Hotel Slon Best Western 250 seats, elegant hall in the very centre of the city 8. FESTIVAL HALL, Pionirski dom 510 seats, legendary hall, suitable for social events 9. SLOVENIAN PHILHARMONIC HALL, Slovenian Phillharmony 489 seats, elite location at the Congress Square in the oldest Philharmonic building 10. UBIQUITUS HALL, Austria Trend Hotel 400 seats, modern and technically well-equipped conference hall


Meetings Star 2012


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SECOND CITY FIRST

G

raz and Maribor have much in common, with both cities having been European Capitals of Culture. In 2003 Graz became a city with some force behind its cultural offer in the international arena, and it also seems that the European Capital of Culture gave Graz additional tourism acceleration. The centre of European culture is embodied in its futuristic Kunsthaus and other cultural facilities, which I often visit to see some of the exhibitions or concerts. Graz is Austria’s second largest city and capital of Styria, which before the First World War was the administrative, cultural, economic, and political centre. The most eminent medieval building above the town is the Schlossberg fortress with its famous bell tower with a clock, which is a real highlight. Around the fort a picturesque medieval town centre has developed, with the orderly gardens and surroundings surprising in all seasons. The city gives out a youthful appearance, because of the many students who study at one of the three universities. It is similar in size to Ljubljana and is nicely compact and green. It gives its biggest green breath through the huge Burgarten city park, full of attractive fountains and sculptures, as well as the many other urban parks. Graz is located at the transition between the Alps and the Pannonian Plain on the northern edge of the Graz field. Through the city flows the river Mura, which literally and symbolically connects it to the plain. Its geographical location has resulted in a varied landscape seasoned with an alpine skyline and wine growing hills to the south. The city is full of cultural and historical attractions, with the medieval city centre inscribed onto the UNESCO heritage list. In the city and its surroundings there are many technical monuments to the rich industrial tradition. The healthy experiential diversity is complemented by a pleasant and orderly environment and infrastructure, for both the eye and the soul. Graz is an important transport junction and for a number of years it lived from its transport and border location. The river Mura, in Latin meaning ‘trench’ or ‘defence’, has had such a role in the city’s history from when it served as a line of defence against the lowland Pannonian Plain. Infrastructure in Austrian cities is among the best in the world, with air accessibility to the city improving year to year and the drive to Vienna taking less than two hours. Vienna has for many years held top spot on the Mercer quality of life scale and although Graz is missing, I’m sure that it is not far behind Vienna. The quality of life can be felt at every step, especially the modern and largely green public transport with tram system. Since the city is small, everything can be done on foot or by bicycle. In 2001 the city was declared the ‘city of people’s rights’, indicating a high degree of social responsibility. Graz is somehow overlooked as a tourist destination, too often in the shadow of Vienna and for the number of overnight stays taking 4th place behind Salzburg and Innsbruck. However, Graz can successfully compete with

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the better-known destinations, in particular because of the well-organised tourism promotion through Graz Tourism and City Marketing. The ownership structure of the 1990-established destination marketing agency is both interesting and instructive – it is 52% is owned by the city of Graz, 24% by the Tourist Board of the city, 8% by Graz fairground, 8% by the Airport and 8% by Casinos Austria. Every activity of the office is aimed at increasing the number of overnight stays by foreign guests. The city has 3,294 hotel rooms, of which there are 1,757 in 21 hotels of 4 and 5 star category. Graz excellently took advantage of its European Capital of Culture status and the UNESCO title and upgraded it with the UNESCO city of design and creativity. In the area around Graz all roads lead south to many wine trails, some of which take you all the way to Slovenia. The exceptional incentive tourism potential lies in its spas, culinary art and other green tourism offers in the city’s surroundings. Graz is currently developing tourism in three directions. Congress tourism is being developed under the slogan “Graz: the city of knowledge”, the basis for this being the strong university base. Graz boasts four universities, namely the University of Karl and Franz, Technical and Medical University and the University of Music and Dramatic Arts, together which number more than 40,000 students. Graz is also a city of fairs, with more than 100 years of tradition since the very first Austrian fair in 1833 and Congress Graz since 1906 being a key venue for promotional and other events. In 2007, institutions with a rich history were brought together into a new brand of Messe Congress Graz, a common brand combining historic Congress Graz, Messecongress Graz and Stadhalle Graz. The historical convention centre Congress Graz, built at the end of the nineteenth century, has a total of 19 halls for a maximum of 1,500 congress participants or for a reception for 2,300 guests. The modern convention centre Stadhalle was opened in 2003 during the ECC. It is a multifunctional and superbly equipped fair event centre. Conference halls in hotels are smaller and tailored to the needs of the market. As Graz boasts a lot of premium congress halls the hotel congress offer has not fully specialised. International Congress guests, perhaps due to the mighty shadow of Vienna, do not expect much of Graz, but in the end they are pleasantly surprised. Graz has been for many years a model of congress destination marketing and management. Looked at from the perspective of public and private infrastructure, Graz is the most developed regional convention destination. Just five years ago regional competition would qualify behind the second largest Austrian city, but recently the gap has significantly reduced. The new capitals on the territory of the former Yugoslavia have taken their rightful place and because of this, on the ICCA scale and others, it now has a lower placing. The centre of culture, cuisine, design, creativity, technology and much more, which embodies Graz, is far from saying the last congress word.


Meetings Star 2012

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4. 34

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.5

Graz is in the centre of Austria’s green heart, which gives it the character of interplay between the forests of planar Graz fields and the majestic mountains, which are crossing into the wine-growing hills. Cultural diversity, rich history and the connecting Mura River have formed a high experiential diversity, which is reflected in the many opportunities for congress and incentive organisers and planners and is therefore among the most highly esteemed in the region. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.2

Transport and general infrastructure in Graz is excellent and according to survey results amongst the best in the region. A network of public transport is very well organized; the city has over 120 kilometres of bicycle lanes and the parking system is superbly arranged. It all works very professionally and tidily, and also remarkable is the sense of security with a high level of environmental responsibility and awareness of the population. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.3

Graz is a mature tourist destination, which despite the crisis is recording a steady growth of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in all tourism segments. This is due to a very clear positioning of the city on three pillars as the capital of culture, cuisine and knowledge. Graz has established itself as a base for exploring Styria, which gives it additional marketing momentum. D. Meetings infrastructure

E. Subjective grade

4.3

Environmental responsibility, tidiness of the surrounding areas and infrastructure, cultural infrastructure, the city of design and creative industries are all ideal for the development of congress tourism. The city, key stakeholders and politics do not lack creativity and strategic vision. Despite all the positive projects it may lack some charisma of a capital, making it need much more energy to fight even more successfully at the international congress scene. Otherwise, a beautiful and practical congress destination. Comparison with the region: Being the first is sometimes difficult, and Graz was among the first to develop the branding of the entire destination, congress grants and many other marketing innovations, from which other regional convention bureaus drew inspiration. However, former pupils have caught up and in the field of branding and in some other areas are now ahead of their teacher. Graz may not be the most seductive convention destination, however, it should be highlighted that Graz and Styria live with congress tourism throughout the year. A developed infrastructure and –year-long additional offer helps this, where tradition combines with the present and where everyone can find an offer for their taste, needs and pocket. With the focus on green meetings Graz will also definitely find the right answer to the ubiquitous crisis, which has not bypassed congress tourism. Cool meetings: Graz has been redefined into the culinary capital of Austria with many gourmet surpluses. In a story that supports local food and cuisine, 27 best restaurants are included. The combination of an exquisite cuisine with Styrian wines can be felt at the largest outdoor culinary banquet for 660 guests. We shall leave the dilemma of which pumpkin seed oil is better to the experts. Both Styrian and “Prekmursko” are excellent, but it is mandatory that you try the black gold of Styria.

4.4

In terms of infrastructure Graz is still the leading regional convention destination. With more than 154 congress events and some 46,000 participants it achieves excellent results and is stable on the charts ranking international events. Graz can be regarded as a proud congress destination, which is modern, dynamic and internationally competitive. It is difficult to challenge it with any serious errors, perhaps just a slightly poorer image on the international scene.

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Meetings Star 2012

BEST CONGRESS HALLS IN GRAZ for over 250 participants in plenary set up according to the editorship of Kongres Magazine are: 1. STEFANIENSAAL, Congress Graz 1,050 seats, probably the most prestigious hall in Graz, which was opened way back in 1885. The concert hall with superb acoustics is also a prestigious congress venue. 2. STADTHALLE GRAZ, Messe Congress Graz 5,500 seats, one of the most modern multifunctional halls in Austria, which has become a symbol of Graz. A special advantage are extremely powerful lobbies in combination with spacious exhibition halls. 3. BAROQUE HALL, Old University Graz 300 seats, magnificent baroque hall, suitable for formal events with excellent technical equipment. 4. MINORITENSAALE, Minorite Kunsthaus 342 seats, another Graz Baroque hall, which fascinates visitors at every turn. The combination of baroque frescoes and modern equipment creates a wonderful ambience for receptions and gala events. 5. DOM IM BERG, Schlossberg 350 seats, former bunker, buried in the Castle Hill and now converted into a special venue, which appears as a cathedral in the mountain and a unique congress venue. 6. HELMUT LIST HALL, Helmut List Halle 1,200 seats, flexible, modern, multifunctional hall of the open type suitable for various corporate events. Restored former factory. 7. BLACK PANTHER, MP09 200 seats, currently the most modern congress hall in Graz, a part of the new philosophy of the city of design and creativity. 8. PLENARSAAL HALL, Messe Congress Graz 600 seats, a modern flexible congress hall within the new fairgrounds. Suitable in combination with large congresses with large exhibition needs. 9. GYORGY LIGETI HALL, Mumuth 400 seats, a modern concert hall in the house of music, suitable for top cultural events and congresses. 10. JUPITER AUDITORIUM, 300 seats, a business centre in the city centre has been built in accordance with the principles of feng shui. Very professional environment for business events. 11. LARGE CHAMBER HALLS, Working Chamber 900 seats, a spacious and functional congress hall. Photo credits GRAZ CONVENTION BUREAU 19


Meetings Star 2012


Meetings Star 2012

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WHITE ZAGREB TOWN

I

often come to the capital city of Croatia Zagreb, and the first thing I have noticed in recent years are many new buildings and new modern trams. Trams have accompanied me since my childhood as a sign that I am in a truly big city. Zagreb today has about 800,000 inhabitants and together with the surrounding conurbation, the population is just a little over one million. Zagreb is a fascinating place to me; it reminds me of the proverbially well dressed women of Zagreb, who have always been known as harbingers of fashion trends in the region. I feel that life in Zagreb is running slower, people still take the time to sit in cafés and for socializing, and in this respect the character of the city is Mediterranean, which gives the city a very specific character that more and more tourists are getting to know from year to year. Year 2012 was, according to number of tourist visits, a record year and it seems that Zagreb will soon reach its goal of a million tourist arrivals per year. The city was built at the crossroads of important transport routes and today it is the administrative and economic centre of Croatia. For a foreigner, the first impression is certainly Central European. The architecture of many buildings is marked by Austro-Hungarian times. The suburban ‘sleeping’ New Zagreb appears more Balkan-like; which from my childhood has not changed much and seems gray and tired. On the other hand, there is no shortage of green spaces and parks in the city. Urban Maksimir Park is the largest urban park in Croatia;Medvednica is a ski resort, a nature park and a tourist destination for the people of Zagreb. As a whole, the city appears to have a diverse landscape with the dominant medieval castle ”Gornji Grad” (Upper Town) and a cathedral. The medieval old town is considered one of the best-preserved city centres with high experiential value. Zagreb is a great small place in terms of accessibility and transport. A lot of it is because of its traffic location, as it connects Central Europe with the Mediterranean, at the same time it is at an important road corridor on the main routes to South-Eastern Europe. And a little also because of simple city logistics and relatively well-ordered public transport. As elsewhere in the region, the airport is problematic, and appears as one of the most tired of the whole region; the number and frequency of air connections is problematic as well, although there is year-to-year improvement. The most encouraging news is that the renovation of the passenger terminal at Zagreb airport will begin. Like everywhere in the region, the railway infrastructure, which is outdated and unattractive, is unused. Zagreb is giving to congress guests a feeling of a safe city, with the major infrastructure projects, such as in the airport and investments in green solutions, it will significantly strengthen its current congress market position. Zagreb has over 45 hotels, including three hotels of the highest category and with the regional flag bearer Hotel Esplanade. In total, Zagreb hotels offer 1,561 rooms in 5-star hotels and 2.143 beds in 4 stars hotels. The offer is versatile and suitable for different target groups. Especially popular 21

and fast-growing is the segment of the city break tourists. In Zagreb one eats well in many restaurants, and some are also exceptionally gourmet and different such as the top bistro ”Prasac” (Pig). In the centre there is a popular marketplace, similar to Ljubljana’s in character. Memory goes back to the teenage years, when a visit to the gallery Mimara was mandatory for all high school students of former Yugoslavia. It is a concentration of culture that often attracts me to Zagreb. The city has over 20 museums, numerous art galleries and theatres including the latest acquisition, the Museum of Modern Art Zagreb, which is also an excellent conference and event venue. Zagreb is becoming the cultural capital of the region and is regarded as the most developed capital of newly established countries of the former Yugoslavia in terms of tourist infrastructure. Zagreb is not only the cultural and political centre of Croatia. As the metropolis, it is also in terms of meetings industry among the best developed parts of Croatia. In Zagreb is the largest concentration of international hotel chains with congress facilities in the region. A congress can be held at Hotel Sheraton, Westin, Arcotel, Four Points by Sheraton or in one of the best hotels in the region Regent Esplanade. This year, branded hotel chains were joined by the Double Tree by Hilton. In addition to these hotels, there are also some excellent local congress hotels available, such as the congress hotel Antunović. Zagreb could also host major international congresses, if the hotel offer would be followed by an offer of convention centres. Partially, the modern Hypo centre fills the offer with a hall for 1.600 participants, the concert hall Vatroslav Lisinski can take 1.800 guests, and the Zagreb Fair also offers conference facilities. Most museums are suitable for organising receptions and conferences. All museums are located in the city centre and are easily accessible and attractive for organising events. Despite plans, Zagreb still lacks a modern multifunctional convention centre. This is, in my opinion, at the moment the biggest development flaw for a faster growth of meetings industry in Zagreb and serious positioning on the congress map. Zagreb generally makes a good impression on the visitor. The impression is sometimes interrupted by ragged facades and sporadic traffic chaos, which is the result of the size of the city. Generally, the city is safe, clean, comfortable and friendly to congress participants. The good ratio between price and quality is especially attractive; this has a positive impact on the competitiveness of the destination. It is not surprising that in the last year Zagreb has become a true hit on the Croatian tourist scene and no longer just a transit stop on the way to the Adriatic. With proper marketing and the development of network of partners, Zagreb will continue to position itself as the leading Croatian and regional convention destination. As its main advantage, I would highlight the compactness and high quality of hotel accommodation, which combined with cultural and historical heritage, is the formula for success. Everything is seasoned with the right dose of metropolitan character and friendliness of the locals.


Meetings Star 2012

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4. 22

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.3

Its rich natural and cultural heritage and the position of the Croatian capital have enabled Zagreb intensive development in tourism. Recently, Zagreb has profited as a destination of culture with individual museums that have the potential to become world attractions, such as the unique Museum of Failed Relationships. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.0

special atmosphere. In addition, it is a ‘pocket-friendly destination’ that offers a lot for reasonable money. It is the ideal combination of a metropolis with charm and a small town atmosphere. Comparison with the region: I predict a great congress future for Zagreb.I estimate that in the international congress market it is well established and in addition to Ljubljana and Belgrade it represents the future backbone of the continental meetings industry of the region. All three cities are progressing steadily on the charts of developed meetings destinations; the final breakthrough of the entire region is intertwined and dependent on the marketing of major regional cong ress cities in the international market. Cool meetings: ‘Paprenjak’ is a traditional biscuit, which you’ll find only in Zagreb, slightly spicy and goes excellently with the morning coffee, but it can also be a unique souvenir of the visit or a Congress in Zagreb.

In the last ten years Croatia has radically improved road infrastructure and thus its accessibility. Significantly improved is also air accessibility via Zagreb Airport, which accepts over 40% of all air traffic in Croatia. We would, however, like to see an early construction of the new airport building as the existing one is strongly outdated. Currently, Zagreb is lagging behind in rail infrastructure the most. Accord- ing to municipal infrastructure, local transport and sense of security, Zagreb can be classified into a golden class among competing European cities. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.5

The hotel infrastructure with new acquisitions fully satisfies modern congress guests and is perhaps at this moment the best among regional capitals. The fact that the tourist infrastructure is good and that the marketing of the destination also works well is also confirmed by the good results, which show a 5% growth despite the global recession. D. Meetings infrastructure

4.1

In Croatia, Zagreb has a dominant image of a business as well as a major congress destination. This has also been adapted by the offer of hotels with excellent congress facilities. A somewhat worse score than competitive cities of the region is due to the fact that Zagreb is without a convention centre, construction of which has been heralded since the public tender, which was completed in 2007. E. Subjective grade

4.2

In the region, Zagreb managed to best maintain the Central European culture that is reminiscent of Vienna and creates a 22


Meetings Star 2012

BEST ZAGREB’S MEETING HALLS

MEETINGS INDUSTRY NOVELTIES IN ZAGREB With over 2.500 events annually, Zagreb is the main Croatian congress destination, as in the capital of the country more than half of the events take place. Also because of this and because of the positive indicators of the events, Zagreb conference scene is rich and full of novelties. In 2012 Zagreb became richer for a new convention hotel the Doubletree by Hilton Zagreb. In addition, in the business centre Green Gold a smaller conference centre Forum Zagreb has opened with a hall for 376 participants. This year also an interesting multifunctional convention centre Kraš Auditorium has opened in the Kraš company business building. The centre has 13 halls with the latest equipment. In addition, the construction of a new air terminal of Zagreb airport is in full swing. The works will begin in September and are expected to finish in 2016. Expanded terminal will have a capacity of up to five million passengers per year, and will be making Zagreb airport a major aviation hub of the region.

for over 250 participants in plenary set up according to the editorship of Kongres Magazine are: 1. EMERALD HALL, Esplanade Hotel 280 seats, probably one of the finest and most exclusive congress halls throughout the region, which stands out for its design and special experience 2. MAIN READING ROOM, Croatian Archive 700 seats, it is considered as the most distinctive larger historical hall in Zagreb suitable for recep- tions and gala events 3. CRYSTAL BALLROOM, Westin Hotel 800 seats, multifunctional hotel congress hall with the possibility of division into several parts is a true representative of the congress philosophy of its hotel chain 4. GALLERY HALL, the Art Pavilion 300 seats, oldest gallery facility in the region in the middle of beautiful parks and with superb artwork represents an excellent hall for recep- tions and protocol events 5. GRAND BALLROOM, Sheraton Hotel 600 seats, multifunction charming hotel congress hall with high functionality and full hotel offer is a comfortable and practical choice 6. TOMISLAV HALL, Antunović Hotel 900 seats, multifunctional hotel congress hall with high functionality and modern design, which with its easy access, parking garage and other facilities stepped into the world of the big and the successful 7. CONCERT HALL VATROSLAV LISINSKI, Vatroslav Lisinski 1851 seats, the most eminent concert hall in Zagreb, also suitable for congress events, is currently the largest congress hall in the city with fixed seats 8. KORNATI HALL, Hypo Expo 1100 seats, multi-purpose hall for various types of conferences with a modern design, spaciousness and practicality 9. MIMOSA HALL, Double Tree by Hilton 250 seats, the latest congress acquisition of Zagreb is a modern and practical multifunctional congress hall 10. CONGRESS HALL FORUM, Green Gold Centre 375 seats, modern multi-purpose hall within the Green Gold business centre

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Meetings Star 2012

HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE ★★★★ PREMIUM Award Meetings Star ORT RES UM MI BEST PRE 2012 MEETING HOTEL

Photo credits: HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE

4. 41 Final Score

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM Opened in 1970, completely renovated in 2004 STANDARD Congress hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS Total 308 rooms at the Hotel ***** 271 double and single rooms 37 suites ONLINE PRICE 171 – 367 EUR (September 2012) ADDRESS HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE Masarykov put 20 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia Tel: +385 20 430 830 www.alh.hr Part of ALH (Escape Collection) FACILITIES Maslina Tavern Elafiti Restaurant (pension restaurant), Beach Restaurant Ponta, Fine dinning restaurant Luna, Sunset Lounge Lanterna Glorijet Bar, Vala Bar, Spa Comfort zone on 1500m2, Fitness Studio, Private Beach, Scuba Diving Club RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total FINAL GRADE Premium hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.55 3.95 4.65 4.38 4.11 4.49 4.15 4.95 3.98 4.16 4.65 4.78 4.59 4.41

4.41 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Location The hotel is set in the fragrant Mediterranean environment of Lapad peninsula, about five kilometres from the city centre. The hotel is part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH) group, which in addition to the award-winning Hotel Dubrovnik Palace in Dubrovnik also manages the Excelsior Hotel, the Bellevue Hotel, Grand Villa Argentina, Kompas Hotel, Odysseus Hotel and Hotel Croatia. Although it functions as a resort hotel, it quickly became one of the hottest points of the Dubrovnik congress scene. Accessibility The hotel is well connected to the city, with a frequent bus ride to the city centre, and guests also have a free hotel shuttle available. Dubrovnik is a distinct air destination and it is 20 km from the hotel to the Čilipi airport. Flight availability is improving yearly, most of the new lines coming from Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Russia. We impatiently await the last part of the highway from Ploče to Dubrovnik, which will greatly improve road accessibility. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics The Hotel Dubrovnik Palace seems overall a very neat hotel. Conference guests who prefer atmosphere of a large tourist resort, yet nevertheless orderly, done with taste and generally pleasant, will certainly like it. The original architectural features that were rather aggressive have been replaced by a stylish modernist exterior after a thorough renovation, which opens to breathtaking views. The subtle colour combinations and generous space of the interior draws the eye and the hotel comes across as functional throughout. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer At the beginning of the main tourist season, an occasional awkwardness comes over the otherwise friendly staff. In general, the service is friendly and of good quality. Breakfast is rich and diverse with show cooking, although in the huge breakfast hall one feels more like being in some giant public space that lacks a little intimacy. Among the restaurants the most impressive is the tavern Maslina, with its spectacular views and easy Mediterranean cuisine for a reasonable price. The hotel is excellent in terms of of catering, where they have no shortage of spectacular locations for fun by the pool or on the beach. Main course – congress and hotel offer After refurbishment the hotel proves that even what 24

may at first seem a practically unsolvable architectural challenge of renovating a hotel colossus from the seventies can actually be well solved. Virtually all rooms have an exceptional view of the sea and although the furniture in some rooms is a bit tired, in general congress guests will feel good. The bed is solid, there are pleasant colours, excellent views and the attentive maids will guarantee a positive impression. Eight multifunctional conference rooms can accommodate from 10 to 750 participants, facilities amongst which advantages include a separate entrance for conference guests and a top class team, accustomed to a very demanding congress clients and protocol events. Dessert – additional offer A private beach with terraces that can be privatised and where one can host an exclusive beach party. A rich offer of incentive programmes that through a well presented brochure can be ordered right from your hotel room.

-

FLOP – negative surprises Guests accustomed to 5-star standard would expect a slightly higher standard in the rooms and especially the bathrooms and upon arrival at hotel (concierge).

+

TOP – positive surprises Spaciousness, comprehensive offer, wellness and professional conference services. Overall impressions and credibility At the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace I wonder how little is needed to move from being a solid hotel to something special and collecting numerous awards. Firstly, it is about the quality of services, as well as about marketing that was excellently prepared around the hotel and is reflected in its increased profile. According to the World Travel Awards jury, something of a tourism Oscar, the hotel earned the 2011 award for being the leading Croatian hotel and spa resort. At the same time, we wonder whether they are eligible for other prizes. After visiting the hotel, it is clear that the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace deserved the award; to the highest category it does not lack much, and depending on the assessment we ranked it among the top premium congress hotels in the region, where the emphasis is not only on the environment but on quality. In almost all respects a modern hotel and definitely a good choice among the many options in Dubrovnik.


Meetings Star 2012

HOTEL ESPLANADE ZAGREB ★★★★★ Luxury Award Meetings Star ORT RES UM MI BEST PRE 2012 MEETING HOTEL

Photo credits: HOTEL ESPLANADE ZAGREB

4. 78 Final Score

Location The last Orient Express passed through Zagreb in 1977. The legendary train, which travelled between Paris and Istanbul, is the main reason for the development of Hotel Esplanade near the Zagreb Train Station and the centre of the city, with a view of Zrinjevac Park.

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM 1952, reconstructed in 2004 STANDARD Hotel with congress capacities NUMBER OF ROOMS 208 rooms and suites ONLINE PRICE 135 € – 249 € (March 2012) ADDRESS Hotel Regent Esplanade Mihanoviceva 1 10000 Zagreb Phone: +385 (0)1 45 66 666 www.regenthotels.com/EN/Zagreb FACILITIES Zinfandel restaurant, Le Bistro, Esplanade 1925 – lounge bar, Oleander Terrace, Wellness club, 11 meeting halls.

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.50 4.00 5.00 5.00 4.95 4.95 4.70 4.90 4.90 4.80 4.80 5.00 4.60 4.78

4.78 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

DESSERT – Additional offer A SPA and HEALTH club with a fitness centre, a private secretary should you need one, a personal shopper and stylist, special scented baths, tours of Zagreb on Segways, maps of jogging trails in Zagreb, and much more.

Accessibility With its central location the hotel is easily accessible and it offers all the comfort of a top-notch hotel. Air access to Zagreb is constantly improving and a planned expansion of the airport implies that more and more air carriers will be choosing to fly to Zagreb. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics The elegant and recognisable hotel building is one of Zagreb’s secession icons. Since its opening the hotel has been a centre of social life and the most luxurious hotel in the region. In 1964 it became part of the InterContinental chain, keeping its charm after the 2004 renovation as part of the Regent Chain, which gave it back its original secession spirit. The hotel lobby is glamorous, conjuring up images of stars walking around it, and the hotel was named as Zagreb’s most luxurious, not a year passing in which it scoops more important tourist awards. After setting foot in the lobby you are transported to a new world, one that even smells expensive. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer The Zinfandel Restaurant located within the hotel was named after the Californian red grape variety, which actually originates in Croatia (kaštelanski crljenak), and it’s the Zinfandel vine that has become the trademark of the hotel staff. Among the hotel’s culinary offer the legendary “Le Bistro” is a standout, where guests can try the famous and instantly recognisable ‘Esplanade Štrukli’. The staff are superior in service skills, pleasant and always professional.   Main course – congress and hotel offer The legendary Emerald Ballroom, which can host up to 280 participants, is unique and possibly the most exclusive congress hall of the region, alongside which are seven smaller halls. The catering, with the slogan ESP-erimental, ESP-ressive and ESP-ert, is worldclass. The air-conditioned rooms are impeccably furbished and include free newspapers, and you will find designer cosmetics in the bathroom. The rooms are generously spacious, the smallest measuring 32 m2. 25

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FLOP – negative surprises Some of the technical equipment in the rooms is outdated and in need of updating (the TV set, for example).

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TOP – positive surprises The 250m2 presidential suite named after Orson Welles, who once stayed at the hotel, and the sheer number of tiny surprises and pampering at every step. Chef Jeffrey Vella, who excellently combines Mediterranean and continental gastronomy, guarantees a special experience. Overall impressions and credibility The hotel is an excellent choice for business and congress guests and is probably the regional flagship in terms of service quality, customer care, prestige and image. Staying at the hotel is a special experience, with a package that gives you a feeling of luxury.


Meetings Star 2012

Kempinski Palace Portorož ★★★★★ Luxury Award Meetings Star ORT RES UM MI BEST PRE 2012 MEETING HOTEL

Photo credits: Kempinski Palace Portorož

4. 77 Final Score

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM Since 1910, renovated as Kempinski Palace in 2008 STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 164 rooms *****superior 17 suites ****superior ONLINE PRICE 205 – 500 EUR (September 2012) ADDRESS Kempinski Palace Portorož Obala 45, 6320 Portorose Slovenia Tel: +386 5 692 7070 FACILITIES Sophia – Gourmet Restaurant, Fleur de Sel – Bar & Restaurant,Palace Club – Lobby Bar, Bubbles – Aperitif Bar, Forma Viva – Café and ladies saloon, Pool bar – healthy drinks and light dishes, Wine cellar, Rose SPA

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.80 4.00 5.00 4.95 4.85 4.39 4.96 4.67 4.97 4.99 4.87 5.00 4.60 4.77

4.77 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Location One of the most famous hotels on the Adriatic coast, the bearer of the tourist development of Portorose, and a host to many celebrities and crowned heads is today refurbished, proud and opened in full bloom for demanding guests. It first opened in 1910 and together with the Hotel Portorose became a cosmopolitan resort. The hotel renovated in 2008 was supposed to bring back to Portorose a similar revival as when it first opened more than a century ago. It does not make sense to waste words on the location, because without the Palace Hotel one simply can not imagine Portorose. For Portorose it is also an important fact that the hotel is managed by the reputable Kempinski hotel chain, which put it back again on the global tourism map. Accessibility Portorose is the most important tourist centre on the Slovenian coast. The hotel is in the centre of Portorose, near Slovenia’s main road network, which allows for easy access. There is good access to the closest airport, which is in Trieste and just 80km away, and via the central Slovenian Ljubljana airport, which is 150km away. The local airport Sečovlje is only suitable for smaller aircraft. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics The hotel is one of the best quality examples of secession architecture from the turn of the last century and is a key architectural trademark of Portorose. It is an architectural reflection of the time in which it was created, when neoclassical architectural compositions that conveyed a feeling of stability and tradition were fashionable. The Art Nouveau interior of the old hotel with its superior Crystal Hall, is connected with the new part of the hotel, which has a glass entrance hall, a nice feature with beautiful views of the park and the Bay of Piran. In general, I find the work of the architects to be of high-quality and sound design, with a sense of the past blended with thoughts of the requirements of today’s customers.   Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer Breakfast in the Crystal Hall is an unforgettable experience. Seamless culinary thrills for the most demanding of gourmets that the hotel scene on the Slovenian coast struggles to compare itself with. The sweets are a particular delight. The staff is typical of the standard expected from the Kempinski chain, fast, friendly and efficient. Details are inspiring. Expectations of guests in a hotel of such 26

a category are very high and it seems that they are meeting them well at the Kempinski. Main course – congress and hotel offer The Kempinski Hotel is the only five-star superior hotel in Slovenia. This means that the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, as befits a top hotel. The interior colour is subdued, modernly designed and appears prestigious whilst offering a lot of style and freshness. The technical equipment showcases the hotel’s technological sophistication. The modern convention centre is prestigious and well-equipped. Six conference rooms have natural daylight and the largest hall can accommodate up to 220 participants. The heart of the convention offer is Crystal Hall, which after the renovation shone in full splendour and in addition to the Union Hall in Ljubljana is the most prestigious conference and banquet hall in Slovenia. It opens onto a century-old park, which is an attractive venue for outdoor events. Dessert – additional offer ROSE Spa is an elegant wellness centre with a range of traditional treatments, derived from the tradition of Portoroz.

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FLOP – negative surprises It’s hard to find faults, perhaps the only disturbing thing is the arrangement of the coastal stretch, which with the quality of its offer does not reflect the prestigious hotel, but this is not the problem of the hotel, but rather of the development of Portorose tourism.   TOP – positive surprises The hotel is an excellent choice for automotive premieres. Because of the above it is no surprise that the prestigious car manufacturer Mercedes chose it for the global launch of its A-Class model.

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Overall impressions and credibility The Hotel Kempinski is, simply put, a great hotel. After the renovation it not only offers to guests superior services at Kempinski standards, but also has a unique look and style that reflects its legendary character and Habsburg elegance. In addition, at the hotel they understand the concept of hospitality at the very highest level extremely well.


Meetings Star 2012

GRAND HOTEL UNION EXECUTIVE ★★★★ premium Award Meetings Star ORT RES UM MI BEST PRE 2012 MEETING HOTEL

Photo credits: Grand Hotel Union

4. 45 Final Score

Location The hotel’s main location is in the heart of the capital city of Slovenia. In Ljubljana it can’t get more central as hotels and the convention centres are concerned, it is not. Beautiful, practical and convincing.

CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN SINCE 1905 STANDARD Convention hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 172 rooms 6 suites 16 appartments PRICE INTERNET 95 € - 154 € (December 2012) ADDRESS GRAND HOTEL UNION EXECUTIVE Miklošičeva 1 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia T: +386 (0)1 308 12 70 E: hotel.union@gh-union.si www.gh-union.si FACILITIES Smrekarjev hram, Union garden, Aperitif bar, Coffee shop, Union cellar, Secured garage, Indoor pool with massage offer, sauna and fitness, Fashion boutique, Hair saloon, Jeweler

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility Overall impression on arrival Entrance hall - lobby Employee behaviour Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and toilet Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Premium hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.90 3.90 4.35 4.15 4.59 4.52 4.02 4.18 4.34 4.75 4.75 5.00 4.40 4.45

4.45 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Accessibility In Ljubljana, it is hard to imagine a better location for exploring the city on foot. Because in the very heart of the city it is difficult to park everywhere in Europe, a guarded hotel garage with 120 parking spaces is available. With flight availability the hotel shares the fate of the Slovenian capital. The hotel is easily accessible from all major highways, and from railway and bus stations. Cold apetiser – architecture and aesthetics The hotel opened in 1905 opened, is built in the Art Nouveau style and was at the time of the opening one of the most modern and most complete hotels in South East Europe. The interior and exterior of the hotel is characterized by typical Art Nouveau ornaments. The hotel is located in the centre of the so called Art Nouveau Ljubljana, which was formed after the earthquake of 1895. A special feature is the interior of the building with distinctive Art Nouveau motifs. Union Hall was the opening a real technological achievement of the time and is considered to be the largest ballroom in the Balkans with a steel roof construction. Warm apetiser – personnel and culinary art With cooking at Union there re no compromises. Therefore, the hotel has probably the best and highly original catering services in Slovenia. Top Team works under the direction of Olympian Chef Janez Dolški, who is the head chef of the Slovenian national team. Legendary team of waiters creates a special atmosphere, and are almost a kind of inventory of Grand Hotel Union. It would be hard to find a more professional and friendly team, trained for congress events in Slovenia. Main course – meetings hotel offer The convention centre has been designed at the central legendary Union Hall, but a whole during the renovation in 2001, experienced a number of internal and external improvements and is now very well adapted to the needs of conference delegates. Elegant additions, the selected colour combinations emphasise the general good impression of the convention centre. That the well-being at the centre is good, large glass surfaces take care of. With sophisticated performance they have taken care of superior final impression. In addi27

tion, the spatial relationships between the lobby and halls are among the best in Slovenia. Organisers have 21 halls and salons available which can accommodate from 10 to 800 guests. Comfort and equipment of hotel rooms depend on the choice of executive or business hotel. More modern business or a more traditional executive are more a matter of choice depending on taste and needs. The rooms are well maintained, but chances are, in comparison with the most luxurious hotels of the region, they will need a soft renovation. Otherwise, the impression is of quality, although not the most stylish modern and not entirely worth the money. Dessert – additional offer Superb a la carte restaurant Smrekarjev hram, led by Miro Rismondo is one of the largest culinary surprises of the hotel.

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FLOP – negative surprises Little things in hotel rooms. materials, textiles and equipment of rooms could be more modern.

+

TOP – positive surprises Personnel from the reception to the waiters is among the friendliest and the most intuitive. Legendary nostalgic cafe is one of Ljubljana’s cultural institutions, known for its cabaret and variety shows. Overall impressions and credibility Taste of meetings organizers is unpredictable and difficult to follow, but the choice of Grand Hotel Union is definitely a right one. Due to the excellent convention halls, flexibility and friendly staff, of course. In the Ljubljana conference offer the Grand Hotel Union reigns. Excellent hotel for convention gourmets and a true flag bearer of the Ljubljana hotel conference offer ever since 1905.


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COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES BETWEEN THE ALPS AND THE ADRIATIC Text by Rok Klančnik

G

eographically, politically and economically the area between the Alps and the Adriatic – which is actually a gulf of the Mediterranean Sea – is a cultural treasure. At the triple-frontier between Slovenia, Austria (Carinthia) and Italy (Friuli–Venezia Giulia) three languages and three European language groups meet: Romance, Germanic and Slavic. Whoever is born in this area has a much better predisposition to understand these three large world cultures. Friuli–Venezia Giulia borders on Carinthia in the mountainous north, the border with Slovenia flows parallel with the emerald river Soča all the way to the Adriatic coast. Its southern half is completely flat and is a part of the Po river plain mostly covered by the Italian province of Veneto. Even though there are some urban centres in Friuli, throughout history the driving force of the region has always been Trieste. Friuli is known for its language, since the Frilulians don’t speak only Italian. At least a million people speak Friulian, a language reminiscent of the premedieval and even pre-Roman times. The gastronomy of Friuli is a link between the Alps and the Mediterranean. As in Slovenia in Carinthia and Styria it’s often hard to assess which dish belong to which region. This green piece of Europe has always been, despite the politics, transitional. Salesmen, soldiers, clerks paved many ways and brought with them recipes, wine, brandies and good spirits. In Friuli we find some dishes we find nowhere else – here we really shouldn’t speak of pizza, spaghetti or sea urchins, since Friuli is significantly different from South Italy. This region serves “cialsons” – very similar to Slovenian or better Bovec and Rateče fritters. These are dough pockets shaped like a crescent moon and filled with fresh cheese. They are also very fond of plum filled dumpling and offer them as appetizers (unlike their neighbours in Gorica, which offer them as desert). “Gubana” are tartlets filled with walnuts, sugar, raisins and cocoa, but the most famous Friuli food is “frico”. It’s a “marriage” of potato and cheese, stirred and fried. The most appropriate cheese for this dish is “Montasio” from the mountain of the same name (in Slovenian Montaž). At the coast they enjoy eel and other kinds of sea food, as well as prosciutto from San Daniele and corn polenta cut by string.

Among drinks, Friuli wines from the lowlands and the western slopes of Collio (Brda) are worth mentioning. The Italian and Slovenian side of Collio share rebula – ribollo, which supposedly originates from the 12th century and the Pinot Nero, with the Slovenian Goriška Brda. The sweet wine Ramandolo is also known. They also make a strong yet fragrant grappa. Brandies are typical for Carinthia as well, since this south Austrian province cannot boast with its wines – these are a speciality of its eastern neighbour – Styria. Again, it’s hard to point out the typical Carinthian foods and the specialities of Carinthian cooking. The shops are full of wonderful types of bread, which is mostly dark, a bit sour especially when mead from dark or rye meal. “Reindling” is a type of bread containing pieces of fruit, on other occasions the “Schlickkrapfen” (dough pockets filled with meat), “Kasnudeln” (filled with cheese and mint) and beef soup with liver dumplings, are on the table. Tafelspitz – cooked beef is accompanied by apple or cream horse radish. Numerous hill cabins serve the skiers “Germknödel” in the winter. A large dumpling filled with excellent plum marmalade, swimming in vanilla sauce and sprinkled with poppy. Styria, in comparison to Carinthia a winegrowing country, is full of “puschenschank” – a type of tourist farm. The winegrowers always had to work hard, so the food is more filling and heavy. Here the brad is covered with “Verhackertes” or minced lard, they use a lot of pumpkin seed oil and enjoy food made of buckwheat meal, from mush to pasta.

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FACTS ABOUT AUSTRIA  Facts Area: Total: 83,871 km2 Land: 82,445 km2 Water: 1,426 km2 Capital: Vienna Land boundaries: Czech Republic 362 km, Germany 784 km, Hungary 366 km, Italy 430 km, Liechtenstein 35 km, Slovakia 91 km, Slovenia 330 km, Switzerland 164 km Climate: Temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in low lands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers Population: 8.214.160 International country CALLING code: +43 Time Zone: Central European Time  

FACTS ABOUT ITALY Facts Area : Total: 301,340 SQ KM Land: 294,140 SQ KM Water: 7,200 SQ KM Capital: Rome Land boundaries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south Population: 58.090.681 International country CALLING code: +39 Time Zone: Central European Time


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In numbers

The most …

13 peaks are higher than 3000 metres 62 % of the whole Austrian territory is covered with the Alps More than 1000 kilometres of ski slopes

Top 5

WHERE TO GO IN Carinthia and Styria Carinthia and Styria are the hidden jewels of Austria. High peaks, deeply hollowed valleys and glittering lakes, golden sunny wine growing hills, authentic medieval villages and fairytale castles, and also to be remembered the prominent charm of Graz and Klagenfurt - this is a winter paradise for ski lovers, which in the summer with its many lakes becomes one large swimming pool, surrounded by beautiful mountain views. In the shadow of the more popular regions of Vienna and Salzburg at the forefront, Styria and Carinthia maintained their primary spirit - visit them before this changes.

Scenic mountain road Grossglockner –on the most famous alpine road in Europe you are going through all climates and vegetation belts: meadows, forests, mountains, rocks and ice. Memorable. Graz with its Schlossberg is easily the most beautiful city of the region, and with its clubs and restaurants also the most fun. Woerther See, Millsteatter See and Faaker See are only the largest of numerous lakes that provide for swimming and sailing pleasures in the summer in the middle of the Alps. Carinthian ski resorts are considered one of the finest and best equipped in Europe. Many festivals of folk music, beer and national dishes are an amazing experience that gives new meaning to the word “hedonism”

In numbers

16,000 hectares of lagoons 3 natural parks and 13 nature reserves 25 kilograms of pasta Italian eats in a year

Top 5

Italy, one of the most widely acclaimed countries in the world, despite its tourist popularity continues to surprise and impress. Friuli - Venezia Giulia is one of its smallest, but also one of the most versatile regions. Intact in its pristine beauty it is still an undiscovered tourist gem, ideal for visitors who want to go “off the beaten track.” Snowy peaks of the Alps and the Dolomites, warm sandy beaches, remote mountain villages, Roman monuments, rocky coastal cliffs and rural villas - welcome to la Bella Vita.

What else to do ~~ While walking the charming and picturesque medieval villages, such as Friesach and Gmund, forget what year it really is. ~~ Go on a tour of the entire planet in Minimundus, the world in miniature. ~~ Put on your boots and go whistling on paths of the mountain Nockberge National Park. ~~ Surrender to the flow of road between the beautiful wine growing hills in the east and taste yourself why it is called “Austrian Toscana”. ~~ Experience a real golfer’s paradise with golf courses next to calm lakes, amid vineyards or breathtaking mountains.

The most …

8 kilometers of golden sandy beaches adorns Lignano

WHERE TO GO IN Friuli-Venezia Giulia

~~ The Austrian flag is one of the oldest flags in the world. It is in existence since 1191. ~~ The most popular muscle man and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Thal. ~~ Grossglockner is with its 3798 metres the second highest European peak. ~~ Graz Schlossberg is the strongest fortress in the world, as since 12th century no one has managed to conquer it. ~~ Austrians are known for their hard work: on average they are working 45 hours per week, which is the highest in Europe.

Aquileia, the metropolis of the Roman Empire, is an amazing archaeological open-air museum and one of the most brilliant jewels of the region and the entire Italy. Dolomites with amazing scenery and colours, revealing the crystal water, snow-covered rocky peaks and lush valleys, are a paradise for nature lovers in summer and winter. Golden beaches of Lignano offer endless thrills in the water during the day and party at night. Trieste is an elegantly cosmopolitan city, treasure trove of architectural gems. Miramare Castle is a stunning castle from fairytale fantasy. 29

~~ The region is named after Julius Caesar, the most famous figure of ancient Rome. ~~ San Daniele is the place of world’s most famous ham and here every year the town is hosting a festival dedicated to this meat. ~~ Trieste is the home of Ernesto Illy, the world’s coffee guru. ~~ Friuli-Venezia Giulia boasts one of the best varieties of white wine in Europe, which is in no way lagging behind Tuscan What else to do ~~ In the seaside spa town of Grado you can regain strength and health, offered by therapeutic sand and air. ~~ Visit the Grotta Gigante in Sgonico, which is the largest European tourist karst cave. ~~ Try the real rural life in one of the log huts in the Carnic Alps, or at one of the tourist farms learn how to be a cheese maker. ~~ Try the charming snowy slopes of Sella Nevea, Forni di Sopra or Piancavalla. ~~ Tour green hills of wine country around Collie and taste yourself, what is their attraction.


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KLAGENFURT AND LAKE WORTHERSEE CONVENTIONLAND

I

t is interesting that municipalities of Bled in Slovenia and Velden are twinned. Both towns live with their lakes, which define their focus on tourism. Klagenfurt is substantially larger and more important. It will be interesting to see further development of the two towns. Klagenfurt and

Carinthia are already slightly in advantage because there systematic marketing of meetings industry has already been developed for years.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.34

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.4

Klagenfurt builds its meetings offer on sustainable development. Main types of tourism are based on natural wealth and experiential diversity. Apart from natural wealth it also has rich cultural heritage and the crossroads of three cultures represents a rich marketing potential. B. General and traffic infrastructure

4.2

Position at the crossroads of important routes is an important factor in competitiveness of destination. Klagenfurt is an important inter social and European transit region that is easily reachable thanks to modern highways and rail connections. Somewhat poorer are air connections. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.4

Carinthia is one of the most developed tourist destinations in Austria with comprehensive tourist offer. At this time it is leading in the field of sports, active holidays and holidays in pristine nature. This part of the offer is accompanied by numerous health, wellness and spa suppliers. D. Meetings infrastructure

3.8

Being oriented towards holidaying tourism for years, convention infrastructure is somewhat behind compared to competition in Austria. Although Klagenfurt is weakest in this respect the offer is still above average in regional sense. Klagenfurt can be an excellent starting point for incentive programmes near by and in Carinthia. E. Subjective grade

4.4

Klagenfurt as centre of Carinthia with its tidiness, safety and ratio between price and quality is one of the best convention destinations in the wider region. Personal experience is pleasant. Image of destination positively affects the result of a congress or an event. 31

Comparison with the region: Klagenfurt is a likable and pleasant alpine congress destination that is reminiscent of Gorenjska region in Slovenia in many respects. Not surprisingly, co-operation between regions has been developing lately, however we also note some competitiveness in the field of meetings industry. It is interesting that closeness to border represents an advantage and an opportunity for majority of meetings industry suppliers. Key advantage of Klagenfurt is definitely fairy tale like well maintained and pleasant environment and quality offer and professionalism of suppliers. In this respect Carinthia and Klagenfurt are slightly ahead of other destinations in the region. But most important is touristic culture and good co-operation between suppliers that qualitatively round up standard meetings offer. Cool meetings: Dumplings known from ski trip visits called “Germknodel� are not originally speciality of Carinthia, nevertheless I think of them every time I think of Carinthia. Carinthia is otherwise divided into 12 culinary regions each of which has their own typical culinary products. More on KLAGENFURT on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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TRIESTE IMPRESSIONS AT THE JUNCTION OF ROMAN AND SLAVIC

T

he congress shape of the city gives the impression of hibernation. Due to numerous scientific institutions the meetings industry is functioning, but not developing. It seems the huge congress potential of the city is unexploited. The city is pleasant and tidy, but it seems economically and socially stagnant for decades. This can mostly be seen in the image of the destination, which needs a serious boost considering the cosmopolitan nature of the city. The convention bureau appears somewhat rusty so maybe the abolition of the border can offer a new opportunity to cooperate with the hinterland in Slovenia. Trieste used to be one of the

leading cities in Europe, which attracted business and was an example of multiculturalism. Today the meetings industry shares its faith with the city’s, despite a number of development opportunities. Globalisation and border abolition enable Trieste to turn to its hinterlands. This can contribute to the revitalization of the meetings industry if there is interest on both sides of the border, which may be gone now, but is still present in the minds. In cooperation with Ljubljana, Trieste could become a large player in the meetings industry of the broader European space.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.36

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.1

3.7

Trieste was an important traffic juncture and main port of the region for centuries. Traffic infrastructure is still good, but air access is poor. The most sensitive historical centre is neat and tidy but the feeling of industrial degradation around the harbours is less pleasant. General feel and quality of living are adequate. C. Tourism infrastructure

3.5

The trump cards of tourism are numerous cafes, bistros and restaurants. Sports and recreation offer is well developed. The city offers some great hotels and a number of smaller boutique ones. Due to the demographic situation and the abolition of the border it regressed somewhat in the once leading shopping and entertainment area, which can now be found on the Slovenian side of the border.

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3.4

Despite the oldest convention centre in the region Trieste lost its previous high position on the international market. The convention centre is in dire need of renovation. Hotel Savoia is the flagship hotel others don’t reach its level. The agencies are strong, but Trieste lacks some really strong PCO agencies and a more innovative incentive offer. E. Subjective assessment

The Mediterranean climate, unspoilt Karst hinterland and extraordinary diversity of the landscape contribute to high attractiveness of Trieste and surroundings. The Karst hinterland with its extraordinary cultural heritage poses a contrast to the city which demonstrates its former cosmopolitan spirit at every step. The mixture of cultures left its mark on the city and makes the meetings industry that much more interesting. B. General and transport infrastructure

D. Meetings infrastructure

3.2

The meetings industry of Trieste is actually fine, it’s just missing something to make it an above average congress destination. The city is safe, tidy, has a good price to quality ratio, the locals are hospitable and professional. The something extra that’s missing is a more attractive offer, which would take advantage of the hidden potentials of Trieste. Comparison to the Region: Today, Trieste is mostly known for its coffee, rather than the meetings industry. The geo-political location could make Trieste a leading Adriatic congress destination, yet it is now being overtaken by less accessible and geographically located destinations. Solid infrastructure is a good foundation for development. The image of the city on the regional and world market needs to be improved. When key stakeholders on both sides of the border realize the potential of the city, it can become much more important than it is today. Cool meetings: Trieste is the second name for coffee. In Trieste coffee is great and is the first on the 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 working in Trieste today. More on TRIESTE on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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Colours, sounds and fragrances of Bosnia and Herzegovina

E

ven though the country looks pretty compact, hearth shaped on the map, it’s actually a mosaic of different cultures. It’s hilly and green, covered with vast woods and part of the Dinaric Karst in the west. It even has a short strip of the Adriatic coast at Neum, yet it’s still seen as a mostly continental and not Adriatic country. Bosnia and Herzegovina in pretty vast in comparison to its neighbours. Some hills, like Jahorina and Bjelašnica, where the Sarajevo Winter Olympics were held in 1984, are so huge a skier could easily get lost without the signs. Green turns to blue, followed by white and red, wherever a traveller stops, his eyes are never bored. Even though BiH – hardly anyone uses the official name frequently when you can simply say “be-i-ha”, is home to many nations, they all speak the same language though in different dialects. The new state calls it “Bosnian”, but actually there are no problems in communication between Serbs, Muslims, Bosnians and Croatians, who share this once divided country. Noteworthy: this is the language the Nobel Prize winning novel by Ivo Andrić, The Bridge on the Drina was published in. Sarajevo is very proud of its Jewish – Sephardi tradition, even though not much is left of it today. Yet still! This friendly place offered shelter to the Sephardi at the end of the 15th century when they were banished from Spain. Bosnians, regardless their nationality, listen to the same music, mostly local rock band as well as huge international stars. If we exclude fashionable trends, like “turbo folk” we cannot pass the wonderful treasure of folk poetry and song, be it in the Herzegovian Karst, the hills of today’s Republika Srpska and its capital Banjaluka or the dreamy, melancholic “sevdalinka”. Like a Bosnian fado the sevdalinka is a song of old Bosnian cities, filled with sorrow of love or “an imaginary ambiance of beauty, where in the endless vastness of the soul, grains of joy thrive and make life wonderful...” The cuisine is similar to music and poetry. It’s rich, diverse. It includes “čevapčiči” the most proletarian food we can imagine, which made their way (through workers from BiH) throughout Europe as far as Germany. The best minced meat rolls (its larger, rounder form is

called “pljeskavica”, balls served with tomato sauce are “ćufte”), with the addition of onions, “kajmak” (a soft cheese from cottage cheese and salt), “ajvar”, served in a “lepinja”, are made in Sarajevo. Ah, if this were only all ... What about “begova” and all the other stews? After a large lunch, the lady or man of the house will serve something sweet – often really sweet. Be it a “baklava” (fried pastry with walnuts in warm water), “tufahije” (baked apples filled with walnuts) “ružica”, “hurmašice”, “kadaif”, “oblande”, “sutlijaš” (rice pudding) and so on and so forth till the day after tomorrow. Herzegovina offers some excellent wines, mostly white. BiH is far more famous for its “rakija” or brandy, where the world renowned plum brandy from fat, home grown plums, often three times distilled and strong as hell, is the undisputed queen. Let’s not forget the Bosnian coffee – strong, fragrant as sin. Sugar or no sugar, preferably served with “rahatlokum” (a jelly cube with walnuts). FACTS ABOUT BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Facts Area: Total: 51.197 km2 Land: 51.187 km2 Water: 10 km2 Capital: Sarajevo Land boundaries: Croatia 932 km, Montenegro 249 km, Serbia 357 km Climate: Hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast Population: 4.621.598 International country CALLING code: +387 Time Zone: Central European Time

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WHERE TO GO Bosnia and Herzegovina, the land of the heart, as it is called because of its shape, really touches your heart. It has always been a wonderful meeting point of eastern and western cultures, as it bears the stamp of two completely different empires, Turkish and Austrian-Hungarian. Land of good food, outstanding, open people and fun offers visitors stunning mountain landscapes and great experiences with a good sense of adventure. Enjoy the Bosnian rhythm and life will be better and easier in a moment. In numbers …

Top 5 Sarajevo, a magical city of timeless beauty where everyone immediately feels like at home Mostar with its old bridge is without a doubt the most fascinating city of this heart shaped country. Neum is the only coastal town, but it boasts an incredibly clean and calm sea. National Park Sutjeska, pristine area of glacial lakes below the high peaks, passing which the river Sutjeska formed a stunning valley Medjugorje is a place of miracles and one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the world.

3 official languages 1272 athletes from 49 countries took part at the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo 250.000 tickets were sold at the Olympic Games 75 metres high is the waterfall Skakavac in Sutjeska National Park

The most … ~~ In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympic Games. These were the first Olympic Games in any communist country in history. ~~ The most famous ćevapi in the world originate in Sarajevo’s Baščaršija. ~~ Peručica is one of the last two surviving primeval forests in Europe.

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~~ Oriental town Počitelj is host to the longest continuous art colony in this part of Europe. ~~ The inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina are incredible coffee drinkers, which is similar to a ritual and is an important part of the culture. What else to do ~~ Taking a walk through Sarajevo’s Baščaršija is always a unique experience that everyone gets addicted to. ~~ In Visoko judge yourself, whether the stunning Bosnian pyramids are the work of nature or ancient human hands. ~~ Enjoy several hours of a cup of coffee in “fildžan” and then pamper your taste buds with čevapčiči, kajmak and burek. ~~ From Mostar to Sarajevo take a train and enjoy the incredible mountain views. ~~ Rafting on Tara or Una- both are a unique adrenaline experience.


Kongres meetologue

SARAJEVO BETWEEN EAST AND WEST

T

he fragile peace in Bosnia is occasionally interrupted by incidents that don’t undermine the feeling of security. The city is opening up to new capital and building sites are open all over the city despite the economic woes. The meetings industry is not yet among the key products of Sarajevo. For a serious breakthrough it should be dealt with in a planned and strategic manner. Sarajevo is a winner in hospitality, which contributes greatly to the positive personal experience of the participants. I often wonder if the four-year siege tore apart the spirit of tolerance that shaped the Bosnian culture for centuries beforehand and culminat-

ed in the Winter Olympics of 1984 under the world’s gaze. Sarajevo deserves a new “Olympic Games” and a number of new congress projects. For starters, Sarajevo will be the European Cultural Capital in 2014. The new spirit of the times is demonstrated by the Al Džezira Balkan TV station setting up headquarters in Sarajevo. According to the editors this is because of the special spirit of Sarajevo which enables regional coverage without nationalist tendencies. The Bosnia and Sarajevo from my youth are gone, but the romantic memories remain!


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.36

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.2

Comparison to the Region: The brand ‘Sarajevo’ is one of the strongest trademarks in the region. It gets its character from the dramatic juncture between East and West. In the meetings industry the brand and destination are completely unexploited despite their immense potential. With proper positioning and investments in the meetings industry Sarajevo can quickly catch up with other destinations in the region. A special asset for the development of the meetings industry is the attitude of the people of Sarajevo, who are known for their humour, tolerance and understanding.

Sarajevo is known for its incredible countryside spiced with historical, social and cultural attractiveness. Due to the recent history Sarajevo is one of the more exciting cities in the region. The negative aspect is the attitude towards the environment and the general state of the environment and architecture, a consequence of the war in the nineties. In Sarajevo, geography intertwines with chemistry.

Cool meetings: Sarajevo burek (only with meat), Bosnian pies and ćevapčići at Baščaršija rule! The Bosnian black coffee goes great with baklava, urmašice, tulumba and ratlukom. We grew up with Sarajevan music: Bijelo Dugme, Crvena Jabuka, Plavi orkestar as well as Kemal Monteno, Zdravko Čolić, Dino Merlin and sevdah. Even the culinary offer and multi-ethnic – cultural and national – Olympic spirit are a part of the congress Sarajevo from our past.

B. General and transport infrastructure

More on SARAJEVO on www.kongres-magazine.eu

3.2

The general infrastructure and traffic infrastructure of Sarajevo is average, with huge investments needed in some areas to help Sarajevo catch up with developed congress destinations. This is especially the case with road and air access and public transportation. C. Tourism infrastructure

3.2

The tourism infrastructure of Sarajevo is gradually picking up and rejuvenating, however everything is happening independently and without a clear and coherent strategy. The biggest attribute of their current offer are that numerous cafes, restaurants, čevabdžinice and bars Sarajevo is famous for. Tourist development is slowly followed by the tourist “superstructure”, such as information centres and support services. D. Congress infrastructure

2.8

The weakest part of the offer is the congress infrastructure – first and foremost the lack of a convention bureau rounding up the offer and the fact that Sarajevo lacks a mid-sized convention centre. Other congress infrastructure is at best average. E. Subjective assessment

3.4

The biggest asset of Sarajevo is the hospitality of the locals and a good balance between price and quality. In the area of political stability, safety and competitiveness, Sarajevo is an average destination. To be on the way towards becoming a developed congress destination, the attitude towards the meetings industry will have to change.

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Kongres meetologue

COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF BULGARIA Text by Rok Klančnik

B

ulgaria – along with Romania – is the youngest member of the European Union since 2007. As its northern neighbour the membership has completely changed life and influenced the economic development. A lot of what has been written for Serbia and Romania is true of Bulgaria as well, even though the country has its own national identity, language and habits. It’s the oldest country in Europe since it has been in existence since 681. At the north of Bulgaria the Danube lowlands finish, the south is hilly – with plenty opportunities for skiing, the hills and plateaus hide beautifully orthodox monasteries. To the east there’s the Black sea, which has developed greatly as a tourist destination in the recent years. Who hasn’t heard of Kris Javacheff – Christo, who has been wrapping buildings and large objects into fabric all over the world? Bulgarian musicians are mostly popular among ethno-music fans. This music found its place on the golden disk, carried into space by the NASA probe Voyager. Have you tried marmalade of juice from rose petals? Bulgaria is famous for its roses, which are not only for decoration. Your hosts in Bulgaria will mostly swear by local wines and more “manly” drinks, like a kind of “rakija” and “mastika”, which originates from Greece. In Bulgaria they add a hint of mint to it so it’s a bit different than the Greek Ouzo. Bulgarian cuisine is dominated by vegetables, since they are abundant due to the mild climate. They are often the basis for hot or cold soups. “Tarator” is a speciality made from yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, anise, oil and water. To freshen it up in the hot summer they add a few ice cubes instead of water. Bulgarians are fond of the grill as well; they put all kinds of meat on it – mostly pork and lots of vegetables. Beef is a bit scarcer; lamb is delicious at the Black sea coast and in the hills of the Old Mountain and Rodopov. Popular kinds of homemade cheese are “sirene” and “kaškaval” which are used everywhere – from soup, to salad, sauce and desert. Bulgarians have always been proud of their dairy products; they have supposedly been making yoghurt for over a thousand years, with the help of the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus. For Christmas they like to prepare vegetable dishes, like filled paprika or grapevine leaves. For

New Year’s they traditionally eat cabbage, fish is served on St. Nicholas day (December 6th), Roast lamb on Jurjevo (May 6th). The sweets are dominated by “banica” a relative of the Serbian layer cake. If there is no cheese at hand, the layers of pastry are filled with pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms or sweet filling like walnuts, hazel nut and others, which make the “banica” similar to the Slovenian “potica”. “Banica” is often served with “ajran”, a refreshing Turkish drink from yogurt, salt and water. FACTS ABOUT BULGARIA Facts Area: Total: 110,879 km2 Land: 108,489 km2 Water: 2,390 km2 Capital: Sofia Land boundaries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km Climate: Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers Population: 7.148.785 International country CALLING code: +359 Time Zone: Eastern European Time

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WHERE TO GO Land that has been hidden for many years from the world, has finally blossomed in all its glory. Although small, it offers a lot to its visitors in all seasons: primal sandy beaches, attractive ski resorts, endless opportunities for hiking, mysterious monasteries and churches, and stunning historical monuments. Modern cities and remote rural areas, where traditional, slow pace of life of its warm people has not changed for centuries. One can only hope it will remain such for a long time. In numbers 35.000 km marked hiking trails 9 UNESCO sites More than 200 hotels and 130 restaurants on the Black Sea Sunny Beach 333 bagpipes »gaidas« has the largest bagpipe orchestra in the world

Top 5 Black Sea Coast boasts stunning beaches and picturesque bays. Sofia is a dynamic city of the young with interesting museums, beautiful churches and gourmet restaurants. Rila Monastery is known worldwide for its exceptional colourful frescoes. Bulgaria, with its predominantly mountainous territory is a paradise for lovers of white slopes with its modern ski resorts Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo. Infinite networks of well-marked hiking trails take visitors around the lush mountain and forest landscapes Vitosha, Rile and Rodopov. The most … ~~ Bulgaria is a country with the oldest name in Europe. ~~ Bulgaria produces half of all rose oil, which is added to perfumes worldwide. ~~ Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacterium used in the production of yogurt can be found only in Bulgarian air. ~~ Bulgaria proudly holds third place in the

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number of archaeological monuments, behind Italy and Greece. ~~ When Bulgarians shake their head, they really think “yes”, and when they nod their head, their answer is “no”. What else to do ~~ Enjoy the colorful atmosphere of museums and stunning Roman amphitheatre that graces the old part of Plovdiv. ~~ Climb up to the peaks of Rile and enjoy the views of the crystal Seven Lakes. ~~ Relax your body and your eyes on the Sunny beach, the most popular Bulgarian sea resort. ~~ Belogardchika rocks, extending to as much as 30 kilometers will with their unusual forms and folk stories certainly stir your imagination. ~~ Enjoy a Bulgarian folk music concert, which touches every soul deeply. Are you kiddin’ me? According to the old farm tradition, at a funeral usually coins are placed on the dead person’s eyes and then soaked in water. Then they give the liquid to the men to drink and then allegedly they are made blind to the faults of their own wives.


Kongres meetologue

SOFIA SLEEPING CONGRESS BEAUTY

S

ofia is technically as well equipped as any great city. Organizing a convention in Sofia should be no trouble. It’s missing the factor x. It lacks the concise and consistent branding, which would position the city among other tourist sites in Bulgaria. The entire communications story of Sofia seems tired and reminiscent of the olden days. The sense of security in the city is not always absolute. You can quickly have a little mishap with currency exchange. The agencies are doing everything to survive, so a true specialisation hasn’t taken place yet. As a consequence Sofia is not

yet on the top of regional convention destinations, where it should be considering its capacities. It’s behind all the important cities by ICCA statistics, which means the potential of the destination is enormous. What is extraordinary about it, are the individuals. Among them the legendary professor Stella Filipova and her young team, who raise hope and optimism about the future of the meetings industry in Sofia and Bulgaria.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.62

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

3.4

The city a little shyly offers a colourful array of historic and cultural attractions, which along with hidden nooks do not disappoint conference delegates. Experiential diversity is a bit spoilt by worse environmental conditions, however, it is a tolerant city, in which a Mosque, a Synagogue, a Catholic and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and various architectural styles co-exist hand in hand. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.6

Bulgaria is in fact the real Balkans. On the one hand, the buildings and architecture bear the imprint of the socialist past and on the other are its warm and friendly people. The city is not governed by strict Western standards, but it still feels safe. It seems that the attitude towards the environment is not the most developed; because of the size of the city one finds garbage and untidy communal infrastructure. What is surprising is the new underground metro with new stations and the relatively solidly governed public transport. C. Tourist infrastructure

3.9

The streets of Sofia are increasingly full of tourists, and with the advent of low-cost carriers, Sofia is becoming a popular European city break destination. It seems that the inhabitants have not yet become accustomed to the tourist rush. The city offers a lot of authentic travel experiences for which there appear to be somewhat shyly hiding providers. D. Meetings infrastructure

3.5

A giant convention centre Palace of Culture forms the meetings infrastructure, otherwise the main providers are international hotel chains. The main problem of the destination is the inadequate destination marketing and poorer destination image compared to the competition. E. Subjective grade 

3.7

A great advantage of the destination are its friendly and helpful inhabitants, and price attractiveness of the destination. Sofia is one of the most attractively priced convention 41

destinations in South-East Europe. The city where you meet with the past and the future of Bulgaria is also arriving at an international congress map. Perhaps the city is not as spectacular as some other cities, but it offers a genuine Balkan Congress service and experience. Comparison with the region: Sofia is a typical transition convention destination, which needs some more quality of services and a connection of the meetings industry with creative industries. As a destination to discover Bulgaria Sofia has a lot to offer, yet it will have to internationalize its meetings industry and strengthen marketing. The biggest opportunity is in the added value of the destination unknown to the rest of congress Europe. Sofia needs to get rid of the image of a cheap congress destination of a lesser quality and become an internationally recognized congress brand. Sofia is a congress sleeping beauty caught between east and west. Cool meetings: Ĺ OBSKA SALAD is disputed between Serbs and Bulgarians. Both claim that is of their origin. Otherwise, it is very good and typical Balkan salad, which is usually served with grilled delicacies.


Kongres meetologue

COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF CROATIA Text by Rok Klančnik

A

mong all European states, Croatia is one of the most graphically recognizable, since its image is always adorned by a redwhite (ore silver) chessboard. This symbol supposedly stems from the tenth century when the medieval country was ruled by Stjepan Držislav. The country owns 1778 kilometres of the Adriatic coast, adorned by 1185 islands. Yet Croatia is not only a marine, blue, country. In the hinterlands of Dalmacija, there’s Dinaric Karst, while the centre is wooded, hilly, green and softly wavy in Zagorje and flat in Slavonija. Since the country is shaped like a boomerang the linguistic and musical culture is very differentiated. In Istria the people display an influence of old Venetian Italian, in Dalmacija the language is actually a melody, the so called “proper” Croatian or “štokavščina” should be spoken in Zagreb and Slavonija. Among the national instruments the stringed tamboura and rarely “gusle” are worth mentioning. The entire region boasts numerous modern Croatian pop and rock bands, which perform nonstop, not just at home, but also around the region and wider. Zagreb is proud of its tradition of classical music and poetry, which enriches European culture. In Hollywood, the actor John Malkovich is of Croatian decent, the producer Branko Lustig has already won two Oscars, the inventor Nikola Tesla is owned by both Serbs and Croats. Croatian gastronomy is similar to Slovenian and Hungarian in the capital and in the continental part. The country is rich in excellent vegetables, crops, all kinds of meat.... Foreign tourists should ask for “pura z mlinci”, roast lamb, suckling pig, dumplings... At the seaside of course: seafood is the rule – numerous types of fish and molluscs, prepared “pod čripnjo” (under the lid), in “pašticada” (cooked lamb), in Istria, try the truffles from the valley of Mirna – if possible in a sauce with “fuži” (a type of pasta). In the last few years Croatian wines are a welcome addition to the European gastronomy meeting points. Wines are excellent in Zagorje, Medžimurje as well as in Slavonija. Dalmacija is known for heavy, red wines, full of minerals and irons, or desert wines like “prošek”. Another curiosity: Maraschino, a liquor made from the maraschino cherry, and the bitter “Pelinkovec”.

FACTS ABOUT CROATIA Facts Area: Total: 56.594 km2 Land: 55.974 km2 Water: 620 km2 Capital: Zagreb Land boundaries: Bosnia and Herzegovina 932 km, Hungary 329 km, Serbia 241 km, Montenegro 25 km, Slovenia 455 km Climate: Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast Population: 4.486.881 International country CALLING code: +385 Time Zone: Central European Time

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WHERE TO GO In the land of a thousand sunny islands and attractive historical towns you will never be bored. This is a country, where one always runs out of time for everything to do it. Although at first glance, it gives the feeling that mostly sunny beaches and water activities are struggling for the attention of travellers against cultural treasures and ancient architecture, Croatia with its interior offers much more. In numbers 2786 sunny days per year 1244 islands 576 species of fish 130 domestic types of wine 19 UNESCO protected historical treasures 8 national parks

Top 5 Croatian islands: if you discover them by boat, car, or simply lie down on one of them, they are always fascinating

Zagreb: dynamic city with the charm of European elegance that enchants you at every step Dubrovnik: the first and only true gem of the Adriatic, a town with no competition Plitvice Lakes: extraordinary beauty of six turquoise lakes, which with numerous waterfalls rest among forested hills. Slow food: from year to year Croatian Chefs are gaining more force in European culinary world. The most … ~~ The largest and longest of the islands is Cres, Hvar is the sunniest, the most party is Pag, the most intact is Mljet, the most gourmet is Vis, the most Robinson-like is Palagruza, the most photographed is Brac. ~~ Istrian town of Hum is recorded as the smallest town in the world – it has only 23 inhabitants, in the Guinness Book of Records. ~~ In 1999 the biggest truffle in the world was found in Croatia. ~~ The oldest people’s community theatre in Europe was built in 1612 on the island Hvar. ~~ Stone from the island of Brač could be the most famous stone in the world while the White House was built of it.

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What else to do? ~~ Cycle in its green heart among medieval towns and hill villages. ~~ Wear a diving suit and explore the underwater treasures around the Dalmatian islands. ~~ Sail between the Croatian islands. You might meet one of Hollywood acquaintances. ~~ See at least one of Zagreb’s numerous museums and galleries. ~~ Indulge all your senses in one of the many spa resorts, which were already enjoyed by the ancient Romans, or indulge in an authentic farm life on a tourist farm. Are you kiddin’ me? Tie, which is worn daily by more than 600 million men around the world, comes from Croatia. The legend began during the Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648, when the Croatian rented soldiers who served in the French army, worn around the neck small knotted scarves. With this fashion addition they attracted the attention of Parisians, who immediately adopted it and named it after Croats - Cravat.


Kongres meetologue

DUBROVNIK PEARL OF THE ADRIATIC

D

ubrovnik is a city growing and developing due to the meetings industry. It will be a big part of the future of this industry for the entire region. First, as the most successful Croatian and regional brand on the global meetings market. With little exaggeration we can claim the destination brand of the entire region will hang on Dubrovnik. It will lead the region as the first destination where international and local hotel chains are opening convention centres and performing intensive co-branding. The results are numerous incentives of international corporations to book up the season and convention centre openings one after the other. I personally believe the meetings industry can change the image of Dubrovnik. It is possible new investments in

meetings industry will change the sociological structure of tourists. I have to add, the key question is always the vision of the destination and the knowledge the infrastructure will be successfully marketed. The wonderful setting of Dubrovnik is only a part of the story; the meetings industry is largely the logical industry for Dubrovnik. It is only missing some important investments into infrastructure and meetings infrastructure. The meetings organizers can learn much from Dubrovnik, the inscription on the door to the Duke’s Palace: “Obliti privatorum publica curate” or “Forget your own gains and take care of the common ones”.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.42

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.9

Stone Palace, which hides many stories, will greet you in all its splendour as it has for centuries greeted travellers from around the world. The magnificent city is one of the tourist icons of the Adriatic and justifiably the most painted tourist skyline with unprecedented experiential diversity for conference guests. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.0

Among Croatian destinations Dubrovnik depends the most on the availability of flights. Hence this year’s forecasted record number of flights is gratifying for conference organizers. The city is safe, as evidenced by the current analysis of the portal Trip Advisor. The city is logistically regulated solidly, it is only necessary to avoid the largest tourist crowds in the middle of the season. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.4

Dubrovnik is once again well established on the world tourist map as a leading tourist destination in the region. Given the extensive tourist infrastructure locals would want to stretch the summer crowds on the rest of the year. In addition to legendary and iconic hotels like the Excelsior, the city offers a variety of hotel accommodation and is regarding restaurants and entertainment lively day and night.

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D. Meetings infrastructure 

4.5

To have convention completeness Dubrovnik is only missing a modern multifunctional convention centre, which has been planned for a long time. So far, it is successfully replaced by modern and well-equipped centres at hotels such as Dubrovnik Palace, Excelsior, Bellevue, Grand Villa Argentina, Importanne Resort, Dubrovnik President, Valamar Lacroma and Radisson Blue. Well-developed is the entire conference infrastructure including destination management and creative agency scene. E. Subjective grade 

4.3

World destination is again attracting well-known names and world class events. It is the strongest brand of the region in the meetings industry which hardly disappoints or leaves indifferent. Dubrovnik ignites love at first sight. Comparison with the region: Dubrovnik is the flagship of regional tourism and is the first association of meetings organizers we meet daily. It has still not reached its full potential. It is the closest in the region to renowned Mediterranean convention destinations Cannes and Monte Carlo. It has the biggest potential in the area of corporate and other incentives; after the completion of the convention centre also in the area of international associations conventions. Cool meetings: DUBROVNIŠKA ROŽATA: Dessert of Dubrovnik’s nobility. Cream eggs with caramel sauce, served most often with the sweet liqueur or fruit. One of Croatian versions of the world-famous cream with caramel.


Kongres meetologue

HVAR ROOM WITH A VIEW

H

var is still quite wild and largely uninhabited island. Over the beauty of the island, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, there is no point in wasting words, since there is no shortage of various urban legends for approval. Among other things, it used to be called Austrian Madeira. In Hvar urban has been coexisting with rural for centuries. Towns Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska and on the other hand less touristic places Poljica, Zastražišće, Zavala,... Logistically the organisation of events on the island is certainly more complex than on the mainland. However, today in addition to the quite degraded ferries of Jadrolinija you

can use the more comfortable passenger catamaran, which can also be privatised. Each year Airport Split has more connections, even out of the main season. Number of flights during the season surpasses those of many of the South-East European capitals. Road connectivity within the island, however, requires a bit more patience, especially during the high season. In the middle of summer Hvar is really overcrowded, but in early autumn and spring it is a perfect choice for the organisation of congresses and incentive programmes, both at sea and on land.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.12

3.6

Hvar has put itself on the meetings map by building a convention hotel Amfora with a congress centre and two large halls. The largest one can take up to 370 people theatre-style, and the other 320. Both are flexible, A/V connected and can be converted into five break out rooms, complemented by three additional ones, designed for smaller, intimate meetings. For special events and receptions Hotel Palace offers a wonderful ambience at San Marco terrace on the main town square.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and Cultural Factors

D. Meetings Infrastructure

4.5

E. Subjective Grade

4.4

Central Dalmatian islands are inhabited since prehistoric times. Due to its island specificity they create as a geographical and cultural-historical finished whole. Hvar is now on the UNESCO list of natural heritage and is the main adventure pearl of the Adriatic.

Despite the notoriety of the island and its visibility Hvar is still sweet, genuine and full of sincere, authentic Mediterranean experiences. Island culture fascinates and conquers even despite the more difficult access. It is worth it!

B. General and Transport Infrastructure

Comparison with the region: None of the more than 1.000 Croatian islands has such karma and recognition as Hvar. Definitely a “must” Croatian destination, right behind Dubrovnik. Distance from the mainland gives it a touch of boutique smallness.

3.8

Since Split is accessible from the highway, way to Hvar is significantly shorter. Sunčani Hvar is aware of the difficult access to the island, which is particularly problematic for congress and other business travellers who come for 2 - 3 day’s events. Improving flight connectivity weighs even in the worst case a two-hour drive from Split to the island. C. Tourist Infrastructure

4.3

Sunčani Hvar took care of cosmopolitan transformation of Hvar into a world’s top destination. The renovated hotels Riva and Adriana in the old town can meet the needs of the most demanding guests, without missing good restaurants, bars and exclusive beaches. Well maintained walkway connects the old part with the largest hotel, the Hotel Amfora.

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Cool meetings: Hvar wine and island’s culinary art have thrilled the gourmet and the World traveller Anthony Bourdain who already after the first visit became one of the biggest promoters of Hvar. Definitely you will also be reminded of Hvar by the taste of olive oil, red wine, and the fragrance of lavender.


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LOŠINJ AND CRES LOW-CARBON INCENTIVE ISLAND

S

piced up by the long years of tourist tradition and solid business-mindedness, the renowned hospitality of the locals is a good starting point for the development of thesustainable meetings industry. The ratio of quality to price is excellent in comparison with other more famous islands. The island’s weakness, however, can be ascribed to its non-existent image to the meetings industry, something

that can be a huge opportunity for all wishing to take advantage of its immense potential. The personal experience is certainly positive; I am a fan of autumnal serenity, when the islands breathe and seem more peaceful. Cres and Lošinj are the perfect islands for all seasons.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.35

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.5

The diversity of the islands, the climate, vegetation, culture, architecture and the incredible marine areas are ideal for incentive and congress products. The natural environment is very well preserved, dolphins living in the waters around Lošinj are a clear testament to this. The natural and cultural factors are ideal for incentive programmes. B. General and transport infrastructure

2.9

The general accessibility of the Kvarner Bay has improved in the last few years. Access to the islands is still problematic, even though they are not quite as isolated as other Dalmatian islands. The entire Kvarner area has bad air connections and the renovation of the airport on Krk is a precondition for intensive development of the meetings industry. C. Tourism infrastructure

3.8

The tourist infrastructure of Lošinj and Cres has been developing for 125 years and is of a great standard. The offer of recreation and sports is extraordinary, as well as the culinary offer and destination management. The islands are missing some boutique offers for the more demanding guests, the existing hotel offer could also be complemented with some high-level hotels. D. Meetings infrastructure

2.9

New congress capacities at the Aurora and Vespera hotels lifted the potential for organising congresses. In general, the product lacks the developed incentive programmes carried out by specialised agencies. To date the offer is disconnected and would benefit from strategic, coordinated action. E. Subjective assessment

3.6

The islands of Lošinj and Cres are sustainable diamonds amongst the coal. Of the 1244 officially recognised Croatian islands they possess excellent natural conditions and are authentic and packed with diverse adventures, all of which contributes to a positive personal experience. The meetings 49

industry is not in a prime position yet, but I am certain it will soon become a part of the sustainable strategy of the islands’ tourism. Comparison to the Region: Lošinj and Cres are the only Adriatic islands that successfully deal with sustainable tourism and are amongst the more eco-friendly islands of Kvarner. They differ from the more famous Dalmatian isles, such as Hvar, Brač and Krk, with their nature preservation, systematic sustainable development and cultural heritage. All these activities are well managed and present a huge opportunity for the development of a limited and exclusive sustainable meetings industry in harmony with the capabilities of the islands. The key challenge is the invisibility of the islands’ image on the meetings industry radar, lacking the recognisable incentive brands to build the high quality boutique and intimate stories that can raise its profile. If local suppliers can develop from these points and their programmes can continue to be socially responsible, they will be able to benefit from the current trends in the industry. I am certain their first clients will be the existing loyal guest of Cres and Lošinj. With a high added value the islands can also become the eco-incentive oasis of the Adriatic. Cool meetings: Healthy Mediterranean cuisine pervades Cres and Lošinj – fish from the baker’s oven; brodet with polenta and other sea food with fresh ingredients; baked lamb from Cres that is equally as good as anything in Pag. Everything is available in typical taverns, alongside the few top restaurants at the upper end of the Croatian offer. The spices and herbs are a symbol of the islands, so a visit to Lošinj’s Miomirisni vrt herb garden is highly recommended. More on LOŠINJ AND CRES on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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OSIJEK OVERLOOKED DESTINATION

O

sijek is a special town you can quickly fall in love with and it gets under your skin. Somewhat slow pace of life relaxes and gives the feeling of ease. Besides, the ratio between authenticity, quality and price is accessible and far more favourable than in the Mediterranean Croatia. Unfortunately, because of the process of transition from the post-industrial town and the war, it is relatively undeveloped

in meetings and conventions terms. Given what we have written above and the existence of own University with numerous faculties and other institutions, which have some potential congress ambassadors, the town is one of the hidden convention gems of Croatia.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.26

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and Cultural factors

4.0

The most typical Croatian Pannonian area is among the most blessed Croatian provinces, which together with its position at the crossroads of three nations created an extremely varied and socially attractive space. To illustrate: fertile agricultural areas, thermal waters, geographic location at the junction of the three nations, position on the major transportation routes and the culture of co-existence and experiential diversity. B. General and Transport Infrastructure

3.1

Despite the good road and rail infrastructure, the majority of convention tourists arrive to the destination by air. Catastrophic air accessibility of Osijek, despite the recently renovated international airport, is the main obstacle to serious development. The second condition would be building a passengers port for river cruisers on the Danube. Until then Osijek will remain above all a regional and local convention centre. C. Tourist Infrastructure

3.5

The basic accommodation infrastructure is reasonably well developed and of good quality. Restaurants with above average cuisine stand out. Offer of bars and cafes and general eno-gastronomic offer is good. The worst part of the offer is the lack of receptive DMC Agencies and a more proactive destination management. D. Meetings Infrastructure

2.2

Currently deserves the most criticism. The destination practically has only one true convention hotel. There are no local specialised DMC Agencies. Incentive providers are practically inexistent. A Convention Bureau of Osijek or the whole region is missing. Consequently, the development and variety of convention products is small. Because of all we have written above, it is a great opportunity for development at the same time. E. Subjective Grade

3.50

It seems that Osijek lives and operates on the nostalgic drive. Its identity was shaped by natural features and turbulent 51

social processes. For serious development of convention tourism this is not enough. The town has an excellent strategic position with numerous opportunities for the development of convention tourism, but it could also quickly become a blind convention gut. The most could be done on the image of the Destination, which besides the transport infrastructure is the main reason for the current lack of competitive edge of the Destination. Comparison with the Region: To most people, the extreme north-eastern part of Croatia is the most marginal, border, multi-faith, multicultural and the most poorly known region of Croatia. Its character is given by rivers Drava and Danube with its symbolic, functional and aesthetic value. Self image of isolation and the feeling of living on a desert island of convention tourism in which only a small number of meeting planners and organisers are interested. Because of its geographic position, it is economically and politically far from the capital and also undeveloped as a convention destination as a consequence. The focus of the problem is the stereotype feeling of neglect. If we ignore this part, Osijek is one of the freshest and most sustainable Croatian meetings destinations with no real competition in the region. Cool meetings: BARANJA KULEN is a spiced, slightly hot sausage of the typically red colour. More on OSIJEK on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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SPLIT CROSSROADS DALMATIA

S

plit is full of stories and myths. First of all, the classic clash between the north and south, between Zagreb and Split, Dinamo and Hajduk. Split reproaches Zagreb with claims of centralism and exploitation of the south. Split is faced with the classic issue of many destinations, where the convention bureau is formally a part of the city tourist organisation and thus lacks international recognition. Split urgently needs a well organised and branded convention bureau. The major disadvantage of the destination is air traffic access, although infrastructure has been improved

with the renovation of the airport platform and will further gain from the planned construction of a new terminal, equipping the airport to be able to receive up to 2 million passengers annually. Air transport is mostly an issue in the low tourist season, which is at the same time high congress season. This element of an attractive destination is the main one preventing Split from becoming an excellent congress destination. Split is the diamond amongst the coal.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.96

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

E. Subjective assessment

4.2

The mild climate, lively atmosphere, historical attractions and architecture are the main advantages of destination Split. Its disadvantage is the attitude towards the environment and sustainable development. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.8

With the completion of the motorway Split has an excellent connection to the continent. Air and rail accessibility is steadily improving. The downside is local traffic infrastructure with public transportation as well as communal infrastructure. C. Tourism infrastructure

4.3

Tourism infrastructure has improved immensely in the last few years. Even before that Split was well equipped with sports venues and leisure offers. Split is the cultural centre of Dalmatia. The progress of the hotel scene is making great strides. D. Congress infrastructure

ences as well as the number of hotel rooms appropriate for congresses, the weakest link being the lack of a convention centre in Split.

3.8

Congress hotels, professional services, ongoing development and a variety of congress products are a strong part of the offer. On the downside are its congress history and refer-

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3.4

Political stability, safety, ratio of quality to price and general competitiveness of the destination are the main attributes of Split’s offer. Split does somewhat worse in the area of meetings industry support, e-services and the image of Split as a congress destination. Comparison to the Region: Among the Adriatic congress destinations Split has become serious competition to Dubrovnik in the last years. The main disadvantages of the destination are bad cooperation between the service providers, lack of air traffic connections to key markets and not enough destination marketing. If Split gets a real convention centre in the future it could become one of the leading congress destinations in the Mediterranean. New and excellent hotel capacities, good road connections to Europe and wonderful surroundings, with islands offering numerous incentive programme opportunities, all bolster this proposition. Split is one of the most unexploited congress destinations in the Mediterranean. Cool meetings: HEART OF DALMATINSKA KUHINJA: Characteristic of Dalmatian coastal cuisine is its digestibility and simple preparation. The secret of the fabulous taste of fish, meat, or other cooked dishes lies right in that. Yet the idea that simplicity means everyone everywhere could prepare them would be deceiving. The tradition of grilling and roasting fish and delicacies of the sea in this region has been carried on from generation to generation, whereby the proper grilling technique often depends on the type of wood or wood briquettes chosen to do the grilling. In addition to this come the tantalizing Dalmatian olive oil, grilling technique, and the particular taste of the fish and delicacies of the sea.


Kongres meetologue

ŠIBENIK THE HEART OF DALMATIA

V

arious tourist guides and the Top 10 somehow overlooked Šibenik. After war destruction the city needed some time to make a new breakthrough. In addition, the status of the industrial city of the industrial zone to the east of the city appeared quite unattractive. Despite this and in the shadow of more media exposed destinations it is experiencing a fast and high-quality tourism development. The centre of happening is the hotel complex Solaris, situated in a peninsula covered with Mediterranean vegetation, which comprises of thematic 5 hotels, apartment and villas complex with a Yacht marina and a campsite. Carefully arranged resort offers a wide range of facilities.

The Mayor of the city, Franko Vidović, sees the future development of the city as a centre of green industries. Within this story we could also place the meetings industry. There is room for such development of congress tourism, just the right products and the corresponding ROI will have to be developed. There is no shortage of opportunities. The national parks around Šibenik, rafting on the Cetinje rapids, the race with old boats, all lend themselves to creative incentive programs.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.02

4.5

Because of the natural beauty, a major part of the area around the Krka is declared a national park, of which the geographical centre is Šibenik. This gives the whole area an outstanding experiential value and also numerous opportunities in the field of congress tourism. On the seaside one may wonder at Kornati, the most dynamic and diverse group of islands in the Adriatic and a sustainable paradise. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.1

The location is perfect and surprisingly favourable for congress tourism, although it is currently simply ignored. Access via the highway is elegant and simple. Nearby there are two sufficiently frequented airports, Split and Zadar. The fact that the city is located in the triangle of three extraordinary national parks - Kornati, Krka and Paklenica - and close to the Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit is particularly attractive. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.2

The Hotel Renaissance outside the city should soon be followed by one in its very heart. Otherwise, Šibenik and its surroundings is one of the most diverse and developed regions of Dalmatia for tourists, where there is no shortage of entertainment, festivals, world-class cuisine and also offers for the more discerning guests. It’s also worth remembering the harmony singing (‘klape’), which in the area around Šibenik is also the most developed on the Adriatic. D. Meetings infrastructure

3.9

Once industrial, military and port city, it now has a sound basis for the development of congress tourism after a period of transition. It offers a very genuine and authentic experience and a real boom. Foreign investors are coming, new tourist facilities are being built and also in the field of meeting industry, with the appropriate positioning, it promises a bright future.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

E. Subjective grade

3.4

Meeting capacities in Šibenik, Vodice and Primošten are adapted to medium-sized congresses. Virtually all of the convention centres are completely renovated as part of the strategy to fill capacities in the pre-season. In Šibenik, a common destination management - in the sense of establishing a convention bureau in order to properly position the destination among the competition of neighbouring Dalmatian cities of Split and Zadar,- means there is a significant untapped potential. 55

Comparison with the region: Šibenik very rarely raises any association with the meeting industry. In the process of transition from an industrial city into a tourist destination it has not yet asserted its image among competing cities. Despite this it is a fact that it has excellent conditions and is somehow considered to be a hidden jewel of the Croatian congress offer. For ease of accessibility it may be a suitable location for small association conferences as well as a variety of incentive programmes. Cool meetings: ‘PEKA’ (BAKING): in a cast iron container, under the heated lid covered with coals, are baked meats of all kinds, which is also great with fish and octopus. Large quantities of vegetables and potatoes are required, which provide juiciness and a good taste.


Kongres meetologue

UMAG AND NORTHERN ISTRIA DOOR TO THE ADRIATIC

N

orth-western Istria offers a genuine and very active conference experience. Options of activities with which you will fill up the schedule of your conference guests are countless. In Umag and its surroundings there is a very special spirit of sport in the air. It is an interesting and attractive congress destination because of its proximity to major convention markets in the region. Perhaps at the

moment we can only reproach it a slightly reduced visibility. The establishment of a convention bureau would help it a lot in terms of development and promotion of the congress product and improve its image on the international convention scene. That the destination is capable is demonstrated by some big events that have recently moved to Umag from some much more famous Croatian convention places.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.08

4.3

Hinterland of Umag has retained some of its primal nature. Olive groves are intertwined with vines and produce excellent wine and olive oil. Specific climate, cultural heritage and rich history excite tourists, but especially excite Istrans who impress with their distinctive positive energy. B. General and Transport Infrastructure

3.8

Door to Istria literally means that Umag is nearest to some major convention markets in the vicinity. The highway Ypsilon connected Istria to the mainland and also improved accessibility to guest who arrive by plane. Umag is a destination that is accessible from three airports (Ljubljana, Trieste, Pula) in less than two hours, which should not be an obstacle for international congress organisers to think about it for organisation of international congresses and events. C. Tourist Infrastructure

3.6

Unlike some destinations that have congress centres, but lack additional offer, Umag has planned and developed co-operation with suppliers in the Istrian hinterland, which is certainly an additional motive for event organisers. Although the largest hotel hall can only accommodate 350 participants, the Istraturist team is not intimidated even by an event for 1.500 participants, for which they are ready to shake up even the tennis hall.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and Cultural Factors

D. Meetings Infrastructure

4.4

By connecting to the hotel chain Sol Melia Istraturist has got a fresh wind and a higher standard of hotels. Where before there were holiday villages of lower categories there are now apartments and villas for the most discerning guests. Changes of the major tourist player in north-western Istria, were also followed by Laguna Novigrad, whose accommodation offer has also much improved in recent years. Sports facilities, from golf courses to indoor swimming pools complement the offer and Umag is from the summer increasingly turning into a destination for all seasons.

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E. Subjective Grade

4.3

Sometimes we inadvertently overlook destinations that we remember as leisure. With what has changed in recent years in Umag and north-western Istria, it gives a whole new dimension to the destination. Umag is primarily an incentive destination, where we were convinced by hospitable locals and employees in hotels. It provides security, comfort and a range of environmentally friendly outdoor activities. Integration of local suppliers is in full swing and gives the impression that the entire destination aspires toward worldclass incentive, sports, culinary and experiential services. Comparison with the region: Among the competing congress destinations, Umag even a year ago would be easily overlooked, but today it is already hosting the most demanding events such as the most important Microsoft event Windays. This proves that the destination is profiled as a congress and especially incentive location. To the good functioning a great destination management contributes a great deal, which in a form of a cluster from 2010 is promoted under the brand “Colours of Istria”. Cool meetings: Istrian truffles are rightly called Istrian gold and represent the culmination of gastronomy offer of the largest Adriatic peninsula. It is most prevalent in Mirna valley. White truffle is the most prized species; it is picked from the beginning of October until the end of December. Truffles are an indicator of pristine nature. We recommend tasting in the form of ‘fuži’ with truffles.


Kongres meetologue

ZADAR A COOL MEETINGS DESTINATION

C

ongress organisers will usually choose Zadar because of its location at the crossroads of the greatest natural beauties of Croatia, history and culture as well as the better overall and conference infrastructure. Zadar is becoming very advanced and viable conference city, which boasts an exceptional cultural offer. With such potential it can compete

with Mediterranean destinations of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. In the future it will have to do some urgent organisational and infrastructural interventions to capture the rhythm of most of the more advanced Croatian conference destinations.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.06

4.2

Natural geographic position at the crossroads of different regions, rich history, indented coastline and terrain and untouched nature, together with the mild Mediterranean climate and vegetation is an excellent prospect for the development of congress tourism. B. General and Transport Infrastructure

4.2

It seems that Ryanair transformed the tourist map of Zadar and returned Zadar among the important tourist hubs in the Adriatic. The city is experiencing a traffic and infrastructure renaissance and gives a sense of urban tidiness. Even the quality of life seems to be at a high level. C. Tourist Infrastructure

3.4

Zadar is an ideal destination for organisation of smaller conferences and incentives for up to 100 participants. In this area it has the greatest opportunity, as meeting planners are always looking for new attractive convention destinations. Unfortunately, Zadar is missing a convention bureau and a more targeted marketing, which affects the congress image of the destination.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and Cultural Factors

D. Meetings Infrastructure

4.4

Zadar with over 4000 beds, several campgrounds and resorts is a developed summer destination for leisure and a yachting paradise. With the advent of new air connections, construction of new and renovation of existing hotel facilities, conditions for the development of congress tourism and exploitation of the extremely rich and already-developed tourist infrastructure.

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E. Subjective Grade

4.1

The charming city with thousand years of cultural heritage, the proximity of the islands, five national parks and improving flight connections. It’s no wonder that a number of foreign media see it as a cool convention destination. Comparison with the region: Conference organisers are always looking for new and different destinations. Zadar is the logical choice, as it has enormous potential of natural and cultural conditions. Moreover, it is a cool destination with a specific urban rhythm. Currently, the main drawback are congress facilities that only allow smaller events as well as congress infrastructure which is not yet built and in function. Once everything is in place, Zadar will certainly be an important congress player. Cool meetings: Maraschino liqueur is made from ‘maraska’ cherries after the original recipe from the 16th century. It is attributed with healing effects.


Kongres meetologue

COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF MACEDONIA Text by Rok Klančnik

M

acedonia is the southernmost part of the former Yugoslavia. Its people are warm, hospitable, probably due to the climate – often Mediterranean, even though Macedonia is landlocked. In the west it borders of Albania, Greece to the south, towards the east with Bulgaria. Most of the land is dominated by the Vardar plain, where tobacco and cotton are traditionally grown. Macedonian music can be divided into country and urbane by the melody and lyrics. Traditional music inspires a “kolo” dance in a circle. Traditional instruments in Macedonian music are “gajda” (a type of bagpipes), “šupelka” (flute), “kjemane” (a three string violin), “tapan” (drum), and almost always an accordion. Today folk bands use electronic keyboards and rhythm machines... One of the most famous neo-folk groups was Anastasia, which became known through the Oscar winning film of Milcho Manchevski, Before the Rain. Macedonians had their first punk band called “Fol jazik” in 1978 and music for the younger generation developed into all possible genres – from hard core, to gothic and hip hop. Modern electronic music is marked by Kiril (Kiril Džajkovski) yet he is not nearly as famous as the queen of Roma music – Esma Redžepova, who is the biggest ambassador for Macedonian and Roma music in the world. The kitchen of this small, proud country smells great. Throughout the existence of Yugoslavia their dish “tavče gravče” was very popular. It’s a simple stew made from beans, onions and sometimes meat. Before the spoon reaches the ceramic dish, the company has to make a toast with “mastika” an anis brandy. Since it reaches 45% alcohol, it’s mostly served with water to make it a hazy white colour. Among the salads the “šopska” salad is just a famous abroad. It’s made from cubed vegetables and salty white cheese. Macedonians share many dishes with its neighbours, yet let’s stick to Macedonian particularities a little more. “Ajvar” is a sort of salad or better yet a paste made from red peppers and aubergines or similar. Other versions include “lutenica”, “pindžur” and “malidžano”, depending on the ratio between pepper and aubergine as well as other vegetables. When enjoying the shores of Ohrid Lake, don’t forget the Ohrid trout which is now a protected species.

The deserts are mostly oriental and arrived in Macedonia with the Turks in the 14th century. As did the coffee culture – the country has over 5,000 cafes where the coffee is made in a “džezva” with or without sugar and “lokum”. Among the wines pay attention to Vranac and Alexandria and – T’ga za jug, this is a pure classic among red wines. FACTS ABOUT MACEDONIA: Facts Area: Total: 25,713 km2 Land: 25,433 km2 Water: 280 km2 Capital: Skopje Land boundaries: Albania 151 km, Bulgaria 148 km, Greece 246 km, Kosovo 159 km, Serbia 62 km Climate: Warm, dry summers and autumns; relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall Population: 2.072.086 International country CALLING code: +389 Time Zone: Central European Time

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Kongres meetologue

WHERE TO GO There is something mysterious in its mountain wilderness. It is a true paradise for all pristine nature lovers and a right place for researchers of ancient ruins. In addition to spectacular peaks, lakes and rivers and mystic monasteries its biggest feature is amazing hospitality and cordiality of its people which make the visit of this little country unforgettable. Macedonia wins you over for your whole life. In numbers 34 mountain tops higher than 2.000 metres 53 lakes 349 square metres is the size of Ohrid Lake 4 national parks, covering 110.000 hectares 700.000 tourists visit Macedonia annually

Top 5 Ohrid: with its dramatic beauty and cultural richness it is the highlight of any visit to Macedonia Monastery of Saint Naum: a beautiful refuge of tranquility on cliffs overlooking lake Ohrid National Park Mavrovo: in addition to skiing it offers 73,000 hectares of pristine forests, lakes, karst planes, waterfalls and mountains to explore. Skopje: a hospitable capital, where the remains from the times of ancient Rome, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire and Yugoslavia mix in the best way. Kokino and Kuklica: explore the ancient megalithic observatory and mysterious land of 10 million year old stone statues. The most … ~~ Alexander the Macedonian was the greatest conqueror in the history of mankind. He defeated the Persian Empire, the Greeks defeated the Macedonian army and led all the way to India.

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~~ Kokino is, according to NASA, the fourth oldest observatory on the planet. Ahead of it are only Abu Simbel, Stonehenge and Angkor Wat. ~~ According to the writing of the New York Times the cave Peshna in the Macedonian Brod is almost identical to the imaginary cave in the movie Lord of the Rings. ~~ One of the most kind-hearted people in history, Mother Teresa was born in Skopje. ~~ Ethnographic Museum near Tetovo under the monastery Sv. Bogorodica is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest ethno museum in the world. What else to do ~~ Let yourself be impressed at a concert of traditional Macedonian folk music, which is just as magical as the country itself and its people. ~~ Visit Kruševo, which is practically a »living architectural museum«. ~~ Take a walk on the steep edge of the beautiful canyon Matka. ~~ If you are lucky to be in Macedonia in July, you must attend a three-day traditional Macedonian wedding in the legendary mountain village Galicnik. ~~ Discover Bitola’s many secrets of the past and enjoy its neighbouring National park Pelister.


Kongres meetologue

SKOPJE WHERE THE SUN SHINES ETERNALLY

I

n Skopje everything happens with a bit of a delay, yet is accompanied by a feeling of relaxation and freedom. The culinary and night life are among the best in the region. The food is simply divine. In this area Skopje breaths in the rhythm of larger metropolises and can be compared to Belgrade in many aspects. The hospitality and kindness of the Macedonians is unbeatable.

The dispute over the name definitely effects the positioning of Skopje’s meetings industry, which is virtually non-existing in the international meetings market. Despite that the atmosphere is lively and the congress position of Skopje can improve immensely with the development of basic infrastructure and a convention bureau.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.30

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors 

D. Meetings infrastructure 

3.3

In 1963, Skopje was struck by a catastrophic earthquake. Symbols of Skopje were demolished and the city was flooded with rubble. After the earthquake the city experienced a complete makeover of its visual identity, surprisingly the old oriental čaršija remained fairly intact and is today one of the main experiential values of Skopje, which otherwise is not among the most experientially attractive cities of the region, unlike the inhabitants of Skopje on which the hot sun has a positive effect because they are always smiling and friendly. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.4

In terms of transport and ecologically Skopje is not among the most arranged capitals of Europe. Grey socialist-realist image and reality dominate. With a gigantic redevelopment project by 2014 twenty new buildings and a series of sculptures are going to be built. It seems that the project came halfway and it will not be fully accomplished. It is true, however, that the city is becoming more beautiful year after year as a tourist destination and hides a lot of pearls. C. Tourist infrastructure 

For the current extent of congress tourism, the tourism offer is adequate and the strongest part of the congress chain.

3.9

Tourist infrastructure is adapted to demand and is with over 70 hotels sufficiently diversified for the current needs of the city. Tourist pace is slow and relaxed and that’s what gives the city its unique charm. The old part of town is full of small shops, Ćevabdžinice and oriental tourism offer that inspires.

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2.7

In Skopje, except for a very well-functioning Skopje Fair and solid congress offer in some hotels meetings industry is at its beginning. Range of agencies, destination management and comprehensive offer has not yet been developed, and this is why we have described this part of congress infrastructure as the weakest part. E. Subjective grade 

3.2

Skopje is the heart of the Balkans in a positive and negative sense. It is a city of great cultural and ethnic differences. The warmth of people, their kindness, yummy food and fine wines, on the other hand, ethnic differences and a number of transition problems. Beautification of the city, improving flight connections, a mix of modern and traditional and energy and variegation are making it attractive to meeting organisers. Comparison with the Region: As capital of Macedonia Skopje is a crossroads of internationals paths and has all the predispositions to develop the meetings industry. It still has a long way of investing into infrastructure. A near neighbour is the Greek city Thessaloniki, which is far more developed and hosts up to 15 international congress annually, in comparison to Skopje which only hosts 1 according to ICCA. In Skopje a convention can be organized with some effort, yet for a serious breakthrough it needs to look to its neighbours for a model of successful development – the Thessaloniki Convention and Visitors Bureau, which combines over 100 members. Cool meetings: Tavče gravče is a traditional Macedonian dish. It is prepared with fresh beans and can be found in all the restaurants in Skopje.


Kongres meetologue

COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF MONTENEGRO Text by Rok Klančnik

M

ontenegro is one of the smallest and the youngest European countries. It has existed as an independent state since 2006, yet it had been an independent country before the First World War. It’s mostly hilly and wooded, yet its history and people have mostly been influenced by the 300 kilometre of the Adriatic coast. The romantic Lord Byron wrote two hundred years ago: “The most beautiful contact between the earth and sea took place at the Montenegrin littoral.” Montenegrins speak their own language, which many locals as well as visitors equate with Serbian, since the countries are connected with the majority orthodox religion. On the coast line (Budva, Ulcinj, Boka Kotorska and Kotor, the wonderful Sveti Stefan) or in the hinterlands they like to sing, you can hear tamboura everywhere and Montenegrins are generally a cheerful people. Despite the rich liturgical and classical tradition, the most known author of modern music has to be Rambo Amadeus (Antonije Pušić). Even though the country is separated from Italy by the sea, the gastronomy of Montenegro is highly influenced by Italian cuisine – mostly in the areas of wine production, as well as prosciutto, ham and cheese making. Other influences come from neighbouring Balkan states like Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, since they were part of the same country as Montenegro the longest. Sea food dishes are the most popular in modern Montenegrin cuisine, not only because of their tradition, but also because they’re healthy. Among the fish, the Skadar Lake Karp is a speciality, as is the lamb cooked in milk. Montenegrin wines are becoming more and more known, yet still hard to get due to a smaller production. As a remedy for any kind of ailment, headache or heartburn, they recommend “lozovača”, brandy from grapeskins. Yet Beware: this colourless fire water can contain up to 55 per cent of alcohol. When visiting Montenegro, try the “boza”, non-alcoholic drink of a Turkish origin, made from cereals.

FACTS ABOUT MONTENEGRO Facts Area: Total: 13.812 km2 Land: 13.452 km2 Water: 360 km2 Capital: Podgorica Land boundaries: Albania 172 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 225 km, Croatia 25 km, Kosovo 79 km, Serbia 124 km Climate: Mediterranean climate, hot dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfalls in land Population: 666.730 International country CALLING code: +382 Time Zone: Central European Time

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WHERE TO GO Montenegro is considered to be St. Tropez of the South-East Europe and from year to year, it is gaining in its elite sign. Land of spectacular beaches, dramatic peaks and canyons, elegant palaces and ancient towns has become one of the most attractive tourist regions in recent years. When you see and feel its amazing attraction, it becomes clear to you in a moment why. In numbers 1300 meters measures the canyon of the river Tara in depth 626.000 inhabitants, making it one of the smallest European nations 17-percent tourism growth every year 3.500 Euros costs overnight stay in a suite Sveti Stefan, which ranks Hotel Amman Sveti Stefan in the top of the most luxurious accommodation on the Adriatic

Top 5 Kotor Bay: dramatic bay with a beautiful walled town, which oversees the deepest fjord in South East Europe Tara Canyon: the longest European and second longest canyon in the world National Park Lovćen: breath-taking mountain views, are rising almost from the sea Monastery Ostrog: miracle, embedded in a huge rock, visited every year by thousands of pilgrims from around the world Skadar Lake: amazing play of nature which has created a complete beauty The most …

~~ The oldest and best-preserved glass in Europe from the 4th century BC was found near Pljevlja. ~~ The first nautical school in the world operated in Perast. What else to do ~~ Hoist the sails and discover the stunning beauty of the Montenegrin coast with high cliffs. ~~ Take a mountain tour in the Durmitor National Park, where you can also try skiing, rafting or biking. ~~ Enjoy a good meal in one of the seaside restaurants in Budva, Herceg Novi or Ulcinj. ~~ Feel like a star in the new Porto Montenegro, where Monaco and Russian rich park their yachts. ~~ Try lozovača, a very strong, but (too) tasty national alcoholic drink. Are you kiddin’ me?

~~ Montenegrins are the highest people in the world, with an average height of 186 cm for men and 171 cm for women. ~~ With 48 people per square metre, Montenegro is the most sparsely populated country in Southern Europe. ~~ Zabljak is 1485 meters above sea level, the highest altitude city in Europe. ~~ Tara River is the largest fresh water reservoir in Europe.

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Montenegro is considered to be unpopular among cartographers. It is almost impossible to write its long name on such a small area on the map.


Kongres meetologue

BUDVA ON THE FOAMING SEA

T

he meeting industry as a part of luxury travel is something they are serious and ambitious about on the Montenegro coast. Other projects in the vicinity of Budva are also proof of capital attracting capital. This summer the Aman Hotel in Sveti Štefan was renovated and re-opened, the Porto Montenegro mega yacht marina in Tivat followed, sponsored by names such as banker Jacob Rotschild, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripasko and magnate Bernard Arnault, all with the goal of Montenegro becoming the ‘Monaco of the Adriatic’. They face several obstacles on that way, the main one being poor accessibility by plane and road travel, currently one of the destination’s main weaknesses. The national air travel provider has a poorly developed flight net, and in the opinion of the local meeting industry players they do not sufficiently understand and support the

industry. There are only a few low-fare air travel providers, mostly to the nearby Dubrovnik. The entire destination is mostly dependant on charter flights, which are dependent on the attractiveness of the hotel selection; road accessibility is also lacking. The destination, promoting itself as a wild beauty, is well on its way to becoming a true congress queen, but a lot will have to be done on the road to perfection, especially in infrastructure and shifting from seasonal to year-round meetings activity. This is the very reason why it is practically impossible to organise a congress or an event in high season and why access is difficult in low season. The Montenegro coast remains a less accessible meetings destination for the time being and periodically an unconquerable fortress.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.62

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.0

3.2

It seems that the passions of the relentless transition wave of new buildings and the arrival of Russian investors have dampened somewhat. The most densely populated tourist town in Montenegro is, due to rapid development, facing significant urban and logistical challenges. C. Tourist infrastructure 

4.1

With its developed tourist infrastructure Budva is suitable for all kinds of tourism. The offer is adapted to all types and forms of tourists, which is on the one hand a plus and on the other a minus of the destination. It surprises you with its relaxed atmosphere, the friendliness of the locals and the Montenegrin temperament.

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3.8

First rate hotels in Budva offer superb conference facilities, but it is lacking a long-planned convention centre and a more systematic and targeted destination marketing. Otherwise in Budva there is no shortage of top agencies and a number of developed incentive suppliers and programmes, which fall into the top of the Adriatic offer. E. Subjective grade 

Budva Riviera is the centre of Montenegrin tourism, which has developed because of the intermingling of cultural, historical and landscape attractions and the warm Mediterranean climate. Early in the spring, while elsewhere we are still in the cold, it is pleasantly warm in Budva. The ancient gem is today much altered and studded with new hotels; the entire coast is bursting with liveliness and a tireless nightlife. B. General and transport infrastructure 

D. Meetings infrastructure

3.0

Budva is famous for its night life and it seems that the inhabitants of Budva are on vacation all the time, with cafes full during the day and the night clubs at night: it’s a true paradise for posers. Of course, it is necessary to reach deep into the pocket for a proper and appropriate atmosphere. The fame of Budva eventually over grew the reality, but nevertheless this is a city worth its name and represents a solid convention destination. Comparison with the region: Budva is one of the central incentive destinations on the Adriatic coast, with very successful marketing, despite numerous deficiencies in poor accessibility and current capacity selection. The development plans for the ‘Monte Carlo of the Adriatic’, openness to foreign investors and very liberal policies could position the Montenegro coast very high on the meetings industry map in the next few years, while it is already the leader in the area of incentive programs. It boasts the unique opportunity for the practically untapped Russian meetings industry, which has always had a positive relationship with Budva. If this “wild beauty” improves its accessibility, price competitiveness and infrastructure, it can be a worthy competitor as a meetings destination, even as one of the top destinations in the wider region of the Mediterranean. Cool meetings: NJEGUŠKI HAM: The famous local ham prepared in the traditional way.


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PODGORICA REGION’S WARMEST CITY

W

hen I visited Montenegro for the first time, I was fascinated by the combination of gorgeous landscape, biodiversity and its pleasant climate. The extraordinary natural resources have not been managed well, however, a consequence of non-sustainable development in the past. The same applies to the potential for the development of the meeting industry in Podgorica, which is remarkable, but poorly utilised. Moreover, the country is small but has a remarkable history and, consequently, a high

concentration of tourist attractions that could become an integral part of the meeting industry, or simply offer a cooling down from the searing summer heat. The town is thus in the shadow of the bigger tourist places and unfortunately also touristically quite boring. Montenegro is probably one of the rare countries with two capitals, the formal one in Podgorica and its capital of the ‘heart’ in Cetinje. If you want to find the true heart of the country, you will have to have to go on a trip there.


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Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.36

3.9

Podgorica lies at the cultural and transport crossroads of the middle of the Zetska plains, only a hop from the varied Montenegrin landscape. Montenegrins are justifiably a proud people, reflected in the awareness of outstanding natural and cultural heritage, which is the main attribute of the touristic / meetings offer. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.1

The worst part of the meetings offer, largely based on air accessibility, is that roads, railways and other traffic infrastructure is poorly developed. Also poor is the tourist information infrastructure of signs and directions around town. The attitude towards the environment is not proportional to the environmental statements, because the infrastructure is governed more or less ‘domestically’ and it is the weakest link in the tourist offer. C. Tourist infrastructure

2.7

Meeting facilities currently are mostly located at hotels. For now the best choice is the Hotel Ramada, with a smaller congress centre for 200 participants, but after the opening of the Hilton Hotel that everyone is waiting for there will be a larger multifunctional centre. The greatest weaknesses are the undeveloped meetings brand of Podgorica, the lack of a convention bureau and the needed development of a network of meetings industry suppliers.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

D. Meetings infrastructure

3.4

According to statistical data Podgorica has 31 hotels, 580 rooms, 156 apartments and a total of 1,600 beds. Approximately half of the hotel rooms are appropriate for meeting industry guests (11 hotels are of 4* category), a hotel with 5 stars is lacking. Taking into account the size of the town, it has the largest concentration of bars and restaurants, over 700 in total.

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E. Subjective grade

3.7

For nor Podgorica is more a transit tourist destination, waiting to present itself to congress guests. Comparison with the region: For now Podgorica can rarely be found on the meetings industry map. Considering the outstanding potential it will over time come to have all that is necessary to be a true meeting destination. Among its advantages there is its strategic position, which enables easy access to the most attractive parts of Montenegro for incentives. Among the weaknesses we have to point out the current state of the meeting infrastructure and its transport isolation. Being an air travel destination it is highly dependant on the number of flight connections, including low cost ones. A convention bureau for the town would greatly help in positioning the destination, which it deserves as a capital city. The town is developing quickly and is looking for the right image, torn between the classic tourism flow and the idea of development into a meeting destination. Cool meetings: Vranac - an aromatic and intoxicating wine, a true elixir of life, that put you in a good mood. The best known is from the PlantaĹže vineyard, where they produce the best Vranac, pro corde and loza (brandy made from grapes). More on PODGORICA on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF SERBIA Text by Rok Klančnik

S

erbia is along with Macedonia the only land-locked country in the Balkans. This proud country borders on Hungary in the north, its northernmost region Vojvodina is, like Hungary, flat, yet slightly wavy. Now and then a forest appears between the endless fields and in it an orthodox monastery or twelve monasteries (like at Fruška gora). An important symbol of Serbia is the Danube which it shares with its neighbours. Danube and another river, Sava, split Serbia in two parts. After Belgrade the southern lands turn to hilly Šumadija, towards the west to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the border river Drina, the hills are pretty high. The highest mountains can be found in the south of the country. Not to overlook: Kopaonik ski slopes are open the whole winter long – the ski-lifts are humming and the lambs are baking. The symbol of Serbia is a two headed eagle – a reminder of the times Serbia reached its independence from Turkish rule at the beginning of the 19th century and started a journey towards becoming an economic and political force of the region. Serbia made a huge leap forward in tourism over the last few years. Since it ended the political and economic isolation it was faced with in the 90’s, its firs aim was to improve the image and gain new friends and new business. Belgrade as well as Novi Sad, have rich experience in business and congress tourism – they enriched them by adding a story of a new, young, professional and confident, democratic Serbia. About a country which takes care of the natural and cultural environment and where leadership and power are gradually transferred to young, educated people. Serbia is still on the way, it’s not at the finish line yet. But it’s very successful and Belgrade is gaining a reputation of a European capital of fun and nightlife. The sounds of Serbia are known and acknowledge on the international stage. And not only because a Serbian song won the Eurovision song contest a few years ago, mostly due to the incredibly influential rock’n’roll of Goran Bregović and his Band for weddings and funerals and Emir Kusturica (renowned filmmaker, recipient of the Cannes palm) and the No smoking orchestra. They both bring primal Serbian energy into their modern rock, mostly with trumpets and drums. Bregović with his band and a project with

Bulgarian vocalist (Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares) reached the largest European and world stages as well as films (Queen Margot). Annual trumpet festival at Guča attracts tens of thousands of visitors from Europe. For the meetings industry more appealing EXIT festival held in Novi Sad hosted the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Mika, Faith No More, Missy Eliott, Röyksopp and many others. Yet we mustn’t forget the gentle sounds of tambouras and tamboura orchestras, which charm the listener with love songs from the olden days. For the more adventurous traveller – try the music of the gypsies. When speaking of the fragrances of Serbia we are once again perplexed... Let’s start with “dunjevača”, brandy from quince fruits. Or its sister plum brandy, or “komovača”, “travarica”, oh...let’s slow down before we get light headed. Serbian gastronomy is hard to tell apart from Bosnian or Bulgarian, since they are a part of the same Central Balkan region. Preparing food was the central activity in a traditional Serbian family. The prepared dishes, their quantity and quality were often the deciding factors of a reputation of the family and its leader in society. Yet still: the Serbian layer cake, a gentle pastry dish filled with fresh cheese is simply a wonderful experience. At the beginning your host will offer “slatko” a sort of jam or marmalade from fruits as well as quince and pumpkin. Like in Bosnia they enjoy using vegetables as wrapping for the food. They fill paprika and cabbage, not only with meat, they also use cheese and to top it off cover the paprika with breadcrumbs and fry it. All kinds of vegetable are traditionally preserved in jars and offered anytime. In Serbia the love of pork is strong. They prepare it in many different

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FACTS ABOUT SERBIA Facts Area: Total: 77.474 km2 Land: 77.474 km2 Water: 0 km2 Capital: Belgrade Land boundaries: Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 km, Bulgaria 318 km, Croatia 241 km, Hungary 151 km, Kosovo 352 km, Macedonia 62 km, Montenegro 124 km, Romania 476 km Climate: In the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); in other parts, continental and Mediterranean climate (relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns) Population: 7.344.847 International country CALLING code: +381 Time Zone: Central European Time


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WHERE TO GO A unique country, full of warm hospitality and undiscovered paths. This land of surprising contrasts can boast the natural beauty of valleys and mountains, rivers and lakes, and in its turbulent history, it has also created a rich treasure trove of culture. To its original atmosphere certainly adds the fact that this is one of a few countries in which the people entertain and party just about any night of the week - and all the way to the morning too. Join them for a shot of šljivovica. In numbers … 5 National Parks 4 UNESCO sites 1000 mineral springs The Danube passes 588 kilometres from the east to the west of Serbia

Top 5 Belgrade is a charming city with a vibrant atmosphere that never sleeps. Zlatibor: picturesque mountains of “golden pine” pamper the visitor with its rich folklore heritage. Guča trumpet festival is one of the most authentic festivals of folk music in the world Novi Sad, an elegant city, which is not just like that, nicknamed “Serbian Athens”. Vrnjačka Banja is the most celebrated Serbian spa, which is also a perfect base for visiting the most beautiful monasteries. The most … ~~ Serbia is the largest exporter, as much as two thirds of (best quality) raspberries in the world. ~~ The Economist magazine has awarded the prestigious title to Belgrade “City of the Future” of Southern Europe. ~~ Cathedral of St. Sava is the largest functioning Orthodox Church in the world. ~~ The Danube, linking the Serbian east and west, is the second largest European river.

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~~ Opanke, Serbian national footwear, have their place in the Guinness Book of Records: largest such shoe measures 3.2 meters in length and weighs 222 kg. What else to do ~~ Marvel Byzantine art in medieval monasteries Manasija, Sopoćani and Studenica. ~~ Ride the known, more than 1000 km long “Danube Bike Trail” or see the romantic Serbian countryside from a horseback. ~~ Refresh in the lake in the middle of Belgrade’s park Ada Ciganlija and indulge the hedonistic nightlife in the bohemian quarter Skadarlija. ~~ In winter or summer conquer beautiful peaks of Kopaonik, the most famous mountain resort. ~~ Replenish your tired senses in one of over 50 healthy havens in thermal resorts. Are you kiddin’ me? In December, the town Zarožje saw a strong increase in sales of garlic, because the mayor issued a public warning about a possible hike of the legendary local vampire Sava Savanović, when the mill in which the vampire lived according to the tale, broke.


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BELGRADE A CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

B

elgrade is an authentic, open and hospitable congress destination with soul. The gap between current infrastructure and the actual potential of the city, which it has because of its historical and cultural position in the region, is the biggest challenge for Belgrade’s congress

scene. In short, the zeitgeist of Belgrade is best summed up by writer Momo Kapor with the words: “Belgrade is a lowbudget New York”.


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Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.88

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

D. Meetings infrastructure

Belgrade has a good basis for the development of meetings industry with a large convention centre, the Belgrade Fair, numerous convention hotels, the long tradition and very reasonable prices. With the establishment of the Serbian Convention Bureau in 2007, co-operation and promotion has thoroughly improved and now Belgrade has in terms of management a unique opportunity to take advantage of its benefits, provided that the complete infrastructure will be thoroughly renewed. E. Subjective grade

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.0

The city at the crossroads of routes and historic conflict is full of history and forms an authentic social and cultural whole interesting to tourists. Unfortunately, some cultural monuments are in a pretty bad shape and that is why the grade is slightly lower compared to the other parts of the region. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.5

All roads lead to Belgrade. The geostrategic position of Belgrade is extremely favourable and allows for easy access at any time of the year. Unfortunately, the traffic and especially its quality is the weakest part of the congress infrastructure. Years of wars, sanctions and isolation have claimed its toll on the transport and general infrastructure, which is slowly returning to normal. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.3

Belgrade is currently dominated by medium 3 and 4 star category hotels, in short this will be improved with new openings, which will improve the offer in the first hotel league. Otherwise, it is a city with remarkable cuisine, world-class nightlife, world events and positive vibrations, which makes it a very dynamic and attractive tourist destination.

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3.7

3.9

Looking at Belgrade in terms of conference infrastructure, investments are necessary for it to be able to compete in the premier league of European cities. Most convention facilities need renovation to get rid of a dominant retro style from the beginning of 1970s. The city has enormous potential, which is still significantly untapped. The gap between expectations of international congress planners and the reality is simply too great. Comparison with the region: Belgrade bases its congress story on the rich culture at the crossroads of East and West, the central position in the SouthEast Europe and a lively social life. Belgrade is a city on the rise and a rough congress diamond, which has enormous development potential and can be placed geo-strategically side by side with world congress capitals, if it improves its infrastructure and handles the entire meetings sales chain. Promises of a new era are new hotels like Falkensteiner, which will open in November, the renovation of the Continental Hotel has also started and which will operate as Crown Plaza from 2013. Cool meetings: Despite the remarkable culinary diversity, it is hard to avoid ”ROŠTILJ” (grill) and different forms of mixed grilled meat. Belgrade is the world capital of “čevapčiči” (meat rolls), patties, “uštipci”, “ražnjiči”, spicy sausages, “vešalica”, ….. More on BELGRADE on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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NOVI SAD AUTHENTIC CONVENTION “EXIT�

I

n Vojvodina multiculturalism accompanies you at every step. Capital of the autonomous region, where the roads are all long and fields endless, is also exhibition/fair and conference hub of Serbia. Meetings industry is tailored to the nature and the character of the city. Novi Sad is the economic, scientific and university centre. With the construction of

the convention centre Master and renovation of hotels it has become a competition to more established destinations. If we cross the really good and modern offer with the hospitality of locals, superb cuisine and very reasonable prices, we get more than competitive convention destination.


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Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.94

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

D. Meetings infrastructure

4.0

The first thing that you notice in Novi Sad is Petrovaradin Fortress, which stands out from the surrounding plains, and give the city a special adventurous character. Petrovaradin was once considered to be Danube Gibraltar. The second is its multicultural character, which makes it socially and culturally attractive. In Vojvodina live 26 nations and ethnic groups that make Novi Sad very cosmopolitan. The third is the river Danube, which gives the city energy. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.8

Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina and the second largest city in Serbia. As a centre of culture and science it has always been directed towards Vienna. Also the communal and general infrastructure with architecture are reminiscent of the AustroHungarian period. The city boasts with the highest quality of life in Serbia. High employment, communal infrastructure is arranged and air is the cleanest. The cultural offer is also rich and it seems that it is a pleasant place both to stay and to organise conferences. C. Tourist infrastructure

category 3 and 4 stars. The offer is tailored to the diverse needs of guests and visitors of the Novi Sad Fair and other business guests. It also offers a rich nightlife.

4.0

In the city you certainly will not be left hungry and thirsty. A look at the huge and colourful market is proof that you are in the heart of food production. The hotel offer is also diverse and ranges from five star Hotel Leopold to many hotels of

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3.7

Master centre, which was created in 2006, is the heart of the congress offer of Novi Sad. At more than 31.000 meters of surface the convention centre offers a trade fair hall and a multi-purpose hall. Novi Sad is a city with one of the longest fair traditions in the region. Convention facilities and other infrastructure are suitable for medium large conferences for up to 500 participants. E. Subjective grade 

4.2

Novi Sad is teeming with nostalgia, it is a way of thinking and living. In Novi Sad, life is slow and harmonious between numerous nations. Residents of the city have a lot of heart and they are exceptional hosts. A paradise for culinary hedonists and a great congress alternative if you decide to organise a conference in Serbia. Comparison with the region: Novi Sad maintains well its image of an advanced capital also with festivals such as Exit and others. Unfortunately, the tourism sector is lagging behind some of the most active destinations, especially the capital Belgrade, which is perfectly establishing itself as an important European congress destination. The question is why to organise a congress in the city, which is only 100 km away from the capital city of Serbia. The answer is in a different, perhaps more authentic atmosphere and hospitality, numerous possibilities of accompanying programmes genuine ‘salaš’, in short in the authenticity of the congress story of Novi Sad. Cool meetings: FISH PAPRIKAŠ a modest dish of exceptional taste for true gourmets


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COLOURS, SOUNDS AND FRAGRANCES OF SLOVENIA Text by Rok Klančnik

S

lovenia is one of the smaller countries of SE Europe and is along with Friuli and Austria a “member” of Central Europe. It’s an Alpine country with “added value”, since a third of the country is under the influence of the Mediterranean and flows into the Pannonia plane in the North-East. Each season paints Slovenia with an infinite palette... Each place is proud of its colours, be they a rich autumn yellow, gold, to brown and red, winter white with veins in the form of rivers and blue spots of lakes, glacial or artificial. A colour Slovenia adopted as its own is green: 60% of the country is covered by forests, which places it on the second place in Europe. Slovenians speak Slovenian, which is the foundation of their culture and an historic survival – the nation consists of only a litter over two million of souls. Slovenian doesn’t have a typical Slavic melody. Through the centuries the melody as well as the vocabulary and grammar were influenced by German, and through religion – Latin. It’s marked by a rarity in European linguistics: dual. This is known in modern Arab, limitedly in Hebrew. In Slovenia it survived through Old Church Slavic from Proto- Indo-European language and is truly an exception in Europe. Dual is good for singing as well. Slovenians are very proud of their folk songs. After the Second World War brothers Slavko and Vili founded a quartet and later an ensemble of the Avsenik Brothers in the Alp village of Begunje. The band introduced a new form of folk music to the Germanic speaking and of course Slovenian public. This is based on the piano accordion and the rhythms of polka and waltz. The musical progress of Slovenia did not stop at the song “Trompetenecho”. Along with an abundance of good rock’n’roll the band most known abroad is Laibach and their vision of post-industrial rock, full of similar ideology. From Triglav to Bela krajina there is a lot of good food to be found, yet when it comes to Slovenian cuisine you never know exactly how to describe it. As all Slovenian culture it’s, not only influenced, but intertwined with Austrian or typical Central- European cooking. Polenta is just as much at home in Ljubljana, Hungarian Goulash is prepared in a unique way, mostly with three

types of meat and called “Bograč”. A few dishes are truly typical for this small, charming country: Dozens of dumplings made from scrolls of dough and filled with all kinds of fillings. If a scroll like this is baked, it’s called a “potica”, the queen of wheat in Slovenia is definitely buckwheat. You must try: Karst prosciutto. The food should be accompanied by sparkling, white, red or rose vine, while the most eager will try homemade “cviček” a mild wine, which barely reaches 10% alcohol content. For the courageous ones: mead, schnapps from pine tops, forest strawberries and herbs (Bear’s blood), and the list could go on and on... Let’s just mention the often wrongly overlooked mineral water Donat Mg from Rogaška Slatina. This water is a record holder on magnesium content and is excellent for concentration, psychic condition and feeling well, which are all the ingredients of a good congress. FACTS ABOUT SLOVENIA Facts Area: Total: 20.273 km2 Land: 20.151 km2 Water: 122 km2 Capital: Ljubljana Land boundaries: Austria 330 km, Croatia 455 km, Hungary 102 km, Italy 199 km Climate: Mediterranean climate on the coast, continental climate with mild to hot summers and cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east Population: 2.003.136 International country CALLING code: +386 Time Zone: Central European Time 

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WHERE TO GO A small land of many beauties that Lonely Planet has ranked among the top 10 global destinations. It offers everything large ones have. And much more. From snowy mountains to the sunny coast, from hills dotted with vineyards and flowery planes to Gothic churches, baroque palaces and historic castles. With its incredible mix of landscapes and climates, its small territory is the scene for endless ways to spend a wonderful time. This is certainly the most authentic in nature, as it is rightly considered as one of the greenest countries in the world. In numbers In 2 hours from the Alps to the Adriatic 56% of the country is covered with forests which are home to more than 400 bears 20.570 m is the length of the Postojna Cave 46 km of the Adriatic Sea coastline 2 million inhabitants who speak more than 40 dialects 7.000 km of mountain hiking trails

Top 5 Ljubljana: a small capital city with great cultural, architectural stories Bled: turquoise lake with an island and a medieval castle on top of a dramatic cliff Postojna and Škocjan cave: Two of the most beautiful and most visited caves in the world Triglav National Park: breathtaking mountain views, green valleys and pristine forests with many waterfalls Natural spas: for 20 years the most visited in the Slovenian tourist offer The most … ~~ Postojna cave is the most visited underground cave in Europe. ~~ In Maribor lives the oldest vine in the world. 400-year-old velvet black still annually produces more than 25 litres of wine. ~~ The ski jump in Planica is the largest in the world, which hosted more than 60 world records in ski jumps. ~~ Chimney of the power plant in Trbovlje is the highest industrial chimney in Europe. ~~ In the Slovenian folk and cultural traditions

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witches have a special place, so Slovenia also boasts an extraordinary number of local magic assemblies. What else to do ~~ Walk along the Ljubljanica River which during the day reveals the European dynamism of Ljubljana and in the evening, the view over it is changed into an inspiring architectural postcard. ~~ In Piran see the sunset, falling into the sea. Unforgettable. ~~ Try and taste Slovenian wines. You will not be able to stop. ~~ Take a turn in the Soca valley and test your adrenaline in rafting, canyoning or downhill bikes. ~~ Explore the many castles and monasteries scattered across the country. ~~ Let yourself be pampered in one of the natural Spas or boutique hotels. Are you kiddin’ me? In Ljubljana, anyone can sleep in a former prison – the known hostel Celica has even been called the “hippest” hostel in the world by the Lonely Planet.


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BLED THE IMAGE OF HEAVEN

T

he overall personal experience in Bled is a positive one, despite the feeling of low season sleepiness. The ratio of price to quality is mostly good. The low competitiveness level of the destination is influenced by the disconnectedness of both its offer and congress marketing. A different understanding of the quality of congress suppliers and their uncoordinated work are the main reasons Bled’s image has suffered slightly. The solution lies in an excellent congress product, promoted under the destination slogan ‘The Image of Heaven’. Bled is becoming one of the more attractive and world famous Slovenian meeting places with a known brand, which in itself summons quality. In the past

it hosted numerous important congresses and other important events. Based on its tradition and profiled offer it can clearly compete with more world-renowned alpine congress destinations. It is important to follow the policy of sustainable development, which needs to be taken into account for any consideration of the renovation of the convention centre and the individual marketing activities of the convention bureau. The natural environment of the destination calls for this, which can become one of Bled’s future competitive advantages. I am certain that Bled will quickly catch up with the competition and regain its former, famous congress identity.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.88

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

E. Subjective assessment

4.4

Bled can thank its environment and rich cultural heritage for the development of tourism. The place is linked with its green hinterland, which offers a variety of additional activities with high experiential value. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.0

Bled’s location is favourable, being near the central Slovenian airport and having good road and rail connection to other congress markets. This is a big plus for Bled, besides safety and tidiness. C. Tourism infrastructure

3.6

The hotel infrastructure of Bled is satisfactory, yet not adapted to the needs of demanding congress guests. The entire tourist offer is differentiated by quality and image. Bled is becoming the new culinary capital of Slovenia. Activities and recreation are well developed. The weakest part of the offer is nightlife and entertainment as well as shopping. Tourist infrastructure needs some polish and development of the soft part of the offer. D. Congress infrastructure

Hall. Many years of congress tradition are evident in a broad palette of congress suppliers and support services.

3.6

Bled offers numerous congress halls and venues for smaller congress events. The weakest link is the outdated Festival

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3.8

Bled is definitely among the leading Slovenian meetings destinations. Tidiness, wonderful nature and entire infrastructure are ideal bases for development. Unfortunately, Bled lost some trust of its loyal customers. The newly established Convention Bureau indicates a new era and promises to restore Bled to its former congress glory. Comparison to the Region: As a recognisable brand Bled stands out among other congress destinations in the region. It most closely resembles Dubrovnik, which caught up with the pre-war congress tempo by taking the right steps. Currently the biggest disadvantage is the lack of a clear focus towards quality rather than mass tourism. This is most clearly seen in the restaurant, night life and shopping offer. As a result the current perception of quality is lower than with largest competitors. In Bled the saying ‘Less is more’ is very true. The potential for the meetings industry is immense, it just needs to be harnessed in the right way. On the domestic market Bled lost most ground to Portorož, which on average hosts larger events with higher added value. Its advantages were traditionally built on congresses and conferences of international associations, which can once again fuel its development. It just needs to adapt to change faster. Cool meetings: The legendary Bled Cream Cake is the symbol of Bled’s culinary offer. The Cream Cake, made from pastry and filled with vanilla and whipped cream, became famous after the Second World War. To date more that eleven million have been sold in Bled. More on BLED on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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MARIBOR EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE

M

aribor has no shortage of special venues for events. Lent, the former Drava River Maribor has everything bigger ones have (only in a smaller format). Compared to other Slovenian Meetings destinations like Ljubljana, Portoro탑 and Bled it possibly has a

bit less experience in the field of meetings industry, which it compensates with friendly attitude of suppliers, that give the client a feeling that he or she is wanted.


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Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

3.74

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Nature and Cultural Factors

4.1

Maribor is in the centre of Styria with a rich history that is reflected in its cultural heritage. The landscape diversity of fertile soil, beautiful nature, forests, clean streams, and the green Pohorje are the basics for all kinds of add-ons for the meetings industry. Maribor is also the cultural centre of the country. B. General and Transport Infrastructure

3.2

Transport Infrastructure, mostly because of the inactive Maribor Airport, is the weakest part of the Maribor meetings industry offer. Otherwise Maribor is a safe and pleasant city to live in. Its speciality is an extraordinary access to nature. C. Tourist Infrastructure

4.1

In Maribor and its immediate surroundings there are over 109 accommodation facilities with some 1,500 rooms. A little over half of these are in hotels that are mostly of medium or higher categories and are suitable for business tourism. The additional tourist offer is well developed, especially for sports and recreation. D. Meetings Infrastructure

3.4

Congress offer of Maribor is concentrated in company Terme Maribor and their hotels Habakuk, Piramida (Pyramid) and Bellevue. This company and partly also Sports Centre Pohorje and City Hotel are carriers of offer and development. The town is very rich with additional convention programmes suitable for incentives but unfortunately a comprehensive offer of Pohorje and the town is under-utilised and not presented, convention bureau does not operate, and there are chronic shortages of specialised agencies. A more intensive co-operation between all players of the destination is essential and we hope that the ECC Project will have a positive impact on the destination. E. Subjective mark

3.9

Maribor is an excellent meetings destination whose biggest problem is its meetings identity and visibility and the absence 81

of co-operation between the suppliers. In Maribor you will not be able to find a specialised DMC agency with local knowledge. Comparison with the Region: Maribor is one of the most promising meetings destinations in Slovenia. The city is historically, ethnically and culturally extremely interesting. It gives an impression of familiarity and warmth. Unfortunately the city lacks an attractive story that would also attract foreign event organisers. The main reason is the inexistence of a convention bureau. I have a feeling that the lack of knowledge in the field of meetings industry stems from the influence of the past and industrial thinking. Maribor has everything that is necessary for development. On the other hand people are not fully aware of the potential the meetings industry could have. We hope that the ECC project will also use meetings tourism in its start-up phase. Cool meetings: Before downing the “Pohorje blue berries” liquor, try the “Pohorje pot”. It is a traditional dish that can be found in huts all over Pohorje; on special request it will also be prepared for your guests at Hotel Habakuk! More on MARIBOR on www.kongres-magazine.eu


Wine Cellar Ptuj. Treasury of tradition. The cradle of the future. Apart from the rich tradition that dates back to the times of the Roman Empire and archives, in which Ptuj Wine Cellar safely nourishes best of the best vintage years, in it is also a carefully guarded treasure, a special wine, the oldest Slovenian wine from the Golden Vine from 1917. In the company of older reloads are newer matured and fresh wines of modern taste that respect both the tradition as well as the demands of today‘s consumers. Ptuj wine cellar is known by the names: Pullus, Haložan and Pinky Chick. Since its inception in 2007, Pullus has been primarily determined as the winner of flavors, which it is continuously proving - first among consumers because it is a reliable choice for lovers of fine wines, then among the professionals where it constantly convinces at many competitions both at home and abroad. Ever since its inception Pullus has been at the very top of quality, as it conquers the highest medals at the largest domestic and world wine evaluations such as Slovenia Wine, Decanter, AWC Vienna, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, San Francisco Wine Challenge, etc..

A superb experience! Taste Ptuj! It awaits you in the wine house of Ptuj wine cellar, where we have room for up to 60 people. Beautiful photos of Haloze and surrounding hills that are interwoven with a walk through the history of winemaking in the Ptuj area are presented to you in a unique way by our Wine Master - Riesling from Haloze. The show is enriched with carefully selected music from different eras of the music art and this way it creates a beautiful experience of the rich treasury of tradition of winemaking and viticulture in Slovenia. We will also impress you with a walk through the „noble Ptuj underworld“, our tourist wine cellar. Shows are available in Slovenian, German, English and Italian, so you can also invite your friends, acquaintances and business partners from abroad, and of course they are also improved with a wine tasting or tasting menu with wine accompaniment at the inn PP. http://www.pullus.si/firstinfo@ptujska-klet.si


Prava izbira za praznovanja, dru탑enje in poslovna srecanja.


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PODÄŒETRTEK The success story

S

mallest place in our analysis is big in its offer and an example to all of us involved with tourism. Once a remote and poor community, in the 60-ies of the last century focused on tourism. Its epicentre is a thermal spring,

around which a success story was created. At every step the locals you meet, be it a wine-grower, a caterer or a priest, will let it be known that you are welcome.


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Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.88

4.0

Podčetrtek is the tourist centre of Posotelje near the Slovenian-Croatian border. The wine-growing soil and especially the thermal water are two of its natural resources and tourism potential of the place. Thermal spring was discovered in the mid-sixties, the main development occurred in the mid eighties with the increase of hotel and spa capacities. The castle from the 13th century certainly gives a historical mark to the place, which is one of the oldest in Slovenia and the Franciscan monastery Olimje, built in the 16th century. While the castle is still waiting for the right investor for renewal, you will be welcomed at the Franciscan monastery by hospitable Franciscans who will provide you with herbs from their pharmacy. B. General and Transport Infrastructure 

3.8

In terms of traffic a pretty closed region influenced the development of places in the past. Highway has shortened the route to Podčetrtek, but it is still necessary to use local scenic road that leads to one of the most beautiful wine-growing towns in Slovenia. Increasing connections to the Zagreb airport, which is only 1 hour and 20minute drive away, put Podčetrtek in an improved position for the organisation of international events. C. Tourist Infrastructure

3.4

As a part of the Wellness Hotel Sotelia, the convention centre in the spa Olimia was opened in 2006. The largest of eight technically perfectly equipped halls and meeting rooms can tale up to 350 participants in theatre style and can be divided into two rooms. The entire hotel has been awarded for architecture, mainly due to its placement in the environment; the architects have used a common thread of modern design also in halls, which are attractive to professional, business or social gatherings. Perhaps sometimes a larger lobby for breaks or on-site meetings might come in handy as well as daylight in Primula halls.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and Cultural factors

D. Meetings Infrastructure

4.0

One rarely finds a place with such a positive attitude towards tourism as Podčetrtek. Alliance of the municipality, the largest provider Terme Olimia, associations and all smaller suppliers is reflected in the new projects that increase the value of the place. In the past year, among other things, they have created new cycle paths that open up new opportunities for the surrounding farms and the development of additional offer. The whole offer, from historical, sports and gastro-oenological is calling for incentive events which finish with pampering in the beautiful wellness centre Orhidelia, which in 2009 added the icing on the cake of spa and wellness offer. 85

E. Subjective Grade

4.2

The complete offer of Podčetrtek is intended primarily for tourism. However, everything intended for recreation can be advantageously applied for congress guests. The biggest advantage is a diverse offer and a range of adventure and variety in a small area, which makes it a good use of time also for business guests. Comparison with the Region: There are few places where the only driving force of the economy is tourism. Because in these places industry has never developed, today this can be considered as one of their advantages. Podčetrtek has a great potential in the field of congress tourism. It is an authentic and in many ways a sustainable congress experience. Cool meetings: What is more sustainable than the old, indigenous varieties of apples, which in Kozjansko they maintain with love. On the now traditional event Kozjansko apple farms offer the old varieties of apples, healthy agricultural products grown in a sustainable way and original and imaginatively processed fruit in home canning. Apple is still the most sympathetic attention that you can offer to the participants of your event! More on PODČETRTEK on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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PORTOROŽ PORT OF ROSES

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he image of the destination is improving thanks to some individual efforts and the innovative viral campaign ‘Jump to Portorož’ and “Fly me to the Green” but it is high time to raise the level of the congress offer and improve the destination marketing of Portorož and Piran as well as their surroundings. Portorož will have a difficult task in competing with low-cost Mediterranean congress destinations, which are already tempting organisers with their ‘all-‘ and ‘ultra-inclusive’ packages.

With its own high quality and making best use of its natural advantages, it can reclaim the spot it has held several times in the past. For this to happen, a clear definition, strategy and organisation of the congress product is necessary. Unfortunately the philosophy of knowing that the overall offer will only be as good as the sum of its parts is breaking through very slowly.

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Destination grade: Recommendable Meetings Destination

3.42

4.1

The climate, cultural diversity, access to the coast and experience index are the main advantages. The weakest part is the architectural value and state of the environment. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.4

Highest marks for road access, destination security, communal infrastructure. Low marks for bad air and rail accessibility and condition of the airport. C. Tourism infrastructure

3.4

The strongest feature of Portorož is the offer of sports activities, cafes and bars, not so great is the offer of shops, restaurants, nightlife and cultural options. D. Meetings infrastructure

3.4

Political stability, security, e-services and professionalism are the strongest parts of the offer. Portorož does somewhat worse in the area of political support of the meetings industry, ratio of quality to price, hospitality of the locals and the general competitiveness of the destination.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

E. Subjective assessment

2.8

Congress hotels, history and references, quantity of appropriate hotel rooms and incentive offer are the strongest part of the congress infrastructure. Bad marks for a lack of a convention bureau, non-existent support of congress services and the inappropriate position of the Avditorij Portorož convention centre.

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Comparison to the Region: The historic laurels of the leading Adriatic congress destination are slowly starting to gather dust. Portorož is still in hard competition with Dubrovnik, Opatija and new Adriatic congress destinations that are developing all the time. A rich congress history, tradition and the existing infrastructure are a competitive advantage. The meetings industry is by no means a tree to sleep under and simply harvest its fruit of wealthy congress participants. Despite that, Portorož has proven resilient and adaptable many times in the course of history, so some innovativeness and marketing opportunities should ensure it has a bright future. Cool meetings: DARK CHOCOLATE WITH FLEUR DE SEL: Piran salt is the result of restless winds, warm sun, and the hardworking salt pan workers. It is made manually, according to traditional methods dating back more than 700 years. One of the products made with salt is a dark chocolate with fleur de sel. A perfect balance of bitter and sweet, with just a hint of traditionally harvested virgin salt. A true delicacy made for connoisseurs. More on PORTOROŽ on www.kongres-magazine.eu


Constantini vineyard winery estate A piece of heaven for wine lovers on the Slovenian-Italian border

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he natural coherence of the ground with its balanced mineral composition and microclimate enter the glass in the wines produced on the Constantini estate of Goriška brda. The Constantini estate vineyards cover selected locations of both the Slovenian and Italian parts of Brda - Doc Collio Goriziano. Written records show that the family has been producing wine in Brda since 1680, allowing it to connect tradition to a contemporary approach of global wine trends and natural methods in the vineyard and vinification. As a result, Constantini Wines have been rewarded at international competitions with Golden and Grand Golden medals, being the highest rated wine in the evaluation and given a special recognition by journalists. They have also been served at gala lunches and dinners, as well as at international events, their Pinot Gris served in Ljubljana during the visit of the British Queen Elizabeth II.

also known in Japan and the USA. The family Humar would be very glad to welcome you to their winery estate, open the door of their wine cellar and tell you a story or two about their wines. REWARDS Variety Constantini 2006 GRAND GOLDEN MEDAL, Emozioni dal Mondo, Italy 2011 The highest rated wine of the evaluation Premio della stampa, Emozioni dal Mondo Italy 2011 GOLDEN MEDAL Muvina, Slovakia 2011 GOLDEN MEDAL Mundus vini, Germany 2011 Cabernet franc 2009 GOLDEN MEDAL Emozioni dal Mondo, Italiy 2011 GOLDEN MEDAL Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 2012, Rochester, NY, USA Merlot 2005 Premio della stampa, Emozioni dal Mondo, Italy 2012

Constantini wine can be found in selected restaurants, hotels, wine bars and tourist destinations in Slovenia and abroad. They are

CONSTANTINI WINES Patricia Humar, Dušan Humar Plešivo 32 5212 Dobrovo v brdih, Slovenia Phone: +386 (0)5 39 59 577, +386 (0)31 630 072, +386 (0)41 771 449 constantini@siol.net, www.constantini.si


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CENTRAL EUROPE

Text by Barbara Dmitrović

C

entral Europe or Middle Europe is a region in the heart of Europe consisting of about 9 countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. It is a very diverse part of Europe, including the German-speaking countries, four former Warsaw Pact member states that have successfully joined the European Union, and Slovenia, a former Yugoslav republic, now also a member of the EU. Among these countries, only Switzerland and Lichtenstein are not EU member states. The Central Europe region stretches from the Baltic and North Sea in the north, to the Adriatic in the south, and it includes the mountain range of the Alps. It is a home to some of Europe’s and

world’s most prosperous economies and cities. Because of its heritage of nationalities Central Europe is home to many languages – German, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian, French, Italian and Slovenian, plus many different regional languages and dialects. With one of the busiest European airports, Frankfurt, this part of Europe is very well connected with the rest of the world. With such diverse cultures in one place you can find almost everything. From classical music in the Salzburg and Vienna world-renowned operas, to famous German hard-core metal band Rammstein, and Slovenian folk ensemble the Avsenik Brothers.

90

You can find delicious gastronomy delights in every country. The famous Swiss cheeses Gruyere and Emmentaler are the main ingredients for dishes like “fondue”, “raclette” and “tartiflette”. And of course who can forget their world’s best chocolate producers as Lindt, Teuscher, Sprüngli and Frey. In Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland you cannot miss the recognizable beef and vegetables stew kind of soup called “goulash”. Different types of sausages are common to all the Central European countries – from Frankfurter wurst, Currywurst, Bratwurst “krvavica” (blood pudding), “kolbasz”. Dumplings can be found in Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria and also Slovenia. We must not forget


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about the meat, which is an important part of every meal. From steaks of beef, pork, veal, lamb, to poultry like chicken, turkey, goose, duck, and seafood as well. For the sweet tooth you will find different varieties of pancakes, “strudels”, cakes, waffles and sweet dumplings. Beer is the one drink that associates all the region’s countries and is by far the best in this part of Europe. Czech Republic has a grand brewing heritage and Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser, Staropramen, Bernard and Kozel are just some of the most famous Czech beers. Germany, Austria and Switzerland have a similar brewing heritage, but with several different types of beer (wheat beer). Beer drinking is especially popular in Germany as every neighborhood has their

own “biergarten” (beer garden) where people gather and enjoy this golden drink. The Central European region produces a wide range of wines from superb world famous regions, down to inexpensive local table wine. Possibly the finest region in the area is Tokaj, world-renowned for its sweet dessert wines. Germans are just as passionate about their wines as they are about their beer. The Rhine and Mosselle Valleys regions are known for their fragrant white wines. Austria and Switzerland also produce some very high quality products – Eiswein (dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine). You can find some very good wines in Slovenia and Hungary as well. In Poland you can get probably the best vodka in the world.

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The most popular brands are Zubrowka and Wyborowa. Coffee culture is popular in all the countries and you can see that in many city cafés.


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KRAKOW PROUD CITY

‘P

olish Jerusalem’, or ‘Slavic Rome’, boasts special charm and is one of the most charming central European cities. It is therefore not surprising that in 1978 UNESCO recognised the Old Town centre as one of its heritage sites. For congress excellence the city is missing just the completion of the Congress Centre ICE, and I am sure

that in the future, with the scientific and economic potential Krakow has, it will be one of the major meetings destinations in Central Europe.


Kongres meetologue

Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.34

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.4

The cultural capital of Poland is a city where the glorious past is omnipresent. A number of cultural and historic sites attract a large number of tourists and conference organisers. Its very high score is only lowered by a bad attitude towards the environment and the much-ignored grey suburbs that stir memories of socialism. A typical example of the socialist experiment is in the workers’ settlement Nowa Huta, with heavy industry and endless blocks of flats. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.6

Currently the most problematic part, as Poland has probably the worst roads in Europe. We recommend that you come to the city with one of the many air companies and save yourself from the road ‘adventure’. Otherwise, the city is a pleasant place to stay with an extensive network of bicycle paths and increasingly orderly public transport. Also impressive is the high level of shared space tidiness. C. Tourist Infrastructure

4.8

hospitality of the locals. A good image is a big help. We are awaiting with curiosity the world premiere of the Convention Centre ICE 2014, which will certainly shuffle the wider stack of cards. Comparison with the region: Of all the Polish cities Krakow is the one with the greatest soul and is the most fraught with history. Being the main tourist city it has excellent conditions in place for the development of congress tourism. With the construction of the new convention centre it has also received a real affirmation. In Poland Krakow will be the destination of the new generation, which will soon be recognised as a high quality, compact and most versatile meetings destination in Poland due to the cultural heritage, new meetings capacities and because of its huge scientific potential. The activities of the Convention Bureau are a good indicator of what the destination is capable of and what expectations it can meet. Krakow’s recipe is successful and a case of good practice for other more traditional central European destinations. I expect a fierce fight among the leading Polish destinations, which is moving into its next phase. Poland boasts 17 Nobel Prize winners and considering the size of the country it has a numerous scientific community. A large part of it is concentrated in Krakow, with more congress Ambassadors working around the world. This is another plus for the future of the destination. Cool meetings: Oscypek is a characteristic smoked sheep’s milk cheese, which is produced in the High Tatras. It is smoked at the open fire and is on the list of protected products. With its characteristic cylindrical shape it is highly typical of Zakopane. More on KRAKOW on www.kongres-magazine.eu

Krakow is a mature and well developed tourist destination with a variety of hotel services and an exceptional number of tourist attractions. This and the extraordinary offer of restaurants, cafes and entertainment make it one of the leading central European tourist destinations. Krakow was rightly chosen to be the cultural capital, since as much as 11 cultural centres, 8 theatres, four orchestras, and 9 museums with 37 permanent and 152 temporary exhibitions operate in it. D. Meetings Infrastructure

4.2

For congress tourism of the city, ICE will be extremely important. The city has taken a risk with the new convention centre, but they managed to create a modern concept with a lot of novelties, a traditional destination for the Facebook generation. E. Subjective Grade

4.7

Krakow convinces with its quality, positive affection for congress tourism and competitiveness, all seasoned with the 93


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GDANSK CITY OF SOLIDARITY AND FREEDOM

T

he increase in visibility of the European football championship has contributed in its own way, whilst at the same time Gdansk is relatively affordable and accessible and also has solid infrastructure in place. These are the basic conditions for the rapid development of congress tourism. From other Polish cities and towns Gdansk is distinguished by a unique atmosphere, rounded off by the Gothic

architecture of the city. This is greatly aided by the mixing of cultures that have left their mark on the city a very open and relaxed place. The positive impression comes through mostly in the friendliness of the people and their warm reception. We can also count on Poland as an interesting outgoing market, as the country with almost 40 million inhabitants is successfully battling the recession.

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Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.18

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

3.8

The shallow Bay of Gdansk, rounded to the north by the Hel Peninsula and the Baltic Sea, gives the city a unique natural character. Coastal dunes protecting the region against the intrusion of the sea from the bay alternate with a picturesque lake area around Gdansk and form attractive landscape diversity. The main experiential diversity, however, lies in the rich and tumultuous cultural history, which has plenty of historical monuments in the old centre of Gdansk. B. Meetings Infrastructure

4.5

Gdansk is the city with the most advanced and comprehensive meetings infrastructure in Europe as a result of huge investments for EURO 2012. Together with the excellent Convention Bureau that connects the entire offer of the Pomorjanska region, Gdansk has managed a major break- through on the international meetings scene. C. General and transport infrastructure

3.7

EURO 2012 gave an acceleration to the development of general infrastructure. Transport seems to be a bit weak, as the Poles have not finished all of the projects, but they are well on the way to a better situation, as this is the weakest part of the meetings infrastructure. It is necessary to highlight the dysfunctional cycle paths and inadequate road system and parking arrangements. New age blend of socialist and capitalist urbanism is still solid and works better than in some other Polish cities. D. Tourism infrastructure

4.3

In the years up to the European football championship Gdansk literally blossomed. Accommodation capacities were adapted to the new tourists, with the biggest progress made especially in the area of cuisine offers, ranging from fast food to world-class cuisine. In the summer, the region around Gdansk is turned into the biggest Polish Riviera with a traditional seaside offer. E. Subjective Grade

4.6

Gdansk lives and breathes for meetings tourism and is recognised as one of the most important tourist areas. The solid 95

relationship between price and quality is one of the main reasons for the competitiveness of the destination. A positive personal experience and the hospitality of the locals reinforce the image that the city has acquired in a relatively short time. Comparison with the region: Gdansk differs markedly from other Polish cities because of the special atmosphere in the old town and its many historical sites suitable for congress tourism. There is an attractive mix of west and east, of northern culture and of the old and the new, all adding to the city’s unique identity. Gdansk is known as a place of freedom, which is written into its genetic code and is reflected in the rich cultural heritage and current cultural and artistic production. As a result of the hyperactive Convention Bureau, Gdansk as a destination is in an extremely high position in comparison with other Polish international destinations. To achieve excellence Gdansk needs to focus on better regulation of its traffic and its accessibility, which is not yet at an adequate level, although the other infrastructure is excellent and comparable with competing European destinations. Cool meetings: ‘Pierogi’ are Polish ravioli, stuffed with a variety of meat, cabbage or potato fillings. Gdansk Promotional Video GDANSK AND REGION – WHERE BUSINESS MEETS More on GDANSK on www.kongres-magazine.eu


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PRAGUE SLAVIC PARIS

T

he spirit of Central Europe is in the best way caught in this beautiful city, which is an excellent convention destination because of its cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, liveliness and a tireless nightlife. What is the secret

of the Prague congress tourism? What are they doing differently? It is a combination of circumstances and wise development policies. Elegantly and sustainably they are working to be among the top ten European congress cities.


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Destination grade: Excellent Meetings Destination

4.50

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

4.4

Prague’s historic districts, Staro mesto (the Old Town), Novo mesto (the New Town), the Jewish Quarter, Hradcany and the Little Quarter form the core of an outstanding experiential diversity of the city, which for many years has been attracting a number of tourists. The city has developed on seven hills by the river Vltava. ‘Golden Prague’ is special because of its extreme concentration of architectural and historical sights in combination with landscape diversity, culture and the arts. B. General and transport infrastructure

4.2

Safety, excellent infrastructure, professional environment with an educated workforce, affordability, tradition and high quality of life are the main attributes of the general infrastructure of Prague. Also important for the development of congress tourism are the solid airline availability and regulation of the Vaclav Havel airport ,with a new Terminal 2 that is becoming an important aviation hub of the region. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.7

The Czech capital has in recent years established itself as one of the most visited European tourist destinations. In the city everything is therefore subordinate to tourists with an almost pilgrimage-like surge in high season. However, the city retains its charm and offers a diverse and mainly high quality tourist infrastructure. Prague is a room with a view. D. Meetings infrastructure 

4.6

A complex and comprehensive offer, in which a remarkable number of world-class historic congress venues stand out. It is the first meeting point of the East European meetings industry that with further development is mixing it up with such first category destinations as Vienna, Berlin and Barcelona. It is the city in which conference participants will feel good. E. Subjective grade

4.6

The city with its rich cultural heritage, friendliness of locals and countless congress options anchors deep in the heart. 97

Every street and house tells its own story, which gives the city a special touch. Prague maintains and builds on its high-quality romantic reputation. Comparison with the region: Prague has for a long time not been an Eastern European gem, but a true European tourist metropolis with a diverse and comprehensive offer, luxury hotels and sometimes too high prices. The story is reminiscent of Škoda, of which the Czechs are very proud and is one of the oldest automotive brands in Europe. Reputable, solid and reliable pre-war limousines were after the war changed by cars that were behind the times. Today, Škoda shines again and again puts the Czech manufacturer where it once was. The same can be said for the meetings industry, where Prague began to seriously falter against the locations top of the European league. If we look at the position of Prague regionally, Prague will not take primacy in the region over Vienna, but it certainly has all the conditions to remain for a long time the first congress destination among East European capitals. Cool meetings: CZECH KNEDLIČKI - bread dumplings, which are mandatorily washed down with some of the excellent Czech beer. There is a legend that Prague got its name Golden Prague because of the beer. Anyone who has not eaten Czech knedlički with goulash and drank a mug of beer, has not properly been in Prague.


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VILNIUS BALTIC CONGRESS TIGERS

T

he competitive advantage of Vilnius lies in its hotel capacities, its accompanying tourist offer, the compactness of the city and its very good organisation and integration of congress service providers. The great desire for the development of congress tourism by the mayor and the city policy is also praiseworthy. Furthermore, the three Baltic countries are one of the few positive stories in the current European crisis. After a disastrous recession in 2009, they quickly picked up and are now a rare success story. In a simplified way one could say that they are smaller, more

flexible and more open than other European countries, and this is also reflected in the meetings industry. The proud Lithuanians prefer to compare themselves with Scandinavia, rather than with Europe, and whilst the country’s competitiveness is hampered for now mainly by inadequate air links and a dampened image of the destination for the industry, I believe that the common investment of the destination in the Convene project will greatly strengthen and improve the city’s competitiveness.

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Destination grade: Quality Meetings Destination

4.04

4.0

Vilnius is a green and spacious city with a beautiful old city centre where you can find over 40 churches, which is why it is also known as the Baltic Jerusalem. The history of the city was developed by a flourishing Jewish community, which has left a visible seal on it. The city has interesting traces of multiculturalism and religious diversity reminiscent of Jerusalem, which have created a unique experiential value. B. General and transport infrastructure

3.6

Vilnius city centre is compact and easily accessible. In terms of its infrastructure arrangement it is comparable to other Eastern European capitals and at first glance everything works smoothly and normally. The quality of life is impacted by a good balance between price, quality and solid infrastructure, which improves each year. Vilnius may not be the most beautiful city in the world, but it can also surprise and impress where you least expect it. The air quality, which is the best among comparable cities of Europe because of the surrounding forests and absence of heavy industry, is particularly impressive. C. Tourist infrastructure

4.2

The three most important reasons for visiting Vilnius are architectural heritage, the city’s rich history, and its specific urban atmosphere. Together with a very wide range of hotel accommodation and accompanying offer, which in recent years has much developed, Vilnius is an attractive tourist destination that is still largely undiscovered. D. Meetings infrastructure

4.1

Vilnius is a city open to foreigners and different cultures, which is best reflected in the cosmopolitan old town with a dominantly Baroque seal. In the transition period the city aimed to make up for lost time and regain its cosmopolitan spirit. To a large extent they succeeded and today Vilnius thrives and appears a friendly and safe convention destination. Particularly surprising are the simple, hospitable and open Lithuanians who make it a pleasant destination and are nothing like the Scandinavian restraint.

Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors

E. Subjective grade

4.3

The main congress provider in the city is LitExpo, with the largest hall for a maximum of 1,800 participants. It defines the maximum size of congresses that can be held in the Lithuanian capital. The spine of the Vilnius meetings offer is composed of convention hotels of all sizes and categories, offering a wide range of services in one place. With an active and well-organised convention bureau and broad-based marketing Vilnius is becoming an important new European congress destination. 99

Comparison with the region: Over the last few years Vilnius learned diligently, polished its offer and was preparing for its entry into the international congress scene. In their favour they have the charm of the city, which is cosmopolitan, urban, very European and full of hidden surprises. It’s a city where socialist modernist architecture coexists with the Baroque centre, and unlike some other Eastern European congress destinations this makes it very attractive. By joining the EU the city has become a credible partner of the international meetings industry, making is one of the new, undiscovered convention destinations that appeals because of its freshness. For all three Baltic Congress Tigers - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn - we predict a sunny congress future. Cool meetings: ŠAKOTIS – festive dessert in the form of a tree More on VILNIUS on www.kongres-magazine.eu


Hidden Congress Guest

HOTEL SAVOIA EXCELSIOR PALACE ★★★★★ Luxury SEAFRONT HOTEL CHARM

4. 65

Photo credits: HOTEL SAVOIA

Final Score

Location The imposing buildings of the Habsburg period on the central Trieste square Piaza Unita continue along the central coastal road into an impressive building of the Savoia Excelsior Palace Hotel. This historic hotel which opened in 1911, is today exemplary renovated and offers views of the Gulf of Trieste and is only a stone’s throw away from the convention centre. It is reminiscent of the old glory of the city when it had its own particular identity, which is also Austrian, Slovenian, Croatian, Jewish and above all multicultural.

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM 1911, renovated 2009 STANDARD ★★★★★ NUMBER OF ROOMS 144 rooms ONLINE PRICE 227 - 490 EUR (May 2013) ADDRESS SAVOIA EXCELSIOR PALACE Riva del Mandracchio 4 34124 Trieste, Italy T: +39 040 77941 F: +39 040 638 260 E: savoiaexcelsior.ts@starhotels.it FACILITIES Savoy Restaurant Le Rive Bar Les Clefs d’Or Concierge

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.90 3.80 4.70 4.58 4.61 4.57 4.89 4.92 4.95 4.75 4.45 4.90 4.40 4.65

4.65 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ing are certain rooms with balconies offering views of the Gulf of Trieste. Nowadays one rarely finds rooms with such high ceilings. Leather seating, warm colours, ambient lighting with the possibility of day-light, all of which offer very tastefully furnished conference rooms. The hotel has nine meeting rooms. Maximum capacity of the largest one is up to 320 participants. Dessert – additional offer Nice library similar to home living room.

Accessibility For centuries Trieste was an important transport hub and main port of the region. Consequently, the transport infrastructure is still very good. Train infrastructure is solid and as part of the Italian rail system is among the more developed in the region. Perhaps the worst part is air accessibility, where the city is depending on the nearby airports in Ljubljana and Venice, as Trieste airport has less frequency. The airport connects around 15 destinations with 12 airlines. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics Exemplary renovated historical building from 1911 was at its inception one of the most exclusive hotels in the Habsburg Monarchy. After two years of renovation, which was completed in 2009, the hotel shines in the former beauty. The external appearance does not stand out as much with its stylish lines, but mainly by its magnificence. For the interior design of the hotel, we can say that less is more. Much more, as they take care to move forward in the internal arrangement of rooms that simply thrills and in which you can easily flow into and which it do not disappoint you. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer The hotel convinces with the quality of service. But this is not the only specialty of the hotel. Advanced culinary experience begins at breakfast and continues in the À la carte offer of the restaurant Savoy. No wonder the hotel is a central venue of all important events in Trieste, film stars, politicians and the elite. Guests are pampered with extra luxury at the hotel, which includes a special pillow menu “pillowmania” and a well-stocked bathroom full of little details. Main course – congress and hotel offer At the hotel Savoia excellence is observed in every step, touch and view. Materials in the rooms are natural, selected and fit nicely with the whole. Especially charm100

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FLOP – negative surprises Perhaps the only downside is due to the slow

wi-fi.

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TOP – positive surprises Trieste is a nice city with a lot of soul and many attractions. City worth a visit and a great convention destination. Overall impressions and credibility The Savoia Excelsior Palace is definitely a good example of why such hotels are still a big selling hit and a shining exception on the otherwise quite tired Trieste congress-hotel scene. The hotel with its offer is a good starting point for the re-launch of Trieste as a congress destination. Less can be more. Probably the most stylish first category facility also in the wider region.


Hidden Congress Guest

SPIRIT HOTEL SARVAR ★★★★★ Luxury ROYAL SPA MEETINGS

4. 54

Photo credits: SPIRIT HOTEL SARVAR

Final Score

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM March 2008 STANDARD ★★★★★ NUMBER OF ROOMS 271 rooms ONLINE PRICE From 122 - 198 EUR (single room, May 2013) ADDRESS Vadkert krt. 5., 9600 Sárvár, HUNGARY Phone: (+36) 95-889500
Fax: (+36) 95-620901 Email: info@spirithotel.hu www.spirithotel.hu FACILITIES “Oasis“ spa and wellness area (10,000m2): swimming pool (25x12m), Sauna Island, fitness centre, squash and tennis courts, medical spa, Onyx Restaurant Conference centre 5 Elements: flexible meeting room (from 1 – 5 meeting rooms), Free wi-fi

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.50 4.05 4.38 4.72 4.89 4.37 4.62 4.61 4.64 4.95 4.82 4.45 4.05 4.54

4.54 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Location Congress guests’ tastes are changing. In particular, the female audience responds well to a combination of meetings with pampering. For such pleasures, Hungary seems to be ideal, because their thermal springs are one of their greatest natural resources. Western Hungary is a true spa paradise, where in the last decade many modern spas and water parks were created. Sárvár has a rich thermal history and is also known as Royal Spa City.

well-equipped hall. In the largest setting it can accommodate up to 500 participants, but otherwise it can also be divided into five smaller halls and a foyer in the middle. Conference halls are named after the five elements: air, water, earth, fire and “spirit”. The rooms are modern and properly equipped with elegant, earthy colours, but without special additions that would make this part of the hotel offer stand out from similar upscale hotels.

Accessibility Sárvár is located south of Vienna, east of Graz and west of Budapest. Like other health resorts, it is far from the major cities and motorway connections. Nevertheless, the Vienna International Airport is only 130 km away or two hours drive. From the capital city of Budapest it is 200 km and less than 3 hours drive. In view of the excellent air connections with the world of Vienna, Sárvár is easily enough accessible for international guests.

Dessert – additional offer Delightfully arranged and maintained garden can be an excellent venue for conference participants’ reception. For event organisers an important piece of information is that in colder days for evening receptions a part of the spa can also be used – the Oxygen bar.

Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics In creating the resort, architects gave vent to create probably the most modern spa in Hungary. The exterior nicely fits in the green surroundings and with the hotel park and lakes acts convincingly. Air ambient is most felt right at the spa, and especially in the world of saunas, which is really comfortable and luxuriously decorated. Everything is subordinate to the comfort of the guest and arranged with great taste. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer It is necessary to recognise that the Spirit in terms of friendliness of staff and serving service is a pleasant surprise. The hotel breakfast buffet is inspiring and one of the best in the region, suitable for the most demanding guests. Especially romantic is a part of the restaurant with large glass surfaces, which gives the impression that you eat breakfast in the middle of a forest. A great selection of local wines is icing on the cake, it is rich and varied and full of fine details. Ambience of the Restaurant Onyx is diverse and full of fine details, this is also followed by the culinary offer, to which gives a finishing touch an excellent selection of local wines. Main course – congress and hotel offer While the emphasis is on spa and wellness offer, an important part of the hotel is also that it has a conference centre with a multi-functional and technically 101

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FLOP – negative surprises It is clear that the focus is on the spa offer, while meetings and incentive part of the offer has a lot of untapped potential, also the great story on five elements. The hotel took a great advantage of the natural mineral water spring from a depth of over 1.000 meters, both for pampering and for a range of prevention, health and beauty programmes. Overall impressions and credibility The hotel Spirit certainly represents a new chapter in the rich history and culture of spa tourism of Sárvár, which is currently the “flag ship” of the city. Hotel Spirit is elegant, spacious and because of all this an impressive hotel. It is certainly not perfect. Anyone wishing to take advantage of everything the hotel has to offer will have to deal with a relatively high price for this part of Europe.


Hidden Congress Guest

MELIA CORAL UMAG ★★★★★ Luxury

Unbeatable incentive offer

4. 58

Photo credits: MELIA CORAL UMAG

Final Score

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM 2010 STANDARD Resort meeting hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 244 rooms, 6 luxury suites ONLINE PRICE 92 - 258 EUR (April 2013) ADDRESS HOTEL MELIA CORAL UMAG Katoro bb, 52470 Umag T: +385 52 701 000, E: melia.coral@istraturist.hr www.istraturist.com FACILITIES: Other hotels with in the tourist resort: Sol Aurora - All inclusive, 4***, 298 rooms; Sol Garden, 4****, 481 rooms; Melia Istrian Vilas, 4****, 180 luxury villas; Sol Amfora 4****, 134 suites; Sol Stella 3***, 207 suites; Polynesia Apartments, 3***, 620 suites, 66 bungalows Additional services: Tapas bar, Aperitif bar, Passion Lounge bar, Tavern Mediterranean, Wellness Coral Fusion Spa, Fitness studio, Tennis centre Katoro, Sports centre Sport Art, Outdoor and indoor pools RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.90 3.95 4.15 4.78 4.96 4.30 4.56 4.91 4.05 4.45 4.78 4.78 5.00 4.58

4.58 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Location Umag’s most prestigious hotel builds its offering on provincial trump cards of Istria with the diverse coast line, Karst hinterland, cultural diversity and a favorable climate. All this combined with excellent tourist attractions ranks Istria among the leading Croatian tourist destinations. The Katoro hotel complex was built in the middle of the golden tourist eighties. Exemplary tidy hotel complex is the epicentre of Croatian sports and active tourism and at the same time a great incentive destination. Completely renovated hotel offering is often unfairly overlooked and already today it ranks Umag among the new upscale tourist destinations. Accessibility Istria is distinguished by its favourable position as it reaches deep into the European continent and is well connected with the main European transport corridors. One can say that the road access is fast, secure and convenient. In the case of air accessibility Umag largely depends on the traffic situation on the nearby airports in Pula, Ljubljana, Trieste and Venice, which are relatively close. Particularly commendable is the transport organisation within the resort with large parking areas and ecological public transport in the form of Tourist train, which connects the hotel to the city centre. Exemplarily are arranged paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics The Hotel wants to be Zen balanced and we must admit that architects managed to renovate and upgrade the original architectural design from the eighties very well. When renovating the hotel a lot of new content was added. For example innovative fitness in a pine grove, zen garden and many tiny little things that are on the verge of prestige. The renovation was much more than just an aesthetic change of the facade. Probably to well-being greatly contribute felicitously chosen colours and fine details. What makes the whole particularly attractive is the complete horticultural arrangements which this season are further improved and upgraded. The whole appears balanced, impressive and inspiring. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer Hotel Melia Coral pays the most attention to the service and friendliness. From this perspective, it is the market leader in the region. At this hotel everything is as it is usual in this class of hotels. The hotel with its culinary offer is at the top among Istratourist group hotels. It seems that due to this the staff is carefully chosen. Quite extensive is also the hotel’s culinary 102

offer with well-prepared dishes, but they sometimes lack a bit of a common thread. Good choice proves to be the pension offer which is diverse and varied both at breakfast and at dinner. They are serving creative modern dishes that are partly coloured by local foods. The wine list in the hotel is varied and one can taste the best wines of Croatia. One of the advantages of the hotel is a pleasant hotel bar with excellent coffee. Main course – congress and hotel offer Following the renovation, the hotel offer has been updated and upgraded to the level of five stars. But the first message of the renovation is not only the changed appearance, but the entire offer under the brand ‘Adults only’. In many respects, everything that is hidden under that brand turns out to be written on the skin of normal conference guests. Otherwise, the hotel is geared towards comfort and enjoyment. At the hotel and next to it there are plenty zen corners. Hotel rooms are very tastefully equipped, and a special praise goes to beds, it does also not disappoint in terms of gadgets, such as Nespresso coffee appliance. Pamper yourself in a smaller, modern and pleasant spa centre and sweat in the fitness room with state of the art equipment. Convention centre with four meeting rooms can accommodate up to 350 participants. Dessert – additional offer A brand new tennis centre Katoro, and many and varied sports activities on offer, which in the next few years will be further upgraded in the context of sports zone Humagum, with offer for 30 sports.

-

FLOP – negative surprises Due to the crowds, high season will chase away classic conference guests.

+

TOP – positive surprises Personnel and their friendliness and professionalism. Overall impressions and credibility Hotel Meliá Coral convinces with the quality of the offer, comfort and spaciousness. The final grade is that this is a good hotel for good money. Prices are in fact reasonable in relation to the nearby Istrian and Slovenian competition. Numerous options for organising receptions and outdoor activities. Istratourist together with the hotel chain Melia without much bragging managed to make a great hotel and convention product. Umag is becoming a serious and respected European incentive destination.


Hidden Congress Guest

HOTEL LARIX HIT ALPINEA ★★★★ PREMIUM ALPINE MEETINGS

3. 99

Photo credits: HOTEL LARIX HIT ALPINEA

Final Score

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM 1971, renovated in 2002 STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 102 rooms *****superior ONLINE PRICE 81 - 130 EUR (single room, May 2013) ADDRESS HOTEL LARIX Borovška cesta 99 4280 Kranjska gora, Slovenia T. +386 4 588 41 00 F. +386 4 588 44 70 E. info@hitholidays-kg.si FACILITIES Hotel restaurant, Café, Casino, Water park Aqua Larix, Welness centre Vita, Night cub in Kompas hotel, Relaxation centre in Kompas hotel, Sports grounds, In-line hockey ground

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer Total: FINAL GRADE Premium hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.68 3.90 4.14 4.32 4.00 3.77 3.89 3.72 3.45 3.76 4.05 4.15 4.02 3.99

3.99 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Location The hotel is located in the centre of Kranjska Gora, or rather is the centre of the town. It all revolves around the famous Kranjska Gora winter and summer “beach”. The hotel with a rich history of the gaming group Hit has recently handed over its management to the Swiss company Sophos Hotels. Kranjska Gora throughout the year provides an interesting experience and with the accompanying products such as Eskimo village it is becoming more widely known as an active convention destination. Accessibility The position right on the ski slopes is one of the advantages of the hotel. The airport Jože Pučnik is 66 kilometres away. Even by road Kranjska Gora is easily accessible. Parking outside the hotel is spacious enough for smaller events. Even in the high ski season one can find a parking space at a giant parking adjacent to the hotel. Cold appetiser – architecture and aesthetics The architectural image of the hotel remains classic alpine even after the renovation and is an integral part of the postcard views of Kranjska Gora. Hotel has pioneered a wave of building hotels in Kranjska Gora in the seventies. Due to the more classical architectural design of the hotel it in no way stands out while it does not at the same time appear disturbing. Increasingly regulated “beach” is one of the attractive enrichments of the offer both in the winter and in the summer. Warm appetiser – personnel and culinary offer Hotel Larix offers classic hotel cuisine. This is even more pronounced in a very classic hotel breakfast. If you do not complicate too much, you will generally be satisfied. On the way to the new times and the new management some details in a relatively wide assortment of dishes are stopping them. With the service they are trying to capture the best combination of quality, friendliness and personal approach. From past top times there are several ‘candies’ left at the level of service, which are more the exception than the rule. In this area there is the most room for improvement. Main course – congress and hotel offer Business philosophy is simple, to offer a comfortable and functional enough quality hotel at a good price. As a general rule, a hotel a few years after the renovation is slowly starting to show signs of aging. The hotel Larix managed to stop this process pretty well. Hotel 103

rooms are correct, but not superior, more or less, it is an expected and average package. It is positive that you have some choice of other hotels of the same group Kompas, Prisank and Alpina, available. Smaller convention centre with views of Kranjska Gora ski slopes or on pastures has everything you need for a successful conference. The interior is flexible enough for groups of up to 250 delegates, as much as Planica Hall can accommodate. Commendable is daylight, which is available in all rooms. Dessert – additional offer The ideal position of the hotel, right next to the ski slopes in winter and in summer overlooking green pastures in the midst of beautiful surroundings, enables a number of incentive experiences in their own backyard.

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FLOP – negative surprises A little more varied gastronomic offer, selection of wines and cuisine in general.

+

TOP – positive surprises Great possibility of combining halls and assembling hotel accommodation and culinary experiences in a variety of hotels of the group in Kranjska Gora with a capacity of up to 1.200 participants. Overall impressions and credibility According to the latest hotel standards, the hotel’s concept stayed somewhere halfway. In terms of conference delegates it, together with subsidiary Hotel Kompas, is intended a role of flag bearers of Kranjska Gora. It impresses with spaciousness and flexibility, less with the service. We believe that with the new hotel management the hotel is going to gain new guest and improve the offer, which will have a positive impact on the development of Kranjska Gora.


Top 10

TOP 10 AFFORDABLE MEETINGS DESTINATIONS IN SOUTH-EAST EUROPE

T

he following TOP 10 list the 10 affordable meetings destinations in South-east Europe based on Numbeo statistical indexes for 2013. Indexes are relative to New York City (NYC index = 100). When making the list we used the criteria of Numbeo average travel cost per day, hotel index and travel cost index. The editorial board has analysed only cititis with solid meetings infrastructure. 4. BUCHAREST, Romania Travel cost per day: 97,02 € Hotel index: 36,38 % Travel cost index: 36,66 %

8. PODGORICA, Montenegro Travel cost per day: 129,92 € Hotel index: 47,63 % Travel cost index: 49,09 %

1. PLOVDIV, Bulgaria Travel cost per day: 71,43 € Hotel index: 25,17 % Travel cost index: 27.05 %

5. SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel cost per day: 98,08 € Hotel index: 37,88 % Travel cost index: 37,09 %

9. BUDVA, Montenegro Travel cost per day: 134,57 € Hotel index: 41,16 % Travel cost index: 50,58 %

2. NOVI SAD, Serbia Travel cost per day: 86,91 € Hotel index: 28,09 % Travel cost index: 32,84 %

6. BELGRADE, Serbia Travel cost per day: 108,03 Hotel index: 39,54 % Travel cost index: 40,82 %

10. TIRANA, Albania Travel cost per day: 138,25 € Hotel index: 40,59 % Travel cost index: 52,24 %

7. SKOPJE, Macedonia Travel cost per day: 114,25 € Hotel index: 49,20 % Travel cost index: 43,17 %

Hotels price index: is a relative indicator of prices of 3 star and 4 star hotels in the given city. Travel price index: is a relative indicator of price for the common business traveller. Prices, which are taken into account, are: 3 meals in mid-range restaurants, 6 drinks and 4 short taxi rides per day. Source for statistical data: Numbeo http://www.numbeo.com/

3. SOFIA, Bulgaria Travel cost per day: 91,98 € Hotel index: 35,11 % Travel cost index: 34.76 %

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Top 10

TOP TEN SPORT INCENTIVE HOTELS IN SEE

1. MELIA CORAL UMAG, Umag, Croatia Meliá Coral is a five-star hotel located in Istria, just steps from the Adriatic Sea. With innovative services and facilities aimed adult only guests, as well as personalized attention that will satisfy the most demanding of guests, Meliá Coral is an ideal destination for a relaxing holiday. The hotel offers numerous leisure interests, including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an Asian-themed wellness centre. The property is complete with a state-of-the-art business centre, fully-equipped for meetings and presentations. CONTACT: Hotel Meliá Coral Katoro bb, 52470 Umag, Istria – Croatia Tel: +385 52 701 000 Fax: +385 52 701 999 melia.coral@istraturist.hr http://www.melia.com/hotels/croatia/umag/meliacoral/index.html

2. VALAMAR HOTEL DIAMANT, Poreč, Croatia

4. HOTEL SRBIJA LUX, Stara Pazova, Serbia

3. UNITUR HOTEL PLANJA, Rogla, Slovenia The Planja Hotel**** presents a perfect choice for all guests who wish to experience an unforgettable vacation in the heart of the pure nature of Pohorje. This is a great place for active holidays, rest, a business meeting or simply a relaxation from stressful days. The Hotel includes a Multipurpose Hall, a Snack Bar, Conference Rooms, a Gallery, a Children’s Nook, an Information Point, an internet corner, and you can buy souvenirs at the Souvenir Shop by the Hotel’s Reception Desk.

5. FALKENSTEINER HOTEL IADERA Zadar, Croatia

CONTACT: Unior d.d. Program Turizem Cesta na Roglo 15, SI – 3214 Zreče Tel: +386 (0)3 75 76 000 Fax: +386 (0)3 57 62 446 unitur@unitur.eu http://www.rogla.eu/si/poletje/nastanitev/

106

6. KEMPINSKI ADRIATIC, Savudrija, Croatia Kempinski Hotel Adriatic is easily reachable from many European cities by car or by plane. It is located near Savudrija, the westernmost point


Top 10

of Croatia, in a picturesque Istrian countryside setting with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and nearby vineyards and olive oil farms. From here you can easily explore Istria’s rich history, natural splendors, culture and arts, enjoy sports or simply discover true Mediterranean values. CONTACT: Kempinski Hotel Adriatic Alberi 300 A 52475, Savudrija, Croatia Tel: +385 52 707 000 Fax: +385 52 737 093 Reservations.adriatic@kempinski.com http://www.kempinski.com/en/istria/hotel-adriatic/ welcome/

7. HOTEL LARIX, Kranjska gora, Slovenia Right at the bottom of a ski slope, which is the starting point for all the Kranjska Gora trails, you will find the comfortable and friendly Larix hotel, totally renovated two years ago. Its nicely furnished rooms with their view of the slopes are a promise of a cosy and beautiful holiday, whereas bathing in the water park offering a panoramic view of the surrounding snow-covered slopes is an unforgettable experience, especially in winter. CONTACT: Hotel Larix Borovška cesta 99 4280 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Tel: +386 4 588 41 00 Fax: +386 4 588 44 70 info@hitholidays-kg.si www.hitholidays-kg.si

8. HOTEL LAGUNA NOVIGRAD, Novigrad, Croatia

9. PARK PLAZA, Verudela, Pula, Croatia The Park Plaza Histria, perfectly located on the Punta Verudela peninsula overlooking the sea, represents the symbol of Pula’s tourist offer. The hotel Park Plaza Pula offers state of the art facilities – including a number of dining options, two seawater swimming pools, conference center, wellness center with gym and saunas. CONTACT: Park Plaza Histria Pula Verudella 17, Pula Tel: +385 52 590 000 Fax: +385 52 214 175 meetings@arenaturist.hr www.arenaturist.com; www.parkplaza.com

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10. GRAND HOTEL PRIMUS, Ptuj, Slovenia


Top 10

TOP 10 BIG CONVENTION CENTRES theater max. more than 1000

1. Salzburg Congress, Salzburg, Austria Opened: 2001 15 halls, theater max. 1324 Right in Salzburg city centre

2. Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Opened: 1982 17 halls, theater max. 1541 Richest tradition of event management in Slovenia

3. Austria Center Vienna, Austria Opened: 1987 17 halls, theater max. 4320 Sustainabilty, digitalisation and networks

4. Congress Schladming, Schladming Austria Opened: 2011 9 halls, theater max. 1400 State of the art

5. Congress und Messe Innsbruck, Austria Opened: 1973 14 halls, theater max. 1500 One company, three locations

6. Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre Opened: 1955 24 halls, theater max. 2.200 Space for various events

7. Messe Congress Graz, Austria Opened: 1999 19 halls, theater max. 1180 More than 100 year of history

8. Prague Congress Centre, Czech Republic Opened: 1981 20 halls, 50 meeting rooms, theater max. 2764 Dominant meetings landmark

9. Budapest Congress Centre, Budapest, Hungary Opened: 1984 20 halls, theater max. 2000 Completely renewed facilities

10. Sava centar, Belgrade, Serbia Opened: 1979 15 halls, theater max. 3533 Largest congress, cultural and business center in Serbia

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Top 10

TOP 10 SMALL CONVENTION CENTRES theater max. capacity to 1000

1. Congress Centrum Alpbach, Austria Opened: 1999 6 halls, theater max. 500 Green meetings

2. Brdo Congress Centre, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia Opened: 2007; 8 halls, theater max. 550 Glass modernity

3. Ferry Porsche Congress Center Zell am See, Austria Opened: 2007; 8 halls, theater max. Powered by Porsche

4. Conference Centre Laxenburg, Austria Opened: 1756 8 halls, theater max. 350 Habsburg residence

5. Congress Saalfelden, Saalfelden, Austria Opened: 2005 8 halls, theater max. 900 Business as unusual

6. Bled Festival Hall, Slovenia Opened: 1961 4 halls, theater max. 512 Lake view

7. Europahuas Mayrhofen Event & Convention Centre, Mayrhofen, Austria Opened: 1979; 10 halls, theater max 660 Picturesque destination

8. Blumenhalle, Sankt Veit, Austria Opened: 2009 15 halls, theater max 600 Rent a city Sankt Veit

9. Congress Center Villach, Austria Opened: 2004 9 halls, theater max. 1060 State of the art technology

10. Kolcsey Convention Centre, Debrecen, Hungary Opened: 2006 7 halls, theater max. 1180 Cultural and social

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Voice from the top

VOICE FROM THE TOP Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry? Somehow my life path brought me into the meeting and event industry. My family is in the travel industry and was involved with many corporate meetings in the early 70s. Why is your destination/country the best in the world? I will be a bit modest and say that Croatia is not the best in the world, but is among the best destinations in the Mediterranean. Whoever has been to Croatia lately will agree on this, especially whoever has been to my hometown Dubrovnik - this jewel destination has everything that one needs for the ‘wow’ effect of a really well organised meeting, and at the same time it is so safe, so romantic and so sexy!

Daniel Marušić CEO & President DT CROATIA - DUBROVNIK TRAVEL DMC

What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country? A stop on the scenic Croatian coast overlooking the historical towns and islands, toasting with a glass of cold dalmatian grappa and some home made dried figs ... this makes every visitor to Croatia feel the simple, warm welcome! What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project you would choose to praise yourself? The star moment is coming soon, it will be this autumn when our company Dubrovnik Travel - DT Croatia will be celebrating 15 years. That is my most successful business project. DT is today the proven best DMC in Croatia. What motivates you most at work? I work day and night, but there is no better motivation than all our happy clients! In what way do you deal with stress? I have some tough training in the mornings, so my days do always start with the post-training wide-awake happy hormones, which luckily follow me throughout the day. In the evenings I love to make a nice dinner for my whole family, if I am lucky enough to be at home. When were you last angry / disappointed, and why? I can only get angry at myself. I do that often, blame myself for things; yes maybe it was even last week, when I was overloaded and could not cope with all duties in time. What will be new in your business in 2013? We have our event ship ‘Sea Star’ that has recently been renovated internally, so our clients using it will be very happy about that. The ship has a com110

pletely modern look now and can carry up to 400 passengers per day. What did you learn last week? I learn a lot everyday and by following the homework of my kids in school, but now from a parent perspective, one also gets to re-learn the life basics well! Where will you spend this year’s holiday, and why? Most probably this summer will be spent on one of the popular Croatian islands, where one can have a really good time, eat well, sleep well, and train too. If there were no time and financial constraints, where would you go? Africa, to help, however I could. Otherwise wherever I can help out. What would be the title of your life autobiography? No titles, I will never write one anyway.


Voice from the top

VOICE FROM THE TOP

Snežana Vejnović CEO Talas M - The Destination Management Company Of Montenegro

Have you always wanted to work in the meetings industry? The answer is YES. It’s been more than 10 years since I met with the MICE industry for the first time, and I fell in love instantly. This was definitely something I wanted to do, something I wanted to develop in my country, and I have to say we succeeded. With each new project we were growing proud of a new experience, new knowledge, discovered places and new themes for next events... at the end when the project is finished we just say “Yes, we did it! We just made it happen!”

What did you learn to do last week? I learned how valuable the smile of my kids is.

Why is your destination/country the best in the world? Because our small country seems to be put together by magic. Beautiful old towns, dramatic canyons and stunning landscapes, cobalt-blue fjords, amazing lakes, baroque palaces– all stitched closely into patchwork, with a logic of its own. Just few days ago we had an IBM group, and one of the guests told me “This is the most beautiful day of my life” – this is my answer to both of your questions.

What would be the title of your autobiography? So close, yet so far.

What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country? Island of Our Lady of the Rocks. What was your star moment so far and the project with which you would praise yourself the most? It is hard to say, because every project has something special about it. At this moment I will say it is the Airbus conference, which was held in Aman Sveti Stefan. What motivates you most at work? Unlimited ability to think creatively about everyday challenges. How do you deal with stress? I usually take a walk by the sea, breathing deeply. When were you last angry / disappointed, and why? I can’t remember, it comes fast and goes away fast. I’m a problem solver and I’m always trying to leave my anger behind, because it doesn’t help us to move forward. What will be new in your business in the year 2013? This year we are going to be more focused on marketing and the new concept of programs that we are creating.

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Where will you spend this year’s holiday, and why? In France. We are taking our 15 month old twins to meet their cousins. This will be a memorable event, a family gathering. If there were no time and financial constraints, where would you go? Mongolia.


Extended stay

EXTENDED STAY Are you organizing a congress?....CALL US!

A GLOBAL NEST HIDDEN IN THE HEART & SOUL OF LJUBLJANA Vander Urbani Resort The first member of Design Hotels in Slovenia.

Plava Laguna – Laguna Poreč is one of the biggest tourism and hospitality companies in Croatia. In our 13 hotels we offer you conference halls and meeting rooms from 10 to 600 seated places with audio-visual and other equipment. You will find everything you need for Professional organizing business events and a pleasant Mediterranean climate with the natural environment. We will merge business with pleasure – and this may be the goal of our offer - to organize congresses, seminars, sport events, weddings and gala-dinners. After your regular program, we offer you the opportunity to relax with excellent sports and recreational outdoor facilities or in our sports halls, fitness, swimming pool and the wellness center. Therefore it is best to see for yourself and be sure how your stay in Laguna Poreč facilities brings you real success, because: YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR GOAL! PLAVA LAGUNA d.d., LAGUNA POREČ Rade Končara 12, 52440 Poreč, Hrvaška Tel. 00385/52/410-222, Faks 00385/52/410-412 E-pošta: mice@plavalaguna.hr www.lagunaporec.com

Vander Urbani Resort is a unique architectural mixture between the romantic past of old Ljubljana and the unique quality of accommodation expected from a modern wanderer. The 16 rooms feature high-end materials, one-of-a-kind design pieces and plush amenities. Intimate spaces to reflect and rest abound, from the wine cellar in the basement to the reception desk, restaurant, lounge bar and rooftop terrace with an outdoor infinity pool and BBQ where guests can take a sunset swim or enjoy the glassed-in yoga studio or pilates with views over the city. Also all kind events can be organized on the terrace from press conferences, business meetings, private parties, power breakfast meeting to weddings. A 24 hour reception desk is available for our guests, we also offer free Wi-Fi. We offer a perfect sleep with Frette bedding and with exceptional mattresses and Molton Brown amenities. Our Vander restaurant is a special experience, offering a unique breakfast, as well as “Deep dish” lunches and a la cart dinner. The most exquisite ingredients, from Slovenia are used by Benjamin Launay, our Chef de Cuisine, with his endless inspiration. The wine cellar of the Vander restaurant is a real treasure of authentic wines especially from Slovenia. Vander’s heart beats with the Old part of Ljubljana, where old and new co-exist in a passionate embrace. Everyone can find a place at Vander. Whoever comes to Vander, will leave with the feeling as a local – “Ljubljancan”. Vander Urbani Resort, Krojaška ulica 6 1000 Ljubljana T:+386 1 200 9000 E: reception@vanderhotel.com W: www.vanderhotel.com

The Best New Hotel of 2013 BY CONDÉ NAST TRAVEL
 http://www.cntraveler.com/hot-list/2013/hotels/slovenia

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Advertorial

Business meetings in the warm embrace of the Julian Alps

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pring wraps Kranjska Gora with warm rays of sunshine, making it an even more pleasant destination for business meetings. It is also an excellent starting point for walks in nature and discovering of what lies in the surrounding villages, with its outstanding gastronomic offer pleasantly rounding off the moments spent in the splendour of the surrounding mountains. Kranjska Gora meetings tourism has a long tradition. In the Hit Holidays Kranjska Gora hotels they have as many as 19 halls with all the necessary technical equipment, the biggest hosting up to 1,200 participants and most of them having plenty of daylight. The unspoiled natural surroundings call

for active leisure time and are excellent for a wide range of teambuilding programmes. After the activities, participants can relax in any one of the four wellness centres, swim in one of the pools, take a walk and see the local sights, or visit any of the museums. There are also many options for organising gala dinners and dinner parties that take you to the realm of dream culinary experiences. Guests can wrap up the evening by singing karaoke at the Legends Pub, dancing under the spotlight at the disco or trying their luck in one of the casinos. At the end of February the Hotel Larix hosted the 12th CEESCA Conference and the participants were very satisfied.

It was excellent, without fault from the hotel staff, and for that I would like to thank you a lot. This was the 12th CEESCA Conference and you can be proud because your service was the best so far. You can see at our website that we had always used renowned hotels with many stars. The organisers of various events like to come back to Kranjska Gora, because they are always surprised with its new and orig-

inal ideas for carrying out events in a way that participants always fondly remember.

Bussiness meetings in Julian Alps

19 halls the biggest hall with 1200 seats 1300 beds 4 wellness centres team buldings in unspoiled nature different options for evening entertainment great culinary experiences INFO: +386 4 588 44 77 info@hitholidays-kg.si www.hitholidays-kg.si

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Register now imex-frankfurt.com

POWERED BY

imex-frankfurt.com/register OR CALL: +44 (0)1273 227311 @IMEX_GROUP

The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events.


Advertorial

UMAG’S NEW OFFER EVEN FOR THE MOST DEMANDING BUSSINES GUESTS

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otel resort Istraturist has invested in their MICE offer already for several years and today Umag is one of the most wanted destinations for business meetings and congresses: meeting centre, banquet hall and top restaurants in hotels 4*-5* (Sol Umag, Sol Garden Istra, Melisa Coral), modern technology and excellent feedback is the guarantee for success of every business meeting. Our desire to be better than your expectations has brought us to our new offer: Sol Umag (4*) will await its guests with a new spirit with an expended offer. From now on with excellent wellness and congress space, we offer all cycling enthusiasts a new bike point. Melia Coral (5*) is the first Croatian Adults Only Hotel where our professional staff is going to make sure you do not miss anything. The hotel has also a modern meeting centre and 5 conference halls.

Since this year Umag has a new tennis centre and academy in Katoro Resort. The new tennis centre has a club house with a lot of new space, which will be the centre of the academy and will hold up to 80 people. Umag is the best choice for every type of business travels, meetings, conferences, congresses, sports events and other events‌ and beside all that we offer you a getaway from your everyday stress life with all kinds of activities and relaxation in our Wellness Centres. Come and discover top service that Istraturist Umag offers you! www.istraturist.com

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MEET US AT CONVENTA 2014

Prostor raznovrstnih doživetij A place of diverse experiences

Dobrodošli, veselimo se vašega obiska vse dni v letu We look forward to your visit any day of the year! Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia, T: +386 1 306 42 93, www.ljubljanskigrad.si

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Soča Valley, where you can.... JUMP into the emerald river Soča * CROSS the Devil’s Bridge and discover hidden treasures in the depths of the Tolmin gorges in Triglav National Park. * TAKE the Walk of Peace and listen to its story * Find the beauty of nature at Kozjak Waterfall. VISIT the outdoor museum of World War I.* TASTE Cheese Tolminc in one of the mountain pastures or in the Planika Museum. *FEEL the beat of the traditional Carnival in Drežnica village. * MAKE a stop in one of the local restaurants and feel like at home! Simple but comfortable, in the center of local life but quiet, not much but everything you need. www.visit-soca-com; info.kobarid@lto-sotocje.si

MEETINGS WITH A VIEW

BUSINESS MEETINGS

BEST WESTERN PREMIER HOTEL LOVEC BLED 4* - 61 rooms and suites - indoor pool, massage tub - Grill Restaurant, Lovec Pub - meeting room for up to 140 participants and two boardrooms

HOTEL KOMPAS BLED 4* - 95 rooms and suites - indoor swimming pool - sports massages and lymphatic drainage massage - squash court, - café with panoramic terrace - five meeting rooms

BEST WESTERN PREMIER HOTEL LOVEC & HOTEL KOMPAS Bled, Slovenija sandra.cerar@kompas-lovec.com  | www.kompashotel.com | www.lovechotel.com|

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A COASTAL JOURNEY AWAITS In Le Meridien Lav Split everything comes with a view, including meetings, conferences and events. State of the art conference facilities on single ÔffiZfe]\i\eZ\Z\eki\%

DISCOVER EUROPE’S HOTTEST NEW DESTINATION For more information or to make an enquiry please call +385 91 4444 379 or e-mail kovacevic.ozren@lemeridien.com

Are you organizing a congress? CONTACT US! Plava Laguna – Laguna Poreč is one of the biggest tourism and hospitality companies in Croatia. In their 13 hotels you will not only find conference halls and meeting rooms with up to 600 seated places, but everything you need for your business events in a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Business with pleasure. After your regular program, there is a plenty of opportunities to relax at excellent sports and recreational outdoor facilities. Your success is our goal! PLAVA LAGUNA d.d, LAGUNA POREČ mice@plavalaguna.hr, www.lagunaporec.com

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LE MERIDIEN LAV, SPLIT

N 43° 3’ E 16° 32’ T +385 21 500500 lemeridienlavsplit.com


Kongres meetologue

INSIDE CONFERENCE 2013 HOT SPOT for Meetings Professionals • TOP International and local speakers • Experiental Learning • Guided Networking www.inside2013.eu

Hotel Lone, Rovinj, Croatia, August 30 – 31, 2013

TolE®AnC a

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Join us at the 5th

TRADE SHOW OF SPA & WELLNESS TOURISM in CENTRAL EUROPE

From 3 to 5 October 2013, Royal Spa City Sarvar, Hungary.


Anyone looking for excellence, comes to Brdo

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t the Convention Centre, which was headquarters to the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union, a real difference is created by experienced organisers. The natural environment provides a memorable relaxation, and business Hotel Kokra a superior accommodation. Glass modernity in the middle of nature The Brdo Estate has historically been a venue for important governmental events. Renaissance castle Brdo, villa Zois and other attractive premises in the middle of the superbly designed park were in 2007 joined by the modern Congress Centre, which was also the seat of the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union. Behind glass fronts of the building, which in architecturally thoughtful way blends with the natural environment and the Alpine peaks in the background, there are around 9 thousand m2 of premises. Adjustable larger and smaller halls, meeting rooms, business rooms, booths and halls offer an excellent environment for large congresses and conferences and for smaller meetings and work conversations. The equipment is designed in such a way to allow for a wide variety of layouts. Superior custom-made implementation There are all devices for multimedia work, free wireless access to the Internet throughout. Interpretation booths for trans-

lators are available, workplaces for journalists are arranged. Depending on the needs of the event the Convention Centre team can arrange for any additional details. Experts, tested at events of the highest protocol level, are advising in meetings organisation - from the first talks through all the way to flawless execution and to the final thanks to participants. At any event special attention is given so that it all corresponds to the organiser, participants and content of the meeting. Staying with specific tastes During the event chefs at Brdo can provide everything from snacks, informal cocktail receptions to comprehensive entertainment both on the premises of the Congress Centre and in selected and properly arranged other facilities at Brdo. Participants can be accommodated at the Kokra Hotel, which in addition to great rooms and restaurant also offers a wellness centre. The integrity of different experiences Park Brdo, with its natural features, with lakes and a duck pond, with an elite restaurant Zois, with the cottage Jezero (lake), a golf course and many other venues, is also an excellent choice for unusual motivational meetings! For special meetings you can also select the Brdo Castle and the nearby Castle Strmol. www.brdo.si

The true difference is in details Actually, everything starts and ends with a cup of coffee. In-between your wishes are revealed, plans and possibilities discussed, detailed organisation of the event set, and perfect performance carried out. Our experienced team guarantees your event in the Congress Centre Brdo or in the recently renovated Strmol Castle will not only meet your expectations but leave an impression. Welcome drink awaits you at Brdo!

T: +386 4 260 15 01

brdo-eu@gov.si www.brdo.si


SLOVENIA MEETINGS Feel the people. Taste fresh ideas.

www.slovenia.info

www.slovenia-convention.com


KONGRES MAGAZINE MAY ISSUE  

MEETOLOGUE 2013: We have travelled SouthEast Europe lengthwise and crosswise, and in a special edition, which you have here in front of you,...