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Page 9 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Interview with Nicolaas Houwert, General Manager at Hilton Belgrade

Page 12 IN FOCUS: PARTICIPANTS' JOURNEY Events are organised mainly for participants

Page 17 VIEWS: HOW WILL NEW GDPR AFFECT YOUR NEXT EVENT Roman Muška, Prague CVB Christian Mutschlechner, Vienna CVB Martin Sirk, ICCA Carina Bauer, IMEX Group Eitan Greenberg, Kennes Group


GORAZD ČAD Editor of the magazine is in his profession a geographer and historian. He united his professional education and love of discovering new lesser-known convention destinations with love and passion for the meetings industry. In meetologues he will try to share his enthusiasm with the readers. JASMINA JERANT A creative writer since childhood was by surprising turns that life took brought into the meeting industry where she can release her passion for storytelling. She seeks for the unusual, hidden, and charming facts that make a town or a building shine in a different way. She believes that places are like people. In each one of them you can find something amusing. And then … Well, yeah, make a short story out of it, why the heck not?

AJDA BORAK Since she was a young girl, she was in love with stories. Constructing reality and creating stories with words is for Ajda a game that never gets boring. The beauty of her job at Kongres Magazine is the endless amounts of stories that she is diving in on a daily basis.

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G Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Editor Intelligent Content Jasmina Jerant and Ajda Borak Design 3D Design Media s.p. DTP and Prepress 3D Design Media s.p. Proofreading Adele Gray ISSN Number 1855-8615 Photo credits: archive of Kongres magazine and partners destinations The Kongres magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. Magazine issued in January; March; May; July; September; November Publisher, Production and Marketing Toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, SI1000 Ljubljana, t: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 f: +386 (0)1 430 51 04 v e: Issue date March 2018


NATALIJA BAH ČAD An unforgettable member in the editorial board of travelogues, 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 care for the tiny little things that make the big events.





ADELE GRAY Adele has been living in Slovenia since 2007. As a native English speaker who is also fluent in the Slovene language, she plays an important part in our team. She is passionate about Slovenia’s beautiful nature and, when not at her computer translating, spends as much of her free time as possible outdoors indulging her devotion to hiking, running and cycling. She shares her love of Slovenia through her popular blog

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BEHIND THE SCENES Editorial look behind the scenes of the most exciting congress hotels in the region.

OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK Introducing new innovative congress products that surprise with aesthetics and creativity.



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

Overview of interesting congress providers through experiences and special offers.





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

Meeting organizers golden guide that has been since 2010 revealing fresh and interesting European meetings destinations.

Secrets about Un-European meetings destinations through the editorial word of the brilliant Robert Cotter.

Fresh news, experts articles and trends from Croatia written by the lovely Daniela Kos, editor of the Croatia Addendum.





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

Interviews with meetings industry professionals that reveal their stories of success.

Generation Next- young talents that will shape the future of the meetings industry.

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





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

The most comprehensive collection of incentive ideas that already includes 270 programmes and is being up-dated weekly.

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

Presentation of the most interesting destinations through the TOP 10 column. We are rating convention hotels, car launch destinations, special venues …






n recent times, every media roundtable that I have been part of has included a question about where we see ourselves in five or ten years, and how competitive Slovenia is in the area of congress tourism. As a rule, an additional question is related to aviation accessibility as well as the usual logistics questions. We are most often asked whether there are enough large congress centres, sufficient numbers of hotel rooms and incentive and DMC agencies, and what the relationships are among the logistics providers on the scene. To me, this kind of thinking seems totally wrong, since I believe that the essence of competitiveness lies in the area which I understand and promote as congress destination platforms. Until recently, congress destinations were primarly understood as a group of various providers, which is still the prevailing model in the majority of destination brochures and presentations throughout the world. Over 95% of trade show presentations are still based on this premise. If we turn the story on its head and concentrate on the needs of congress participants and organisers, an entirely different UX matrix is reached. Instead of the number of congress halls, the capacity of halls for banquets and the number of international air connections, other indicators come to the fore such as the scientific, technological, cultural and economic creativeness of destinations. I strongly believe in this, and my beliefs were also confirmed by the conclusions of the traditional World Economic Forum in Davos. It is no coincidence that this year the new IDI index (The Inclusive Development Index) was launched, which, in the future, should replace the classic GDP index that is used to compare developed countries. The index is based on soft indicators, among them education and basic skills, basic and digital infrastructure, levels of corruption and numerous other indicators, which, in my opinion, show the real social-economic picture of the attractiveness of a destination and indicate much more than just rough financial indicators. The leading countries on the scale are also well-developed congress destinations. The first 10 places are held by Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Austria. The Czech Republic (15), Slovenia (19) and Slovakia (20) are the highest ranked eastern European countries. Creative industries are at the core of the new development of paradigms, which, in my opinion, will in the future create the real difference among destinations. Below are some thoughts and ideas. Creative industries are the driving-force of modern congress destinations I am strongly of the opinion that the congress industry is a creative industry. Creativity is used as a support that differentiates good events from 5

average ones. International events can also been defined as activities that represent the export of local creativity. Without designers, architects, actors, singers, top-notch chefs, video producers, musicians and other creators, today I cannot even imagine good events. If we view the entire congress industry from this perspective, it totally changes the structure of key stakeholders. Today the industry is dominated by logistics companies such as transporters, DMC agencies, and hotels. To achieve a creative transformation, however, we need to transition to creative industries, which currently still do not have a place in the congress world. Only when the industry understands this concept, will it be the basis for implementation in practice. How to connect the ideas of modern creative communities with the organisation of events Connecting creators from various fields is a paradigm that young people starting out on their career particularly want. Industrial and graphic designers, photographers and illustrators, programmers, architects, journalists, economists, and scenographers – there is a place for all of them on congress platforms. Platforms that are open-source, enable networking, development and the establishment of new companies, which the congress industry requires for growth. It acts as a kind of hub for interested individuals and companies that is based on democratic co-operation. This also includes sharing the costs of development and renting premises, which positively influences the development of new projects. I am aware that each platform derives from countries' economic and development opportunities. The fact is, that today, above-all, we understand the start-up scene, which is a new religion, but less the true concept of creative industries. This is also where the congress industry lies – more or less beneath the radar – despite its exceptional potential. Why congress destinations need new co-working platforms In recent years, co-working spaces have been growing at a phenomenal rate. Poligon is among the most well-known in Ljubljana, whilst in Serbia there is Mokrin House, in Split WIP, and in Vienna Sector 5. The list is infinite, covering the majority of the most creative cities in Europe. You are probably wondering what hyperspace living rooms have in common with the organisation of events. There are many answers, since a lot can be learnt from the modern concepts of co-working. It is not just about the arranging of spaces, but more about the way of thinking and the concept of how to create the conditions so that events will be organised in destinations by individuals with the most innovative and creative ideas. Such spaces are the driving forces of economic development and communities, as well as new events. Of course, this is based on the assumption that a city is also creative in terms of image, cultural life, architecture, ur-

A WORD FROM THE EDITOR banism, cuisine and lifestyle. Just imagine what kind of projects could have been created if, like Berlin, such meetings had been encouraged and carefully planned. Berlin is today the European capital of creative events. The end of centralised, inaccessible and hierarchical systems The main European cities already have developed strategies in the field of creative industries. Among the cities that especially stand out are London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Creative and co-working communities in Slovenia are also well-developed and such spaces can be found in all the larger cities throughout the country. Slovenia is regarded as an exciting destination for digital nomads and creators. The creative industries, however, are still not recognised as one of the leading economic sectors, and recognition of the congress industry is worse still. It seems that in the congress industry, the wave of changes has still not made a splash. Many congress destinations organisations work centrally and hierarchically with a high entry threshold for membership. In contrast, new systems, which are open, non-hierarchical and have scattered sources, develop from the bottom up. Participation in terms of sharing content and ideas, mass financing, co-ownership of content and goods, and alternative transport, have long been known. Only rarely, however, do such models appear in our industry.

How to create new creative platforms in the congress industry Below I have listed some of the already known and visible ideas that could be used in our industry. The vision is to develop innovation and competences, so that, with appropriate support, congress destinations can achieve their social and economic potential. This is also the answer to the ever-increasing uniformity of congress destinations, which today, at least in terms of congress bureaus, are becoming like peas in a pod.


Creative congress destinations provide congress incubators as a creative hub, where new congress ideas and events are developed. Premises are intended to combine complementary congress companies, creators and start-up companies. Through the modernised process of events and workshops, such incubators accelerate the development of new events in line with destinations' strategic orientations.


Creative congress destinations provide the seed of capital for new start-up congress events Today, the majority of destinations spend a lot of money on classic B2B marketing. A typical example is the market of international associations, which is exceptionally demanding in terms of investment. If part of the budget was used to focus on new start-up congress events, some of them would undoubtedly succeed and become part of the local economy. This idea can be upgraded through crowdfunding or mass financing.



Creative congress destinations encourage a culture of co-working This is based on co-operation, mutual assistance and sharing knowledge. The core element is a community that is based on interdisciplinarity. Such is the essence of the congress industry, as I have already described in detail.


Creative congress destinations develop new community-marketing projects These do not rely on traditional marketing principles. They prefer to develop new creative campaigns that enable them to connect with creative industries.


Creative congress destinations offer production support to demanding projects Certain congress projects are so demanding that they require wider support throughout all phases - from development of ideas to execution of the event. If the production role was to be taken over by the community, the chances of the project succeeding would be greatly improved. I believe that all those who work in the Slovenian event and congress industry will also know how to catch this wave. According to its multidisciplinary approach, we belong among the creative industries and, perhaps, we will soon see the first congress co-working space. By realising these ideas, Slovenia could become an innovative congress centre for the Balkans, Central Europe and beyond.


ANCA MADALINA CRISTEA: NEW GENERAL MANAGER TARČIN FOREST RESORT & SPA MGALLERY BY SOFITEL HOTEL “Sustainability, gender equality and empowering women as an essential aspect of sustainable development, is actively promoted by Accor and it is something that I strongly believe in.” INTERVIEW BY AJDA BORAK PHOTO CREDIT MGALLERY, TARČIN / JASMIN FAZLAGIĆ


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Tarčin Forest Resort & Spa MGallery by Sofitel Hotel set on 95.000 m2 of land in the foothills of a mountains in the heart of Bosnia has a new General Manager. The hotel is designed to provide homely warmth, exclusive comfort and high-quality services for the discerning guest. Hotel features 75 rooms and dozens of villas. A passionate mathematician started her career in an American multinational company and continued in an international hotel chain, where her love story with the hospitality industry began. Q: What motivated you to go into the hotel industry? Being passionate about mathematics I got my first degree in Finance and Insurances and started my carrier in an American multinational company. In 2005 I got contacted by an international hotel chain and this is how my love story with the hospitality industry began. I became fascinated with this gigantic industry that uses so many various resources to maximize guest satisfaction. Simple but still so complex. It was like a mathematical algorithm created to make people happy. Q: At work: what puts a smile on your face / what puts a frown on your face? Smiling comes by default, I start my day with a smile and I try to remain positive for the entire day. Happy colleagues, happy guests make me always smile more, a blue sky or the rainbow that appears quite often at our resort puts a smile on my face as well. I try to remain balanced throughout the day and not to frown. Frowning does not solve the problem anyways. But of course sometimes too much tension can bring a frown on my face.

"Since very little I was fascinated by the stars and the sky so for a long period of time I dreamt to become an astronaut or an astronomer." Q: How have you changed in the past five years? It is said that change is the only constant in the Universe and I definitely agree. I hope that I became wiser, more balanced and more tolerant, but this is for the people around me to observe and evaluate.

Q: What challenges are you looking for in this manager position? Coming from a corporate market, I found this opportunity to work in an eco-friendly luxury mountain resort extremely intriguing and appealing. The challenges are numerous and I enjoy every single one of them: starting from the business mix and segmentation, moving to the sales and revenue strategy, different target emitting markets, new organizational culture, so many things to learn and experience. Q: Describe a typical work week for a general manager? Well in hospitality world every day is unique and every week can be completely different from the previous one. It is a very dynamic and exciting world full of drive and action especially because a hotel and more particularly a resort never sleeps, there are always things happening and activities going on. I start my day with a quick walk around the resort, followed by the HOD meeting, for a short recap and an overview of the strategic planning agenda of the day. Then of course I am in constant communication with our partners with our guests and with our ambassadors. I strongly believe that managers are the ones who bring motivation and inspiration to their teams therefore they should be as much as possible in the front line supporting and motivating their colleagues.

"Simple but still so complex. It was like a mathematical algorithm created to make people happy." Q: Are the companies’ standards and policies in consonance with your own? Absolutely, I am delighted to be part of the Accor family, with more than 250’000 hospitality experts sharing the same passion of welcoming people from the heart. I also adhere to the brand values which reflect Accor’s commitment as a civic-minded company that shows solidarity, taking care of the planet and of millions of people every day. Sustainability, gender equality and empowering women as an essential aspect of sustainable development, is actively promoted by Accor and it is something that I strongly believe in. Q: What kind of MICE events and incentives does the hotel offer? We are proud of our generous and elegant meeting facilities. Our two stylish conference rooms, Nerona I and Nerona II, offering unique panoramic mountain views, are equipped with state of the art technology and are suitable for board and team meetings, training sessions, presentations, banquets, weddings and exhibi8

tions. For larger groups, the partition between the two meeting rooms can be folded away to create a bigger meeting area for up to 290 guests (theatre style). Our meeting venues are complemented by a spacious foyer with direct access to the outdoor terrace lounge which offers stunning view of the surrounding nature.

"I became fascinated with this gigantic industry that uses so many various resources to maximize guest satisfaction. " Q: Can you tell us more about your Magnifique Meetings concept? Magnifique Meetings, - a Sofitel Brand Concept -, is a fully integrated, experience-focused concept, designed to transform meetings into magnifique experiences and exceed the expectations of our partners by providing the essentials, infused with new French art de vivre. Through innovative products and services driven by our guest insights, every meeting is tailor-made to be magnifique. Q: Have you ever been a guest in your hotel? What would you change? Of course being a guest in the hotel is part of our internal procedures and it applies to the entire team. Sofitel My bed concept is a magnificent experience and all our ambassadors are part of it. There is always room for improvement and there are always fine tunes that need to be addressed, and being guests in our hotel is the perfect way to anticipate and to immediately react to anything that can potentially affect our high standards of customer service. Q: What was your dream when you were a little girl? Since very little I was fascinated by the stars and the sky so for a long period of time I dreamt to become an astronaut or an astronomer. Hence my inclination towards mathematics and physics.

»I strongly believe that managers are the ones who bring motivation and inspiration to their teams …«



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


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Q: Before coming to Belgrade, you used to manage the Hilton Paris Orly Airport which was opened in 1965 and was one of the first international hotels in Europe. Now you are managing a hotel that has just been opened. How would you compare these two experiences? The best thing about working for Hilton in different countries is that you have to mold yourself each time to fit the needs of each unique property. Hilton Paris Orly Airport was a well-established hotel with more than 50 years of tradition and a tenured management team. For me the biggest learning curve was to understand French labor law, as well as managing a team that had worked together for a long time. My focus was to bring new energy to the hotel team members and to challenge them to perform better in order to exceed guest expectations and create the best experience possible. We succeeded quite well in this, even though the product was not the newest; we grew market share and exceeded guest satisfaction levels and financial targets. Working in a completely new hotel is quite a rewarding experience. Hilton Belgrade is a stunning design hotel and finished with the latest technology. Small details in the room will make the guest experience even more personalized, from special USB chargers for international devices to bluetooth compatible radios to play music directly from your phone. Also, in a new environment the procedures need to be adapted in order to be specific to the hotel and market-a sort of pioneering which requires an entrepreneurial approach. Q: What are the greatest challenges in regards to that? Opening a hotel is all about recruiting talented professionals, not so much on the basis of experience – but more on individual personalities. I

have to compliment the team we work with in Belgrade, as I found candidates to be willing to work, dedicated and enthusiastic to learn new things. It is therefore a pleasure to open a hotel in Serbia.

»The best thing about working for Hilton in different countries is that you have to mold yourself each time to fit the needs of each unique property.« Q: How were you involved in the process of the hotel's development? I was the first to arrive from Hilton and all recruitment of the operational team started with one laptop, a mobile phone and a small office space. The construction of the hotel was managed by the onsite project team of the investment company, supported by project managers from Hilton. My involvement was focused on setting up the office, start the recruitment and making the hotel ready for the grand opening. Q: Hilton Belgrade is the first newly-opened hotel in Belgrade in decades. How will it contribute to Belgrade's position as a destination? Belgrade has great potential for business tourism. When we consider the Nikola Tesla Airport, which has an increasing number of passengers every year, and I do not want to be modest, I am sure that Hilton Belgrade will bring new business tourists to the city because there is a shortage of accommodation capacities in Belgrade. I think that when Hilton opens its doors, there


will be space for developing some other segments of business and economic change, so I am really optimistic when it comes to all this. Q: There will be 242 rooms and suites, rooftop bar & dining overlooking Old Town, spa treatment rooms, sauna and fitness centre, and even executive lounge. The level of offered luxury seems to be perfectly fitting the demands of business guests. Was that the aim? Certainly, because Hilton Belgrade offers many advantages to both business and leisure travelers. Due to our excellent location in the heart of Belgrade, in proximity of the National Assembly, numerous embassies and international organizations, we anticipate to welcome both individuals and group travelers. The hotel offers various facilities to accommodate the needs and interests of all types of guests.

»Working in a completely new hotel is quite a rewarding experience.« Q: The hotel will also have 656 sq.m. of meeting space including a ballroom for up to 500 guests. What are your predictions or expectations in regards to the meetings industry in relation to hotel? Hilton Belgrade has big expectations when it comes to the congress niche. We cater to our business guests by offering 11 meeting rooms, with natural daylight and can welcome up to 500 delegates. One special feature is Oasis, our urban garden in the heart of the hotel. This secluded area is adjacent to the Tsar Dusan ballroom, and will be the perfect venue for open-air coffee breaks, lunches, cocktails and private events. We

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW have seen a big interest for wedding ceremonies as the setup is unique for Belgrade. Q: The hotel is located in the Old Town and its location within historical surroundings makes it a prime location in Belgrade. How, do you think, will that contribute to the congress offer? I am convinced the location of the hotel is perfect for congresses. Our hotel will fulfill the Hilton standard, but the design and interior of the hotel will exceed expectations. Not only is the city center in zwalking distance, also the accessibility and ease of parking in the underground parking will play an important role. Having meeting rooms with high ceilings and natural daylight, will make convening even more more enjoyable.

»Opening a hotel is all about recruiting talented professionals, not so much on the basis of experience – but more on individual personalities.« Q: You are a foreigner, or a new-comer, to Belgrade, and at the same time you are a business professional. What would you, from your own personal and business experience recommend to business guests in regards to Belgrade as a destination? I felt at home quite quickly and love the buzz the Old Town of Belgrade offers. On my first weekends I explored Kalemegdan, I discovered Skardarlija and really adored the outside dining at Beton Hala. St. Sava Temple is within a quick

walk of the hotel and is stunning both during the daytime and at night. Belgrade has enough to offer and keeps surprising us as we explore the city in more detail.

»Hilton Belgrade will bring new business tourists to the city.” Q: How do you find Belgrade? I love Belgrade and the Serbian people are very hospitable. I really like the dining scene in “Beton Hala” and enjoy spending time with my family in Kosutnjak and Ada Lake on weekends. Although Belgrade is a large city, I quickly felt at home due to the warmth of the people and the fact that everyone speaks English well and makes us feel welcome.


Q: Any favourite restaurant so far? And what do you think about ćevapčići? My favourite place is definitively SkyLounge, which is our own rooftop overlooking entire Belgrade! The chef is from Thailand and on the menu are Pan-Asian dishes and prime cuts of meat that are a culinary discovery in itself. I am always trying cevapcici anywhere I go, I am amazed by the variations of taste and flavours of the different side dishes that are served with it.

»Our hotel will fulfill the Hilton standard, but the design and interior of the hotel will exceed expectations.«





The participants’ journey, or user experience, stems from a multitude of interactions among participants at events and their experience of the event on a rational, emotional, sensory, physical and spiritual level.

The term began to be used in the 1990s, when Don Norman began to develop a methodology for Apple Inc. Today, the company’s products are a synonym for an exceptional user experience. The characteristics of the products and services, which have changed the world in recent times, is to solve one of the problems of the user experience. Similar companies are those such as Uber, Tesla, Airbnb, Snapchat, and the list could go on.

THE STARTING POINT In planning events it is often the case that organisers forget the most important thing - that is planning the entire user experience of participants. Consequently, numerous events fail or are unsuccessful. There needs to be a comprehensive approach, which is understood as a mandatory part of the ‘Power to the meetings’ methodology. The end result is the satisfaction of participants, which can be achieved despite the subjective experience that some individuals may have had.

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


they will feel good and will experience positive emotions. It is about solving the universal problem of interaction among participants of events at all points of contact. The field of event organising is a very complex one, as everything must be planned from websites, communication systems, price politics, hotel accommodation, promotional campaigning, branding, networking, to arrival at the event, content, entertainment, staff, cuisine and layout of the venue. Relatively few event organisers get involved in planning the user experience, a lot of them, however, realise its importance. It requires a lot of interdisciplinary knowledge. Toleranca marketing believe that, over time, the independent profession of planner of user experience at events will develop.


TIPS AND TOOLS 1. Conceptualisation

The most creative phase of a project is setting the concept of an event, for which the use of an Event Canvas or classic brief is recommended. This enables organisers to define the theme in a creative way and seek visual, verbal and professional elements that connect the event.

Tool: Event Canvas

2. Needs analysis

In this phase, user research should be carried out as well as interviews with key stakeholders. The choice of focus group is very important, as it must be relevant to the target group of participants at the event. In this way it is possible to measure the subjective component of the expectations of quality services and the expectations of participants in general.

3. Designing a story board

The essence of every event is the story that needs to be told. The visual creation of the event is based on the techniques for preparing film scenery. Through group work, scenes and characters are visualised, which will be personally experienced by event participants.

Tool: Event Storyboard

4. Testing the user experience

Next follows testing of the user experience which has been written on the storyboard. The selected focus group evaluates all those individual points raised on the story board as a whole using the following attributes: valuable/useful/desirable/ accessible/credible/achievable/user-friendly

Tool: Event Experience Grid

Tool: Pre-Event Survey

5. Impressive event execution

At an event it is key that the user experience is structured as logically, clearly and intuitively as possible. The satisfaction of participants depends primarily on their expectations and whether we know how to impress them. Therefore, every event must include essential elements, which participants expect, as well as elements of surprise, which have the greatest effect on satisfaction.

Tool: 10 Wow Moments Matrix

6. Analysis of the event

A key part of a project is measuring its success or whether it exceeded participants’ expectations. Through the use of a structured questionnaire, the rational and emotional dimension of an event can be measured.

Tool: Post-Event Survey





The pitfalls of inspiration and raising expectations If an event is organised on an annual basis, the expectations of participants increase. What impressed them the first year, could just be considered satisfactory the next. The level of satisfaction is connected with that of exceeding participants’ expectations. Therefore, when organising events it is exceptionally important to include elements of surprise - over time, unexpected elements can become the expected.


This is why event organisers must constantly aim to upgrade participants’ enthusiasm and impression and add elements of surprise.

Conversation at any point of the customer journey Cisco Live is the biggest conference of the company CISCO in the EMEA region. It is regarded as one of the most important conferences in the area of digital marketing in the world and is held in places such as Barcelona, Milan and Berlin. The conference offers visitors inspiring content, but it is its conceptual approach, which is based on a well-thought-out user experience, that especially impresses visitors. According to marketing director Gerd De Bruycker, the centre of modern marketing is the B2Me concept - 67% of the user


experience today is digital. Cisco dedicates tremendous attention to this concept in three key phases of a project – before, during, and after an event. The main focus is on the needs of participants and their profiling, which enables the creation of engagement that can be measured using the Engagement Index and a comprehensive approach to measuring added value. Additional information and inspiration can be found here:


MEETING PLANNERS GET READY FOR GDPR Don’t be taken in by every offer or threat and be faced with high penalties TEXT BY GORAZD ČAD PHOTO CREDIT SHUTTERSTOCK


MEETING PLANNERS, GET READY FOR GDPR GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation, is a term that has been occupying media space and postboxes in recent months. It replaces the EU Data Protection Directive and lays down new rules in accordance with the regulation of personal data. With the development of the digital area, which includes wide use of the internet, social media, smartphones and applications, as well as the digitalisation of practically all areas of our lives, the volume of collecting of personal data and the flow of information has dramatically increased. The regulation needed to be changed due to the fact that, in today’s total information society, it is necessary to protect and provide people with the ability to control their personal data, as well as the need to unify and raise the level of protection of personal data in the EU. This is especially important because it is easier for individuals to be tracked, to profile them, and for this information to be used for various purposes. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen individuals’ rights.


There are doubtless few companies or organisations that will not have encountered the handling of personal data. The process of preparation of the GDPR, which will come into force on 25 May 2018, must begin with the questions ‘Which data do you handle, what part of it is stored, and who is able to access it?’ A basic step in this context is ensuring regular and up-todate back-ups of important data are made, which today should already be a standard of doing business. The following urgent steps should be taken prior to the implementation date:


ST STEP: Informing and training employees regarding the details of the GDRP regulation It is necessary to make sure that everyone in the company is aware of the radical changes that are taking place in this area, and to ensure that they will be able to implement them on time.


ND STEP: Getting approvals and amending forms for collecting e-mail addresses in the new regulation One of the biggest changes that the GDPR brings is that of obtaining approvals. Every company that collects and processes personal data must first inform the owners of the data of the reasons for collecting their data and must also get their permission. It is necessary to explain the legal basis for the processing of information to data owners,

inform them of the period of retention of data, the purposes for its storage and provide them with the right to appeal if they are of the opinion that the way their data is being handled is inappropriate. IMPORTANT: Consent must be in the form of a clear and understandable statement, given with a provable and unambiguous affirmative action.


RD STEP: Ensure transparency and traceability of personal data through tracking consent for communication – a robust Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) system is recommended Together with obtaining consent, the GDPR requires that there is a record of when and how consent was received. In reality, this means that companies have no other choice than to begin to document where personal data is stored, from where it came, and with whom it is shared. In order to comply with the regulation, companies may be obliged to organise an audit or once again obtain consent from the owner of data, if it is not possible to prove how the consent was obtained. Of course, companies must also update their information about customers and, in cases where information is shared with other companies, customers must also be informed.


TH STEP: Provide the right to deletion and the right to transfer data Each individual has significantly greater control over the flow of personal data, since the introduction of the GDRP means that every consent that an individual gives will no longer be permanent, and individuals also have the right, at any time, to demand an insight into the information stored about them, to demand total deletion, to withdraw consent, or to order the transfer of personal data to another provider without causing a hindrance. From personal experience the Kongres magazine team recommends that the safeguarding of data protection is handled by a company that is specialised in this field. This will ensure that systems and servers are always upgraded to the latest versions, and that data is stored in data centres in accordance with European directives.


TH STEP: Appoint an authorised person for the protection of personal data (DPO) At the same time as the GDPR, a new requirement will also enter into force which requires that companies name an authorised person for the protection of personal data, in the event that companies process personal data within their basic activities. The authorised person can be employed within the company, or may be an external authorised person in cases where there is no need for an employee to work an 8-hour day, in the area of protection of personal data. In the case of an external authorised person, services may also be carried out on a contract basis. 16

The appointed person must be a professional in the area of protection of personal data, who will respond to requests for access to data, collect consents, initiate procedures in the case of incidents and inform all those involved – victims, colleagues, authorities etc. – at the latest within 72 hours of any detected violation.


TH STEP: Protect children and adolescents The new regulation is particularly strict in the area of processing data of children and adolescents. By 25 May, companies that process such data must provide a clear mechanism for verifying the age of individuals. In cases where an individual is younger than 15, consent must be obtained from a parent or guardian. At Kongres magazine we have prepared thoroughly for the introduction of the new legislation. Since we are interested in what other congress providers and destinations think about it, we asked them some questions about implementation of the legislation. The details can be found below. The new legislation in the area of protection of personal data provides congress participants with: 1. Greater supervision and efficient implementation of supervision of personal data. 2. Easier access to personal data - individuals must be informed in a clear and understandable way about how and for what purpose their personal data is being processed. 3. The right to privacy – if an individual no longer wishes for his/her personal data to be processed and, on the condition that there are no legal reasons for its continued storage, an individual may demand that a company deletes his/her personal data. 4. The right to know how long personal information is stored. 5. The right to request a correction, deletion or appeal. 6. The right to the transferability of personal data, which will ease the process of transmission of personal data in cases where customers wish to change service providers. 7. The right to due legal processes and sanctions – individuals have the right to appeal to a supervisory authority, as well as the right to appeal against the decision of an authority or in the event of inaction by a supervisory authority, and the right to compensation and liability. 8. Individuals may not be subject to measures that derive solely from profiling, analyses or forecasting, through the use of automated processing tools (e.g. assessment of personal characteristics, health, habits etc.).




Roman Muška started his career in the MICE segment in 1996 working for an international DMC & PCO. During his long term career in the event management he gained the experience to organise corporate, associations as well as governmental conferences and events. In 2013, he became a member of the Prague Convention Bureau Board of Directors and in 2015 its first Vice President. Since January 2016 he became fully involved in the Prague Convention Bureau as the Managing Director.

Q: Are you ready for GDPR? We are currently in the phase of preparing for all the changes that have to be done prior the enforcement date. We identified the potentially problematic areas in our processes and are discussing the opportunities how to do the work with the data even better and more secured with experts. Q: How much of an impact will GDPR have on your company? Compared to the large enterprises, we don’t work with the enormous amount of various data. Thus, we believe the changes in our processes won’t be so extensive and time-consuming. Some of the regulations have already been more or less valid for years now, so we would need to do only minor changes to ensure we comply with the GDPR.

"We are working closely with lawyers and also our CRM and CMS providers to ensure there will be no, or as small as possible, risk regarding the data we currently store and process."

Q: Do you currently have a Data Protection Officer? So far, our type of organisation doesn’t require to establish the position of Data Protection Officer, and we are not considering to appoint one currently. Q: Is your business already taking steps to comply with GDPR? As I mentioned earlier, we already comply with the basic rules that are already valid for some longer time. We are consulting our processes with expert, lawyers and partners to ensure our data and data of third parties are treated according to the standards and are secure.


Q: What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance and where can you find help? We are fully aware of the investigation process and fines resulting from non-compliance with the terms of GDPR. We are working closely with lawyers and also our CRM and CMS providers to ensure there will be no, or as small as possible, risk regarding the data we currently store and process. Q: Q: What allways makes you smile? Often my team members at PCB, but always one special team member called Daisy, who takes the role of Happiness Manager in our office J.



Old enough to have acquainted a lot of experiences but still young enough to be curious and to learn new things – a digital oldie? Life is a mixture of different experiences, your job is one especially when it is enjoyment and not obligation. But the other experiences are books, concerts, theater performances but also contributing to charity institutions like cooking together with some of my colleagues at the Vienna Convention Bureau for poor people. A very special experience when you look at the faces of the people. Q: Are you ready for GDPR? We are on a good way – first steps have been taken. Q: How much of an impact will GDPR have on your company? We can not evaluate yet – I think the first months after May will give us more insight, especially also when we network with colleagues. Q: Do you currently have a Data Protection Officer? Not really, GDPR is at the moment handled by one person in our IT Dept. Q: Is your business already taking steps to comply with GDPR? Yes Q: What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance and where can you find help? As a public institution we have a slightly different position when it comes to non-compliance. Parallel our company lawyer with his own network will provide us help and advice. Q: What always makes you smile? My family, excellent music and good jokes.

"…...GDPR is at the moment handled by one person in our IT Dept." 18




After thirteen years in a variety of senior meetings-related sales and marketing positions with ICCA member companies, Martin became CEO of ICCA. At the start of his career he worked as a leisure tourism marketing specialist with the British Tourist Authority (as VisitBritain was then known). He has worked in Hong kong, the USA, the Uk, and most recently in Amsterdam at ICCA Head Office, but travels extensively in all regions of the world to engage with ICCA’s membership of over 1,000 companies and organisations from 95 countries. He has extensive experience working in national and city destination marketing organisations, congress centres, and with a leading global hotel brand, and is an acknowledged expert in the design and organisation of international congresses and the trends that are shaping the future of the meetings industry. Q: Are you ready for GDPR? We intend to be ready! A great deal of work is underway or scheduled.

Q: Do you currently have a Data Protection Officer? Yes. Even though we are not such a large organization that this is legally required, we felt that this was an essential step, to have someone regularly observing and querying our decisions relating to data, not just in setting up GDPR, but on an ongoing basis. I would recommend that any company does the same, since this sends a message to the authorities that one is taking GDPR seriously.

"We intend to be ready! A great deal of work is underway or scheduled." Q: Is your business already taking steps to comply with GDPR? Yes. Lots of internal meetings, reports from consultants on our CRM system, and we’ve set up a timetable to make sure we get everything ready in time.

Q: How much of an impact will GDPR have on your company? We won’t have to change too many of our existing processes, thankfully, since the reasons we hold and process personal data fall within allowable rules. The biggest challenge is to draw up clear written policies and procedures, including high-level general statements, the essential Register, and detailed descriptions relating to how we work with each type of personal data, and to make sure, that we carefully communicate our policies with all of our stakeholders, not just ICCA members, but everyone whose data we process. We were already in the midst of moving to a new CRM system based on Microsoft Dynamics, so we’ve taken care to build GDPR compliance into all the plans to set up this system, and we can draw on the expertise of the various consultants and implementation partners who are working with us on this project. We’re also trying to obtain the best templates for all purposes, including for GDPR appendices for contracts we have with third-party IT companies, whose systems will be processing ICCA-controlled data. Thankfully, the Netherlands has some good material we can adapt to our needs. 19

Q: What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance and where can you find help? They are serious, but without any case law to draw on, no-one knows how large the penalties will be in practice. The most important thing is to do as much as possible to be in compliance by 25 May. The second most important thing is to re-examine your company’s marketing and communication processes. Whilst emailing and direct marketing are covered by separate EU legislation, spamming or generic marketing messages could now easily lead to complaints to the relevant data protection authorities, which could lead in turn to investigations into data processing compliance. We will be explaining our policies to our members, but we can’t take over their responsibility to draw up their own policies and procedures with regard to their own CRMs. There are numerous advisers who have sprung up to deal with this, with lots of different specializations. If you already work with a CRM provider, it’s a good idea to speak with them, since they have to design in GDPR compliance into their systems, and they have to include GDPR paragraphs in their agreements with data owners or other processors.



She entered the meetings industry in 2002 as the Marketing and Operations Director for IMEx in Frankfurt as part of the original launch team for the exhibition. In 2009 was appointed CEO of the IMEx Group. In this role, Carina is responsible for all aspects of the business. Throughout her career, Carina has been an active member of the meetings industry. She was Chair of the Marketing Committee for MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference, London (2008), has served on the Board of the MPI Uk Chapter, the MPI International Multicultural Committee and on PCMA’s Global and Advocacy Taskforces. She is currently President Elect for the SITE International Foundation and a Director of the Meetings Industry Fund. Q: Are you ready for GDPR? Yes – we’ve been working towards becoming compliant with the legislation for the past year and expect to be compliant before the deadline of 25 May 2018. Q: How much of an impact will GDPR have on your company? There is always impact when new legislation like this is introduced, as it forces you to think differently about the way you are managing and utilising data as well as looking at your marketing behaviour and internal processes. We have used it as a positive opportunity to review some of the ways that we work and whilst we’ll need to make changes in some cases we do not see this as a negative, but rather an opportunity to try some new approaches. In addition, through the work that we have already undertaken it has given us a better understanding and control on our data flows and this is a very good thing. Q: Do you currently have a Data Protection Officer? Yes we do. Q: Is your business already taking steps to comply with GDPR? Yes – as explained above, we aim to be ready by the deadline of 25 May 2018.

Q: What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance and where can you find help? The consequences are well documented and can be very stringent in terms of the fines on businesses. We have put our data protection officer through an ISO training programme, as well as utilising a consultant for ongoing assistance. There are numerous online and face-to-face courses and webinars taking place at the moment to assist people, including some which are specific to the meetings and events industry. There will also be a number of sessions on this subject during IMEX in Frankfurt, 15-17 May, with EduMonday on 14 May. Q: What always makes you smile? My boys - Ethan and Ben who are 9 and 7. They make me laugh every day!


"We have used it as a positive opportunity to review some of the ways that we work and whilst we’ll need to make changes in some cases we do not see this as a negative, but rather an opportunity to try some new approaches."



A 13-year veteran of the meetings industry, Mr. Greenberg is the senior market researcher for kenes Group and its recently appointed DPO. Trained in Information Science, Eitan manages the day-to-day data-insight services for sales operations and provides expert consultation to strategic BD initiatives at the group level. Q: Are you ready for GDPR? Not yet. We are working hard to achieve groupwide compliance by May. Q: How much of an impact will GDPR have on your company? GDPR has a significant impact on our business. Apart from the fact that we have several offices located in Europe, many of our long-term association clients as well as their meeting delegates are EU-based. We provide 'One-Stop-Shop' service to many of

our clients, engaging with personal data at many stages across the lifetime of the event, and managing multiple data entry and exit points along the way. Reviewing and documenting all these processes is a major effort. Q: Do you currently have a Data Protection Officer? Yes. We decided to voluntarily appoint a DPO in order to give our best effort to meet the challenge. Q: Is your business already taking steps to comply with GDPR? Absolutely. We have recognized the benefits of GDPR both to our clients and to our own business, bringing with it a new opportunity to excel. We have decided to apply this elevated standard of data protection to all our global operations, regardless of their location. Q: What are the consequences of GDPR non-compliance and where can you find help? For us, non-compliance is not an option. Data protection is first and foremost an ethical position and we stand together with our European


clients and partners in their effort to fortify this protection as a basic human right. From a business point of view, the main consequence of defaulting would be loss of reputation and clients since GDPR is the new expectation our partners and clients have of us. We intend to meet it. Q: What always makes you smile? Random acts of kindness.

" For us, non-compliance is not an option. "

" GDPR has a significant impact on our business. "


What do we like and DISLIKE about B2B events? A face-to-face approach is the key to success in B2B events according to participants of the 10th Conventa TEXT BY AJDA BORAK PHOTO CREDIT ARCHIVE CONVENTA, JANI UGRIN

The key to a successful B2B event is as simple as getting face-to-face with your prospects. Well, we say simple, but the truth is that holding an event that is highly effective and hits all the right buttons can be anything but. We asked the participants of this year's 10th Conventa about the likes and dislikes about B2B events. There are many formats for organising B2B events, but the best two are still ‘In-person’ events and ‘Online’ events such as webinars and live-streaming. It is a fact that, bottom line, people do business with people. Therefore, the power of any event lies in the opportunities it generates for personal interaction. This factor was taken into consideration during the organisation of the 10th Conventa trade show, where 130 exhibitors from ‘New Europe’ had the chance to get face-to-face with 290 hosted buyers from 48 countries around the world. The final point to remember, regardless of what kind of event is being organised, is that a detailed evaluation of what happened should take place after the event. All the succesesses and failures should be noted, so you know what to improve, add or change the next time. It is also important to get feedback from attendees, since, at the end of the day, they are the ones whose opinion matters the most. And so, at this year's Conventa, attendees were asked what they like and dislike about B2B events. The responses have been gathered below:

Among the answers given by hosted buyers in terms of the 'Likes' about B2B events were:

Among the answers given by exhibitors in terms of the 'Likes' about B2B events were:

1. Networking - Meeting new potential partners, new business connections, getting to know new people, meeting peers, meeting providers and buyers in person, personal communication, new contacts, the chance to meet colleagues in person. 2. Education - in terms of quality workshops, professional details, sharing knowledge, learning about other businesses and destinations. 3. Informative - providing detailed and immediate information. 4. Atmosphere – this seems to be a very important part of an event. A relaxed, familiar atmosphere, and a pleasant and positive aura in the meeting hall. 5. Organisation – the level of which is very important to ensure such events run smoothly. And, of course, there is nothing like a good 'After Party' to end an event. Good music, a dancefloor and a few cocktails help you to get to know your colleagues even better.

1. Networking 2. Personal communication, direct contact with hosted buyers, one-on-one encounters with 1. potential clients 3. High-quality meetings 4. Scheduled meetings with potential clients 5. Quality hosted buyers

Among the answers given by hosted buyers in terms of the 'Dislikes' about B2B events were: 1. Timeframes - too long/short meetings, waiting for appointments, time-consuming 2. Relevancy of the meetings 3. Meetings that are not informative enough 4. Not enough new people and new information 5. ‘Nothing’, was a surprisingly common answer. Proof of a successful event, indeed! 22

Among the answers given by exhibitors in terms of the 'Dislikes' about B2B events were: 1. Losing time on irrelevant meetings 2. Hosted buyers that are not interested or that have no potential 3. Fake hosted buyers 4. The “same old faces” at every event 5. Limited period for presentations





I have been unconciously connected to the islands on various levels, most often metaphorically. I frequently consider the islands as an idyllic place of harmony and clean living. I also sometimes think of them in the context of statements by my dear writer Mate Dolenc who once said that he knows that an island is not just an island, but also a symbol - the concept of humankind. Since the islands aren't the easiest of places to reach, they are a metaphor for isolation and a retreat from the urban environment, all of which further increases my constant craving for islands. Such places have a beneficial effect on me and I feel as if it they are somewhere where I could belong. My connection with the Azores occurred accidentally. I was lucky enough to visit this island paradise in the middle of the Atlantic due to my participation on the Bea World Advisory Board. On this isolated archipelago a story about islands came to mind, and with it opened new questions. Among them, about the models of managing the environment and tourism. And also about whether the Azores operate as an independent engine which work in isolation outside the global system and also why there is an anticyclone – a subtropical centre of high atmospheric pressure – that is named the Azores High.

The Azores are near and far The archipelago lies in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, over 1,400km west of Portugal and 1,900km southeast of Canada. It is composed of nine larger inhabited islands and numerous smaller islets and reefs. The climate of the Azores is at the juncture of a subtropical and moderately warm zone. Due to its position in the middle of the ocean, the Azores have

an ocean climate with only mild temperature fluctuations throughout the year and between night and day. The relatively high temperatures are provided by the Azores Stream, part of the warm Gulf Stream that crosses the Atlantic from the Caribbean towards western Europe. As the locals themselves say, this is an ideal location to hold incentive programmes. It certainly pays to make an effort and set off on a slightly longer journey to reap the rewards of its exceptional nature, which leaves visitors lost for words.

in 1427 when he came ashore on Santa Maria. Since 1976 the Azores has been an autonomous region with its own parliament and government. The regional government has its seat in Ponta Delgada, which, with 45,000 residents, is the administrative centre and the largest city of Sao Miguel. The regional assembly is based in Horti on the island of Faial.

The Azores are heaven on earth

With Portugal's accession to the EU, its role of livestock breeding, in particular dairy cattle, has been strengthened. In some places there are pastures directly by the coast, but they are mainly at altitudes between 200-500 metres above sea-level. The majority are closed pastures which are bordered by hedges of blue and white flowering hydrangea and stone walls. It is estimated that across all the islands of the Azores around 800,000 cattle are reared.

The islands have volcanic origins and were formed after the eruption of numerous volcanoes in the Mid-Atlantic ridge or in close proximity. The Azores are characterised by typical post-volcanic phenomena: water vapour springs, sulphur springs, small geysers and warm and hot water springs. There are as many as 22 thermal springs in the area of Furnas ('sulphur' in Portuguese) on the east of the largest island of Sao Miguel. The whole place is a real feast for the eyes. This is also due to its landscape, which is shaped by agriculture that includes everything from the production of tobacco, sugar beet, chicory, tea and pineapple, and, together with the already established potato and passion fruit industry, forms the foundation of the islands' food and processing industry which is concentrated on the largest island of Sao Miguel.

People make the island The people are immensely kind and friendly. At first sight they might seem a little restrained, but soon become happy to help. According to local information, around 240,500 people live in the Azores. The Portugese mariner and explorer Diogo se Silves allegedly discovered the islands


The islands are a kingdom of animals

The islands are a springboard for adventure There are well organised aviation links between the islands, which are run by Azores Airlines, previously known as Sata. There are international airports on the islands of Sao Miguel, Terceira and Faial. Sao Miguel is also home to the only tea plantations in Europe. Whilst in the years following World War II there were 16 plantations, nowadays the production of tea takes place only on one estate on the north of the island. The recommended way to travel between islands is by aeroplane. Travelling by ferry is cheaper, but it takes quite a long time, and ferries do not operate from the end of October to the end of April due to the turbulent sea conditions – except between nearby islands where the turbulence does not have a significant effect on the


ferries. It is easiest to get around on the islands by renting a car.

Self-sufficiency The islands strive to be as self-sufficient as possible in all areas. As much as 40% of the Azores energy is geothermal – water and wind – whilst the rest is imported. The majority of food is local. A lot of the islands' inhabitants make their living in the agriculture, livestock breeding and fishing industries. The measure enforced to limit the capacity of accommodation to 15,000 beds seems entirely logical, as this is a key part of the islands' sustainable orientation. Such a brave decision earned the Azores the title 'Second best island in the world for sustainable tourism' by National Geographic Traveller and 'The number one sustainable destination in the world' by the Green Destination Organisation.

1000 shades of green A paradise for incentive events The slow island rhythm provokes a great deal of nostalgia, whilst I was surprised by its exceptional range of incentive programmes that can compete with many significantly more developed destinations. These include everything from active cycling and hiking programmes to more sustainable stories. Definitely worthy of mention among them are dolphin and whale watching, both of which can be seen just a few kilometres from the coast. Or a visit to a pineapple plantation, whose fruit is famous for its exceptional flavour and sustainable production. There are quite a few agencies that deal in the organisation of incentive programmes, and can organise everything from golf to water-based adventures. The biggest choice of activities is, of course, on the main island of Sao Miguel, where almost half the islands' inhabitants live.

This is also home to the islands' most developed and finest cuisine, which nicely rounds-up the various incentive experiences.

The most protected congress secret in Europe Local guides like to say that the Azores are the most protected secret in Europe. I can confirm this, as well as the fact that it is an interesting congress and, especially, incentive destination. Those that decide to organise events here will be rewarded by the friendliness and sincerity of the locals, the unspoilt nature, low prices, and the everyday laid back pace of life. You are also certain to be impressed by the feeling of exclusivity, since no-one has the desire for mass tourism to become rife on the archipelago. The destination offers everything that meets the needs of today's congress guests, whilst also giving them the feeling that they have stepped back in time, to an era when time wasn't important, to when nature, and what it offered people, was of importance. The Azores is a new destination with exceptional potential for the development of incentive products. The hotel and congress industry is modern and in every way comparable with that of many European cities. A typical example of how seriously the Azores is taking congress tourism was the building in 2008 of the multifunctional 'Portas do Mar' centre. This architectural gem combines a modern marina, an underground car park, an amphitheatre, and areas for accompanying exhibitions. Even in the low winter season, the islands are well connected to Lisbon, which is also in part thanks to low-cost carriers. In addition, the diversity of the islands' cuisine results in very competitive products.

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At the Bea World Advisory Board event participants carried out excellent work, and, in the words of the founder of the festival, Salvatore Sagone, it was one of the best meetings in its thirteen year history.

Personally I believe that the exceptional island atmosphere greatly contributed to this.

Azores legends The islands are full of legends and unbelievable stories, which are triggered by its magnificent nature, numerous small lakes, fairytale forests, ravines, underground caves, waterfalls and lush flora. The most picturesque viewpoint on the island is Vista do Rei, which means 'View of the King', at Siete Cidades, from where there are views of the volcanic lakes of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. Legend has it that they were filled by the tears of two young lovers. The king had a beautiful daughter who so adored nature that she spent every day in forests, by rivers, lakes and in hidden valleys. One day she met a handsome young shepherd and they fell in love. When the king found out, he forbade his daughter from seeing the shepherd as he wanted her to marry a rich prince. The daughter begged her father to allow her to meet the shepherd one last time. When they met, they cried so much that their tears filled both the secluded craters, and a small green and larger blue lake were formed.



1. CONTENT Copywriting and Content marketing

2. DATABASE Big data targeting

a r k e ti n g

9. SALES Personal sales

3. ONLINE Digital Campaigns

ca m

8. EXPERIENCE Sales events

7. VIDEO Video campaigns


6. PRINT Image building THE SAME WORLD IN OTHER WORDS In many ways the meetings industry is similar to rock'n'roll. It is passion, a dedication. It strives to be different and visible, showing with one's heart and soul the power of speech at the right moment. It inspires the audience and leaves an impression. It creates a special connection with every listener and responds to their wishes, and ensures that they become fans. You know how to inspire, and we have a stage on which you can present. Therefore, this year Kongres magazine has brought its readers even closer, breathed into it new content and changed it into an even more attractive publication, all with the aim of becoming a unique, creative and effective medium for dialogue between you onstage, and your buyers in the audience. Therefore, we offer a range of solutions for your dialogue with readers, from text-writing and web optimisation to promotions in the magazine and on social networks.

ra e l to


4. SOCIAL Social media campaigns

W i t h 6 7 i ssue s a l re a d y und e r i t s b e l t , Ko ng re s ma ga z i ne ha s o nce a ga i n p rove d w hy i t i s t he l e a d i ng co mmuni ca t i o ns me d i um i n t he eve nt s a nd meet i ng s i nd us t r y i n ‘ Ne w ’ Euro p e .

5. DIRECT E-mail marketing and Telemarketing communication is ensuring the provision of quality reach of all communication channels and measuring sales conversion. NOW WHAT Our agency is among the first to offer 360° MICE ACTIVATION, which includes all communication tools that actually communicate with event organisers, regardless of which communication tool they use. Bratislava Motor City and Meet in Šibenik are examples of integrated campaigns.

WHAT The majority of media and specialised marketing agencies in the congress industry only offer event organisers and destintations one of the many possible methods of communication.

6 GOALS RELEVANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS • Content Creation: Producing engaging content for clients and providing content targeting • Content Curation: Finding relevant content for specific meeting planners groups through our network • Content Distribution: Delivering content to meeting planners who will find it valuable and driving conversion • Boost Awareness: Creating client brand awareness by consistently communicating with meeting planners • Lead Generation: Creating qualified leads as a result of content marketing and converting reach into leads • Drive Sales: If content is king then sales conversion is queen - converting leads into customers

THUS Integrated communication in all contact points of communication with event organisers is rare and usually also very expensive. The biggest problem of such

TELL YOUR STORY Plan your marketing activities ahead. Add Kongres magazine to your marketing plan today to help shape the meetings industry of tomorrow.


Ko ng re s i s t he l a rge s t re g i o na l B 2B co mmuni ca t i o n p l a t fo r m. Our d a ta b a se ha s ove r 6 9,800 p ote nt i a l b uye rs of yo ur p ro d uc t . The d a ta b a se i s b e i ng e x p a nd e d o n a d a i l y b a s i s a nd i s p r i ma r i l y ta rgete d a t t he Euro p e a n ma r ket . We k now meet i ng p l a nne rs re a l l y we l l .


WE WILL SEE A LOT MORE MULTI-HUB HYBRID MEETINGS Exclusive quick talk with Elling Hamso, Managing Partner of Event ROI Institute & Business Development Manager of Håmsø Patentbyrå INTERVIEW BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT PERSONAL ARCHIVE

citement is almost a prerequisite for learning. I see fewer deaths by bullet points these days, but many congresses and conferences are still crime scenes. Q: How important, as a strategic tool, are events? What does it mean to be 'strategic'? Playing a role in something bigger perhaps. Few events create much value in a vacuum. I see leading companies positioning events more as a component in a bigger campaign, than just one-night-stands. Events are potentially strategic tools if we understand the wider context in which they contribute to value.

Elling Ramso, one of the greatest experts on measuring the ROI of meetings and events, in 2005 started Event ROI Institute. He is a member of the jury of European Best Event Awards (EuBEA), Middle East Best Event Awards, Eventex Awards and national event awards in several European countries. He has received numerous awards and recognitions; in 2015, for example, he was awarded the Event designer of the Year by Meeting Design Institute. Q: Which are the new concepts for creating unforgettable events? There isn't much new under the sun, but we are slowly learning from the cognitive and social sciences how important it is for learning that events are in fact unforgettable. How the feelgood dopamine improves long term memory, for example. How participant involvement and ex-

Q: How would you define the added value of events? The added value is very much in the context of a bigger strategy or campaign. But we need to be clear on value, before we talk about added value. Value for whom? It is rarely the objective of an event to create an unforgettable experience for its participants. That's a means to an end, not the end. Who are the stakeholders, who pays, who is looking for value in return to improve profits or succeed in fulfilling the organisation's mission? There is never value to participants or other stakeholders unless the event experience leads to a change in participant behaviour. Participants may have had an unforgettable time, but if they go back to their offices and do nothing different, there is no value to anybody, except the enjoyment in the moment. Then the event becomes an item for consumption, not stakeholder investment.

»Events are potentially strategic tools if we understand the wider context in which they contribute to value.« Q: How to measure the added value of events? Measurement is easy. The hard part is setting relevant and detailed measurable objectives. When you have those, magic happens, because 27

»Participant involvement and excitement is almost a prerequisite for learning.« now you are able to design the event to meet those specific objectives. You need to check that you have the right people in the room, those who can potentially change their behaviour to provide stakeholder value. You need to measure the quality of the physical and emotional learning environment, your instructional design, did it work, did participants learn and remember your information, did you change their attitudes, did they do what you needed them to do in order to provide business value to stakeholders. Q: Where do you see changes coming in the event industry? I think we will see a lot more multi-hub hybrid meetings. We have the technology, it's cheap and reliable and as the Fresh 2018 conference in Copenhagen, Basel, London and Johannesburg demonstrated a few weeks ago, we are getting close to understanding how to apply the technology. It is not the same as a single venue meeting, it is not the best option for every meeting, but for some it is even better. Q: What is the ROI Methodology about? It is about meeting design, mainly the beginning and the end of the process, setting detailed and measurable objectives (at six levels) and proving the value by measuring the results. But to set good and relevant objectives, you also need to understand experience design, how people learn and change behaviour. It is a theory, or model, as well as a practical toolkit for improving event ROI to stakeholders.

"To set good and relevant objectives, you also need to understand experience design, how people learn and change behaviour."


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Ideas for better attendee engagement (Surprises at Events) Five unusual ideas for spicing-up events to bring out the 'WOW' effect TEXT BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT TINA RAMUJKIĆ, ARCHIVE OF CONVENTA CROSSOVER

Event organising in today's meetings industry requires a focus on the tools and practices which can spice up events. The reason being is that attendees engage more when unusual approaches are used to enrich events. In addition, attendees are far more likely to remember events that leave an impression on their five senses – sound, smell, taste, sight and touch. With this in mind, when organising events it is necessary to lean on the 'Power to the Meetings' methodology. Below are some actual cases of unusual ideas that can be used to spice up events so they stand out from the norm, engage attendees, and ensure you and/or your company is raked among the event organising stars.

Acrobats on Ropes Whether it’s a circus or the Olympic Games, when we see someone hanging high from ropes, this is awe-inspiring, whilst also being completely hypnotic. In a pure excited state of numbness, we find ourselves asking “How do they do it? So high, such amazing acrobatics.” Undoubtedly these feelings are even more overwhelming for attendees of a congress where acrobats are doing somersaults above their heads and performing acrobatics hanging from silk ropes whilst smiling down at us. This is guaranteed to enhance the impression it leaves in their memories. This was also proved at this year’s Conventa trade show where two top acrobats performed at the opening ceremony.

Graffiti Art

Opera Flash Mob

All that is needed are some movable walls, which cover other walls in an area, and some graffiti experts, who bring all the necessary materials, as well as a hefty dose of participant imagination. With the help of the graffiti experts, or just by following their own instinct, participants set about spraying walls and creating their own work of art which drives the imagination and fulfils the need for expression.

Picture the scene. You are standing at a reception or sitting at a conference where waiters and photographers are moving among the crowd. Suddenly, in the midst of everything, a man stands up and starts to sing Figaro in a thunderous baritone voice. At first you think he must be a madman or that he has come to the wrong place. However, when the waiting staff and photographers also join him, it becomes clear that this is an organised 'opera invasion', in the middle of an event. Of course, you are overwhelmed by surprise and excitement and you can't believe that you have an opportunity to witness something so unusual and, at the same time, exceptional. This is how to spice-up an event which attendees will not only remember but will also sing along with!

Photo Booth or Photo Corner Photo booths or photo corners, where participants can photograph themselves alone or together with new friends, encourage joy and child-like raillery. Photography can be made even more fun by using various masks and costumes. For example, at the Crossover trade show attendees were able to don various animal masks, which further spiced up the group photography experience, which they were also able to share amongst themselves.

Jungle Theme Why should the scenography of an event follow a classic pattern when it can cross the borders of the known, and radically step into a new world? It was exactly this that drove the team behind the Crossover trade show to theme the event in a jungle style, which positively surprised attendees who relaxed to the sounds, colours and feel of the jungle. Certainly an unusual idea which resulted in an unforgettable event. 29

















PRAGUE vs. LJUBLJANA A current comparison of the closest competitors following the Kongres MTLG methodology:

Quality of Life Index (higher is better) is an estimation of overall quality of life by using empirical formula which takes into account purchasing power index (higher is better), pollution index (lower is better), house price to income ratio (lower is better), cost of living index (lower is better), safety index (higher is better), health care index (higher is better), traffic commute time index (lower is better) and climate index (higher is better). e.g. Vienna index for 2016 is 195.97

PRAGUE LJUBLJANA *Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016 3.20

Population: 1.280.508

Sunshine hours: 1,668 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2016 11 place - 126 meetings

ACI Airport Connectivity Index: 4.54 The number of 4* and 5* category hotels: 258

Numbeo Safety Index: 3.91

Population: 280.310

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016* 3.32

ICCA Country and City rankings 2016 47 place - 54 meetings

Sunshine hours: 1.981 per year

Numbeo Safety Index: 4.13

ACI Airport Connectivity Index: 3.16 The number of 4* and 5* category hotels: 19

+ The 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. The story is reminiscent of Skoda, of which the Czechs are very proud and is one of the oldest auto- motive brands in Europe. Reputable, solid and reliable pre-war limousines were after the war changed by cars that were behind the times. Today, Skoda 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.

+ Ljubljana 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 city is picturesque, attractive and friendly to congress guests. 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. Ljubljana is friendly and favourable to the meetings industry, while at the same time competitive in terms of price and quality. Ljubljana makes a good first impression and among all regional capitals it also has a very good image that has also been strengthened thanks to the Conventa Trade Show. Ljubljana is very successfully promoted through the Ljubljana nd Slovenian Convention Bureau, and notably so through the very successful Conventa Trade Show project that has brought the regional congress scene together and which would otherwise not be possible without the support of the city.

Prague meetings flashpoints: 1. Hotel Yalta - a modernist hotel 2. . Dragonboating - rowing competition with dragon boats on the Vltava river 3. Tower Park Prague - crazy venue with a beautiful view of the city 4. Beer Tour - meet typical Prague pubs with a century of tradition 5. Driving with tanks - the taste of socialist times for real men

Ljubljana meetings flashpoints: 1. Grand Union Hall - A wonderful example of an Art Noveau conference hall tailored to the needs of modern congress organisers 2. The Walnut grove - The venue has an amazing location set in nature. The main attraction of the venue is its ambience, which is best described as ‘eco-chic & vintage’ 3. 2 Convention Centres - Cankarjev dom and the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre 4. The Švicarija Creative Centre - With this new venue one can decide on hosting an event in the middle of the city, yet at the same time be in the middle of a natural setting 5. Odprta Kuhna - On Fridays from mid-March to October, a square at the Ljubljana Central Market is literally occupied by a street food market that has in two years established itself as a true city hot spot

STAY: Four Seasons Prague / 5*****


STAY: Grand Hotel Union/ 4*****

4.55 / 5

4.33 / 5 37



A guru of modern management (according to Business Horizons magazine), Danica Purg is one of the world’s most prominent leaders in international management. Purg had to overcome gender perceptions to achieve success. A special chapter about her leadership journey was published in the book ’Women and Leadership Around the World’ and the American Chamber of Commerce chose her as a business leader role model for young professionals. Purg is president

of CEEMAN, the international association for management development in dynamic societies, and also leads the European Leadership Centre (ELC). Purg is well recognised in her home country, Slovenia, where 30 years ago she founded the IEDC-Bled School of Management, one of the leading international management development institutions in Europe. Slovenia’s presi-


dent awarded her with the “Honorary Order of Freedom” for her contribution to management development in Slovenia and CEE. We talked to this incredibly inspiring woman about Bled and congress tourism, her School of Management, about women and their struggle in their career path, and asked what advice she would offer young professionals.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Q: You have (co)organised many events in Bled. What is your opinion in regards to event/congress organisation in Bled? What are the main attractions and what are the challenges? Bled is an environmental diamond, one that has not been necessary to cut and polish to achieve such beauty. The town already has a long tradition of organising conferences and sports events. There is a sufficient professional basis. By upgrading its range of accommodation and taking the final step to perfect its services, Bled has become of the most attractive places to host important events of all kinds. With Ljubljana and its cultural institutions nearby, adding to the interest and options, a stay in Bled is even more attractive.

“Bled is an environmental diamond, one that has not been necessary to cut and polish to achieve such beauty.” Q: How do you perceive the growth in tourism in Bled? The growth in tourism in Bled shows that the town is already capable of attracting a substantial percentage of the general growth in this field. It does mean, however, that it is necessary to create high level provisions in accommodation that are perhaps unnecessary for large groups of tourists, but in accordance with the higher demands of international conference participants. Q: Your IEDC-Bled School of Management is renowned for its interesting appearance: it looks like a gallery with more than 200 pieces of modern and contemporary art. How do you perceive the role of art in management style? Management and leadership are artistic activities. The accent is increasingly on the “soft” characteristics. Of course, finance, marketing etc. remain important, but leaders in this complex and fast world need to be “agents of change” and need to be creative and innovative. This is where they can learn from arts. Q: Which direction of creative management would you recommend for congress tourism in Bled? I am already making a place for cultural tourism in Slovenia. Bled is very well situated for that. It has a culturally rich environment and is located at a distance of between 50-150km from Austria and Italy. The town is also well positioned to organise conferences on environmental (water, forest, agricultural) issues. This means that Bled has to hire wellknown specialists in these fields, who can

bring high level tourism to the town.

culture of the institution.

Q: What is it that keeps you in Bled, considering that, with your expertise and profile, you could base yourself anywhere in the world? One can’t find such an environment as Bled anywhere. I chose Bled out of some ten possible locations to build a school. My inspiration was IMD Lausanne on Lake Genèva. Of course, sometimes I also think that our base could be anywhere, as I have the feeling that I continuously have to explain to people where Slovenia and Bled are. That was the case at first, but once they visit Bled, people always come back.

Later, when I was establishing the management school, which I was asked to do by a man, I initially experienced a lot of support, particularly from male colleagues from other European schools. They were intrigued by the challenge taken on by a relatively young woman.

Q: You are a frequent speaker at European and American universities and international conferences. How would you compare the Slovenian/European management style to that of America? What is your experience of congress organisations in the United States? Our European style is more stakeholder than shareholder oriented. We don’t believe, as in the case in the US, that what is good for shareholders is good for everybody. We have too many examples of the opposite. This also implies that Europeans are more looking to the long term. There was a time when, under US influence, European managers were under pressure to think and act in the short term. It doesn’t fit our mentality and our history. The positive side of it is that we have raised our tempo of innovating.

“Management and leadership are artistic activities. Leaders in this complex and fast world need to be ‘agents of change’ and need to be creative and innovative” Q: A special chapter about your leadership journey was recently published in the book ’Women and Leadership Around the World’. To what extent, if at all, have you stumbled upon objections and obstacles in your career path on the grounds of your gender? How did you overcome such situations? I am aware of the obstacles. There is discrimination, there are prejudices, the “child penalty” exists, there are unacceptable gaps in payment between women and men etc. If you are asking about my personal experience, at the time when I was employed in a political environment I saw that my honesty and straightforwardness were not appreciated. That was partly because of being a woman in a man’s world, but probably more because of the 39

“There is discrimination, there are prejudices, the ‘child penalty’ exists, there are unacceptable gaps in payment between women and men etc.” Q: Based on your experience and observations, how is the path for female leaders paved today? What would your advice be to them? The path for female leaders is often poorly mapped out. A lot of women have to do it by themselves. In some countries there is a quota for female business leaders, and in a number of academic institutions they make efforts to attract more women. However, there is still quite a way to go to reach real equality. It is not only a mind-set question among men, but also amongst women themselves. Q: You were chosen by the American Chamber of Commerce as a business leader role model for young professionals. In addition, Business Horizons magazine listed you as a guru of modern management. What would you recommend to young professionals in the field of event organising? What is it that what would make them distinctive leaders? Continue to be curious. Look around in the world. Try to learn from the best examples in your field. Try to be involved in successful teams. Develop team building skills. Try to discover the secrets of high performing teams. Absorb all the new technology and innovations that can help you be successful. Use your imagination and creativity. Be an artist. And say often: “Yes, of course”, with a smile on your face. Seeing you smiling and with a positive attitude, your colleagues will do the same.

“The path for female leaders is often poorly mapped out. A lot of women have to do it by themselves.”

Insider’s In Focus Guide

DOHA INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2018 Natural and cultural factors: General and transport infrastructure: Tourist infrastructure:

4.65 4.78 4.82

Meeting infrastructure: Subjective grade: Marketing Buzz: ICCA index: Numbeo Quality of Life Index: Numbeo Safety Index: ACI Airport Connectivity Index DESTINATION MARK:

4.83 4.68 4.82 2.99 3.98 4.82 5.00 4.54 40



Almost 90% of the 2.6 million inhabitants of Qatar, a country in the Persian Gulf, live in Doha. The flourishing coastal capital is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Qatar is ruled by the Al Thani dynasty under the current emir Tamim bin Hamad, who, at the age of 34, is one of the youngest monarchs in the world. He is continuing the work of his famous father, Hamad bin Khalifa, who ruled from 1995-2013 and pulled Qatar from anonymity and elevated it to the country with the highest GDP per capita.

the city wishes to become an international centre for tourism, finance and development. The ambitious agenda is based on four pillars: Economic, Human, Social and Environmental Development. Congress tourism is a kind of interdisciplinary link between all four pillars and is therefore an integral part of the strategy.

A few years ago Qatar also began to focus on the development of congress tourism. In this area it is not satisfied with being average, but rather is aiming to attract the best in the world to its shores. The country believes that congress tourism is important for the development of a healthy and sustainable society.

Qatar has an exceptionally diverse ethnic structure. Approximately 300,000 of its population are Qataris, and the remainder of the up to two million inhabitants are people who have come to this desert city to seek a better life. A huge number come from India, Nepal, the Phillipines and Egypt, whilst there are only very small numbers of Europeans. The majority of male muslims wear white garments (thobe), and women wear black robe-like dresses (abayha). The working week begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday. It is necessary to take this into consideration when planning any events in Qatar.

QATAR NATIONAL VISION 2030 When rich deposits of oil and gas where discovered in Qatar in 1949, rapid economic and politic development began. As there is an awareness that natural sources are limited, a strategic development plan has already been prepared. By the year 2030 Qatar wishes to thoroughly reform the country and make it sustainable and technologically advanced. In doing so the country does not wish to lose its Arab traditions and culture, which remain an important part of all projects. Doha currently resembles a huge construction site, where new and magnificent buildings are growing at a phenomenal rate. In the future,


A REGIONAL CULTURAL CENTRE Doha is considered to be one of the most lively and diverse cultural centres in the whole region. The capital city, Doha, has been investing heavily in building a network of cultural institutions in the past 15 years, in order to become that leader in this field in the Gulf. Within the last decade, thanks to sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin


Khalifa Al Thani, the sister of Qatar's ruling emir, Qatar Museums was founded, which has brought together numerous museum institutions. One of the country's key projects is the new National Museum of Qatar, which was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel and is due to be opened at the end of this year. It is located on the site of the Amiri Palace, where the predecessor of the museum once stood. Visitors to the musem will be able to learn about the creation of the original city, the modernisation of Qatar, and the country's cultural achievements.

SPECTACULAR ARCHITECTURE The city currently resembles a huge construction site, where some of the world's best architects are realising their plans. Every year there are a number of spectacular new buildings, which impress lovers of architecture. In addition to the aforementioned National Museum, last year the Qatar National Library was opened, which was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The Museum of Islamic Art is the work of the architect I. M. Pei, and one of the football stadiums for the 2022 Fifa World Cup was designed by Zaha Hadid. The majority of congress guests will be impressed by the exceptional architecture of the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), which was designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The facade, which is reminiscent of a Sidra tree - a tree that offers shade to Bedouins in the desert - is a stand-out feature.


AL JAZEERA One of the most well-known Qatar institutions has gained credibility mainly by reporting about the Arab Spring, which exceeded all ratings records. Al Jazeera began broadcasting from its studios in Qatar in the mid 1990s, and has since expanded to Turkish-speaking areas and the Balkans. It could be said that, in addition to oil and gas, Al Jazeera is one of Qatar's most successful export items.

QATAR HOSTS NUMEROUS SPORTS EVENTS In the past decade Qatar has established itself as a top destination for sports events. In 2019 it will host the World Athletic Championships. Its greatest achievement to date was when it was awarded the right to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup, for which nine new football stadiums are being built. A year later, the world's best swimmers will gather in Doha for the Swimming World Cup. According to Thani AlKuwari, general secretary of the Qatar Olympic Committee, by 2022 the country will have 99% of the facilities required for the organisation of a summer Olympic games and it could run for candidacy as early as 2028.

AIR TRANSPORT ACCESSIBILITY AS A CORNERSTONE OF CONGRESS TOURISM In 2013 Qatar's Hamad airport opened. It is an ultra modern, five-star airport that can handle up to 40 million passengers per year. Together with one of the world's best airlines, Qatar Airways, it is the cornerstone of the development of congress tourism. Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airline companies in the world with the most modern fleet. It pays 30 million euros per year for its logo to be displayed on the shirts of Lionel Messi and his fellow players at Barcelona. Today, Doha is connected with 150

destinations, whilst Qatar Airways has developed its own QMICE programme, which is a one-stop shop for events organisers. The programme offers organisers numerous benefits and facilitates arrival in the country.

VISA-FREE ENTRY TO QATAR In August 2017 Qatar announced that citizens of 80 countries no longer require a visa to visit the country. This move has made Doha become an even more attractive destination, also for flight stopovers. It is a 15-minute drive from the airport to the city, where those on a short stopover can see the interesting promenade and the souk, whilst those on a longer stopover can take a trip to the desert dunes.

WHY IS QATAR A NEW, FRESH AND TOPNOTCH CONGRESS DESTINATION? In the past decade this rich Arab country has invested huge sums of money in the construction of congress infrastructure and has rapidly established itself on the world congress map. The framework of the congress facilities comprises 51 four- and five-star hotels, which together offer 14,996 hotel rooms. Of this, 34 are five-star hotels, and among them are all the big names that are of significance in the hotel world. Almost all the hotels also offer smaller congress centres, therefore when choosing, it is more about the style of hotel. It is, however, only right to mention the first among the congress hotels, the legendary Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, which was the pioneer of congress tourism in Doha and whose pyramid structure is an icon among hotel buildings. The convention centre offers 26 congress halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 3,000 attendees. The paradise garden, which is ideal for holding receptions and carrying out incentive programmes, is of particular interest for events organisers.


The first large, new investment in the international breakthrough was construction of the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC), which, from a technical perspective, is considered to be one of the most advanced convention centres. It covers a total area of 47,700 km2, which extends over five halls. The DECC has the largest hall in the city, which can accommodate up to 7,300 attendees and has 2,800 parking spaces. The 19-metre-high ceiling is a particularly striking feature, making it sufficient for even the most demanding of productions. Qatar's newest acquisition is the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). The ultra modern centre can rightfully be classified among the best in the world, both for its technical equipment and excellent functional design. The core of the centre are the multifunctional hall for 4,000 attendees with its exceptional lighting, and the plenary hall for 2,300 attendees with its remarkable acoustics. In addition there are 52 breakout rooms, which are suitable for the organisation of practically all types of corporate events. A further 40,000km2 of exhibition area in nine halls is available. Following its opening, the centre immediately became the focus of congressional events. In Qatar there is no shortage of exceptional venues. The majority of museums are also suitable venues for the organisation of events and offer special experiences. In combination with tradition and customs, interesting incentive programmes can be arranged, which can range from sports and active to culture and luxury. Among the special venues, the following are particularly interesting: • The Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre is is an enduring tribute to the Arabian horse and the tradition of equestrian excellence that has co-evolved with this breed in Qatar • The Al Zubarah Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising extensive archaeological works • The Aspire Zone Sports was built to host

MEETOLOGUE the 2006 Doha Asian Games. The complex offers an ideal venue for large scale health and sports-oriented events • The Doha Golf Club is a championship golf course with state-of-the-art conference and banquet facilities • The Katara Cultural Village is a purpose-built beachfront development designed to bring culture and entertainment together in a single location • The Museum of Islamic Art is an iconic building prominently located on the Corniche waterfront that provides a stunning variety of high end venues for all corporate events. The facilities are complemented by an entire network of DMC, PCO and other support agencies that are able to prepare even the most demanding congress programmes. All providers are connected with the Qatar Tourism Authority, which ensures that the path of the congress industry is aligned with Qatar's 2030 national development strategy and follows international trends. Hidden beneath the surface of the development of congress tourism is an excellent idea about connecting it with culture, which is the driving force of development in Qatar. It has to be said that they have succeeded in creating exceptional synergy. This is what mainly distinguishes Doha from its more developed neighbours in the Gulf. Personally, I believe that this is the right formula for success and Kongres magazine will gladly continue to monitor the development of this Gulf congress destination, where events are spiced with unmatched Arabic hospitality. Destination grade: EXCELLENT MEETINGS DESTINATION Individual Grades: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommended meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so-so

Individual grades: A. Natural and cultural factors:  4.65 In Qatar and Doha, visitors are impressed by the genuine Arabic culture which is part of the Bedouin tradition and the lifestyle of locals. Despite modernisation, this is ubiquitous and is another factor that distinguishes Qatar from its neighbours. The country's culture can currently be experienced in seven museums, and there are plans to open a further 20 in the future. This will make Qatar a real mecca for lovers of culture. A genuine experience of Arabic culture is a key element of attraction which, for Europeans, is further complemented by its exotic desert landscape and pleasant winter temperatures. B. General and transport infrastructure:4.78 Doha's ultra modern airport is a sign of its efficient and well-functioning transport system. The quality of Qatar Airways is attested by numerous awards. Key European cities are 5-6 hours away by plane. The transport network is excellent and is not overly crowded. Taxis are very cheap, since the price of petrol is almost equal to that of water. Construction of the Doha Metro, which will connect all the city's main points along four lines, is of exceptional importance to the congress industry. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in 2019, with completion of the second phase due by 2026. C. Tourist infrastructure:  4.82 Its hospitality, oriental-style comfort, sea and desert are attracting ever more tourists to Qatar. The range of hotels is already exceptional, and in the future construction of a further 300 hotels is planned. It is possible to holiday in Qatar year-round and, in combination with cultural and historical attractions, Qatar is becoming an important tourist destination. By the year 2030, it is foreseen that tourism will already reach 8% of the country's GDP.

D. Meetings infrastructure:  4.83 According to representatives of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the congress industry is positioned highly among its strategic development projects. The entire industry is already fully developed today, enabling the organisation of the most demanding events. There are also superb functioning connections with scientific research institutues such as the Qatar Foundation, Qatar University, Qatar Science and Technology Park, and Qatar Museums. All these place Qatar among the most attractive new congress destinations in the world. E. Subjective grade:  4.68 Qatar is among the fastest growing global economies and has also invested heavily in the development of the congress industry. This is reflected both in the area of infrastructure and the increasingly fascinating events calendar. The vision of connecting the congress industry with educational, scientific research and creative industries is impressive. It is also a fact that Qatar's congress industry is a success story and a top-quality and well-oiled congress machine, which is hard to find elsewhere in the world. This is why its way to the top of the congress world is guaranteed. F. Marketing buzz:  4.82 The essence of Qatar's congress industry is promotion and the fact that the country has a desire to become the leader in the world. Online marketing includes all the tools that bring results. Since budgets are not a particular problem, Qatar is increasingly present at congress events and in the media. Comparisons with the region Congress organisers in Qatar have uncovered a simple formula for long-term development. Investment in infrastructure + excellent air accessibility + authenticity and culture, are rapidly launching it among the world's leading congress destinations. There are few organisers who are not tempted to peek into the background of stories about


MEETOLOGUE this mysterious Arab country – many of which are reminiscent of the modern fairytale about One Thousand and One Nights. Thanks to its Middle Eastern charm, friendly people, magnificent congress hotels, sun, sea and exceptional congress infrastructure, Qatar is becoming an increasingly popular congress destination – one that is highly recommended. COOL MEETINGS Harees is a dish similar in consistency to porridge made of boiled or ground wheat, meat and butter. It is a well-known dish in the GCC and very popular during the Holy Month of Ramadan, Eid and other festive occasions. Cinnamon and cardamom are most often used as a garnish.

WHAT‘S HOT 2018 1. Gulf Expo Qatar / 1 March 2018 Gulf Expo Qatar is the most anticipated international exhibition platform for education. The event provides students with an opportunity to study overseas and gain an international level qualification. Students have an opportunity to interact with some of the top university delegates gathered under a single roof, mostly from the Middle East. 2. Doha International Sustainable Energy Conference / 19 - 21. March 2018 The Doha International Sustainable Energy Conference will take place from 19-21st March 2018 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) in Doha, Qatar. 3. Hospitality Qatar / 7 - 10 May 2018 Hospitality Qatar 2018 is one of the few hospitality platforms in the Gulf region that grants visitors the opportunity to benefit from a handful of different businesses in Qatar, taste the latest trends, discover innovations and feel the passion for the industry. Foodex Qatar / 3 - 5 May 2018 Exhibitors at FOODEX Qatar span the full spectrum of the food industry, demonstrating the latest solutions and services to support the country’s progressive diversification strategy, improving production line efficiencies and operations, and addressing Qatar's National Vision 2030. WISH 2018 / 13 - 14 November 2018 WISH’s global community of healthcare leaders will convene for a fourth time in Doha on November 13th and 14th 2018. The WISH community is dedicated to capturing and disseminating evidence-based ideas and practices.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Desert Adventures For a heart-stopping roller coaster ride over rolling sand dunes, try a 4x4 off-road safari. Or have a go at camel riding, sand boarding or driving a dune buggy. Daytime, evening and overnight camping trips can all be arranged. Several tour operators have Bedouin-style camps in the desert. Many safaris take in the spectacular ‘Inland Sea’ and offer the chance to enjoy glorious desert sunsets and moonlit barbeques.

DID YOU KNOW People from at least 87 different nationalities live in Qatar. Qatar is a multicultural country. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of nationalities living in the country.

DESTINATION CAPACITY The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms The number of 4* and 5* category hotels Destination population

14,996 51 1,351,000

Banquet hall maximum capacity The largest hall in the city (in m2) Maximum hall capacity in theatre style

5,000 7,160 m2 7,300

WHO TO CONTACT Qatar Tourism Authority, P.O. Box 24624, Doha, Qatar, Tel: +974 4499 7499, Fax: +974 4499 1919, email:, @ QTACorporate, 44


»THE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE« ATTITUDE SETTING GROUNDS FOR RICH RESULTS GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre (GR) represents a wanted and well-booked centre for congresses and events. Its announced programme for 2018 is already boasting 32 events. In its own organisation, GR hosts in 2018 six major events: Natour-Alpe Adria, 57th International Home Fair, Vino Ljubljana – 60th International Wine Competition, Ambient Ljubljana – Furniture Fair, 3rd International Home Fair+, and the 48th fair named Nature-Health. On top of its own production, the GR hosts many major international events like fairs, trade shows, congresses, business conventions, and other meetings. Among them, the 25th EFMC-ISMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry which will, with its 2000 delegates, make for one of the biggest meetings in Slovenia in 2018. PHOTO CREDIT ARCHIVE OF THE GR

THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL ROBOT LIFTING GR EVEN HIGHER UP GR for the first time hosted a B2B trade fair Smart Industry which is a quadruple fair of four specialized international trade fairs – IFAM, ROBOTICS, ICT4Industry and INTRONIKA. Smart Industry, organised by ICM Company, was hosted in GR between 13th and 15th of February, 2018. The greatest attraction of the fair was the presentation of the most powerful robot in the world. The giant’s name is FANUC M-2000 and is known as the most powerful 6-axial industrial robot on the market. PHOTO CREDIT ARCHIVE OF THE ICM

GR'S CASE OF GOOD PRACTICE CONGRESS FOR 1,800 PARTICIPANT In June 2017, GR was a host to one of the biggest medical congresses in the world – the World Congress in Fetal Medicine, where 1,800 participants from Europe and all over the world, among them leading international experts and young researchers, exchanged the knowledge on Fetal Medicine, specializing in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. GR’s handling of the huge event presents a case of a good practice also through a creation and uploading of the event’s video on their website. PHOTO CREDIT ARCHIVE OF THE GR



A successful START-UP inspired by a visit to the hospital A talk with Ondrej Coufalík, one of the co-founders of Survio - an online platform that is able to conduct the whole process of the survey. INTERVIEW BY AJDA BORAK PHOTO CREDIT SURVIO



Survio is an online survey system for the preparation of questionnaires, data collection and analysis and sharing the results. Survio is a project of Czech creators from the city of Brno, which is also referred to as the Czech Silicon Valley. It began as a startup and was formaly launched in April 2012. Q: How did you come up with the idea for the service? This is an interesting story. Once, my friend Martin, former Survio co-founder, had to fill in a lot of paper forms during a hospitalization. It inspired him to create an online tool for such forms. After his return from the hospital he just started a new project. We made the first steps in 2008. Q: Why is Survio so special now? What makes it so popular? Our platform is not only a tool for creating a questionnaire, it is a solution for people who need to create their survey and get answers from respondents. Our users can choose from many

professional templates, collect responses and get results in professional reports. Survio is able to conduct the whole process of the survey. Q: Who are your target users? Everyone who needs to make a decision needs answers. Survio is a perfect platform for gaining data about respondents needs, expectations, preferences, opinions etc. The questionnaire can be set for anyone from customers, to potential customers, employees, colleagues, friends. Anyhow, we can define four main groups: students, SME's, government institutions and corporation. Currently, we have more than 1.5 million users from 196 countries. Q: Which are some of the largest companies that use your service? Tesco, Continental, Webnode, Schenker, BMW, Ĺ koda, NN, AXA, Allianz, Deloitte, VW, CocaCola, Unilever, Notino, Oracle, Hilton, National Geographic Q: What is your competition like and what makes you better than them? Our biggest competitor is probably SurveyMonkey. I am not sure what makes us better or worst. On the other side, we do care about our customers. Our main goal is to be user-friendly survey platform which can be handled by everybody. That is our main competitive advantage. Our users don't need any special knowledge for creating their own surveys. Users can find advices on our blog with many useful tips and tricks. Survio interface helps to solve all the steps of the survey process. Every time you know where to click. Q: How big is the Survio team now? We are a quite small company. Survios is 13 permanent in-house employees, two are in Latin


America (Brazil and Mexico), plus more or less ten external freelance collaborators. Q: What are your developmental plans right now? Currently, we are launching the new version of Survio. The new version is even more user-friendly, eye-catching and truly effective tool. Nowadays we are also hiring new colleagues specialists in development, online marketing and starting some collaborations with individuals and organizations worldwide. We are preparing a different kind of events from small workshops to a conference dedicated to SAAS. Q: How are you planning to improve your global customer experience? The new Survio is running on AI platform, setting a questionnaire will be even easier and intuitive, as well as the final analysis - data output - is going to be without any pain, clear and automatic. Q: How would people in the MICE industry benefit from using Survio? To be successful you need idea/ product/ service (to sell), people (employees, collaborators etc. to rely on) and customers. To gain loyal customers you need to know their needs, expectations as well as amount of money they are willing to pay for the service. Thus, you need to analyze, ask questions, test beta versions and so on. Then, you can launch your service on a market. And the next step, you need to find out if the idea was satisfying, where you improve, where you were excellent. Thus, you can prepare another questionnaire about the customers' happiness. The benefit is interaction and awareness of your customers need, expectations etc.


MADE OUT OF TEARS, STARS AND BREATH … THE kORNATI ARCHIPELAGO A boat trip to one of the most beautiful collections of scattered islands in the world – Kornati National Park. TEXT BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT CROATIAN TOURISM BOARD, ANTUN CEROVECKI, NATIONAL PARK KORNATI

The Kornati, a dense group of islands and a unique cluster in the Adriatic, consists of 150 islands, islets, cliffs and rocks that stretch for 35km in length and about 13km in width. The Kornati islands are spread over the central part of the Adriatic Sea in northern Dalmatia and close to Šibenik. The view of the Kornati is so striking that no wonder the Irish writer and Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw, after visiting the islands 1929, wrote, "On the last day of the Creation, God desired to crown his work and thus created the Kornati islands out of tears, stars and breath". The Kornati are uninhabited and wild, bringing analogies of a different planet covered by a stone desert. A boat trip to the Kornati is an extraordinary experience. One gets on a wooden boat and is immediately welcomed with a locally made fruit brandy (rakija). The boat has indoor and outdoor areas where passengers can sit and watch the crystal clear turquoise water passing serenely by the spectacular cliffs and rocks. It is not unknown for dolphins to appear, showing off their acrobatic skills and feeding their curiosity about the newcomers in their territory.

Skradin risotto (Skradinski riot) is the perfect meal for a trip to the Kornati because, similarly to Kornati, it is otherworldly. The vegetable stock used to make this risotto needs to be cooked for an unbelievable 20 hours, while the meat for at least 6-7 hours so it just melts in the mouth. And following the Dalmatian saying that "A fish must swim three times: in the sea, in olive oil and in wine" lunch is accompanied by local wine. Of course, vegetarians can also be catered for onrequest. After lunch, visitors have a few hours to swim in the one of the cleanest sea-waters in the world, and can go on an under-surface excursion to the sea bed, which is covered in red corals and pearly shells. They can also visit a nearby saltlake that, surprisingly, is located on an island, or take a walk onto one of the islands' peaks and enjoy the spectacular views of the archipelago. They might shed a tear, become star struck … and have their breath taken away. Yes, it REALLY is that beautiful.

At lunch time, passengers are served Dalmatian prosciutto and cheese, marinated sardines, octopus salad, salmon carpaccio, and one of the most famous, not just Dalmatian but also Croatian, meals – Skradin risotto, which even knocked the otherwise unshakeable Anthony Bourdain off his feet.


Category: Active/Cultural Best time of the year: April - October Duration: All day Number of participants: Min 20. Max 200. Location: Šibenik County, Dalmatia, Croatia

WHO TO CONTACT: Slaptours Adria d.o.o. Fra Stješana Zlatovića 4 22000 Šibenik, Croatia E-mail: Telephone: +386 (0) 22 311 460 Website:


DALMATIA – PROVIDING MOTIVATION THROUGH USING ONE'S VOICE … AND HEART Klapa singing, part of the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, moves one's body and soul. Learning the craft and irreversably bonding with Šibenik's deeply embedded culture and tradition make for a unique incentive workshop. TEXT BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT ŠIBENIK PLUS, KLAPA MASLINA, KLAPA FORTICA

Klapa multipart singing, an ancient tradition of the Southern Croatian regions of Dalmatia, has since 2012 been inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Klapa singing dates back to the late medieval era, to the time of ancient Dalmatian brotherhoods. Klapa singing combines several main features: multipart singing, a cappella homophonic singing, oral tradition and simple music making. Singers stand in a tight semicircle, trying to achieve the best possible blend of voices. Topics of Klapa songs usually deal with love, life situations, and the environment in which Klapa groups/Klapas (Klape) live. Local communities see Klapa singing as a central marker of their musical identity, incorporating respect for diversity, creativity and communication.

To achieve this special state of physical and mental harmony, Šibenik offers a special incentive Klapa singing workshop called 'Sounds of Dalmatia' which combines the experience of sighsteeing and singing. Teams are divided into a few groups, depending on number, then groups are guided through the most iconic part of Šibenik's old town with stops to learn and sing their part of Klapa songs with their own Klapa mentor. The workshop ends with the gathering of all participants onto the stage of the beautiful St.Michael's Fortress where they perform their newly acquired skills. The celebration of their success continues on the walls of the fortress with authentic food, drinks and a spectacular view. And, of course, with singing … deep from the throat, and even deeper from the heart.

Not only do numerous acclaimed Klapa groups come from Šibenik, but also the town's inhabitants are known as the best singers in Dalmatia. Today, Šibenik Klapa singing represents part of the area's cultural identity, and musical tastes, whilst helping to maintain its traditional values. So once in Šibenik, the incentive to learn the skill of Klapa singing is a must. This way one can fully experience the power of UNESCO's heritage through the body (vocal cords) and soul (a deep emotional experience).


Category: Active/Cultural Best time of the year: All-year-round Duration: Half-day or all-day workshop Number of participants: Min. 6 Location: Outdoors - Šibenik’s Old Town

WHO TO CONTACT: “Šibenik Plus” Travel Agency and DMC Obala palih omladinaca 7 22000 Šibenik, Croatia Contact person: Tina Vickov E-mail: Telephone: +385 (0) 95 914 2449 Website:



eljko Burić has been Šibenik's mayor since 2013. He is a doctor by profession; namely, a specialist in ophthalmology. In addition to a PhD in medicine, he also did a PhD in the Study of Clinical Management in Healthcare. For many years Burić has also been a politician and, prior to his first term as mayor, he served as the director of Šibenik hospital. In the past few years a lot of good things have happened in Šibenik: Amadria Park opened the biggest convention centre in the Adriatic; two of the city's four fortresses have been renovated; Urban Centre and Urban Incubators have been operating at full working capacity; the PODI (Entrepreneural Incubator) was launched; and the City of Šibenik also received EU funds for the Trokut Centre of New Technologies and Entrepreneurship. And the most recent news is about Šibenik's famous Tavern Pelegrini being named a Michelin Star restaurant. It seems as if the sky is the limit for Šibenik; as if the city is continually growing, developing and improving. Therefore, now is a perfect time to talk to Šibenik's mayor about the city's achievements, goals and plans. Q: The first question must be connected to the recent news: Šibenik has received a Michelin Star, or rather its famous (and for a few years in a row voted the best Croatian restaurant) konoba Pelegrini (Tavern Pelegrini) was named a Michelin Star restaurant. This must be wonderful news for Šibenik? Tavern Pelegrini and the work and efforts of its owner and head chef, Rudolf Štefan, have made the City of Šibenik a recognisable gastronomic destination, and a Michelin Star is the final crown of their success. Through 10 years of work they have significantly contributed to the promotion of Šibenik and I believe that, thanks to their professionalism and enthusiasm, they will continue at this pace. This recognition is an important event for Pelegrini as well as for the whole of the City of Šibenik, which is increasingly developing as a tourist destination. I also would like to mention that in March Pelegrini’s head chef, Rudolf Štefan, is organising an international congress Chef’s Stage which will bring Mediterranean cuisine closer to the chefs of the world and also connect participants from the gastronomic and hospitality scenes.

Q: Since 2013, in addition to the newlyachieved Michelin Star, a lot of things have happened in Šibenik. How has the city followed its plan? We set three goals as the key backbones of the development of City of Šibenik – tourism, economy and education. Without a doubt, Šibenik has become a tourist brand, and investments in, and renovations of, its rich cultural and historical heritage are the reasons for the city's rise in popularity in the last few years. With the help of European funds, the City of Šibenik has renovated two of its fortresses St.Michael's (Sv.Mihovil) and Baron's (Barone/ Šubićevac), and we have received confirmation of European funds for renovation of a third fortress - St.John (Sv.Ivan). In 2017 Šibenik became one of few cities in the world that has two of its monuments inscribed into the UNESCO List of World Heritage – St. James Cathedral (Katedrala Sv.Jakova) and St.Nichola's Fortress (Tvr�ava Sv.Nikole). Q: What about the goal of education? The rise of tourism is an apt complement to the development of the city which has an ambition to become a pleasant destination


where young people and families can live. With this aim, we are investing in the development of higher education, and are developing study programmes that do not exist in Croatia; for example, the study of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources. This technical study is strongly supported in practice with the goal of educating people who, following graduation, are ready to start working in 21st century professions. Q: Šibenik has also been successful in developing and improving its economy. How has this been achieved? We have succeeded in restructuring Šibenik's economy, which has distanced itself from the former heavy industry, and is now turning towards small and medium-size business enterprises and contemporary technologies. The City of Šibenik has devoted itself to the development of the PODI Entrepreneurship Zone, in which 35 production companies work, while premises for two new companies are currently being built. In addition to investments in the PODI Entrepreneurship Zone, we are also

ŠIBENIK JOURNAL: INTERVIEW implementing an innovative policy of attracting entrepreneurs, especially young ones. In the spaces of the Urban Incubator and Urban Centre in the city centre, entrepreneurs from the field of creative industries and advanced technologies can develop their businesses and get informed about business opportunities. We are also continuing a proactive approach to stimulating growth and the development of small and medium-size businesses through the project to establish the Trokut Centre of New Technologies and Entrepreneurship, for which we were allocated 20 million kunas (2.7 million euros) of non-refundable EU funds. Q: What are you expecting from Trokut? What will it bring to Šibenik? The vision of the project to build the Trokut Centre of New Technologies and Entrepreneuship is to connect local selfgovernment, young people, sciences and the economy. In other words, we are talking about a contemporary incubator for IT technology and digital technology. The Trokut Centre aims at three groups of people. The first are entrepreneurs who want to develop their startups (companies or organisations), but they don't have the possibilities to do so. The next group are kids and youths who want to develop their technical skills and try the newest technological trends. And the final group are teams that want to develop their projects while relaxing – or the so-called 'Holiwork' project. Q: What is the main idea behind the 'Holiwork' project? We had realised that Šibenik has a great advantage in comparison to the incubators and accelerators in the north of Croatia – namely, the sun and the sea. When a big company from the technological sector is able to work in alternative locations, it might choose to take its team to the sea where they can work and relax at the same time, and this is exactly the place where they can do that. All the knowledge that comes with them here, will impact the people who use our locale the most. The idea of the Trokut Centre is to create a critical mass of educated people who will bring 21st century technology to Šibenik. Q: In the past, industry rather than tourism was the strongest sector of Šibenik's economy. However, as far back as in the time of the 90's war, industry began collapsing. Now Šibenik is putting a lot of effort into tourism and, consequently, visitor numbers are growing. How has this been achieved? Šibenik has experienced a boom in tourism just as much among the Croatian public as among other European destinations. Unfortunately, for decades Šibenik was seen as an industrial city, one that had nothing else to offer except for its UNESCO cathedral. However, through planning development we have changed and significantly enriched our ranges of tourist services and attractions. Today, the City of Šibenik offers its visitors renovated fortresses with their

numerous cultural contents, a series of festivals and events, and the new attractive destination of Obonjan island. Šibenik has gone from being a former transit destination, where tourists only stayed for a day, to a city in which tourists stay for five days, and sometimes even longer.

"Šibenik is one of few cities in the world that has two of its monuments on the UNESCO List of World Heritage" Q: What about the ever more important extension of the tourist season? We are intensively working on the extension of the tourist season. We are organising festive events for the opening of the advent season in Šibenik, which is a novelty that has become popular among both Croatian and foreign visitors. We are planning to develop Šibenik's speciality, namely, the realisation of the 'Šibenik Escalator' project, designed by the academic Nikola Bašić, which will connect the city's Dolac quarter with St.Michael's Fortress. We also want to extend the tourist offer to Šibenik's hinterland as well as to its islands. For this purpose we are developing projects such as the Croatian Coral Centre on Zlarin island and development of cyclotourism in the hinterlands. Due to the increase in tourism, Šibenik has moved into a phase when it is necessary to strengthen its community infrastructure. On the ground we have focused on investments in community and traffic infrastructure through the clean-up of beaches, modernisation of traffic intersections, and the provision of additional parking spaces through construction of an underground garage beneath the main public square. Q: One of the significant things that has also happened in Šibenik was the opening of Croatia's biggest convention centre - the Amadria Park Convention Centre Šibenik. What is Šibenik's strategy in regards to congress tourism and what are you expecting from it? Congress tourism is certainly a segment in which Šibenik can position itself as an all-year destination. For this reason, we are particularly delighted that our biggest hotel complex Amadria Park - the Solaris Beach Resort - has been focusing on Šibenik as a destination. Through continued work on raising standards and the quality of life, and by enriching the range of services offered, we are working on the development of year-round tourism in Šibenik, and congress tourism is an element which will complete the whole circle.


Q: Since Amadria Park opened its convention centre last May, how much and to what extent has it impacted Šibenik? Šibenik has gained a lot through the opening of the new convention centre, but the best indices for this are the excellent tourism results in the pre- and post-season, and I believe that these numbers are showing a trend for continuous growth. Q: You are a doctor by profession and you have visited many international congresses and symposiums. How would you describe Šibenik as a congress destination to your colleagues in the field of medicine from abroad? I would tell them they now have the possibility of presenting their skills in the newest departments of Šibenik hospital, and exchanging their experiences in Croatia's most modernly-equipped convention centre. In their free time they can complement their visit by taking a walk through the centre - of one of the oldest towns in Croatia, visit two national parks, and two UNESCO-listed cultural historical mounuments. Q: Do you have any ideas or particular personal wishes in regards to the development of Šibenik? Is there anything you would dearly like to see happen or to be achieved in Šibenik? I consider that all the projects that have been going on in Šibenik are like a mosaic - if just one part was missing, the picture would not have been complete. I have a desire for Šibenik to be special, and you can only be that if you have something that others don't. And Šibenik is different because of its fortification system, and its two UNESCO cultural historical monuments. I believe that the 'Escalator' project to connect the fortresses by cable car will make it even more special.

"I have a desire for Šibenik to be special, and you can only be that if you have something that others don't. And Šibenik is different because of its fortification system, and its two UNESCO cultural historical monuments."


THIS IS HISTORY, ŠIBENIk IS MAkING HISTORY Interview with Keith Bradley, Tech and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Specialist working in Šibenik INTERVIEW BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT TAMARA MIKLER

Q: So you still have a home in Chicago? No, between one of the trips I sold everything. I don't have an apartment in Chicago anymore. Q: Wow, that's really courageous, just leaving everything behind! I mean, why not? For me it's been a really great experience and my family and my friends are really supportive. I really love the work here, it's very exciting to be a part of such a meaningful change that's been going on in Šibenik. It's like people really want to transition and to push this region forward. Q: Antonio Barišić (Community Developer for the City of Šibenik) couldn't say enough good words about you, praising you for everything you have done for Šibenik and for the Urban Incubator. How have you connected your Chicago experiences with Šibenik? I worked in the Blue1647 facility. Chicago has many incubator spaces, probably over a hundred. The one I worked for was in a more maginalised neighbourhood. And, believe it or not, it actually has many similarities to Šibenik. When such an incubator is launched, people finally get the opportunity to join in the conversation and to share and express their ideas. The thing about technology is that it is used to try to solve problems. So when a group of people are being excluded, their problems aren't being solved. We didn't need parking apps in Šibenik, because parking is not a great concern, but there were other different concerns, so that's what I set out to address. Keith Bradley is an American who has been living and working in the Croatian city of Šibenik for more than two years. Before coming to Šibenik to help with start-ups and ecosystems, he led an incubator in Chicago. Bradley has played his part in Šibenik's gradual rise to entrepreneurial fame. The Urban Centre and Urban Incubator are the city's main spots for new entrepreneurs. Not to mention the project to construct the Trokut (Triangle) Centre of New Technologies and Entrepreneurship that will bring a completely new area to Šibenik. We talked to him about Šibenik's present and future incubation and start-up scene. Keith Bradley, a believer in people and their ideas, whose optimism and laughter are infectious, also shared with us his personal experience of Šibenik and its food, coffee, restaurants, etc. Q: What first brought you to Šibenik? The WorldChicago Professional Fellows Programme is a U.S. State Department funded programme that every year in spring and autumn takes 15 people from the Balkan region to Chicago. Matija Bumbak, head of the department for development in the City of Šibenik, was one of the participants and I was his mentor. At some point he said, “Look what we have

in Šibenik, look what's going on in Croatia” and I was convinced. He asked me for ideas, for thoughts on how to approach Šibenik's entrepreneurial development based on what I was already doing in Chicago and I submitted a proposal to him, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in Šibenik in September 2015! Since then I have been here, except for a few trips in between to the States.


Q: So what exactly did you work on? We started classes that are still ongoing today, such as Photoshop and Unity 3D, and we offer journalism classes, we've worked on mobile app development, we have Wordpress, and so on. And I introduced a lot of those, well not specifically every class, but when I came, we determined that the best way to really get things moving was to start classes for youths. We also ran some self-branding classes for adults and the idea of validation, and then we even ran a silver citizen class in which our oldest student was 77 years old! It was these things that really started the buzz. Q: Have there been a lot of good ideas? Well, there are good people with good, or sometimes bad, ideas. And for me it's not always how good the ideas are, because I am more into people. I am just really trying to help people realise their dreams. Ok, not everyone's first idea is good, not everyone's first

ŠIBENIK JOURNAL: INTERVIEW five ideas are good. But if we go through the process, and opportunity and luck present themselves, the right idea can happen.That's where I really am, I am just trying to help people realise how to do things, how to express themselves, how to be confident, and how to break down some of the barriers.

»I really love the work here, it's very exciting to be a part of such a meaningful change that's been going on in Šibenik. It's like people really want to transition and to push this region forward.« Q: How do you relate to people here? For me, everything I'm doing for people here and for this community is also important for my professional development, it perfectly aligns with me. I have always wanted to help people, I've always done jobs to help people, even before I got into business. And I have always wanted to do this so I can relate when people say things like, "Yeah, but my Dad says this, or my Mum says this", or "you should get a government job". Those were the things people used to tell me in the past because they just couldn't see my vision. Q: How exactly does Šibenik's Urban Incubator work? Right now it is more of a co-working space. Currently we have some pre-incubation and I am working with some start-ups, but I am working to support them and helping them to reach others and the region. Everyone just states different projects. This programme was designed to be more entrepreneurial; this is the Boot Camp that allows attendees to have that experience. A lot of what I am doing is sort of trying to really give them the tools to present themselves. The whole point is that, no matter what you do and regardless of whether you have a home office or maybe you don't even have an office yet, the city can provide a really affordable office for you, and not only that, it is like building a community. So that's really what's going on right now, and I think that once the new Trokut Centre opens, then there will be more incubation happening. Q: How do you get people interested? The thing with the city of Šibenik and Matija is that anytime we talk with someone from outside of the city, we all say, "How can we work together, maybe you've got some people that are not quite ready for your programme, but they could come to Šibenik and we could provide services". So this is about creating a process to ensure that, no matter where you are, there is somebody that can meet your needs in this region. Whether you are a student about to

graduate, or someone who's been out of work for a while and you're trying to re-brand yourself, etc. Another thing that stands out in Šibenik is that it used to be an industrial town, and there were managers and people who were technically trained, whose skills and knowledge could still be applied today. So to actually work on a start-up team which is, for example, trying to build some hardware or something, it's just a matter of getting people to realise that. Often they don't realise their own strengths, but then you sit and talk to them and you see that they are way more qualified than we even need. That's a big thing for me. The funny thing is they say "Well, yeah, you're from the US", but the same thing happened to me. Literally, the same thing happened to me. It's not that simple in the States either. Q: You mentioned Trokut (The Centre of New Technologies and Entreprenuership). The beginning of implementation of the project has just been launched. It is expected that it will open its doors in two years. What do you think it will do for Šibenik, what will it add to the city? It is already adding to the city. Young people and international companies are already showing interest. The Holiwork programe should really help to attract large organisations (quote). To really give the community opportunities, you have to have business, ideally international business that will come here and create a need. I think that's how it will really benefit this community when it starts to attract different folks that actually have the power to hire, that actually have a need. We're here right now, but we need to think of how technology will change over the next five years so that we can prepare people for the changes ahead. I think that Trokut will provide that opportunity, by offering space and by really attracting attention. Matija Bumbak's team is so strong, Ivana, Krešo, Antonio, they are all working to be a part of it. There is something really special about this group of people who are really embracing it and trying to make Šibenik better. I'm so excited, I can see it, when it happens, it's like a baby to me, and I am happy to be a part of it. Šibenik needs a videographer to record its place in the history books. The city's fortresses just stood there 20 years but now they are once again becoming alive. This is history, Šibenik is making history, the crew is humble and they are doing it for the community, but in the mid 2020s people will want to know what happened to Šibenik and how it changed. Q: What about your personal experience of Šibenik? How was your transition to life here? How do you feel that you fit in this community? The transition was more about just moving to a new country. I had never been to Europe before, so that was a big transition. I guess it is more the technical things that I have had to get used to, just the difference in how things work here. Also, I am from Chicago, a city that has 7,000 restaurants where


you can go to any type of restaurant. There are two Croatian restaurants in Chicago, owned by Croatian people, for example. So those are the things that, I would say, to some extent, I am still adjusting to. As far as the people, I think that the really big thing is that Matija Bumbak and his team are so amazing that my transition was very smooth and they have been so supportive. I see lots of similarites with people I've worked with before and I feel, for this reason, that I fit here completely. I really don't feel out of place. I think it's been a great transition, I love it. Q: What about the wind? And winter? Do you miss the freezing Chicago winters? (Chuckles) I like winter here. I'm like, this is cool. Because Chicago is cold, like reeeeeally cold. I like the Dalmatian food, I have become a real fan of the coffee, of course. I just love the people, I love the sea, I like being on the coast. But for me the whole experience is just really amazing. And also it used to happen a lot, and it still does, that I wake up and go "Oh, wow, I am here", you know, it's exotic. And my friends say, "That's so amazing, you're there". To me the whole experience is just unbelievable. Q: Have you tried Pelegrini, the best Croatian restaurant? Yes! (excited) Q: And, did you like it? It's amazing, it's amazing! Amazing service, probably, well no, certainly the best service I've had anywhere in Croatia, in this region, and I always point this out: I like good service. We were a table of eight and we all got our food at the exact same time. Literally, as soon as I saw one plate of food coming, then the next one was on its way, so the waiting staff bring everything together, set it up, and then bring the food to the tables and present it all at once. So everyone can start eating at exactly the same time. The owner takes his team to other restaurants in the off-season so they can experience being served by some of the best waiting staff. I also like Tomaseo. I've probably eaten there about 15 times, whenever I have friends visiting, that's usually my first choice, I like their food. I love Dalmatian seafood. Q: Do you know Marenda, the local place that serves local food based on traditional recipes? Oh yeah! If I said earlier I have been in Tomaseo 15 times, I have probably been to Marenda about 50 times (laughs).

»Young people and international companies are already showing interest. The Holiwork programe should really help to attract large organisations.«



“Šibenik is the most photogenic city in the world“, says Croatia's most popular photographer, Ivo Pervan. Thus, an ideal way to spend a short break in Šibenik is to take a stroll through the streets of its medieval old town and photograph it. However, not just ordinary amateur photography, but professional photography which participants can learn on a guided Šibenik photo tour organised by Šibenik Plus agency. No special equipment is needed, just an ordinary camera or mobile phone will do. What makes this tour special are the two guides at visitors' disposal; a tour guide who knows all the treasures and secrets of beautiful Šibenik - which boasts two UNESCO World Heritage monuments, and a photo guide who is a professional photographer. Šibenik is often called a cultural diamond. The tour guide shows participants all the best parts of the city whilst the photo guide teaches them how to capture the best shots and take professional photos. An additional special highlight of a tour is the photo album that participants receive at the end of the tour as a souvenir containing photos of them taken during their tour. The photo tour leads through narrow stone streets and passages, past churches and palaces, and allows for countless opportunities to get some great snaps. Participants walk the length and breadth of the old town centre passing the famous, as well as the hidden parts of the charming city. The tour includes visits to sacral buildings, monasteries, small diners that tell a gastronomic story of Šibenik's past, and the UNESCO-listed St.James Cathedral (Katedrala Sv.Jakova), while the climax is the imposing St.Michael's Fortress (Tvrđava Sv.Mihovila) from where there are panoramic views over the town as well as over St.Anthony's Channel (Kanal Sv.Ante), the Kornati National Park with its hundreds of islands, and the Šibenik archipelago. To make the experience even more authentic and true to Šibenik’s character, the guides enhance the tour with stories about the real Šibenik, its hidden treasures, its people, customs, tradition and historical stories that are embedded in the city’s heart. In order to get even closer to Šibenik’s soul, the creative photo tours also include a break to taste traditional local food, prepared and served in the authentic Šibenik way. This tour can be offered to congress delegates seeking an experience full of adventure, beautiful images, hidden passages, aromas and tastes of the real Šibenik.






CD CULTURAL AND CONGRESS CENTRE REACHING THE SkY PHOTO CREDIT BOR SLANA Ljubljana Convention Bureau has announced the year 2018 as being a record year in terms of the number and size of professional and scientific events. In line with its mother city, CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, one of two biggest Ljubljana's congress centres, also has an astonishing year ahead of it. To be precise, 24 international professional events have been booked so far, among them two with more than two thousand delegates. CD Congress Centre Ljubljana also successfuly bid for the organisation of the ESSM Congress 2019 and added to its great congress story the organization of the European Congress of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) 2018 which will be held from 27th to 30th May 2018 in Ljubljana.

A SLOVENIAN GIANT IN THE CENTRE OF ALL-YEAR-ROUND FESTIVAL Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana (CD) runs this year a special all-year-round programme under the name of Festival Cankar on Cankar to mark centenary of the death of the greatest Slovenian writer Ivan Cankar, whose name the CD is bearing with pride. As Ivan Cankar was instrumental in raising the Slovenian literature to the global level, CD recognises his enduring cultural legacy and pursues the mission of presenting it also to future generations. Ivan Cankar, from the turn of the 20th Century, is the most celebrated Slovenian writer, playwright and poet. The Festival is comprised of a large-scale theatre co-production, extensive overview exhibition, numerous theatre and dance productions inspired by his work, lectures, and a symposium.

A HIDDEN BUTTERFLY WAITING TO REOPEN ITS WINGS PHOTO CREDIT CANKARJEV DOM CD nests a secretive venue with diverse functions. The talk is about a Circular staircase that has been for decades stirring the imagination of many who experienced its captivating potential. Its personality begins with its technical aspects. It functions as an actual evacuation path from the Linhart Hall and as the ventilation. Besides its technical character, however, the hidden stairway presents an unusual and out-of-the-box venue for events or incentives. Its special layout combined with its dramatic looks attracted world-renowned Slovenian choreographer and performative dancer, Brako PotoÄ?an, to use it for his performance on ropes.





A selection of the most scenic driving roads near Bratislava Warm days foretell the end of winter, and for those who enjoy the twists and turns of driving picturesque roads, spring is the time for motoring pleasure. A visit to Bratislava is definitely the most enjoyable when the days get longer and road surfaces are warmed by the sun. Bratislava is known as an automotive superpower - the new European Detroit. When we last visited the city, we stumbled across some amazing roads, perfect for any automotive event or commercial shoot. Together with Martin Jesny, a Slovak expert motoring journalist, we have compiled a list of the area’s most interesting routes for a drive.

Automotodróm Slovakia Ring

Where you can truly put the pedal to the metal With penalties for speeding getting stricter and more expensive, visiting a racetrack seems like the only sensible option to test out your iron steed. In a safe and controlled environment, drivers get a chance to test their driving skills and see how far they can actually take their vehicles. According to motorsport standards, the almost new Slovakia Ring is one of the most popular race tracks in Europe. Together with a testing course, the track was

Pezinska Baba scenic drive A famous Slovak fast mountain road

This mountain pass near Bratislava is known for hill climb races and praised by petrolheads for its smooth turns, which allow drivers to take their vehicles to the limit. At a length of 14 kilometres, the mountain pass leads all the way up to the Pezinská Baba ski slopes at an altitude of 595m. The road is a popular venue for mountain speed runs and other motoring competitions and test runs. The racing drivers usually have to tackle 19 challenging turns over a distance of 5.1km. At the top of the Little Carpathians mountain range you are greeted by a mountain hotel with a substantial culinary offer. This road, on which the region’s best drivers hone their skills, is also an excellent choice for organisers of car reviews and other kinds of promotions.


built between 2008 and 2010. Since then, the excellent location and design of the racetrack, which lies approxametely 30 kilometres east of Bratislava, has been attracting professional racing drivers as well as amateur enthusiasts. The Slovakia Ring regularly hosts famous car brands that carry out testing of their new vehicles.


A stunning roadtrip For a complete contrast to driving on a track, take the relaxing and romantic drive from


Bratislava to the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum. You could make your way to the museum by boat along the Danube, however, lovers of picturesque car journeys are certain to enjoy the scenic drive much more. This special venue, full of interesting sculptures and paintings. has impressed car manufacturers on many occasions; after all, it is one of the most photogenic locations in this part of Europe and architecturally one of the most interesting. The atmosphere breathes modernity, perfect for top-notch car launches.

The route to Devin Castle

By the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers Devin Castle holds a lot of meaning for the people of Slovakia, as it represents the forming of the Slavic nations in the Great Moravia area. The castle withstood all the Turkish invasions, and belonged to various noble families until it was destroyed in 1809 by Napoleon's men. Today, the ruins are a national treasure and an open-air museum, from which views stretch all the way to Vienna on a clear day. The castle is only 12km

from Bratislava, a route which could serve as an amazing backdrop for a film.

The Slovak Sahara A geological peculiarity

There are not many European capitals that have a geological feature such as the Sandberg in their near vicinity. In the area of the Sandberg, paleontologists discovered the fossils of more than 250 extinct animal species, dating back over a hundred million years. The entire area is registered as a national park. The people of Bratislava affectionately call this sight ‘The Sahara’, which today serves as a popular venue for car photoshoots. The incredible geological history, amazing views at the top of the Sandberg and the opportunity to visit the nearby Devin Castle make for a unique experience.

About the traffic infrastructure in Bratislava Road connections are very good and the traffic infrastructure can. for the most part. be marked as very user-friendly. The driving culture is at a high level, but you definitely should abide by the traffic regulations, as there are many traffic controls. Roads in the city, as well as in the surrounding areas, are in good shape and the flexible city authorities will be of great help should you require privatisation of part of a road for an event.





The Slovakia Ring is becoming an important host to world motorsport events This year’s upcoming events at the Slovakia Ring that motorsport lovers should not miss begin next month and are scheduled throughout the year. This year’s top two events are the OMV MaxxMotion Truck Race of Slovakia, held from 13-15 June and the OMV MaxxMotion Slovak Grand Prix of the Slovak Republic, from 15-19 August. The first event is a “whole week of trucks” and is one of the most popular international

motorsport events as well as being one of the best attended championships in Europe. The second event is the most traditional special road car circuit event and is regarded as one of the top events of the entire motorsport season. Miro Konôpka, Štofi Rosina, as well as other stars from neighbouring countries, fight it out for valuable trophies every year, including the ESET V4 Group Trophy and the FIA Central European Zone Trophy (FIA CEZ). Both events feature varied accompanying programmes throughout the day.


Rallycross is on the rise and has gradually been gaining greater public attention since the introduction of the FIA World Fx Championship which will be held on 24-25 March. The Slovak ring will host the Central European Zone Championship in March and October. There will also be two cycling races, the Visegrad 4 Bicycle race GP Slovakia (31 March) and the Slovakia Ring Cycling Race (27-28 June). The latter is an endurance cycling event for amateurs as well as for professionals where a


team of one, two, four, six or eight members tries to do as many laps as possible within 24 hours on the race track. For those who love extremes and the rarities of the auto world, the Slovak Ring will also be a part of the Power Fest 2018 on 1 May. Visitors will be able to see rare engines, thrilling disciplines and an exhibition of the best sports cars. This is followed on the same day by the Europe Cup Vintage Regularity, an international SR vintage road racing championship, promoted by the Czech legend Peter Bala. On the 10-12

August the Histo Cup takes place, featuring races of vintage cars of various types ranging from travel cars to monopostos and authentic replicas. The Slovakia Ring circuit will host the Endurance World Championship for the second time, at the end of June. The series is one of the best motorsport events in the world. This season will include five events and the ‘8 Hours of Slovakia Ring 2018’ which will introduce the world league for the second time in the eastern part of the European continent on 12 May.


Regular visitors to the Slovakia Ring are familiar with kTM x-BOW sportscars which will feature on 21 July. The X-BOW Battle series is a Fair Race Cup in three categories suitable for fans of fast cars who have been granted at least a basic racing licence. This year the event will also involve drag racing as well as endurance racing.




The Slovak vision of mobility The company Aeromobil, established in Bratislava by Juraj Vaculik and Stefan Klein, is yet further proof that the Slovak automotive industry is evolving and is bursting with innovativeness. The vehicle, which transforms from a four-wheeled car to an almost real sports aeroplane, has been designed as one of the mobility options of the future. The vehicle is produced in one of the industrial buildings on the outskirts of Bratislava, where a series of companies related to the Slovak automotive industry operate. The company was established in 2010, and it took three years for the first prototype to be produced. The hybrid vehicle can cover a range up to 700 kilometres on just one tank of ordinary petrol. When in plane mode, it can take off from any

airport or aerodrom in the world. It needs only 200 metres for a take-off and 50 metres for landing. The petrol engine propels the plane to a speed of 200 kilometres per hour. It takes just three minutes for the vehicle to transform from car to aeroplane. The futuristic design of the plane, with its folded wings, means it can be parked in a regular car par. Aeromobil is designed for two people. The first deliveries are planned for 2020, and the cost of this futuristic vehicle is one milion euros. The company plans to sell 500 flying cars. Aeromobil was first presented in 2014, and the latest version, 4.0, is, according to the


entrepreneurs, safer and faster, and is legally permitted for use on the road and in the air. Slovakia is particularly strong in the automotive industry due to the highly qualified and motivated workforce and favourable conditions created by the state for this industry. Today there are three carmakers in Slovakia, and soon a new factory will be built by Jaguar Land Rover. In Slovakia, however, not only production but also the development and research of new technologies is developing. For the Slovak automotive industry, it really can be said that ‘the sky is the limit’. Thanks to projects such as the Aeromobil, Slovakia ranks among the top countries in the automotive industry.




Extremely light, fast and truly unique Slovakia is purposefully promoting the development of start-ups, among which one particularly caught our attention - a boutique automotive start-up under the name Brutal. Its founder, Marian Lušpai, has come up with a super lightweight S1 race car - one that cannot be found at a regular car showroom, of course. Inspiration came from English car manufacturers, especially Ariel Atom, a British road-going sports car. This peculiar vehicle follows all the build principles that result in maximum driving enjoyment when taking your Brutal to the nearby Slovakia Ring at the weekend. The small twoseater barely measures four metres in length and differs in numerous ways from most of today’s cars. The reasoning behind its dimensions is it to ensure maximum weight saving, as well as likability among buyers. The car designer Jakub Štarman, who works for Škoda, was responsible for its unique design.

capital, bursting with creativity and innovation. The story is similar to Detroit, which is the epicentre of the American automotive industry, just as Bratislava is starting to be for Slovakia. Due to government contributions, low working costs and its favourable logistical position, an ever-increasing number of car manufacturers are tempted to start production in Slovakia. The country has a very strongly developed automotive sector, covering 43% of all the country’s industrial production. There are over 300 different suppliers, an excellent logistical

The two-litre Subaru boxer engine, producing 300 horsepower, propels the car from zero to one hundred km/h in under 3.9 seconds. And what is more, there are no modern electronic aids to help, it’s just you and the machine. The product, created by Marian Lušpai and his team, is truly praiseworthy. The steering is extremely direct and the brakes have been borrowed from actual race cars, giving the driver all the stopping power needed. The owner plans to make six cars a year and the retail price is yet to be announced. Marian’s vision reflects the spirit of the Slovak


infrastructure and an encouraging automotive industry. Last year, Slovakia celebrated beginning of construction of the new Jaguar Land Rover factory in Nitra. Nitra won the bid in competition with cities from Poland, Hungary and Mexico. All meeting planners who are working in the automotive sector are warmly invited to qualify for a visit to Bratislava planned to take place between 19- 20 April 2018.



PHOTO CREDIT 25 HOURS HOTEL CATEGORY **** OPEN SINCE 2013 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 217 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 108 - 174 EUR (March 2018, Trivago) ADDRESS 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier Lerchenfelder Straße 1-3 1070 Vienna, Austria P: +43 1 521 51 0 E:

Final Score

LOCATION The Vienna creative zone was the ideal place to realise the plan for a hotel with a difference, which was dreamt up by one of the founders of the 25hours hotel company, Christoph Hoffman. The hotel has added to the contemporary creativity of the city, which is embodied in the nearby MuseumsQuartier. Behind the modern exterior of the hotel's facade, a nostalgic story about the city is revealed to guests, who can discover memories and lift the veil on some of its secrets. If the weather is inclement, guests can spend the whole day in the hotel discovering its individual corners, whilst its location, on the edge of the city centre, means Vienna's attractions are just a stone's throw away.

FACILITIES 1500 Foodmakers restaurant, Dachboden bar, Mermaid’s Cave gym and spa area, 5 meeting rooms EXTRAS A hotel with its own spa in the centre of Vienna is definitely a welcome feature. The Mermaid's Cave spa follows the hip and funky spirit of the hotel, featuring two saunas and a small fitness area, complete with retro-inspired fitness equipment and a cold relaxation room. A visit to the spa after exploring the vibrancy of the city is a great way to end the day. 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 Resort Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.95 4.92 4.47 4.67 4.42 4.31 4.57 4.83 4.35 4.74 4.79 4.31 4.62 4.63

4.63 ***** **** *** ** *


ACCESSIBILITY Thanks to its excellently organised public transport, in 2017, for the eight consecutive year, Vienna was named the city with highest quality of life in Europe. In practice this means that everything functions smoothly and seamlessly and that all means of transport are easily accessible. If the weather allows, a ride around the city on its excellent network of cycle paths is recommended. Bikes can be rented in front of the hotel. It takes around 16 minutes to reach Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, which is the main central-European air hub, meaning visitors are well catered for in terms of air transport.

The HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST section is not paid for. The selection of hotels, which are evaluated by the hidden congress guest, is left to the editorial board. The hidden guest visits the hotels without prior notice.



MAIN COURSE – The hotel's

and aesthetics

congress services

We are all mad here! The inscription on the minimalist glass facade, which otherwise blends into the imperialist monumental architecture, raises one's expectations. Whilst it is true that these days there are more than enough hipster hotels, 25hours was the forerunner for hotels of this concept throughout the world. And with wisdom, it reliably fulfils all expectations. The mobile furniture, retro features, the 'wow' effects, top-notch bar, employee uniforms – everything is geared towards the positive feeling of guests. Isn't aesthetic functionality the highlight of a stay? At this hotel, it is close to perfection, which is why it attracts creators. Not to mention investors, since the hotel recently became part of the Accor chain of hotels.

Though small, the hotel rooms are charming and full of retro suprises. The circus motif on the wallpaper behind the bed is the work of the Berlin-based illustrator Olaf Hajek. The bed is top quality - it's been a long time since I slept so well on a bed that was as great for my back. Numerous retro details make the hotel room pleasant, in particular the vintage lights, plentiful hangers, and, for lovers of music, a superior Ultimate Ears wireless speaker. The hotel rooms offer everything that many others do, with one important difference, they are exceptionally comfortable and attractive. The conference halls are on the small side, more suited to seminars for small groups. The entire hotel, however, makes an excellent pop-up venue. A number of the hotel's spaces can be transformed into top-class conference areas, a place for filming adverts, a small hall for launching new products, or for holding press conferences. Open space.

WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food It is hard to find anywhere with a more casual, but at the same time professional, approach than that found at 25hours. Employees dressed in denim shirts are friendly and professional. Bow ties are a welcome fashion accessory and create a good first impression. Breakfast is comparable with that of many of its more reputable city neighbours - top quality with local touches and positive energy. And real Viennese rolls, which melt in the mouth, provided by the team at the 1500 Foodmakers Italian-style restaurant, which is known for its excellent salads and pizzas. This is why locals can be found among the guests frequenting the restaurant. There is even a kiosk that sells practical necessities for a comfortable stay in the emperor's city. This kind of lifestyle shop would also be a good addition to other hotels.

DESSERT – Additional offer Der Dacbhoden is more than an ordinary bar. In addition to the great views offered from its eighth floor location, it is also an excellent place for socialising, where even the biggest hipsters put down their smartphones and enjoy hanging out, socialising, and chatting about life in general.


FLOP – negative surprises The somewhat uncoordinated reception team, which resulted in check-in becoming a rather lengthly experience.


TOP – positive surprises Humour, everywhere! On hangers, the elegant promotional cards, and in the lift. Creativity has wings in this hotel and it brings a smile to the face. Overall impression and credibility Let's begin with the reasonable prices, which are the first distinction of this hotel. The second is the relaxed ambience and employees, which stirs up all the senses with its circus aesthetics and nostalgia. The third is the common areas, where guests can socialise, enjoy, and create lively events. Vintage chic contributes a great deal to this, which perhaps appears as if it has been brought from here, there and everywhere, but nonetheless gives a feeling of comfort and warmth. The hotel doesn't have a feeling of being excessive, guests of all types can enter and stay, and are welcome to express themselves in their own way. Stephan Gerhard from Stuttgart, Ardi Goldman from Frankfurt, Kai Hollmann and Christoph Hoffmann from Hamburg are right – a topclass hotel doesn't need gold door handles and crystal chandeliers, but rather a creative concept and a great story. I sincerely hope that the recent changes in ownership will not spoil the superior experience of this hotel. The success of the hotel convinced the Accor hotel chain to invest in the concept in 2016, and the group now owns a 30% share of the 25hours hotels company. This is confirmation of the concept of the founders who dreamt up a new model of hotel luxury.



WoW Opatija



Final Score

LOCATION The hotel is located in Preluk bay, where the Adriatic Sea reaches the deepest into the Bay of Kvarner. It is a surprisingly calm bay between the tourist town of Opatija and the urban city of Rijeka. In the past, tuna was caught here, stone was broken, and fun was had in the predecessor of today's Milde Sorte Club. The idea for the hotel was the brainchild of the well-known Opatija hotelier Krunoslav Kapetanović, who joined forces with one of Croatia's best architects, Idis Turato.

CATEGORY ***** OPEN SINCE October 2015 MEETINGS STAR Boutique Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 44 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 131 - 162 EUR (March 2018, Trivago) ADDRESS HOTEL NAVIS, Ivana Matetića Ronjgova 10, 51410 Opatija, Croatia E: T: +385 51 444 600

A feeling of peace, morning tranquility, and the sounds of the sea can be enjoyed on the balconies of the hotel's rooms. The hotel occupies a really special location, secluded yet just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle and tourist crowds in nearby Opatija – less than three kilometres away.

FACILITIES Navis a-la-carte restaurant, Navis Spa Centre, Heated outdoor pool, Congress hall for 30 people, Garage and outdoor parking EXTRAS It's also worth paying a visit to the hotel for its first-class Navis restaurant, where the acclaimed chef Nenad Posavec has created a menu of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. 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 Resort Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.96 4.21 4.97 4.89 4.99 4.99 4.64 4.91 4.62 4.97 4.95 4.22 4.67 4.77

4.77 ***** **** *** ** *


ACCESSIBILITY The majority of guests travel to the hotel by car. Parking is no problem as there is an underground garage as well as outdoor parking. As the hotel is just three kilometres from Opatija, a shuttle bus with a very flexible timetable is available for guests. Visitors from overseas can get to Opatija via Rijeka airport, on the island of Krk, which is 40kms away. Due to the airport's relatively poor connections, however, guests also arrive via the airports in Pula, Trieste, Ljubljana and Zagreb. There is a bus stop close to the hotel and we have to commend Opatija's well-arranged public transport network. It is easy to get around the town itself on foot, and for those who enjoy the great outdoors, we recommend a walk along the 12km Lungomare coastal promenade that runs from Volovsko to Lovran and through the centre of Opatija.

The HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST section is not paid for. The selection of hotels, which are evaluated by the hidden congress guest, is left to the editorial board. The hidden guest visits the hotels without prior notice.

HOTEL NAVIS ***** luxury

HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics The hotel's architecture is defined by the coastal cliff into which the hotel has been built, thus creating a fascinating facade that is reminiscent of a cruise ship composed of contrasting black and white balconies. It was designed by the Turato Studio in Rijeka, which succeeded in creating superior architecture that is both functional, in harmony with nature, and full of visual surprises. The hotel's corridors are designed such that their interiors offer a counterpoint to the spacious rooms, as well as the hotel pavilion on the roof of the building, which is an excellent place to hold special events, and the imaginative interior of the entrance lobby, which flows seamslessly into the restaurant. Works by the Dilberović graphic design studio contribute to the entire aesthetic experience and nicely round-off the story of this colourful hotel. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  Architecture and design is one side of the hotel's story, whilst its employees, who breathe soul into it, are the other. The exceptional staff are totally devoted to guests, from the moment of arrival in the carpark onwards. The young team works with passion and enthusiasm. The heart of the hotel is the restaurant with one of the best chef's in the area. The range of cuisine is based on fresh, seasonal and local dishes. The wine list is probably among the most accomplished that we have seen in recent times. It is structured logically and acts as a kind of encyclopedia of Croatian and regional oenology. The passionately-prepared food attracts numerous non-residents to the restaurant. The topclass culinary experience also continues with

the quality breakfast, which is a combination of self-service and a-la-carte specials, such as poached egg with Istrian truffles, omelette with Pag cheese, homemade sausage from Grobnik, or Drniša smoked ham, which guests can slice themselves. The imaginative range of cuisine undoubtedly deserves the highest marks and contributes to the five-star experience. MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services All the designer hotel rooms have a sea view. Rooms feature a combination of strong, colourful shades and painted walls from untreated concrete. A sense of exclusivity is provided by the designer furniture from the hip and trendy Croatia producer Prostoria. Attractive lighting with built-in mirrors is sophisticated and refined. The orientation of the rooms also contribute to the feeling of wellbeing, and, together with the large glass surfaces and terrace, create an extraordinary hotel experience in touch with nature. Based on the boldness of the hotel, the bathrooms are surprisingly classic in style, but nonetheless functional. A small conference hall with a capacity for up to 30 guests is located on the ground floor. It is a shame that its location means it lacks daylight and a suitable foyer area. Fortunately, the hotel also has other areas suitable for the organisation of small events. One such unusual area is the hotel terrace with its fabulous views which extend all the way to the island of Cres – highly recommended in warmer months. DESSERT – Additional offer The Navis Spa Centre has a Finnish and Turkish sauna as well as a heated outdoor pool.



FLOP – negative surprises The hotel pool and beach are very well arranged, however, we feel that at times when the hotel is at full capacity, the area would be considerably too small for all guests. The top-class cuisine also has relatively high prices, which are justified by the quality, but we recommend caution when ordering.


TOP – positive surprises The designer furniture by the Croatian producer Prostoria, which was founded in 2010 and is today a synonym for top-quality furniture, is said to enrich the life of its users. Overall impression and credibility The hotel surprises both from the outside and inside. The superior architecture and finest materials, designer furniture and lighting place this hotel at the top of the range of Croatia’s boutique design hotels. The hotel as a whole has a lot to offer and within the hotel, as well as the destination itself, you certainly won’t be bored if a vibrant hotel lifestyle is your thing. This new luxury acquisition to Opatija’s range of tourist accommodation, shows it is moving towards the development of quality congress tourism, in which cuisine has an important role.





CATEGORY **** OPEN SINCE 1971, renovated 2016 MEETINGS STAR Resort Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 80 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 79 - 119 EUR (March 2018, Trivago) ADDRESS Postojnska jama d.d., Jamska cesta 30 6230 Postojna, Slovenija T: 05 7000 100 E:

Final Score

LOCATION The Postojna Cave is among the largest natural attractions in Slovenia, is the largest underground cave in Europe, and, according to many opinions, is also the most beautiful underground cave in the world. This exceptional natural park is an ideal place to organise events. In 2016 the renovated Hotel Jama, with a small congress centre, reopened its doors. The Postojna area features several hotels, and the neighbouring Jamski Dvorec Mansion has a congress centre. It is only since the renovation of Hotel Jama, however, that it has become of interest for event organisers who, in addition to congress venues, also need quality hotel accommodation. The combination of exceptional natural attractions and the imaginative catering and tourist services combine to make the Postojna Cave Park among the most fresh and interesting congress locations in Slovenia.

FACILITIES 11 halls in Hotel Jama and Jamski Dvorec Mansion, Magical Garden Restaurant, Jamski Dvorec Mansion and Congress Centre, Proteus Restaurant, The Modrijan Homestead, Postojna Cave Park – a special venue , Predjama Castle – a special venue, Underground Adventures (teambuilding programmes), Postojna Cave Expo, Free parking EXTRAS Postojna Cave is considered the biggest tourist attraction in Slovenia, and, together with Predjama Castle and the other attractions in the Postojna Cave Park, attracts almost one million visitors per year. Concerts and teambuilding programmes can also be arranged in the cave. 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 Resort Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.89 4.03 4.74 4.78 4.92 4.87 4.51 4.59 4.33 4.73 4.76 4.90 4.85 4.68

4.68 ***** **** *** ** *


ACCESSIBILITY Postojna is just 48 kilometres from Ljubljana and has long been a junction of routes. In the distant past important transport routes ran through Postojna, among them the Amber Road. The majority of visitors to Postojna, congress guests included, arrive from the motorway. There is a large and well arranged car park. It is also possible to reach Postojna by bus from Ljubljana, which now runs directly to the Postojna Cave bus station. Its proximity to five airports (Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, Pula, Rijeka) is certainly among the benefits of the new hotel and congress centre, which, with the increased number of air connections, is becoming an important competitive advantage.

The HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST section is not paid for. The selection of hotels, which are evaluated by the hidden congress guest, is left to the editorial board. The hidden guest visits the hotels without prior notice.

Mettings in nature's embrace

HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics It is fitting that the legendary cave and its famous inhabitant – the humanfish - appears throughout the entire story of the hotel, both through branding, interior fittings and furnishings, decor and digital communications with guests. The fact is that everything has been done with a great amount taste, style and respect. It is commendable that the original architecture has been blended with new and the exterior image has also been preserved, which is part of its cultural heritage. This is also the case for the entrance staircase which, following renovation, is particularly impressive. The architecture, which reflects the rimstone pools of the cave, is attractive and apt. The interior of the hotel also features cave motifs and preserved original elements such as copper pictures of cave life in the bar, and murano glass chandeliers. The ceilings, which reflect underground caves, are also interesting. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  The hotel's standout feature is its exceptionally friendly staff. Their professionalism and commitment is what makes the difference. Attention to the smallest detail is the 'icing on the cake', such as guests receiving a honeybread in the shape of a humanfish at check-out. Self-service breakfast is in the Magical Garden restaurant. The fine range of breakfast foods is complemented by an organic corner, which is welcome. The restaurant's a-la-carte menu features modern versions of Slovenian and international dishes. The hotel's kitchen also provides a catering service for congress events, which is competitive and successfully combines dishes from the Notranjska and Karst areas with international cuisine. The combination of quality cuisine and friendly staff results in a very good range of congress services.

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The pastel earth colours in the hotel's rooms create a pleasant atmosphere which is reminiscent of the colourful rainbow of stones and stalactites in the most beautiful cave in the world. The clean and elegant lines of the furniture and functional lighting contribute to comfort and a pleasant feeling. The rooms are spacious and airy, the imitation wood flooring, however, gives a rather cold feeling. Bathrooms follow the story of the rooms and cave, both in terms of the colour scheme, furnishings and sustainable messages. The hotel's toiletries were somewhat disappointing, and it would be nice to see a more original and luxurious range. On the ground floor of the hotel there are two congress halls; the Dance Hall, which can accommodate up to 200 participants in a cinema-style set up, and the Tartatus Hall which has a capacity for up to 180 participants. The benefits of the halls are the natural daylight, high ceilings and the luxuriously decorated lobby, which is connected to a terrace where coffee breaks can be organised. DESSERT – Additional offer Predjama Castle is a special venue. The castle is partly built into a wall in the middle of a 123mhigh vertical rockface. The original castle was the residence of the legendary rebellious knight Erasmus. The present day image of the castle is 16th century Renaissance, and its interior is home to a museum.



FLOP – negative surprises Lovers of well-stocked mini bars will be disappointed as there is only sparkling and non-sparkling water available.


TOP – positive surprises The Postojna Cave Park also offers various underground experiences which makes an ideal addition to congress programmes. Among them are cave trekking, treasure hunts and other underground adventures that take place outside the established tourist paths. Overall impression and credibility Despite the fact that the hotel hosts groups of tourists, it can easily be ranked among Slovenia's excellent business/congress hotels. It is mainly due to its staff and good range of services that the hotel has earned a high 9.5 rating on the reservation website. The strongest part of the story are its congress halls which are airy, the large lobby, and the terrace for coffee breaks with views of the Postojna Cave Park. Together with Jamski Dvorec Mansion and the attractiveness of Postojna Cave, it makes a really superior congress destination, which, despite the recognition of the Postojna Cave, is still not known about by all organisers of congress events. It is one of the most advanced congress centres in Slovenia, where it is easy for organisers of business meetings and conferences to put together an interesting and attractive programme for participants. It is to be hoped that the owners will continue with the renovation of the other wing of the hotel, which would result in the number of beds nearing the capacity of the halls. At the same time, for the success of the congress industry, renovations of other hotels in Postojna would be welcome.



OVERVIEW: Logarska dolina is a sev-

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


The sincerity and genuineness of the residents of the Solčava region


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


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


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


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

ITINERARY DAY 1: THE ROAD TO EDEN 10am - Arrival at Ljubljana airport 12noon - Arrival at Hotel Plesnik 12noon - Photo safari through Slovenia’s most beautiful alpine valley The charm of the Logarska dolina valley is reflected in a primeval environment and numerous natural attractions. The key points are highlighted for groups, whose task is to seek out the attractions, photograph them and earn

a culinary surprise. Along the way you will come across the legendary Logar linden trees as well as a real ‘olcar’ who will share out some typical delicacies from his sack.

from the best meat and bacon from domestically bred pigs. You can try the house speciality at Hotel Plesnik and find out why it also impressed the English King George V and King Alexander.

3pm Savinjski elodec - that impressed kings Zgornjesavinjski elodec (Upper Savinja stuffed pig's stomach) is a geographically-protected cured meat, which has been produced for centuries in the area of the Upper Savinja valley, made

4pm Solčava shepherds’ games In the barn at the Klemenčic tourist farm, locals will stage special games that are not dissimilar to the Olympics! You can try your hand at fun family games that are based on the cultural her-


INCENTIVE IDEAS itage of the Solčava region and find out where the real homeland is of the game today known as golf. 5.30pm How a man of the wild cornered the gendarmes Thousands of years ago the hunters that lived in Logarska dolina used primitive weapons. You will learn how to handle a real bow and arrow, and a man of the wild will show you other survival skills. 7pm Quality time! Relax in one of the most beautiful alpine wellness centres. Indulge in hedonistic enjoyment in the hotel's alpine eco wellness centre, whose

architecture will subtly transport you into a world of wellbeing and pampering, and you will be charmed by the panoramic views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. 8pm Solčava culinary evening An evening full of entertaining tales from the Solčava region accompanied by traditional local songs and accordion and zither music. 11pm Alpine ‘After Party’ In the bar that has hosted everyone from statespeople to local heroes, the ‘After Party’ is a really special experience. The venue, with its vibrant energy, is yours until the early hours.


You can quench your thirst with natural mineral water and delight in the centuries-old forests.

8am Breakfast, Solčava Style A typical Savinja breakfast will prepare you for the active morning ahead.

12noon Lunch at a tourist farm Lunch will be served at one of the tourist farms along the panoramic road. Your taste buds will be spoilt by traditional homemade Solčava dishes. You will savour typical dishes that were once enjoyed by shepherds.

9:30am With a young shepherd along the panoramic road From Logarska dolina you will be driven up the Pavlič pass where you will get on a bike and, accompanied by a shepherd-boy, discover the story of the Lintvern dragon and the life of shepherds. Along the way you will visit tourist farms where homemade delicacies await and enjoy the amazing viewpoints along the panoramic road. Getting there: The main traffic artery is the regional road from the Lower Savinja valley. Logarska dolina is 60km from Ljubljana airport. Accommodation: Hotel Plesnik The legendary Hotel Plesnik was the originator of congress tourism in the valley. The Plesnik family have been in the hotel industry for more than 60 years. The hotel is famous for its excellent service and facilities and the fact that guests are ensured discretion and privacy. It is for this reason that distinguished guests frequently visit

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

2pm Transfer to the airport

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

and spread the good word about the hotel and the valley.

interesting and active incentive programmes for groups.

Food and drink: Tourist farms with authentic local food

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

Gateways: Jezersko - Alpine Village It is not far to Jezersko, which was once an important climatic health spa. At almost 1000 metres above sea-level, you will discover yet another picturesque Slovenian landscape, which is reminiscent of a piece of paradise and really is a utopia for hikers. There are also plenty of

kontakt NATALIJA BAH ČAD Meetings & Event Manager TOLERANCA MARkETING d.o.o. EVENT & MARkETING AGENCY Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana T: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 M: +386 (0)40 822 444 E:




Uršula Cetinski has been the Director General of Cankarjev dom - Cultural and Congress Centre (CD) since 2014. Her professional (and educational) background is very much connected to arts and culture. She took the professional path through various positions: journalist for arts and culture, selector in theatre and dance festivals, dramaturg, manager of theatre programmes, theatre’s managing director, and even as a playwright. Her rich and diverse experience in arts and culture brought her to one of the most important positions among Slovenian culture and congress institutions. CD, the largest culture and congress centre in Slovenia, is annually visited by half a million people (for comparison: Slovenian country has a population of 2 million, while its capital Ljubljana, where CD is located, less than 300 thousand). Q: In the last four years, since you have been appointed to the CD’s Director General, how have you been combining your previous experience with such an extended service of the CD which is not just one of the main Slovenian cultural institutions, but also the biggest Slovenian congress centre at the same time? In attending to my professional tasks of the Director General of Cankarjev dom I greatly rely on all my prior work experience – from working in journalism and the arts to managerial posts –, a career that spans over thirty years, and traces its beginnings to my student days. I gained my first experience working as a journalist and editor for Radio Študent while pursuing my studies of Comparative Literature and German. However, I believe that two things have proven instrumental in tackling new challenges successfully: my postgraduate degree at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, an education that focused on subjects highly relevant in my pursuit, and the fact that I had previously worked at Cankarjev dom for an eight-year period, as Director of Theatre and Dance. Compared to other Slovenian cultural institutions Cankarjev dom is an exception. It covers all areas of art, and dedicates 20-25% of its programme to congress management and commercial events. Another thing that distinguished CD from comparable cultural institutions is the 70

fact that the income it generates is the highest in terms of percentage and total sum, amounting to circa 45% of the 9.5 million budget. This ratio is not easy to achieve; however, this goal provides our organisation – although having a history of over forty years – with youthful vigour and ‘fitness’; it keeps it immune to the idleness of the heavily subsidised institutions. Still, we are also quite vulnerable: if the balance of social situation were disrupted, on a local or global scale, this could quickly jeopardise the high ratio of our self-generated income. That is why prior knowledge of the functioning and specifics of Cankarjev dom provides me with considerable advantage.

“Compared to other Slovenian cultural institutions Cankarjev dom is an exception. It covers all areas of art, and dedicates 20-25% of its programme to congress management and commercial events.” Q: How would you describe the relation between arts/culture and meetings industry? How do these two work together? Diverse meetings, ranging from business to scientific, are doubtlessly all the more inspirational in a venue that hosts a rich programme of artistic events. Ultimately, what also counts is the architecture of the buildings that serve as the venue for meetings. It’s quite another matter if the gathering takes place in an exhibition centre and a hotel, or at Cankarjev dom – an arts and convention centre with a distinguished artistic tradition. The New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is currently hosting the exhibition Towards a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980. Dedicated to foremost Yugoslav architects, the show also features

ASK PARTNERS Edvard Ravnikar, the architect who designed Cankarjev dom. The atmosphere that pervades Cankarjev dom is one of modern yet first-rate architecture – architecture that furthermore benefits from its diversified interior design, different in each auditorium, and invariably original light installations, all of which creates an impression of something new, fresh, unexpected. This is undoubtedly one of our strongest assets; visitors of cultural events and partners working with our Congress and Event Management department greatly appreciate the outstanding architecture of our venue as well as the countless options of its use. In late August, the Congress and Event Management department will organise an important international conference DOCOMOMO – an organisation dedicated to preserving the Modern Movement architecture of the 20th century, which will include leading international experts addressing the architectural legacies of Plečnik, Fabiani and Ravnikar. Q: CD has been hosting huge international events. In 2018, CD is supposed to have a record year in the number of big events and in the number of participants. Is there a particular plan that attracts the congress guests, for example, to check also on the cultural offer of the CD? CD’s congress delegates always like to take some time off work to attend our cultural events. They are astounded by the excellency of our international artistic programme. Our centre presents the greatest artists of our time, selecting the finest from all areas of art, from serious music and jazz to theatre, dance, visual arts and film. They consider it a privilege, and an exciting experience, to be able to attend a convention in one of our auditoriums and then slip away into another one, just several steps away, where, for example, a concert by the divine pianist Sokolov is taking place. Q: Does CD offer to the meeting planners a particular execution of event that combines an art performance as well? Our teams have great expertise in planning events that include artistic experiences. In keeping with the wishes of our clients, our staff design the set, lighting and sound design of an event. Although social gatherings, these events can be given artistic flavour. What’s more, equipped with invaluable experience they have acquired throughout the decades by implementing CD’s culture & arts programme, our teams use these skills to enthral and astound also clients of the Congress and Event Management department. Especially those open to new and different experiences. Q: When CD hosts an event with 2000 participants, is the cultural programme frozen? Or does the cultural programme still work in parallel with the huge meeting? There are two options; concurrent implementation of both programmes, the congress and commercial as well as artistic one, or, alternatively,

all of CD premises can be booked by a meeting organiser. Q: CD has been hosting 2200 events per year, approximately half of these are congress events. In a May 2017 interview for Slovenian newspaper Dnevnik you said that the CD wants to keep this proportion. But the meetings industry's trend in Slovenia and its capital has been growing. How far is CD planning to extend its offer? The ratio between art and congresses will stay within its current framework. For the time being, this is the best recipe for the success of the central Slovenian cultural and congress centre that’s annually visited by half a million people.

“I was shaped by the punk subculture. Perhaps it is because of my formative influences that I keep up less pretence out of courtesy, although when one occupies a top position this is sometimes unavoidable.” Q: This year the CD Cultural and Congress Centres is marking the centenary of the death of the greatest Slovenian writer Ivan Cankar with a special all-year-round cultural programme dedicated to his work, and this way also celebrating the giant whose name Cankarjev dom is proudly wearing. Since a lot of events that you host are international, do you plan to introduce to foreign attendees also this aspect of your programme? Definitely. Between June 2018 and February 2019 an exhibition titled Ivan Cankar and Europe. From Shakespeare to Kafka will be on show. The exhibition will be presented bilingually, also featuring English texts. The concept has been devised by academician Prof. Dr. Janko Kos, alongside Prof. Dr. France Bernik the greatest connoisseur of Cankar and his work. The exhibition will seek to show Cankar as an important Central European author whose works echo the most relevant tendencies of his time. His works will be compared to those by the leading European writers, playwrights and poets, and Cankar’s literary and philosophical influences examined. On the day marking Cankar’s death, 11 December, we will organise an international symposium in cooperation with the Faculty of Arts. I am confident that the Slovenian as well as international public will gain insight into meaningful interpretations that will serve to re-evaluate Cankar’s work and his international relevance. It will be also foreign attendees who 71

will doubtlessly enjoy this intellectual gem – an exhibition that is complemented by another show dedicated to Cankar at the Ljubljana City Museum. Q: Is there a particular event (congress, exhibition, conference, etc.) that you would like for CD to host? Something that would be close to your heart? The Congress of the International Society for Performing Arts ISPA would be highly desirable. It would undoubtedly defy the cultural stereotypes and prejudice of economically more prosperous countries against Slovenia. Q: You started working as a journalist for one of the oldest independent alternative radio stations in Europe (Radio Študent, founded in 1969) and now you are in one of the most important positions in Slovenia when it comes to culture and congress institutions. Radio Študent is known to be critical in its programme. How do you use the critical and independent thought that you have come across there in your current position? Are there any correlations? Recently, a friend of mine said that it still shows that I was shaped by the punk subculture. “How can you tell?” I asked. “Because you are one of the few people who call things by their proper names,” he replied. Perhaps it is because of my formative influences that I keep up less pretence out of courtesy, although when one occupies a top position this is sometimes unavoidable. Q: You also worked for The City of Women, one of the biggest and oldest (since 1995) international festivals for the promotion of women in culture that every year hosts 40-60 international artists and theoreticians. You are the first female general director of CD and at the same time one of the few women who have had such a high position among Slovenian institutions of a similar kind. As a woman, what would you recommend to other women when trying to make it in this very competitive (and often a priori reserved for men) field? I’d primarily like to recommend Mileva Einstein. Theory of Sadness, a brilliant novel by Slavenka Drakulić. In view of the fact that women confront greater challenges when pursuing their careers than men, our knowledge, also our formal education, is something that nobody can take away from us. No matter what, our knowledge is our protection. Greatly hindered in her scientific career by her female sex and burdened by a limp which at the time was considered a severe disability, Mileva Marić Einstein had a promising future as the only female studying at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute in her day. Regretfully, she ended up a humiliated and forcibly divorced former wife of the illustrious physicist. While important for everyone, education is one of the most crucial ways of empowering women.


THINGS BEGIN AND END WITH PEOPLE Interview with Špela Terpin, Strategic Marketing Director at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. INTERVIEW BY JASMINA JERANT PHOTO CREDIT GR, BLAŽ ZUPANČIČ

»By establishing the mixed company Dekon. si last year, together with our partner Dekon, we can now offer professional conference organiser (PCO) and destination management company (DMC) services.« Q: You have been working in the MICE part of the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Congress Centre since its beginnings. In that time you have seen GR grow into one of the two most important congress centres in Slovenia. Could you describe the development of GR, or rather the steps that your team had to take to bring it to the top? Things begin and end with people. It began in such a way that we decided that part of the GR team would leave the trade fair team. To begin we offered just a limited range of services on the domestic market, mostly halls. Then we gradually enhanced our offer, we installed additional equipment, began to work with a network of quality partners so that, in line with our motto 'Everything is possible', we are able to offer our clients practically everything. By establishing the mixed company last year, together with our partner Dekon, we can now offer professional conference organiser (PCO) and destination management company (DMC) services. We are increasingly searching abroad for clients, especially in the market of associations and the corporate segment. Špela Terpin has been a part of the MICE team at the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre (GR) since its beginnings. She has great knowledge of the industry and decades of direct insight into GR's meetings operations and marketing. She began her professional career working as an engineer in agronomy at the Ministry of Agriculture where she learned about the necessary strategies to reach agreements in the international arena, which equipped her with the necessary skills for her future work at GR. Her experience, skills and knowledge have contributed immeasurably to GR’s decades of success, particularly in the last few years when the centre has widened its scope to include world-renowned exhibitions. On the grounds of her work, GR remains one of the biggest and most important convention centres in Slovenia that annually hosts half a million visitors.


Q: 2018 is a record year for GR in terms of hosting large international meetings – there will be 12. How do you attract organisers to choose GR? What strategy do you use to convince them? A prerequisite for successfully marketing GR is the placement of Slovenia, and in particular Ljubljana, as a destination on the map of desirable congress destinations. In convincing clients, the most important element is trust – those who are in contact with potential clients must be competent. Positive references also play a large role in this business.

ASK PARTNERS Q: GR organises and hosts different types of events. For association meetings it takes 3-4 years between the negotiations and the opening day of the event. How many (and which) events have already been booked to take place at GR in the next few years, and how far do the current bookings go – to what year? Often the first candidacy is not successful and lengthy delays can result before venue selection. However sometimes, due to a web of various circumstances, we can be chosen as a venue for an event practically overnight. Currently we are up to about the year 2023 with offers that we have provisionally made for bookings.

»A prerequisite for successfully marketing GR is the placement of Slovenia, and in particular Ljubljana, as a destination on the map of desirable congress destinations.« Q: When an organiser chooses to host an event at GR, what is it that convinces them? Is it just GR's offer or are they also attracted by Slovenia itself and what Ljubljana has to offer? Of course the entire destination is important, its accessibility, safety, availability of hotel capacity, the price/performance of the whole offer. Any limitation is always the weakest link, whether this is too few airline connections, or not enough available rooms. It is true that agreements usually begin with the venue – the congress centres – and if our offer is accepted, expectations begin to spiral ahead. Q: According to your observations, what are the current trends in organising large business meetings? Is there anything particular that makes clients ready to commit regardless of the cost? I'm not able to point out any particular content, especially not one that clients would want regardless of the price. Everything must function according to expectations. These days everyone expects efficient internet, a technical team that knows how to react in demanding situations, good quality catering that includes local specialities, support for exhibitors of the congress prior to and during the event ... Q: What are the advantages of Slovenia, and in particular Ljubljana, for the meetings industry, and what are the short-falls? Slovenia, and its capital Ljubljana, represent a safe, well-organised and efficient destination

which is something fresh in the congress world. The two very different congress centres means we are able to attract and cater for congress events for just over 2,000 attendees. Slovenia is also attractive for tourism, which can be an additional stimulant for congress guests to take part in a congress event in Ljubljana. Increasing the range of hotel accommodation is in the pipeline as is, we believe, the number of air links, which would make the destination even more attractive. Q: For a few years now GR has been hosting huge exhibitions. For example, among many others, in 2013 it hosted the exhibition 'Da Vinci – The Genius', the biggest travelling exhibition in the world about Leonardo Da Vinci. How does GR manage to attract such exhibitions? International exhibitions are one of the areas of our work of which we are very proud, since by hosting such exhibitions, we offer both Slovenians and tourists interesting content. We are currently preparing a big new exhibition titled 'BODY WORLDS VITAL', which we will open on 20th October this year. Through plastic replicas of original human bodies the exhibition will show the various effect of lifestyle on the body and its organs, shown in various states of wellness and ill-health. We encounter a problem with such global exhibitions, because the extent of the potential number of visitors in a country with a population of 2 million means it is difficult to cover all the costs of the exhibition. Therefore we must really carefully choose the content, and it must be particularly interesting in order to attract enough visitors.

»International exhibitions are one of the areas of our work of which we are very proud, since by hosting such exhibitions, we offer both Slovenians and tourists interesting content.« Q: How, if at all, does GR's strategy vary in terms of attracting such exhibitions compared to that for attracting congresses? And when negotiating such exhibitions, are you in competition with Ljubljana's museums? The battle to win visitors begins with the acquisition of exhibitions. In acquiring congresses, therefore, we are mainly concerned with ensuring the highest quality of execution. We are not in competition with museums and galleries, however, we can complement what they offer. 73

Q: According to data, GR does not really profit from such exhibitions, so why does it seek to attract them? The Ljubljana Exhibition and Congress Centre is majority owned by the local community, and so making a profit is not our basic and only aim. We want to offer the local community content which enriches them, whether its in the fields of economy (fairs), culture (exhibitions, concerts...), or science (congress events). Q: GR hosted the 13th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of OSCE and the 15th session of the ACP-EU. These are completely different sorts of events compared to usual business meetings. Why was GR chosen as the venue? What strategy did you use? What are the challenges for GR in the future? You mentioned two larger events, and we are also currently preparing for the European Commission event 'TEN-T Days. In autumn we hosted the Eurocities conference of major European cities. In terms of content, these are very different events, perhaps, though they have some parallels. For us as executors, they are very similar to other congresses – communication with the client and fulfilling their expectations, wishes etc. The acquisition process is also similar to other events, networking and searching for contacts, and then, when you get RFP (Request for Proposal) and prepare the first offer, things start flowing. Q: What is your vision for GR's future? Of course, continued development, which will be key if we are to succeed in acquiring an even more diverse range of events. I hope we will succeed in getting an additional, new, modern hall, achieve growth in the newly-established mixed company, as an international PCO, and thus be able to also offer these services. Q: What has been your favourite project so far? Perhaps it would have to be the aforementioned Da Vinci – The Genius exhibition, as well as last year's Auto Salon, whilst in terms of congress, those where Slovenian researchers have taken part who I also know personally. Q: What most motivates you in your work? Satisfied customers, happy colleagues, positive feedback from events held in our halls are probably the most important elements that motivate me.

»Currently we are up to about the year 2023 with offers that we have provisionally made for bookings.«


BLED ICE RINk WITH A VIEW In the old days, when the winters were so cold that the magnificent lake Bled froze and got a fat ice crust, people were skating on the lake. But the winters are not as they were anymore. And Sava hotels Bled, once again created the most romantic ice rink in Slovenia, on the terrace of Kavarna Park. Skating on this ice rink, with a fantastic view is a relaxing and unforgettable winter incentive idea.

GOODBYE WINTER….AND HELLO SPRING! A week long Shrove Carnival on medieval streets of Ptuj is welcoming the spring with chasing away the long winter. The ancient city is the only place on Earth going through 5 seasons. The extra season is called Shrove or Pust in Slovene. It is a carnival with a special task – to burry the winter and welcome the spring that is knocking on the door. There are 3 basic features that make the real Shrove – donuts, masks and Kurents. Every year the Shrove starts exactly seven Sundays before Easter. The following Shrove Tuesday is so important in Ptuj, that people of Ptuj finish working at midday to join in the carefree celebration with other participants and visitors of Kurentovanje.


THE RENOVATED HOTEL GOLF – RIkLI BALANCE HOTEL Bled is considered an icon of Slovenian tourism and the country's main alpine congress destination. This Slovenian tourist gem is beautiful in all seasons, and particularly so during the meetings industry season of spring and autumn. In March, on the slope above Lake Bled, a hotel with a new story will come to life, and will offer guests a place where – whether on holiday or a business trip – they can relax amid the beneficial effects of nature and recharge their energy. The new hotel will be an ideal choice for devotees of style, and thus an ideal place for motivational and inspirational gatherings for your next event.




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THE X FACTOR FROM CROATIA: A MIND FROM THE FUTURE An exhibition honoring Nikola Tesla in Zagreb. The year's TOP science and art event is a unique multumedia experience TEXT BY AJDA BORAK PHOTO CREDIT REAL GROUP

An exhibition which immerses visitors into the magical world of Nikola Tesla, one of the world’s greatest visionaries. It takes you on a journey without a beginning or an end, through a process of inspiration, creativity and production. By merging the elements of a ‘live’ film, video set design, computer game, magical hologram and light adventure into a unique virtual reality multimedia experience, this exhibition is a must-see. Interest in Nikola Tesla's work has not faded throughout the decades. This exhibition, organised in collaboration with partners and sponsors and presented by the REAL GROUP and the Association of Fine Artists (HDLU), is a sensation in the region and in Europe in terms of production art. This journey to the future takes place in the Meštrović Pavilion in Zagreb. In ad-

dition to the functional and aesthetic reasons, it is an interesting fact that these two geniuses were friends. Award-winning Helena Bulaja Madunić is the author and curator of the exhibition, which presents her ten-year authorial work. The creation of this experimental futuristic spectacle, modelled on the vision of Nikola Tesla, is a product of her collaboration with a group of 20 international artists who operate in the field of synergy of science and art by merging film, animation, video art and technical innovation. After a four months display in Zagreb, the exhibition is then leaving for New York, Prague, Paris, Budapest and Dubai.

THE X FACTOR FROM GREECE: ATHENS - WORLD BOOK CAPITAL 2018 The place where the universal heart of the written word will be beating for the entire year. TEXT BY AJDA BORAK PHOTO CREDIT CITY OF ATHENS CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Athens is not just an excellent XL Meeting Destination and the 2nd among the 15 Best Destinations of the New Europe Meetings Star 2017, but this year the city is proudly answering to an additional calling. The 'X Factor' of Athens is its title of World Book Capital 2018. This historic city offers an interesting location and ideal weather, and has infrastructure befitting a major European capital. World Book Capital is an initiative of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The title is nominated every year to a different city and the programmes run from 23rd April (World Book and Copyright 76

Day) to 22nd April of the following year. The whole year will be full of books, reading, culture and events that promote knowledge that, these days, is sought after and readily accessible to all. The aim of the festivities is to bring books to every neighbourhood and to every corner of the city. Georgios Kaminis, Mayor of Athens and President of the Organising Committee, says on the official website: “We are proud of this distinction. Our ambition and objective is for Athens to become a more book-friendly city, with greater opportunities for learning and knowledge.”

Conventa TELESCOPE Addendum


Never in my life would I have thought that I would be walking the streets packed with hundreds of thousands of people, among which numerous thousands would be wearing gigantic candles that can weigh as much as the wearer's weight or age ‌ I would have never thought that because, firstly, my country of origin has barely 2 million inhabitants, so actually meeting hundreds of thousands of people in one place is highly unlikely; secondly, I am scared of crowds. As simple as that. I don't have a problem with candles per se, but would anyone really want to be in a crowd with people dressed as candles that can weigh somewhere between 30-50 kilos. However, as life teaches us over and over again, there is one rule in this world that never ceases to deliver - the rule of surprise. It wasn't just a case of actually walking the streets with these crowds of people with astonishingly heavy candles on their backs, I was actually right up close to them. And, what surprised me even more is that I had a marvellous time! It was

like a dance of the senses. The sight of endless fireworks, the sound of hundred of thousands of murmurs, the calming smell of melting wax, the taste of red wine made out of grapes grown in volcanic soil, and the touch of the warm hands of locals who flashed even warmer smiles. What an unforgettable experience I had in that place. Catania - a place that is protected by two women. CATANIA – A WORLD OF SURPRISES If the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the word Sicily is the Mafia (or as its also known 'Cosa Nostra') or the Godfather, then it is certainly about high time to visit the island and its second largest city located on the east coast, Catania. One thing is sure, you will be surprised. Those seeking grumpy-faced individuals with cold eyes and guns hidden under their coats will be greeted by the reality that, nowadays in Catania, it's more a case of 'Cosa?' (What?) than Cosa Nostra (Our Thing) .


Despite what one might imagine, visitors to Catania certainly won't encounter any 'mafioso' walking around the city scaring the locals with their powerful presence. Indeed, Catania is anything but scary. Catania is a proud city and its people are full of joy and laughter. Expect to find tasty Mediterranean delights such as sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, almond pastries, chiosci (kiosks) offering several types of aniseed beverages, and its diverse range of seafood served in numerous places spanning from simple local eateries to high-end modern restaurants. And that's just the food! Then there's the city's sandy beaches that stretch for kilometres, and its incredible architecture, which has earned Catania a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as one of the Late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily), and Mount Etna, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which silently and protectively rises above the city's horizons.



out onto the streets among people and all around the city pulled by around 5,000 people. And now we finally come to the hundreds of thousands of people and the candles. People that visit Catania in early February come from throughout Italy and also abroad. It certainly is one of the biggest festivals in the world. The crowds had already started to gather on 2nd February, on the 3rd there were 250,000 people on the streets, a day after even more, and on the last day it was estimated that around one million people would be in the city.

Etna, that impressive mountain on the horizon, the powerful great Mother standing above Catania that gives the city the greenest landscape in the whole of Sicily and one of the most, if not 'the' most, fertile grounds in Europe. Catania is a place where aubergines grow all-year-round and where sweet orange juice is freshly squeezed every morning, 365 days a year. 'Mama Etna' is what locals call 'their' volcano. Contrary to what one might think (here we go with another surprise) Etna is not dangerous, despite being the largest volcano in Europe (its highest peak reaches 3,323 metres above sea-level) and one of the world's major active volcanoes. When it errupts, which rarely happens, the lava is so slow that a visitor to Catania would have time to complete an expensive trip round the world, before being in any danger from Etna. Therefore, it makes more sense to embrace Etna's eruptions and take one of the spectacular and famous evening trekking tours to see this impressive phenomenom. On the way down it is possible to stop at one of the cellars, scattered around Etna's slopes, that stretch from dense green forests to dark volcanic caves, from fertile fields and vineyards to the Star Wars-like lava desert, and get some Etna Rosso or Etna Bianco – wines from vineyards that grow in the fertile black volcanic soil that gives them a distinctive taste. A truly rare delight. Etna serves its residents so well that one of the villages on its slopes is known for having one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world - the average age in the village is 95! This is thought to be connected to its Mediterranean climate, nutritious food, good wine and siestas. Etna, though, not only provides good soil, but its unique biodiversity also provides a home to many hundreds of animal species, as well as the locals who live in its shadow.

"No city can bear a million visitors as well as Catania can"

Catania is known as the 'black city', since through the centuries most of it has been built using black volcanic stone. In contrast, its neighbouring city, Syracuse, is called the 'white city' because it was built from white marble stone. However, despite being called the 'black city', Catania is full of colour. Its history is a mixture of cultures passing through time. Catania was founded in the 8th century BC by the Ancient Greeks and then went through many rulers - Ancient Romans, Ostrogoths, Arabs, Germans, Spaniards, etc. The influence of its diverse and colourful history can still be seen, heard, smelt, touched and tasted. The origins of many of the city's foods date back to ancient times, as well as its architecture, monuments or symbols, such as the lava sculpture of an elephant that throughout history has been the city's talisman and the reason why Catania is also called 'The City of the Elephant'. Some if its words are a reminder of its eventful history still bearing a mixture of early influences, like Greek and Arabic. The rich colourfulness of the city is additionally emphasised with red and blue balloons and triangle flag banners which, together with other such visual feasts spread all around town, give Catania a really festive vibe. In fact, this explosion of colours and senses is there for a reason - one of the biggest festivals in the world. VVSAGATA No, it is not a typo. VV stands for ViVa, S for Saint, and A for Agata (Agatha). Banners can be seen hanging everywhere when Catania, not Etna (surprisingly so), erupts every February when it stages one of the biggest celebrations in the world. The celebrations are dedicated to St. Agatha from the 3rd century. The Roman Proconsul Quintianus wanted to marry her but she rejected him, defending her honour and her devoted faith. The insulted Quintianus subjected her to horrific torture by rolling her over hot coals and cutting-off her breasts. As a mark of respect, Catania holds three days of solemnity every year from 3-5 February, when the reliquary statue of St. Agatha is on a fercolo (a silver carriage) brought from her spot in the Cathedral 78

It sounded like it might get a bit busy, but in reality it was surprisingly well organised, everyone was very composed, there never seemed to be any trouble (a day after the festivities it was barely noticable that a million people had been through the city in the past few days) and there was no mass hysteria among the crowds. It was all very pleasant and peaceful, people were very happily taking to the streets in what seemed complete devotion to their patron saint, to their other protector next to 'Mama Etna'. On the last days of the festival, the candle bearers - people with heavy burning candles on their backs - show their devotion to Agatha by walking and running in a procession. It's an otherworldly sight. Not a scary one though, but rather one evoking utter amazement and respect. The procession is not just religious, it is part of Catania's soul, tradition, culture, and character.


for up to 100 people, and is known as one of the oldest and best conserved buildings in the city. Pallazzo Biscari, dating back to the 17th century, is where the Prince of Biscari still lives with his family. It is suitable for events for up to 350 people and conferences for up to 200.

MEET IN CATANIA No city can bear a million people as well as Catania can and is, therefore, rightly so, a perfect place for organising any kind of events or meetings. Its kind and welcoming spirit, range of cuisine, landscape, cultural and historical heritage, coastline and perfect Mediterranean climate make it a must see and must experience MICE destination.

UNA Hotel Palace 4*, a prestigious building dating from the last century, has been restored according to local traditions and Sicilan style, and offers a plenary room for up to 190 people and three additional rooms.



The Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò, protected by UNESCO and today home to part of the University of Catania, holds events in its many rooms, including in the lobby, auditorium and in the most impressive Lava Room, where real lava on the floor juxtaposes the modern metal-made depiction of lava on the ceiling.

The Lava Room in the Benedictine monastery offers space for theatre shows – it recently staged Dante's Hell, which saw actors performing barefoot on old lava. This was to ensure that their facial expressions were more realistic. Visit the opera house to find out about its impressive history and technological advances, dating from the period before electricity, or listen to one of the world's most famous operas.

The Teatro Massimo Bellini opera house is famous for having a river running beneath it, which makes it one of the best acoustic theatres in the world. In addition to the auditorium part of the opera house, its stunning foyer can also be used for hosting events.

Visit Palazzo Biscari, where its owner, Prince Biscari offers a humorous guided tour through the palace's halls and past the portraits of ancestors. A special opportunity to stand in the same places where Dumas, Goethe, Queen Elizabeth

Cappella Bonajuto (Bonajuto Chapel), located in the historical centre of Catania, can host events 79


the Queen Mother and even Coldplay have stood.

issues, be it either lactose or gluten. This certainly is a welcome addition in a country where one might assume that the traditional methods of preparing food might be rigid and make it impossible for those with special requirement. Another welcome surprise.

The Myda cooking school is where the acclaimed chef Loredana Crisafi teaches cooking classes in a modernly equipped kitchen. Learn, for example, how to make home made Cavatelli pasta and almond pastries, while being served wonderful wine and spirits. Pure educational fun!


And, of course, a visit to 'Mama Etna'. In winter it is possible to ski on its slopes, while all-yearround 4x4 jeeps with experienced guides from Etna Finder take participants on an off-road adventure to see the hidden corners of Etna and its lava valleys. You might be interested to know that those very jeeps have also driven people like Jerry Seinfield, Justin Bieber and Kate Moss to Etna too! A perfect incentive to find out that you are sitting in the same seat as they did! Streaty Tours. A great chance to find out about Catanian food and its hidden treasures. From street food featuring fried seafood to coffee shops serving arancinos, from confectionery shops all the way to chiosci with refreshing Seltz drinks, and stands on the vivacious open market packed with several dozen different kinds of seafood and Sicilian grown fruit and vegetables, ‌ the most authentic and surprising culinary experience you can imagine.

INTERESTING FACT Despite being part of historically one of the richest culinary countries in the world, upon request, any restaurant from high-end ones, such as Bell'Antonio or Mc.Turrido, to the one high on Mount Etna, Riofi Castillo, will take care of those that have either allergy or intolerance 80

Catania, with its 320,000 residents (and more than 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area), is the main industrial, logistical and commercial centre of Sicily, and home to the international Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (also named Vicenzo Bellini Airport), the largest in Southern Italy and the sixth busiest airport in Italy. The airport is located just a short drive from the city centre. Landing in Catania is really beautiful as planes land right above long stretches of sandy beaches and countless palm trees. Flights take 1h30min from Venice, 50min from Rome, 1h20min from Milan, 2h30min from Paris, 1h50min from Munich and around 3 hours from London. The Spanish low-cost airline Volotea, one of the youngest carriers, for example, offers comfortable and quick flights in one of its Boeings 717. Volotea is the only European operator to have a Boeing 717 fleet.


The More I See, The More I Know, The More I Improve! Survey Results - Meeting planners answering on "How satisfied are you with international MICE associations?" "Become more focused on the needs of members" and "Be relevant and be led by members" TEXT BY GORAZD ÄŒAD PHOTO CREDIT SHUTTERSTOCK, CONVENTA ARCHIVE

Amongst survey respondents the international ICCA, MPI and AIPC associations are held in the highest esteem. How satisfied are you with international MICE associations? On the initiative of our readers, in autumn 2017 we carried out research into the satisfaction of meeting planners with international MICE association. The research was carried out from August to December 2017. We invited 3,215 organisers to participate and received 612 responses. This represents 20% of all respondents, which means that it is a statistically credible sample. More than 85% of meeting planners responded to our e-mail invitation, whilst there was also a large share of individuals who took part in the survey via social media. Structure of respondents The structure of participating respondents was

interesting. Out of 54 countries, we received the most responses from Germany, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. Based on activity, the structure among respondents was as follows: Incentive Travel House


Event Management Agency


PCO - Professional Congress Organiser


Association Planner


Destination Management Organisation


The structure of respondents based on association membership: Other (see explanation)


MPI - Meeting Professionals International


ICCA - The International Congress and Convention Association


SITE - The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence


PCMA - Professional Convention Management Association


Corporate Planner


ASAE - The American Society of Association Executives


Venue Finding Agency


DMAI - Destinations International


Convention Centre




IAPCO – The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers


UFI - The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry


AIPC - The International Association of Convention Centres


UIA - The Union of International Associations


Membership of associations As many as 92.5% of all respondents are members of various international professional associations. Among them, the highest number are enrolled in the MPI, ICCA and SITE associations.


KONGRES SURVEY Most respondents are members of various national and/or regional associations and other specialist associations, such as Alagaev, DeGefest, the CEO Institute, FICP, MICE Germany, whilst numerous among them are also members of MICE Club, EVCOM, ADMEI, and CEFA. Almost 3% responded that they are not members of any international professional associations. The majority of respondents have been members of associations for more than five years (70%), 12.5% have been members for 3-5 years, whilst a smaller percentage have been members for a shorter length of time. Association brand names based on their reliability and power The most trustworthy brand names of associations are ICCA, MPI, AIPC and SITE We asked all respondents to rank associations based on the level of power of their brand. They were rated on a scale from 1 to 10. The list of the ten most trustworthy associations is as follows: ICCA - The International Congress and Convention Association


MPI - Meeting Professionals International


AIPC - The International Association of Convention Centres


SITE - The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence


PCMA - Professional Convention Management Association


ASAE - The American Society of Association Executives


IAPCO – The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers


ECM - European Cities Marketing


DMAI - Destinations International


AACVB - The Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus


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

activities that international associations carry out best

Some value for money



score 3.6

Not enough value for money



score 3.4

Good value for money



score 3.3

A little value for money



score 3.2


Special Events

score 3.1

More value than I would expect for the money


score 3.0


score 2.9

Benefit Programmes

score 2.7

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


Neither satisfied not dissatisfied


Somewhat Satisfied


Very Dissatisfied


Somewhat Dissatisfied


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


Good value for money


Not enough value for money


A little value for money


More value than I would expect for the money


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





2-4 events


Member Benefit Programme


1 event

30.0% 12.5%

Annual Event Discounts


8-10 events



5-7 events


More than 10 events


How would you rate the quality of the activities of the associations? Professionalism and representation are among the

ents attended. The results are as follows:

In connection with this we also asked about the added value of various events which respond82

Among those surveyed, the majority responded that they have a positive opinion of the added value of association events. Sixty-seven and a half percent are of the opinion that events create added value. The share of those not satisfied, however, is a relatively high 32.5%. How can associations make events more valuable to you? We have gathered the responses into ten recommendations, since individual responses were repeated and relate to the same challenges: 1. Content - High level content, they should continue to provide diverse content for all audiences, including young leaders and senior planners, and they should continue to provide top themes related to the industry. 2. Networking - Members’ business introductions and exchanges and providing more networking opportunities are key. 3. Communication - Good speakers, innovation, emerging themes and networking 4. More business-driven - Have better members. Most attendees come for the free drinks and free food, not really for the true meaning of the event. 5. To serve the planners interests and be more inclusive – to have a better understanding of the needs of members. 6. Follow the trends - Educational topics clearly linked to business trends in the macro economy. Try new things, experiment and get input from participants. It is important that associations showcase new ideas, tools and concepts. 7. Be more local - Regional instead of global events. 8. Registration fees - Decrease the costs of registration fees. The aim of associations is to gather members and get new ones and not to make money on registration fees. 9. Joint Ventures - It would be good if associations unite and hold combined events. 10. Format of meetings - Smaller, interactive meetings that get to the bottom of a subject. What types of events would you like to see in the future? Inspiring collaborative events with a high quality of education combined with engagement and networking The responses to the question about what kind of events respondents would like were also interesting. Some of the most interesting responses are shown below:

Conventa KONGRESAddendum SURVEY 1. Crowdsourced events - asking members for suggestions for topics and speakers, also allowing more time for attendees to exchange ideas at sessions 2. Interaction in conferences and knowledge transfer between attendees 3. Forums that regroup international associations and their challenges 4. Making meetings more dynamic 5. Innovative events with a wider range of experiences, also scientific 6. Training sessions, study tours, with more discussion and brainstorming sessions 7. More online training sessions and hybrid events 8. Events with good content in small interactive sessions and great networking breaks Associations as a source of information for members The majority of respondents swear by personal contact. As many as 82% of respondents believe that events are a key source of information and meeting new members and partners. As part of this questions we asked meeting planners two questions connected with their satisfaction based on the quality and method of association(s) communication. How satisfied are you with the association as a source of information? Some value for money


Not enough value for money


Good value for money


A little value for money


More value than I would expect for the money



Very likely


Networking events


Fairly likely


Annual events


Slightly likely


Via online social communities


Very unlikely


Monthly meetings


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

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

Very much





score 6.08




score 6.05

A little bit


Not at all


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


Association membership directory


Social/cultural events


Association website






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

How do you prefer to meet/get to know other


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

CONVENTA CROSSOVER 2018 30. - 31. august 2018 Puppet Theatre of Ljubljana

ALL THE WORLD IS A STAGE (William Shakespeare)

Modern experience marketing is really theatre


Conventa WHAT'S Addendum ON


The 2018 ICCA Association Meetings Programme (AMP) will take place in Slovenia's capital from 9-11 July. Following its new strategic plan, ICCA - the International Congress and Convention Association, whose mission is to be the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry, is seeking to deepen its links with international associations and, in cooperation with its member suppliers, co-shape the future and value of international events organized by associations. Part of this plan is also to invite representatives of associations both to the annual ICCA Congress and to the renewed ICCA AMP event, whose next edition is to be held in Ljubljana.

Global events Kongres in Warsaw PHOTO CREDIT GEC WARSAW 2018

On 10-13 July 2018 the 8th Global Events Congress will be held in the Warsaw School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (Vistula Group of Universities). GEC is an international congress that gives an opportunity to share cutting-edge research on events and events management, which is one of the most dynamically developing areas of global industry. Numerous achievements of the international specialists in this field are very significant and they will be shared among the experts representing different universities, industry associations and partners. Therefore, the scientific program will comprise sessions held by the representatives of the European, Americas, Africans and Asians professors.



Alpe Adria Incentives Coming Soon The first “Try before you buy” incentive experience in Carinthia PHOTO CREDIT CARINTHIA CVB

The first European “Try before you buy” incentive experience in the Carinthia region will be held from 26-28 April 2018, organised in partnership with Klagenfurt, Villach and Wörthersee.

Alpe Adria Incentives is the right place to get first-hand information about Carinthia's incentive architects (teambuilding agencies, event agencies, sport agencies), incentive destinations in the Alpe Adria region, incentive logistics (support services: catering, teambuilding logistics, stage, sound, multimedia…) and special venues.

The 14th annual general meeting and assembly of Slovenian CVB PHOTO CREDIT slovenian cvb

On the 13th March 2018, the general meeting and assembly of Slovenian Convention Bureau was held in the Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana. This year, the event reached a record number of 100 participants. The assembly was comprised of a plenary lecture »Incentives – The Next Big Thing for Slovenia« and the presentation of candidates for election of 6 new members of the board's council. The presentation of the project, developed with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Slovenian Tourist Board, »4X4 Slovenia« followed later on. At the end, the workshops were focused on Incentives and how to prepare the Incentive offer.


Quality of Life Index (higher is better) is an estimation of overall quality of life by using empirical formula which takes into account purchasing power index (higher is better), pollution index (lower is better), house price to income ratio (lower is better), cost of living index (lower is better), safety index (higher is

The event will gather up to 30 European meeting planners, who organise, influence or make budgetary decisions for incentive travel. The carefully selected hosted buyers and suppliers will have a unique chance to hold quality One2One meetings in a “Try before you buy” format.

better), health care index (higher is better), traffic commute time index (lower is better) and climate index (higher is better). e.g. Vienna index for 2016 is 195.97

Conventa BRIEFING Addendum

WINTER FESTIVAL IN GRAND HOTEL UNION One of the goals of the Union Hotels is to preserve and foster the integration of Ljubljana’s cultural life. A lot of effort is kept in keeping this unique cultural junction as a source of local cultural life. Union Hotels in partnership with Ljubljana Festival this winter organized the Winter Festival. Three concerts of top performers were recently successfully completed in the Grand Union Hall, which is still considered an exceptional concert venue. British violinist Nigel Kennedy, mexican tenorist Ramon Vargas and New Swing Quartet, that reunited after a ten year break, are the names of this Winter Festival that contributes to the development of Ljubljana's cultural tourism potential.

UNION HOTELS HOTEL LEV – A TRENDY PLACE FOR CREATIVE EVENTS As Union Hotels are aware that the meetings industry is rapidly changing, it has launched a new concept. The Karantanija Hall has been completely renovated and equipped with stylish furniture that gives the room a sense of comfort. The vision of Union Hotels to create the ideal conditions for productive, creative conferences and meetings has been met. The new design of the conference room is far from standard and offers a different conference experience with networking that produces better results.


On the first floor the largest conference room at the Hotel Lev, the Karantanija Hall, can accommodate up to 400 guests. Its flexible layout allows it to be split into four areas, easily accommodating even the smallest of groups.

COMFORT AND ELEGANCE IN PREMIER ROOMS Modern demands for an inviting hotel room aim much higher than the classical bed-table-locker combo. In today's world the surprises in design are not just expected, but are a must. Therefore, Hotel Lev, situated in the heart of Ljubljana, will in April open newly renovated »Premier« rooms. The new design of the 22 rooms in the hotel's first floor features a contemporary open-space style for sophisticated comfort with state-of-the-art hotel amenities. Vienna-based architecture and interior design firm BWM Architeken carried out the renovation and created a home away from home with a serene and cozy fusion of elegance and contemporary comfort. Following the modern trends, the Premier bathrooms are transformed into a charming and stylish oasis with transparent glass instead of bathroom walls, with a raindrop shower and selected Prija bathroom cosmetics.




ITB Berlin, the world's leading travel trade show and a business platform for global tourism providers, annually presents awards and prizes for outstanding scientific, artistic or sustainable achievements in many different areas. One of the most recognised is the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 Awards. ITB's aim is to acknowledge destinations that successfully enforce sustainability in tourism. The Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 competition, which has previously been organised on four occasions, aims to highlight success stories and exchange examples of good practice to make all destinations more sustainable and better for local communities and travellers. This year's special recognition for outstanding achievements in sustainable tourism was presented by the non-profit organisation Green Destinations. The selected 32 finalists among the 100 most sustainable destinations in 2017 included Slovenia's Green Destinations (consisting of Ljubljana and Podčetrtek) - a part of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. Ljubljana made it on the list of Top 100 Sustainable Destinations for the fourth time (previouslyin 2014, 2016 and 2017) distinguishing itself among the award-winning destinations and worldwide. However, Slovenia's capital went a step further this time, improving on its previous three-time success by winning the category 'Best Destination of Europe' as part of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. The award, given as recognition for best sustainable practice examples of destination management worldwide, was jointly accepted by Rebeka Kumer Bizjak representing the Slovenian Tourist Board, and the director of Ljubljana Tourism, Petra Stušek. The award for Slovenia and its green destinations of Ljubljana and Podčetrtek shows the great success in realising the vision set in the Strategy for Sustainable Growth of Slovenian Tourism 2017-2021. The aim of the strategy is for Slovenia to become recognised as a global green boutique destination for demanding visitors looking for diverse and active experiences, peace and personal benefits. The process of transforming Ljubljana into a role-model city in terms of sustainable development has been crowned by many awards so far, including the title of European Green Capital 2016.


INSIDE LJUBLJANA There are many reasons for Ljubljana achieving such continuous success on the stage of green and sustainable tourism. A few of these reasons are listed below.

reational route lined by more than 7,000 trees, and the Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park, known as one of the few surviving natural ecosystems of its kind in Europe.

Ljubljana boasts excellently preserved green spaces, four nature parks, a 34km circular rec-

In addition, through the years Ljubljana has made a large number of changes in the area of environmentally-friendly and sustainable development. The city's traffic policy encourages sustainable mobility solutions with the core of the city centre being closed for motorised vehicles; urban cycling and the free bike sharing network are rapidly increasing in popularity; an increasing number of public city buses are fuelled by methane in order to achieve reductions in CO2 emissions; electric-powered vehi-


cles called 'Kavalir' (Gentleman) offer free rides within the core city centre area; free drinking water from a large number of public drinking fountains is available during the warmer months of the year (April-October). Foremost among these, Ljubljana is aiming to become the first capital of the European Union to have a zero waste plan. To achieve this, underground collection units have been installed in the city centre to replace common waste bins, which separate paper, plastic and glass, and bins for organic and household waste. Surely, this will not be the last Green Award for Ljubljana.



Ljubljana's city centre on Fridays sizzles with special flavours, colours and smells. Slovenia's most popular openair food market, Open Kitchen (Odprta kuhna), runs from late March to late October and attracts gastronomic enthusiasts as well as those who are just simply curious or hungry. Open Kitchen is held in the central market area, located in the centre of Ljubljana's historic old town next to the Ljubljanica river. The central market, designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Joe PleÄ?nik plays host to the famous, colourful and tasty Open Kitchen.


INSIDE LJUBLJANA Ljubljana's main gourmet attraction The recently-opened sixth season of Open Kitchen saw chefs from some of Slovenia's finest restaurants once again putting on their aprons and turning on their stoves in order to widen the culinary horizons of domestic and foreign gourmets. Along the lines of similar food markets abroad, the basic idea of Open Kitchen is to allow visitors to sample a wide variety of foods all in one place. However, one distinct feature differentiates Ljubljana's Open Kitchen from other similar food events in Slovenia and abroad: the street food is conceived and prepared by topnotch Slovenian chefs. This allows visitors the rare opportunity to enjoy pleasant socialising in the open-air, and, for a reasonable price, the chance to try a wide array of amazing culinary creations and supremely prepared street food classics, not to mention unique desserts and ice-creams. All in one place in one day The key criteria for the street food offered at Open Kitchen is quality combined with creativity and innovation, which are accompanied by local and seasonal ingredients. The idea for Ljubljana's Open Kitchen was introduced six years ago by Lior Kochavy, Lior Kochavy, who

wanted to showcase Slovenia's top cuisine in one spot. The main acclaim of this food market is its versatile play on Slovenian cuisine stemming from several of the country's gastronomical regions, thus it presents an innovative introduction to Slovenia's gastronomy.

American, Oceanic, ‌ Visitors can try creative bites accompanied by the best domestic and foreign wines, sparkling wines, cocktails, craft beers and other interesting beverages.

Among the best street-food markets in the world

The main stars of the event are the tempting plates cooked up by their creators who knead, mix, fry, roll, grill and work their magic to provide great food and drink and an excellent atmosphere. Open Kitchen is a mixture of everything: happiness, friendship, and a pure joy for life. It makes an ideal event to offer business guests, conference delegates or even as an incentive. In co-operation with the Open Kitchen team, by prior arrangement, and the meeting planner's request and knowledge of his/her guests' wishes and preferences, it is possible for them to receive coupons enabling the tasting of a selection of different foods. Even if the congress, conference, or any other meeting extends into the late afternoon hours, there is no need to worry, as Open Kitchen is open from 10am until 9pm every Friday, and until 10pm during summer. So, there's more than enough time to immerse one's soul into food, wine, cocktails and Ljubljana's joie de vivre.

As Lior Kochavy says, the focus of Open Kitchen is on Slovenia's culinary treasures that constantly impress and astonish him. And he is not the only one, since foreign visitors have an unparalleled opportunity to try the creations of some of Slovenia's best chefs all in one day and one place. And word about Open Kitchen is out! Foreign media and acknowledged food bloggers became curious, came, saw, tasted and have several times ranked Open Kitchen as one of the best food markets in the world, which puts Ljubljana amongst the world's capitals of street-food. Local and global creative bites and sips Alongside authentic local delicacies prepared by chefs who follow Slovenia's rich culinary traditions, it is possible to try dishess from different parts of the globe: Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, African, Lebanese, Italian,

91 91

Taste of the stars – event and incentive



Ljubljana Tourism and its Convention Bureau recently announced the survey findings on the habits and expenditure of international delegates attending conferences held in the Slovenian capital. The findings showed that Ljubljana has been successful in strengthening its image of a developed congress destination, which also contributes to a more positive perception of Slovenia and South-east Europe in the eyes of potential clients. International association congresses and other forms of business meetings are recognised as an important economic activity for Ljubljana in terms of investment into the sector's offer. The key focus of the research titled »Conference delegates, their customs and expenditure 2017«, carried out by Toleranca Marketing agency on behalf of Ljubljana Tourism, was to establish the actual spending patterns, habits and expectations of the international congress guests.

“Congress delegates in Ljubljana spend 3.7 times more compared to leisure travellers.” “97% of the conference delegates would like to return to Ljubljana.” “The average length of the stay reached 3.97 days.”

“Ljubljana is a mature congress destination with an increasing international presence.” 92

INSIDE LJUBLJANA Middle generation, highly educated public sector, first-timers The survey, performed at four different congresses in September 2017, sampled 302 guests (out of a total of 2,204) from 67 countries who were, in average, 40.34 years old and among whom 86% possessed a MA or PhD degree. Two thirds of the participants in the survey were employed in public sector (education, science, medicine, social services). As many as 79.5% of the respondents were attending a congress in Slovenia for the first time. In terms of the selected transport, 81% of the respondents travelled to Slovenia by airplane. The congresses in question were: the 47th Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies – EABCT 2017, the 2nd World Open Educational Resources Congress – OER, LUX Europa 2017 and Euroson 2017, the 29th Congress of EFSUMB. Destination offering an increasingly sought-for safety Most delegates base their decision to attend an international conference (51% of the surveyed do so once to twice a year) on the networking opportunities, education and training programme quality (84.4 and 85.4 %, respectively), followed by the destination's accessibility (61.3%) and safety (50%). However, and probably not surpris-

ingly so, the findings showed that the factor of destination safety significantly increased, compared to a similar survey carried out in 2008. In this regard, 98.3% of the respondents answered that they were very satisfied or satisfied with the feeling of safety in Ljubljana, which positively distinguishes the Slovenian capital from a number of other meetings destinations. Staying for up to 4 days, extending the stay, and planning on returning Almost all of the surveyed conference delegates perceive Ljubljana very positively, for 97% of them stated that they would like to return and that staying in Ljubljana stirred their interest to find out more about the events' offer in the region. Among 73% of the guests who stayed in Ljubljana for 2 to 4 nights, more than two thirds stayed 3 to 4 nights. A significant number of the guests, 30%, extended their stay after the congress, mainly for one to two days. Therefore the average length of the stay, according to the survey, reached 3.97 days. Among the respondents, 70% stayed in hotels, while others found accommodation in other structures - Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnb, apartments, etc. Expenditure almost four times higher than among leisure guests The most positive surprise that the findings revealed was connected to the fact that congress

delegates in Ljubljana spend 3.7 times more in their three-day stay compared to leisure travellers*. To be precise, a delegate will spend 494 euros /day (including transport to- and from destination, registration fee and overnight stay on one hand, and food, drinks, entertainment, shopping and other personal expenses on the other). This results in a total average spend of 1,482 euros per delegate over a three-day event, which does not differ much from their usual expediture in other destinations around the globe (1,502 euros). The survey analysis also showed that for most of the questioned guests this expenditure was as expected. Ljubljana exceeding expectations In the section related to evaluating the satisfaction with the destination, the survey also measured the subjective satisfaction through questions regarding the interest for the event and plans for the future. Around 94 % of those who attended a congress in Ljubljana noted that the event reached or even exceeded their expectations. The most positively evaluated elements in Ljubljana's offer and all that the city delivers they listed safety, the kindness and hospitality of the local residents, the city's cleanliness and tidiness, and efficient congress staff, followed by accommodation, culinary experiences, the destination's accessibility, its value for money, shopping and entertainment. Most of the delegates want to return to the region of South-east Europe and, particularly, to Ljubljana / Slovenia, while among them more than half are planning to certainly return. Continuous plan to enhance Ljubljana's position on the international meetings market According to the subjective evaluations of the survey participants, Ljubljana is a mature congress destination with an increasing international presence compared to a similar survey carried out in 2008. An interesting data from the 2017 survey is that almost 50% delegates answered positively to the question whether they knew that Ljubljana had been European Green Capital 2016.

"A conference delegate spends 1,482 euros over a three-day event." 93

Ljubljana Convention Bureau, operating within Ljubljana Tourism, intends to continue carrying out researches on the meetings industry also in the future in order to collect useful data that will help in planning their marketing activities as well as the destination's product development, all with the aim of enhancing Ljubljana's position on the highly competitive international meetings market. * According to a research from Valicon in 2015 (Analysis of tourist expenditure in Ljubljana), a leisure guest spends around 135 euros a day, including the expenses for transport and overnight stays.

FRANKFURT 15–17 MAY 2018

IT’S 2018. IT’S TIME TO PRESS FOR PROGRESS We’re currently experiencing a seismic shift in attitudes towards gender inequality. A culture of silence and tolerance is drawing to an end. A new movement has begun No wonder then that this year International Women’s Day is calling women – and men – to “Press for progress”. It’s time to be proactive in making change happen. How WE are pressing for progress This year IMEX in Frankfurt is launching a new conference – She Means Business. This inspiring meeting of women (and men) takes place on EduMonday, 14 May. Speakers from diverse backgrounds including science and tech, media, finance, cardiology and the UN will address the issues faced by women today. Through conversation, collaboration and learning, we believe we can shed new light on an old debate. 94

Press for progress. Come to IMEX – and She Means Business. Register today at

#IMEX18 In partnership with tw tagungswirtschaft and supported by H-Hotels


MEETINGS STAR 2017 Meetings Star awards are tailor-made for meeting planners




LEGENDARY LUXURY Budapest, Hungary

Final mark: 4.95 Highest mark: 5.00 First Impression Lowest mark: 4.87 Extras Number of rooms: 200 rooms and suites Price (Trivago) March 2018: 295 - 495 € TOP POSITIVE SURPRISES: The exceptional staff, who set the standards for hotel services in the region and execute them to perfection, whilst at the same time working elegantly and in a unforced manner with outstanding attention to detail.

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




Final mark: 4.94 Highest mark: 5.00 Congress Hall Lowest mark: 4.82 Hotel bed Number of rooms: 414 rooms Price (Trivago) March 2018: 134 - 195 € TOP POSITIVE SURPRISES: Great value for money. In other European destinations you would pay considerably more for this level of service.

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


OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Ritz Carlton is a synonym for quality and superior hotel services.. The hotel is located in the heart of Budapest. We were not only extremely impressed by its location, but also by the professionalism of its staff, the arrangement of the hotel, and top-notch cuisine. The entire hotel experience has been thoughtfully designed, with the well-being of guests of paramount importance. The congress centre also follows this philosophy so that the four congress halls are customised to the most demanding clients. ExTRAS: The beautiful building is located in the centre of the city and all the main attractions are within walking distance. The exceptional hotel concierge service is ready to assist in organising trips to explore the city. OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Hotel Corinthia has a character that sets it apart from other hotels in the city. The elegant building, top-notch service and excellent congress facilities place it at the very top of the regional congress hotel services. It has the biggest selection of congress halls in Budapest, all of them 5 star, and includes 31 meeting rooms, the baroque-style Grand Ballroom and the special Executive Lounge which is suitable for holding private congress meetings. Luxury comfort, modern elegance and technology bring the offer together. ExTRAS: The Royal Lounge – a space intended for congress organisers which offers the perfect work and relaxation conditions during an event.





Final mark: 4.85 Highest mark: 5.00 Location Lowest mark: 4.61 Extras Number of rooms: 380 rooms Price (Trivago) March 2018: 362 - 523 € TOP POSITIVE SURPRISES: Churchill’s Room,a unique 23-square-metre dining room that caters for small functions for up to 12 people, which is located on the ground floor.

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




Final mark: 4.84 Highest mark: 5.00 Location Lowest mark: 4.35 Accesibility Number of rooms: 147 rooms Price (Trivago) March 2018: 206 - 436 € TOP POSITIVE SURPRISES: The personalised service and attention to the smallest detail, as well as the hotel's above average friendly and professional staff.

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


AN 'OMG' EXPERIENCE Belgrade, Serbia


Final mark: 4.83 Highest mark: 4.99 Lobby Lowest mark: 4.05 Accessibiilty Number of rooms: 236 rooms Price (Trivago) March 2018: 107 - 119 € TOP POSITIVE SURPRISES: The celebrity culinary team. This Belgrade hotel scene has acquired a passionate, dedicated and experienced culinary team in a new hotel that was born under a lucky star.

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

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

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The hotel won the Connie Award for the leading hotel in each brand of the Hilton Worldwide chain, and it convinced us too with its luxury and superior level of customer service. This hotel with a soul speaks for itself and is also an excellent choice for congresses, budget permitting of course. The hotel has witnessed many historic congress events and banquets, which continue not to disappoint right up to today. This is a serious hotel institution with a deep soul. ExTRAS: The top business centre has seven meeting rooms and a large conference hall for up to 260 participants.

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

THE BEST MEETING HOTELS AND CONVENTION CENTRES We evaluate hotels and convention centres which are recommended to us by our readers and which are focused on congress tourism. For the 2017 award, we evaluated 25 new hotels and re-evaluated 12 hotels from last year. In total 151 evalutions

by hidden guests were carried out, which enables a true high-quality comparison. We deliberately avoid the possibility that part of the evaluation is made-up of online surveys. We believe that, by using such a method, the information obtained would 96

only reflect the opinion of those users who choose to participate. Therefore, we will continue to use the hidden guest methodology, which, in our opinion, ensures the best quality results, despite the fact that this method is time-consuming and demanding.



Confirm your standard with the only certificate of quality in the meetings industry that is based on real ratings by mystery congress shoppers.

Confirm your standard with the only certificate of quality in the meetings industry that is based on real ratings by mystery congress shoppers Congress guests are demanding, whilst at the same time they have the greatest buying power – this is a long-known fact. As a rule they stay in hotels for a longer time, they have more contact with employees and they make use of more hotel services. They usually expect a higher level of service and therefore they deserve the best of attention. Meetings Star is a system for assessing quality which provides a simple and clear picture of the services offered by individual providers as it is based on the evaluations of congress mystery shoppers. The methodology, which meeting planners have been trusting since 2007, has this year been upgraded through the addition of a certification system. Within the three-step process, providers of congress services can obtain one of three certifications, thus providing congress organisers with information to meet their needs and expectations.

WHAT IS THE MEETINGS STAR CERTIFICATE? It is a certificate that demonstrates the compliance of congress capacities and services with the Meetings Star rating and certification system. It checks over 490 evaluation criteria that are key for the satisfaction of meeting planners. 97





Meetings Star is trusted due to its 10-year tradition of rating congress hotels and convention centres, during which time more than 350 have been evaluated by mystery shoppers. Due to the unbiased and transparent methodology, the system has a high reputation among event organisers.

Mystery congress guests are experts who have multiple years of experience in the area of congress organisation and knowledge of the hotel and catering industry. The required knowledge and competencies for ensuring objectiveness are:

The hotel assessment matrix contains 490 measurable assessment criteria which are divided into the following categories:

HOW DOES CERTIFICATION TAkE PLACE? Certification takes place on a three-step basis: 1. In the first step the hotel or congress centre carries out a self-assessment using an evaluation matrix, which is identical to that used by mystery congress guests. 2. In the second step, a mystery guest visits the hotel or congress centre unannounced and assesses the hotel services using the evaluation matrix. For certain items of the matrix, ratings can be supplemented with personal commentary and photographic or video evidence. 3. In the third phase the results of the self-assessment and that of the mystery shopper are compared, and a final score is given in the form of a report or a workshop.

CATEGORIES OF MEETINGS STAR CERTIFICATES Certificates are classified into three categories according to the number of points achieved in the mystery shopper evaluation: GOLD

final score from 4.51 to 5.00


final score from 4.01 to 4.50


final score from 3.51 to 4.00

• A minimum of 15 years international experience in organising congresses and events; • Knowledge of the Slovenian and international standards of congress tourism with specific knowledge of standards control: DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm), ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers), APEX (Accepted Practice Exchange), AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres), MPI (Meetings Professionals International); • Knowledge of the trends in the congress industry in the domestic and international markets; • Recognising the specific needs and wishes of participants; • Knowledge of the key factors that influence the choice of destination for a congress event; • Knowledge of all the elements necessary for the successful execution of a congress (technical requirements, catering services, additional offers, safety, protocol, etc.); In addition, all the assessors have verified references from the event organisation and congress industry, which ensures an unbiased view on behalf of the client and maximal reliability of the method.

Assessment category

Number of criteria

A. First online contact with the purchaser


B. General impression on arrival at the hotel


C. Entrance hall - lobby


D. Employee behaviour


E. Reception


F. Hotel room


G. Hotel bed


H. Bathroom and toilet


I. Hotel breakfast


J. Hotel bar


K. Hotel restaurant


L. Toilets


M. Congress halls


N. Spa and Welness


O. Sales process and communication


P. General satisfaction of guest


R. Sustainable practices


RATINGS MATRIx FOR CONGRESS CENTRES The assessment matrix for congress centres contains 376 measurable assessment criteria which are divided into the following categories: Assessment category

Examples of individual certificates

BENEFITS FOR CERTIFIED PROVIDERS 1. Proof and a guarantee of quality of the provider 2. Clear positioning on the international market 3. Comprehensive promotion through all communication channels and Kongres magazine 4. Continuous improvements in the quality of providers 5. Increasing the satisfaction of congress clients and event participants


Number of criteria

A. First impression (digital, direct)


B. Location and accessibility


C. Quality - Entrance hall lobby


D. Quality - Conference space


E. Quality - Conference inventory


F. Quality - Lighting


G. Quality - Acoustic and sound system


H. Quality - Multimedia system


I. Quality - Internet connectivity


J. Access to power and com lines


K. Employee behaviour


L. Business centre


COMPARE THE BEST M. Customer service


N. Safety


O. Security and emergency


P. Additional services


R. Catering


S. Sustainability practices


T. Communication and marketing


Each category is assessed through a share of the assessment criteria and average score which help to ensure improvements in the quality of individual criteria. In addition, as part of the assessment matrix, the following subjective scores are also offered, which can be used to improve communication in the following areas: • Architecture and aesthetics • Reputation and trustworthiness • Communication • Price • Additional offer • Location • FLOP negative surprise • Most outstanding features In this segment the quality of promotional activities can be controlled and improved. The results can be used quickly on social networks.

FORMS OF CO-OPERATION PRICE LIST STANDARD CERTIFICATION This is the basic form of certification that includes the mystery shopper certification process and a report of the results, however, it does not include a workshop with the client. Package price: 895 EUR (VAT not included) The package includes access to a self-assessment form for mystery congress guests (1 night's stay), completion of an assessment matrix, preparation of an analysis, proposals for measures to be taken and presentation of results in the form of a report. The price of the package does not include the direct costs of overnight stays and additional services, which, due to ensuring anonymity, the mystery congress shopper pays by credit card and is refunded by the client by prior arrangement.


This is an upgrade to the standard evaluation that also includes a workshop with the client. Package price: 1,415 EUR (VAT not included) The package includes a visit by a mystery congress guest (1 night's stay), completion of an assessment matrix, preparation of an analysis, proposals for measures to be taken and presentation of results in the form of a 4-hour onsite workshop with the client. The price of the package does not include the direct costs of overnight stays and additional services, which, due to ensuring anonymity, the mystery congress shopper pays by credit card and is refunded by the client by prior arrangement.


As part of this package a comparison of the performance of services with competitor companies is carried out. Using this method it is easier to find out competitors' advantages and the area in which it is necessary to better the competition. A special offer is made for this evaluation.


Toleranca Marketing has been carrying out research constantly since 2007. Over 350 assessments have been carried out for the needs of the Meetings Star project and for individual clients. Toleranca Marketing guarantees quality through the calibre of its mystery congress guests who are objective, honest, accurate and reliable, as well as being well organised and having a sense for detail.

CERTIFICATION IN PRACTICE 1. The hotel or congress centre enters the process of certification by completing a registration form. 2. As required a meeting is arranged between the hotel or congress centre and an adviser who acquaints them with the process of certification and all the necessary processes. 3. After confirmation of the application, the hotel or congress centre completes an on-line self-assessment. 4. At the latest, within one month of receipt of the self-assessment, a mystery guest visit is carried out at the hotel or congress centre. 5. Within 14 days of the mystery shopper visit, the client is sent a report with the results of the assessment. 6. Dependent on the chosen package, a workshop is carried out with the client where proposals for improvements and the entire results of the certification are presented. 7. Following the certification process, the hotel or congress centre receives an assessment certificate in physical form that can be displayed in the hotel reception. 8. Each certificate awarded is accompanied by a comprehensive PR campaign in Kongres magazine which includes an interview with the management and a one-page presentation of the provider. 9. All the assessed hotels also compete for a Meetings Star award, which is bestowed to the best, annually, at the Conventa trade show. 10. The validity of the certificate is two years, thereafter a process of recertification takes place. 99


Congress Standards: The Toleranca Marketing team has prepared Congress Standards that form the basis of the operation of the Slovenian Congress Bureau. The model has been based on comparable Europe models of business excellence. The Standards were first awarded in 2008. There is no comparable model in use in Europe, though numerous copies exist.


Origin of certification: The preparation of certification is based on existing standards and recommendations from the area of business tourism, such as those published by DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm), ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers), APEX (Accepted Practice Exchange), AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres), MPI (Meetings Professionals International) and other professional associations operating in the area of congress activities.


Since 2007: The evalution of hotels and congress centres has been present on the market for 12 years. On the basis of field work, Toleranca Marketing is continuously upgrading the methodology which today takes the form of a sample measurement and is the only company in the world using mystery guests related specifically to the requirements of congress organisers.


Added value – free promotion: All certified partners are promoted intensively through the promotional channels of Kongres magazine. In the past 10 years the portal has won the trust of domestic and international events organisers. According to official statistics about the portal's reach (Alexa and Google), it is ranked among the top 5 portals with the highest reach in Europe. Every day the portal is visited by on average 250-300 various event organisers who view 800-900 pieces of content.


Measurable results: More than 310 assessed hotels (151 for the requirements of Meetings Star and 159 for individual clients). Each hotel is evaluated using 490 assessment criteria. Additional information TOLERANCA MARkETING d.o.o. Štihova 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia P: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 E:





Explore the emerging destinations of New Europe over a cup of coffee.

23 - 24 JANUARY 2019 |

Ljubljana, Slovenia

REBOOK YOUR STAND and START WITH MARKETING ACTIVITIES NOW! The 2018 trade show once again demonstrated why Conventa deserves the ti tle of the leading business-to-business event in the area of meeti ng industry in New Europe! It surpassed all expectati ons with: • its personal touch and unforgettable experience it offered to all participants • the largest number of international meeting planners in the history of the show (together with regional and Slovenian buyers over 280 ) • congress destinations were presented in the highest number so far (18) • the organizers recorded a highest number of pre-arranged meetings (3.125) • the best and most extensive educational program was offered (over all 3 days)

So make sure you jump on the bandwagon now to: • be among the first to secure your place at the 2019 trade show • save money and take advantage of the Super Saver Booking rate • take advantage of all Conventa marketing and PR activities • attract the hosted buyers attention at an early stage and build a relationship before the show

We keep our promise and we promise to deliver: • international and regional hosted buyers of the highest quality • one2one meetings and plenty of chances to network • your exposure and introduction to the key meeting industry audience 365 days a year • great support and an unforgettable Conventa experience

Conventa promises to stay a boutique trade show focused on quality, not quantity! So ensure your place on the meetings industry map and continue to be a part of the Conventa magic. For more information about rebooking the stand please go to or write to Mrs. Natalija bah Čad at or call us at +386 1 430 51 03.






The 11th edition of Conventa Experience will take place from 23–24 January 2019 in Ljubljana followed by the post-fam trips to the most interesting venues and destinations in the region of New Europe.

Because Conventa is:

85% of hosted buyers who attended the 10th Conventa said that their attendance has exceeded their expectations. As the main reasons they stated: • quality of the venue, size and set-up of the trade show • friendliness and effectiveness of the trade show organiser • networking opportunities • personal experience at the pre- and postevent fam trips

• BOUTIQUE – small in size and big in quality and hospitality • REGIONAL – presenting venues, DMC-s, CVB-s from the region of New Europe • (Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine) • PROFESSIONAL – organised by professionals for professionals for the 11th year in a row • FRIENDLY – networking and relaxed atmosphere helping providers and clients to become business partners • HANDS-ON – unique opportunity to personally experience the region As a boutique trade show Conventa can accept no more than 200 hosted buyers. More information on Terms, conditions and application can be found at

WHAT ExHIBITORS LIkE ABOUT CONVENTA? Conventa is opening its door for the 11th time in a row to conference hotels, centres, destinations, DMC’s, PCO’s, event agencies from the region of New Europe. 96% exhibitors that attended 10th Conventa said they would attend the next edition. On average they had 33 One2One meetings in 2 days, 22 of them pre-scheduled and 11 arranged on site, at the table or during the social events. What exhibitors at Conventa 2018 liked the most: • One2One meetings and networking opportunities • The quality of hosted buyers • Friendly hosts, good energy everywhere • The concept of the event and stand design • Free coffee, snacks and drinks all day long

WHY WOULD YOU JOIN CONVENTA AS ExHIBITOR? Because Conventa is: • REGIONAL – presenting venues, DMC-s, CVB-s from the region of New Europe • (Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine) • PERSONAL – personal approach with hand-shake is still the best way to establish loyal and trustful relationship with potential clients • PROFESSIONAL – organised by professionals for professionals for the 11th year in a row. Using the very strict criteria only those who have a serious interest in the region and a real purchasing power are confirmed as hosted buyers


• FRIENDLY – networking and relaxed atmosphere helping providers and clients to become business partners As Conventa exhibitor you will be a part of all year-round promotional activities. The promotion is based on the constantly growing database of potential invited guests and tools such as Conventa website, newsletters, social networks and Kongres Magazine. As a boutique trade show Conventa can accept no more than 130 exhibitors. More information on packages, prices and registration can be found at







CONVENTA IS ON THE RIGHT TRACk The results of exhibitors and hosted buyers confirm the quality of the event "Conventa is a boutique, and one of the most well-organised shows in Europe" Conventa has been connecting the meetings industry of 'New' Europe for 10 successive years. In this time it has welcomed 2,286 hosted buyers from 48 countries and 1,192 exhibitors from 17 countries around the world. Numerous professionals from the meetings and events industry have added Conventa to their annual calendar and describe it as an unmissable event for the profession. According to the results of a survey carried out among hosted buyers and exhibitors, the 10th jubilee Conventa has been written into congress history in terms of the number of international hosted buyers (185) and the best results from the satisfaction survey. The organisers of Conventa are therefore proud to present the results of the survey, which confirm the high professionalism and excellence of the event and the satisfaction of all those involved. HOSTED BUYERS The 10th Conventa was attended by 185 international meeting planners, of whom approximately 30 were from region, and more than 100 from the domestic Slovenian meetings industry market. The meeting planners came from 45 countries. Below are the summarised key results of the survey: • On a scale from 1-5, the average score for satisfaction with the event was a high 4.56 • On a scale from 1-5 the reputation of the event received an average score of 4.59, which is the highest score in the history of Conventa. • 85% of hosted buyers responded that participation at Conventa exceeded their expectations. • On average, hosted buyers held 29 meetings at the event. Among the individual scores, hosted buyers gave the following areas the highest scores: Quality of the venue and set-up of the trade show

score 4.63

Friendliness and effectiveness of the show's organiser

score 4.62

Registration procedure at the show

score 4.55

Conventa sustainable measures

score 4.54

Networking opportunities

score 4.46

Almost 83% of hosted buyers agreed that the timetable of meetings more than exceeded their expectations. The majority of hosted buyers responded to the organisers' personal invitation to attend the event. Detailed analysis of the results of the survey show that the main reason for attending Conventa was meetings between exhibitors and hosted buyers (90% of exhibitors) and networking (65% of exhibitors). In addition, they attended the trade show in order to discover new destinations, find new partners and create new business contacts. On average, meeting planners held 29 meetings. Although hosted buyers pledged in advance to hold a minimum of 15 meetings, in reality a significantly greater number were held. Among the 29 business meetings held, 18 were agreed in advance via the one2one system, five were carried out on-site, and six as part of social events. Satisfaction with the content of the meetings was rated by attendees as 4.45. Personal experience remains the most important element. Conventa also ensured a comprehensive personal experience of individual destinations. Hosted buyers rated study trips and the personal experience of the destinations very highly. The 104

highest scores were received for the following study trips: Post-tour to Bohinj 25 - 27 January 2018

score 4.75

Post-tour to Bled 25 – 27 January 2018


Post-tour to Montenegro 26 - 28 January 2018

score 4.60

Pre-tour to Ljubljana 22 – 23 January 2018

score 4.57

Post-tour to Portoro and Piran 25 – 27 January 2018

score 4.53

Business will most likely be directed to destinations. Feedback from hosted buyers shows that, as a result of their attendance at Conventa, they will likely direct business to destinations (4.56), hotels (4.38), congress venues (4.29), and incentive provider (4.29). The scores in this segment are significantly higher than in previous years. What kind of 'rhythm' will hosted buyers experience at Conventa 2019. We also surveyed hosted buyers regarding the kind of musical style that would be best for Conventa 2019. The absolute winner was rock (12.7%), followed by world music (11.8%) and dance music (10%). Positive feedback after the event Conventa is the right place to create business with the regions of ‘New’ Europe and Central Europe.

CONVENTA ADDENDUM The organisers of Conventa are encouraged by the great amount of positive feedback received after the event. Over 50 such statements were received, and some of the most interesting are gathered below.

"The ConventatTrade show 2018 will remain in history as a shining star in our event galaxy. It was a great pleasure to meet all of you, and to explore, meet and create with you! " Tatiana Stoimenova, Image in Travel Ltd.

"I wanted to write and thank you personally for being such wonderful hosts at Conventa 2018. It is with great pleasure that I inform you that we have already booked a large event in one of the properties I met through Conventa, and we have another 3 on the way! I look forward to next year!" Yasemin Türko�lu, Sojourn Travel

"Conventa is a very well organised and professional fair where there aren’t just the usual ‘blablabla’ meetings, but effective working and meaningful meetings. A ‘must do’ to discover the ‘New’ Europe. Thank you for your invitation." César Clemente, Clube Gaivotas by Sottotou

"Conventa is the most sympathic trade fair iI have visited. Very friendly staff. Very well organised." Dieter Krasa, Mondial GmbH & CoKG, Vienna "A wonderful atmosphere, very impressed with the attention paid to every detail, from the look and feel of the space, to the design of the hall and lobby, to the entire format, very professionally organised and extremely friendly people! I felt very much welcomed :) Thank you and congratulations!" Dorina Nas/HelmsBriscoe "It was the first time for me at Conventa. I was really impressed by the great organisation and care of the Conventa Team. Nothing was forgotten and all the participants were involved and wishing to enjoy and get the best from this networking experience. Everything was perfect so I really don't know how it's possible to improve it. I didn’t attend any educational sessions as I didn't have any spare time! A great welcome, great organisation, great "meeting people". Thank you for the great opportunity to visit your destination and meet so many interesting exhibitors and hopefully future partners." Flavia Pizzini "I would like to express my great compliments to the Conventa team for the excellent organisation of the one2one meetings and the whole logistics related to this exhibition. Thank you!" Zuzana Janovská, Touristic Travel Prague, Ltd "An excellent trade show that gives you the opportunity to meet quality vendors not only from Slovenia, but from the surrounding regions as well. A show that should not be missed." Dr. Abe Korn / Worldwide Meeting & Event Services "I admire the consistency of the GREEN Tourism concept at Conventa 2018, from the wooden decor to the paper name badges, and it will surely attract the right crowd to the region. It was great to see many serious hardworking forces during the conference, especially young people who are sincere about professionalising the tourism industry. The service staff and the management did a great job in preparation and execution! The well co-ordinated effort of the caterers, suppliers, and organisers helped the delegates and participants fulfill their business goals and have an amazing experience beyond the destinations!" Maria Riikonen, Sunbee Tours and Travel, Finland

ExHIBITORS "Conventa is small and cute" A record 96% of exhibitors confirmed that they would attend Conventa again, whilst nearly all (99.8%) would also recommend it to their colleagues in the industry. At the jubilee Conventa 119 providers of congress services from 15 countries presented their services. Participation in the trade show is certain to have paid-off through the acquisition of important business contacts. Below are the summarised key results of the survey among exhibitors: • On a scale from 1-5, the average score for satisfaction with the event was a high 4.36 • 95.4% of exhibitors stated that the quality was the same or higher than the costs of exhibiting • 91.9% of exhibitors are certain that their investment in exhibiting at Conventa will pay-off • Exhibitors held a record average number of 33 meetings at the event. Among the individual scores, exhibitors gave the following areas the highest scores: Friendliness and effectiveness of the show's organiser

score: 4.53

Registration procedure at the show

score: 4.46

Overall satisfaction with the show

score: 4.36

Quality of trade show set-up

score: 4.30

Effectiveness and timeliness of communication

score: 4.18

A record number of 33 meetings were held According to the opinion of exhibitors, the success of their participation at Conventa was greatly influenced by the quality of the hosted buyers and the number of meetings held. The number of meetings held was given an average score of 4.16. On average, exhibitors held a record number of 33 meetings. Among the 33 business meetings that took place, 22 were arranged in advance via the web 105

booking system, five were held on-site, and six took place as part of social events. The booking system for setting up meetings was rated as easy to use and given an average score of 4.01. The quality and satisfaction of hosted buyers that attended Conventa was also given a high score by exhibitors of 4.07. The quality of hosted buyers influences the success of attendance for exhibitors Exhibitors take part in Conventa mainly due to the opportunities to hold face-to-face meetings with hosted buyers (93.2%). The second reason stated by exhibitors was networking opportunities with colleagues from the congress industry (63.5%), and the third for the range of hosted buyers from Europe (62.2%). 57% of exhibitors held up to 5 top-notch meetings that could result in potential business. 31% of exhibitors held up to 10 top-notch meetings that could result in potential business. In total, exhibitors assessed that 8.6 of meetings had the highest potential for achieving new business. We surveyed exhibitors regarding what they like most about Conventa. Below we have chosen 10 of the most interesting responses: 1. The friendliness of organisers and attendees 2. The environmentally-friendly approach 3. The networking programme and catering 4. Everything was close-by so no lengthy transfers 5. The Conventa atmosphere 6. Great hosted buyers 7. The opportunity to meet so many people from different countries 8. The face-2-face meetings 9. Free water, café, snacks and other drinks at the exhibition centre 10. Good energy everywhere and a family feeling What kind of 'rhythm' will exhibitors experience at Conventa 2019 We also surveyed hosted buyers regarding the kind of musical style that would be best for Conventa 2019. The absolute winner was rock (37.9%), followed by jazz (37.8%) and pop music (31.2%). Conventa Trend Bar 2018 Almost 80% of exhibitors welcomed the idea of hosted buyers being able to find out more about individual destinations though the educational events at the Conventa Trend Bar. The most interest was show in the following themes: • New incentive product development • Event marketing • Event planning • Social media marketing

CONVENTA ADDENDUM More than 50 locations for hosting events were suggested. The organisers of Conventa will gather the most interesting among the suggestions and publish them by the end of February. More than 30% of exhibitors said that the quality of services exceeded their expectations In general, exhibitors were satisfied with the trade show and accompanying events. An unbelievable 92% think that their investment in Conventa will pay-off in full, or at least partly. Some of the exhibitors shared their experience with the event's organisers: "Over 30 quality meetings with hosted buyers from CEE countries, the DACH region, the rest of Europe and the world. The numerous impecca-

bly-organised networking events are a great opportunity to generate new leads that should not be ignored by any serious hotel companies in the region!" Primoz Golob, Best Western Hotels Central Europe "A perfectly-organised exhibition with friendly staff and a high quality of one2one meetings" Gerald Wenger, Bad Hofgastein "The variety of hosted buyers was selected very carefully to offer quality meetings and networking opportunities." David Pobjecky, x-bionic® sphere "Conventa offers an amazing opportunity to meet people from around the world in just one place who are very interested in what you have to offer. This

is a hance not to be missed!" Monica Ioanitescu, Parkhotel Pörtschach "I met with very interesting hosted buyers from all over the world within 2 days. Where else could such a fast business growth opportunity happen." Birgit Geieregger, Senior Sales Manager at the Romantik Hotel Schloss Pichlarn "CONVENTA is a trade show that is unique, different in setup and very well organszed." Petra Nestelbacher, Sales Manager bei Wörthersee Tourismus GmbH The 11th Conventa trade show will take place from 23-24 January 2019 in Ljubljana. More information about the event can be found on

CONVENTA IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO CREATE BUSINESS WITH THE REGIONS OF ‘NEW’ EUROPE AND CENTRAL EUROPE Positive feedback about Conventa from exhibitors and hosted buyers At this year’s Conventa, participants from both sides - the 130 exhibitors from ‘New’ Europe and the 290 hosted buyers from 48 countries from around the world - were asked to complete a survey giving feedback on the event. One of the questions in the survey was “If you were satisfied with the trade show, could you perhaps provide a statement which may be used for promotional purposes”. Some very uplifting statements were received, which is proof that Conventa is a proof that Conventa is one of the top MICE industry event.

TOP 10 comments from exhibitors: 1. Conventa is an event with traditional oneon-one meetings that make your appearance on the market more personalised. In my opinion, a personal approach with a hand-shake is still the best way to establish a loyal and trustful relationship between yourself and a potential client. (Janette Škorc) 2. The variety of hosted buyers was selected very carefully to offer quality meetings and networking opportunities. (David Pobjeck) 3. Conventa is the best meeting show in the MICE industry with a focus at the Balkan region. 4. The show must go on! 5. Conventa offers an amazing opportunity to meet people from around the world in just one place who are very interested in what you have to offer. This is a chance not to be

missed! (Monica Ioanitescu) 6. One of the best events in the business. 7. I met with very interesting hosted buyers from all over the world within two days. Where else could such a fast business growth opportunity happen. (Brigite Geiergger) 8. Conventa is a trade show that is unique, different in setup and very well organised. (Petra Nastelbacher) 9. Efficient appointments with international buyers in a sympathetic location. 10. Over 30 quality meeting with hosted buyers from CEE countries, the DACH region, the rest of Europe and the world and numerous impeccably-organised networking events is a great opportunity to generate new leads that should not be ignored by any serious hotel companies in the region! (Primo Golob)

TOP 10 comments from hosted buyers: 1. It was an event full of life, positive energy, great music, smiling faces and abundance of LOVE! (Vesna Lešnik) 2. Excellent organisation and fruitful meetings. It is really worth participating in Conventa! (Anna Kraszewska) 3. Conventa is one of the B2B conferences for MICE professionals that should not be missed. Great networking opportunities and excellent people from the MICE indus106

tries, all in one great venue! (Eduardo Ygot) 4. The Conventa tradeshow is an excellent opportunity to familiarise yourself with dozens of venues, hotels and tourism groups. It was a fantastic opportunity to fully explore this area all in two days. The team behind the show helps you meet the right people and get the right information. We are looking forward to bringing our group to Slovenia in June! 5. A must for learning about the new destinations in Europe. Simple practical and very professional. (Alberto Ibraz) 6. I admire the consistency of the green tourism concept at Conventa 2018, from the wooden décor to the paper name badges, and it will surely attract the right crowd to the region. 7. Conventa is a small, but one of the most well organised shows in Europe. We love Slovenia, I live Conventa! (Tamas Varga) 8. The 2018 Conventa trade show will remain in history as a shining star in our event galaxy. It was a great pleasure to meet all of you, to explore, meet and create with you! (Tatiana Stoimenova) 9. Convent is a fair that is very well organised and very professional and where there aren’t just the usual ‘blablabla’ meetings but effective working and meaningful meetings. 10. 10 years of hard work. Good job! Thank you very much!



Plava laguna is one of the largest hotel companies in Croatia. Our hotels have conference halls and meeting rooms that can accommodate 10 to 600 people, providing audio-visual and other equipment. Here you will find everything you need for a professional organization of business events while pleasant Mediterranean climate and natural environment will ensure you get the piece and comfort you need. A combination of the pleasant and the useful this might just be the essence of our message and the goal of our offer for the organization of congresses, seminars, work meetings, sympo-

siums, presentations, sports events, weddings, gala dinners, refreshments during work meeting breaks, as well as folklore evenings, special entertainment programs and animation in Plava laguna facilities. After the regular program, we offer relaxation in one of our exceptional outdoor or indoor sports-recreational facilities, gym, swimming pool or wellness. Staying in Istria without getting to know its inland would be a real shame. That is why we organize half-day boat tours, tours of the Istrian


inland with visits to picturesque medieval towns and excursions to Pula, Rovinj, Lim channel, Brijuni, Trieste or Venice. So visit us and find out firsthand why your stay and work in Plava laguna hotels will be truly successful because – Your success is our goal! Info & Reservations: Tel. +385 52 410 229 e-mail:



The towns Crikvenica and Selce are well known addresses amongst both fans of fantastic vacations, as well as people working in the business sector.

nars, meetings, presentations, and conferences. The friendly and experienced hotel staff will gladly help you organize coffee breaks, business lunches and dinners.

Surrounded by beautiful nature at locations that offer an irresistible view of the sea, you will find our 4-stars hotels Omorika, Esplanade and Katarina, up-and-coming meeting places for business partners. Their multi-functional halls, which can be connected to one another, can accommodate 40-337 people.

Hotel Omorika has 115 rooms with the most beautiful view of the island of Krk and the Kvarner Bay, a restaurant that accommodate up to 500 people and a terrace that seats a hundred people.

The halls are equipped with LCD projectors, screens, flipchart boards, microphones and a speaker system, free WIFI access and are suitable for organizing various gatherings, semi-

Hotel Katarina was renovated in 2016 and offers 152 rooms, an indoor and two outdoor swimming pools and a complete renovated wellness area. Hotel Esplanade is a newly renovated hotel,


located next to the main town beach and the promenade. The hotel combines the traditional style with the modern and offers their guests a beautiful new outdoor swimming pool and wellness area. If you would like to let off some steam after your workday, you can do so in the fresh sea air, while playing at the sports facilities, located next to the hotels. Whether you play tennis with a colleague, mini-football, ping-pong, or mini-golf, the choice is yours. For those seeking adventure, there is an adrenaline park located near the hotel Omorika, and if you would just like to enjoy the view of the sea, with your favorite drink in hand, the hotels have several cafĂŠ bars and restaurants.

Nature hides the best inspiration … escape to pure nature Quality standards for business meetings Hotel is known for its great destination for business events and incentives, especially for those who appreciate tradition, quality, pure nature and peace. Many international politicians as well as international business groups are hosting their meetings and events in Logarska dolina. From January 2017 on, guests have, beside up-to date conference facilities, also optic high-speed internet connection on their disposal. Being surrounded with Alps Located in the Logarska dolina Nature park and surrounded by mighty peaks of Kamnik Savinja Alps, gives a special benefit for guests. No noise, no crowd … you can only hear birds singing and waterfall in the background … perfect time to find new ideas! Start your business day with breathing exercises and finish it around the fire pit Successful business events are very important to us … Easy and efficient breathing exercises before business day starts, fill your body with fresh green energy. Moreover, in the evening we prepare fire pit for you, to clear your head while watching million stars in the sky … Hotel Plesnik**** | Logarska dolina 10, 3335 Solčava, Slovenia Phone. +386 3 839 23 00; E-mail: | 109

Highlights: – 42 rooms (more are available in the neighbourhood) – Totally renovated hotel rooms and Alpine Eco Wellness in 2017 – conference facility for up to 120 participants – Location – Nature park with pure nature – High speed internet connection – Boutique hotel – Outdoor activities and animations – Help with organizing team buildings, transfers, guides, programs …

Ljubljana Capital for Great Meetings

A Cool