EUROPE - Conventa 2012, the largest professional meetings industry gathering in South East Europe, has opened at the GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, with a record 10 countries represented among the 142 exhibitors.
Show Director Miha Kovacic of the Slovenian Convention Bureau tells CMW he is “very satisfied the fourth edition of the show has again made progress”.
“We have the largest numbers of organising partners yet – 20 and 243 hosted buyers.”
Caroline Hill from Eventful Solutions brought a group of five buyers from the UK, all but one visiting for the first time.
The largest international group of buyers was brought in by Dmitry Smirnov’s Compass Consulting, and there were large groups from Spain, Portugal and Germany.
“We anticipate plenty of meetings and networking opportunities. Our delegates have certainly been impressed with what they’ve seen so far,” says Smirnov.
Organisers expect 800 visitors at the two-day show which was preceded, 17 January, with sessions of the Conventa Academy.
There was a Future Leaders Forum programme, jointly run by IMEX and MPI and CMW Managing Editor Paul Colston joined an international global meetings industry panel discussing economics, politics and the role of the media in the meetings industry.
The keynote presentation came from Paul Bridle, who focused on effective leadership techniques.
Former Reed Travel Exhibitions Director Paul Kennedy MBE has been working as a consultant for Conventa for several years and says that four years of hard work is paying off.
“The biggest challenge is to get local politicians and corporate establishment to understand the economic potential of the meetings industry,” Kennedy tells CMW.
“Hotels in emerging destinations can be predominantly leisure focused. Now they see a show like Conventa can be a marketing investment for themselves and for Slovenia as a whole.”
Many of the hosted buyers have been exploring some of Slovenia’s resorts and conference destinations, as well as neighbouring states, such as Croatia and Bosnia.
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