South East Europe
Meetings Industry Magazine
Current job responsibilities?
Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau Manager.
In your opinion, have things changed in the past years and, if so, how? What industry trends are you witnessing?
The international meetings and incentive market witnesses constant change brought about by new requirements of the representatives of the convention and incentive industry customers. The meetings are of shorter duration and great attention is paid to the so-called ‘green factor’ in the organisation of meetings and incentives. The meeting and incentive offer adjusts to those requirements.
What impact will the financial crisis have on your destination?
In 2009, the financial crisis and recession had the impact of a decrease in the number of meetings and their participants in Croatia, just as was the case world-wide. The year of 2011 is the year of recovery, which is supported by the following data: as already said, in 2009 a decrease in the number of meetings and participants in comparison to 2008 was recorded. The number of meetings decreased from 6,000 in the record year of 2008 to 4,900 and the number of participants dropped from 500,000 to 390,000. Already in 2010, stabilisation and growth by a few percent occurred, and the recovery began in 2011.
What are the biggest challenges facing events in your country?
Organisers have to make do with smaller budgets, which means quality service and facility programmes need to be procured for less money.
What were your key achievements as a director of the Croatia Convention Bureau?
High-quality organisation and functioning of the Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau, as well as of the convention bureaux of the lower-level systems. High-quality realisation of ambitious programmes, marketing and Croatia’s placement on the international convention and incentive market.
Which destinations are currently popular for meetings in Croatia and why? Also, which Croatian destinations will become increasingly popular for meetings and events in the future and why?
The popular congress destinations in Croatia are: Zagreb, Central Croatia, Slavonia, Istria, Kvarner, Lika-Karlovac and Dalmatia, with the regions of Zadar, Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik. Moreover, the Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau works intensely on promoting the above destinations and we believe their popularity will keep growing. Croatia’s entire territory is included in the meeting and incentive activity and it is integrally placed on the international meeting and incentive market.
How green is the Croatian meetings industry?
According to world standards, a large number of meeting hotels and DMCs apply the ‘green factor’ to the maximum extent in organising meetings and incentives.
As a professional, what annoys you most about the industry?
For years now, I have been advocating the need to build multifunctional, so-called ‘smart congress centres’ in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Opatija and Istria.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with people.
What is Croatia Convention Bureau added value for member and for buyers?
The public and private sectors operate in excellent synergy.
What is Croatia’s ‘X factor’?
Croatia is financially both attractive and competitive, considering the quality it offers in the organisation of conventions and incentives. In addition to that, safety, a preserved environment and quality fresh water are very important. Croatia is a renowned and famous congress and incentive destination on the meeting and incentive market. Its congress and incentive structure is characterised by a high-quality congress infrastructure that includes congress hotels, DMCs, PCOs, the national airline company ‘Croatia Airlines’ and other transport companies, as well as all the other services related to the organisation of international meetings – information equipment rental services, translation services, etc. Croatia is a safe destination for convention participants, with excellent traffic connections to the entire world, and its favourable geographic location in the centre of Europe is of key importance. The richness of the cultural, gastronomic and sports and recreational offer, as well as the value for money it offers, make it an attractive destination for organisers and participants alike.