Conventa: business in “New Europe”

A record of 146 exhibitors was registered in another Conventa edition.

The 12th edition of Conventa was noticeable by an exhibitors’ record. Altogether, 146 companies and institutions were present at the main MI fair in the Central European and Balkan region. Region that Miha Kovacic, founder and director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, has dubbed "New Europe". There were mainly exhibitors from this “New Europe” that were showing themselves in Ljubljana, benefiting from a highly democratic format. All had the same available area, with the same furniture. This year, Conventa had 16 new European event destinations.

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Gorazd Cad, Toleranca Marketing; Miha Kovacic, Slovenia Convention Bureau; Tatjana Radovic, Ljubliana Tourism; and Karmen Norvarlic, Slovenia Tourism

In terms of hosted buyers, the event had 253, of which 151 were international, 43 regional and 59 from the host country. 85% of these buyers attended Conventa for the first time. In all, 4000 meetings were pre-scheduled between them and the exhibitors.

The exhibition also featured educational sessions, as well as the 10th edition of the Future Leaders Forum, which included students from four different countries.

This is a very important event to place Slovenia “on the meetings industry map”, said Karmen Norvarlic, from Slovenian Tourism. Tatjana Radovic, from Ljubliana Tourism, said that Conventa is an event they particularly like, especially because they believe in a “boutique show”model. She said that the meetings industry is one of the three strategic segments for the country and the results "are very encouraging". Radovic shared a survey of congresses and events participants, the results of which show that the business tourist spends three times more money than the leisure tourist (about 482 euros per day), spends an average of three nights at the destination (90% in hotels and 10% on Airbnb), and highlights cleanliness, security and friendliness as the greatest assets of the city. 90% of respondents say they plan to return to Slovenia.

Widespread satisfaction

Karina Andrade, from Oriental Viagens e Turismo, was one of the hosted buyers present at this exhibition. To Event Point, she pointed out that the fact that this fair is more boutique, allows “people to be closer, so networking works very well.” She highlights the fair's organisation, which is very effective, and the fact that this is an interesting destination for the Portuguese. “It is a new and very interesting destination, even regarding its price”, says Karina Andrade.

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Karina Andrade

On the exhibitors' side, satisfaction was also dominant. Muge Arbak Korkmaz, from Dekon Group (Turkey), stressed that “hosted buyers were very qualified, decision makers, and it was a success”. “It is a fair that goes on its 12th edition and it keeps getting better every year”, he added. Muge Arbak Korkmaz highlights the exhibition’s format, emphasising “that stands made of natural materials are a very smart option, with a different and effective concept”. Recently Dekon, headquartered in Istanbul, opened a delegation in Slovenia, because it finds this market very attractive, and the service sector is "friendly" and flexible, with everyone speaking English. "It is a quality market, which is not very expensive yet, and has a wide range of infrastructure", he mentioned.

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Muge Arbak Korkmaz

The Tallinn Convention Bureau attended Conventa for the first time as an exhibitor. Meeli Jaaksoo, Convention Manager, could not be more satisfied with the balance of the fair, and she does not hesitate to say that they will return next year. The events format is “perfect”, and allows great networking between hosted buyers and exhibitors. “We didn't expect it to be such a good fair and we didn't expect so many orders and so much interest in Tallinn,” she says, recognising that the hosted buyers were good. Meeli Jaaksoo pointed out that they are looking for new destinations, "and now it is time for the Baltic countries".

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Mari Pever e Meeli Jaaksoo

The Lloret del Mar Convention Bureau (Spain) also attended Conventa for the first time. Montse Belisario realised that the fair had been “a very good experience, we had good meetings and we are pleased”. She said that the hosted buyers quality was interesting and the format of the fair is ideal, allowing several activities. “We like to try new markets, looking for alternative destinations”, she highlights as the main reason for attending Conventa.

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Montse Belisario

Conventa took place from 21st to 23rd January, in several venues in Ljubljana, organised by the Convention Bureau of Slovenia and Toleranca Marketing.


Cláudia Coutinho de Sousa*

* Travelled at Conventa invitation


Cover photo: Marko Delbello Ocepek

Tags: Conventa, Exhibitions, Slovenia