STA, 23 January 2019 - Conventa 2019, the 11th exhibition for convention tourism in SE Europe, got under way at Ljubljana's Gospodarsko Razstavišče fairgrounds on Wednesday. The two-day meeting features 125 exhibitors from 15 countries and 178 invited guests from 44 countries.
Miha Kovačič, one of the chief organisers, told the press that Conventa's focus was on countries in Eastern and SE Europe. These are considered as developing and exotic destinations and are in high demand among the organisers of business trips.
He said that the meeting had become a must for many operators in the region, while the idea is also to attract as many new clients as possible each year so that new ties can be forged. As many as 90% of the foreign organisers of business meetings are new to Conventa this year.
The biggest increase was recorded among exhibitors from the Western Balkans, which is a result of a stabilisation of the region, Conventa co-founder Gorazd Čad also noted.
Meanwhile, Karmen Novarlič of the Slovenian Tourist Board highlighted the major potential that congress tourism holds for Slovenia.
An average convention guest spends at least three-times as much as a holiday guests, with a 2018 survey for Ljubljana for instance putting the average daily expenditure of convention guests at EUR 511.
The other key advantage of convention tourism is that it is not tied to the main tourism season. Two thirds of such guests come to Slovenia in periods other than the summer season.
Novarlič expects the industry to continue growing in Europe, with Slovenia having worked in recent years on being discovered as a convention destination.
Presenting a challenge in Ljubljana for example are conference as well as hospitality capabilities, as well as the capabilities of the Ljubljana airport.
The capital can presently host events with around 2,000 participants, provided that venues and hotels operate in a coordinated fashion, Jan Oršič of the Ljubljana Congress Office illustrated.