CONVENTA- THERE IS NO SUSTAINABILITY WITHOUT PERSISTENCE

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Sustainable transformation of the meetings industry takes centre stage for Conventa’s 15th anniversary

Ljubljana transformed into the central meeting hub for regional event organisers last night. The premier and oldest event within the regional meetings industry is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Celebrations will continue until 2 February 2023, with 147 hosted buyers from 30 countries set to convene with 95 exhibitors from 15 regional countries. Conventa already started on Monday with pre-fam trips to several destinations. Attendees will again attend the fam trips after two days at the iconic trade show, where they will conduct 2,500 business meetings.

The opening ceremony took place in the Grand Plaza Hotel, where the organisers awarded the Conventa Hall of Fame Award and Conventa Ambassador Award. This year, Umanotera – The Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development and ClimatePartner received the coveted Conventa Hall of Fame Award. Both esteemed companies co-crafted the sustainable transformation of Conventa and helped the project claim the title of the best green and sustainable event in the world at the Bea World Festival. The Conventa Ambassador Award was awarded to Natascha Ringerthaler from Salzburg Convention Bureau. Renowned as a great advocate of Conventa, she has been promoting regional connections for years. At Conventa, she actively promotes the region of Salzburg.

Commenting on the awards, Miha Kovačič, the co-founder of Conventa, stressed: “The awards and the trade show celebrate fifteen years this year. Each year, we are taken aback by new stories of organisations and individuals who achieve excellence and help co-create the story of Conventa. We cannot imagine Conventa without their help and trust in our project.”

At the award ceremony, attendees were greeted by the Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, Maja Pak M.Sc., who highlighted the importance of the meetings industry’s sustainable transformation: “In 2022, Slovenian tourism nearly reached pre-pandemic numbers according to the number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays. In terms of international travel in 2022, we have already surpassed those numbers. We are glad that live events are coming back and that tourists are returning to our country and region. The 15th anniversary of Conventa gathered numerous key stakeholders of the regional meetings industry, a sector that greatly contributes to creating added value in tourism, particularly in the off-season.”

“Conventa fosters connections and the creation of world-class events. At the same time, it is a record-setting event. Sustainability, the common, green thread of Slovenian tourism, has also resonated with Conventa. At Conventa Green Island, the Slovenian Tourist Board, Ljubljana Tourism and ClimatePartner share good practice cases in sustainability, thus ensuring that the broader meetings industry continuously reduces its carbon footprint in the future and increases value for all stakeholders in tourism. As the proud partner of Conventa, we have been looking forward to conducting successful meetings at the trade show and improving the entire meetings industry since the first edition.”

Photo: Marko Delbello Ocepek

Conventa made a pledge to sustainability. Hence, the organisers will again measure the carbon footprint of the event. They cooperate with ClimatePartner, which calculated that 88% of all carbon emissions were related to transport. That is why the organisers focused predominantly on the challenge of transportation. They successfully convinced 29,5% of hosted buyers to opt for sustainable mobility (train, car sharing, bus). According to Gorazd Čad, positive and encouraging communication can achieve long-lasting change. He emphasised: “By measuring our carbon footprint every year, we can measure our progress and improve in the most problematic segments. The measures in our green handbook are crucial, and we will evolve them year-on-year.”

One of the highlights will be the Meetings Star Award Ceremony, which will award the best meeting destinations, venues and individuals. The awards, considered the Michelin stars of the meetings industry, will be awarded on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, at 19.00 in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev dom.

The organisers have announced several novelties for this year’s edition:

Conventa Green Handbook

Conventa will implement an array of measures that will help save the environment. The organisers have gathered their recommendations in a comprehensive handbook that you can download at the following link: https://conventa.si/zeleni-prirocnik/.

Conventa Green Island

In cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board, Ljubljana Tourism and Climate Partner, the organisers will introduce the Conventa Green Island, where attendees will learn about sustainable practices and see how they can actually reduce the carbon footprint of an event.

Carbon footprint measurement

This year too, the carbon footprint will be precisely measured. Conventa will cooperate with Climate Partner, an esteemed company for measuring carbon footprint. Measuring the event’s CO2 emission will help the organisers prioritise further steps in line with the project’s sustainable criteria.

Conventa Trend Bar Live

Conventa’s educational programme, which took place online during the year, will take place in person during Conventa. The educational track features captivating talks about novelties in event organising. Expert speakers will share the latest news about up-and-coming venues, trends and valuable tips.

Meeting of Slovenian Congress Ambassadors

The Slovenian Congress Ambassador Programme has had a noticeable impact on Slovenia’s success in the internationalisation of science, sports and economy. The first convening of the Slovenian Congress Ambassadors in 2023 will take place during Conventa. The Slovenian Tourist Board will organise the meeting.

Conventa’s growing partner network

Two new partners joined Conventa’s network of partners in 2022. The first is Hotel Four Points By Sheraton Ljubljana Mons, one of the leading hotels in Ljubljana. The second partner to join is Visual Group Adriatic, a high-tech company spearheading state-of-the-art multimedia technology and technical support.

Gorazd Čad outlined the event’s regenerative effects: “The organisers see Conventa as a facilitator of development for the meetings industry in Ljubljana and the region. Conventa spearheads change and is the ideal think-tank for testing and innovating in sustainable and regenerative transformation. Conventa is not only a means to multiply financial benefits and achieve constant growth but is also crucial for sustainable development and regeneration. Event organising based on a sustainable approach contributes to Ljubljana’s prosperity and has multiplicative effects on the community. Conventa follows the new strategy of Ljubljana’s meetings industry and thus represents a good practice case.”

In fifteen years, Conventa has hosted 3479 hosted buyers from 47 countries and 1844 exhibitors from 18 countries. The matchmaking system has recorded 46,263 meetings thus far.

SUMMARY OF STATISTICAL DATA – CONVENTA 2023

CONVENTA’S HOSTED BUYERS
Number of confirmed hosted buyers147
Number of confirmed hosted buyers from the Alpe-Adria region33
Number of confirmed hosted buyers from Europe, the USA and the Middle East114
Number of hosted buyer countries30
CONVENTA’S EXHIBITORS
Number of exhibitors at Conventa90
Number of exhibitors in the Experience Zone5
Number of exhibitor countries15
Index hosted buyers/exhibitors63
NUMBER OF MEETINGS AND FAM TRIPS
Number of pre-arranged meetings2,600
Average number of conducted meetings per exhibitor31
Number of fam trips before Conventa4
Number of fam trips after Conventa4
SUMMARY OF THE MEETINGS STAR COMPETITION 2022/2023
Number of evaluated and certified meeting destinations (33 countries)125
Number of evaluated and certified hotels and convention centres (18 countries)238
Number of nominated influencers of the meetings industry (23 countries)242
Number of awards for winners in all categories14

CONVENTA FORGES AHEAD WITH AN INSPIRING TWO-DAY SPECTACLE

The Conventa experience wowed attendees with an eventful programme and captivating show

Conventa celebrated its 15th anniversary in jubilant fashion. The Meetings Star Awards Ceremony featured an unforgettable evening, honouring the best destinations, hotels and influencers in the regional meetings industry. In two days of the trade show, attendees could meet future partners and clients, explore Ljubljana’s diverse offer and learn about sustainable transformation. Conventa 2023 facilitated more than 2,500 business meetings.

The established two-day trade show culminated in an evening dedicated to the Meetings Star competition, now in its 13th edition. Considered the Michelin stars of the meetings industry, the awards were announced in Gallus Hall at Cankarjev dom. The host of the evening, Klemen Slakonja, announced the winners in three main categories:

A. Best Meeting Destinations in 2022/2023

Among 125 evaluated destinations from 33 countries, winners were announced in four categories (XL, L, M and S destinations) and an additional category comprising destinations in New Europe.

B. Best Meeting Hotels and Convention Centres in 2022/2023

Among 238 certified hotels from 18 countries of New Europe, the Meetings Star Award honoured the winners in five categories (city, resort, spa, boutique meeting hotels and convention centres).

C. Most Influential People in 2022/2023

The most influential people in the regional meetings industry were selected among 242 candidates from 24 countries. The prestigious award went to Dušan Borvočanin, the CEO of the Serbia Convention Bureau.

Commenting on the awards, Miha Kovačič, the co-founder of Conventa, stressed: “The awards and the trade show celebrate fifteen years this year. Each year, we are taken aback by new stories of organisations and individuals who achieve excellence and help co-create the story of Conventa. We cannot imagine Conventa without their help and trust in our project.”

A push for sustainability

With the help of ClimatePartner, the organisers of Conventa again calculated the carbon footprint of the project. One of this year’s novelties was the Conventa Green Island, where attendees could learn about sustainable practices and see how they can actually reduce the carbon footprint of their event.

The Conventa Trend Bar educational programme addressed future challenges of the meetings industry. A lineup of experts in sustainability and event organising took to the stage at the Conventa Green Island.

Conventa 2023 hosted 146 hosted buyers from 32 countries and 90 exhibitors from 15 countries. The attendees conducted over 2,500 business meetings.

Commenting on the multiplicative effects of Conventa, Gorazd Čad, the co-founder, said:Conventa spearheads change and is the ideal think-tank for testing and innovating in sustainable and regenerative transformation. Event organising based on a sustainable approach contributes to Ljubljana’s prosperity and has multiplicative effects on the community. Conventa follows the new strategy of Ljubljana’s meetings industry and thus represents a good practice case.”