Conference & Meetings World Issue 91 - Page 46

City Report The region must win the attention of leading private sector organisers like MCI or Informa Danube fl ows in favour of MICE EMERGING KNOWLEDGE ECONOMIES AND EU ACCESSION IS DOING MUCH TO IMPROVE SOUTH EAST EUROPE’S APPEAL FOR PRIVATE SECTOR ORGANISERS ith an improving tourism industry, development of knowledge economy in countries previously given over to manufacturing and production, South East Europe is an increasingly tempting home for organisers of large congresses and business events. The EU accession of Croatia, and to a lesser-extent candidacy pitches from this region, including Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, have helped to flag up South East Europe as an attractive prospect for foreign investors and future infrastructure development, supported by EU money, which is opening fresh conference opportunities for international organisers. The EU Danube Strategy, for example, will help to connect and integrate 14 countries in Central and SE Europe with a market of more than 100m people. The development of successful entrepreneurship in this region needs more innovation, education and internationalisation where the conferences and other similar business events can play a vital role in supporting this goal and further developments. According to Berislav Cismek, managing director of the consultancy, broker and EU lobbying company CBBS, the region is renowned for its construction and manufacturing business events, but today we are seeing an expansion in the areas of agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy sources. Croatia is a good example of a country 46 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / Croatia targets midsize market Croatia is one South East European country to develop a new strategy focusing on the mid-size conference market (500 – 1,000 attendees) with the aim of increasing the quality of national MICE infrastructure. A task made easier since its acceptance into the EU in 2013. The country is a well-known tourist destination, located in the heart of Europe, and this year it unveiled two new congress/event centres, the first in the mid-Dalmatian city of Šibenik and the other in the Opatija on the Northern Adriatic. Convention Centre Šibenik is suitable for all types of business meetings and events, with a seating capacity of up to 1,500 in its largest room. The new convention centre features 11 meeting halls in total, 4,000sqm of multi-use conference and exhibition space, with five hotels and 20 restaurants to take care of participants and guests. ISSUE 91 that has become a natural home for a new breed of events in South East Europe. While tourism continues to rise, key emerging industries including renewable energy, ICT/mobile, smart cities, military, creative, food and agri-business are creating new opportunities for matchmaking and education events. And these continue to be developed, albeit largely through one- and two-day long conferences with smaller exhibitions attached; the confex or kongress messen concept, says Cizmek. In most of these cases the organiser is from the business media (newspapers, business portals, associations or chambers), or private companies, developing one or two topics. Cementing the region’s appeal for large-scale congresses and events, requires winning the attention of leading private sector organisers of the likes of MCI or Informa. Privatisation The same holds true for investment necessary to upgrade the region’s largely out-of-date business events infrastructure. The majority of com [Y\[\\وHܛ\H[[XXۙ\\ [H]Y\[X\[Y\[]\[܈YH[YH\\Y[[؜XHH[\][ۘ[[\Y[]ܝXX[H[]\[\BY[ۋ]\[H\YH]BYX\\Hۙ\]HY[ۜY\[HX]\و]]\][ۋ