Q: What does becoming a member of the Conventa Hall of Fame mean to you?
I am very surprised and honored to have been included on the list of persons who have contributed to the development of the meetings industry. This nomination is an incentive and motivation, as well as an obligation to work more intensively on the further development of Montenegro as a meeting and incentive destination. I am also very excited that this award is given by Conventa, one of the region’s most important exhibitions for the meetings industry.
Q: You’ve been in the meetings industry for a very long time – what inspires you?
As a relatively new destination for meetings Montenegro has up to now been mostly recognized as an ideal destination for incentive travel, due to its natural beauty and diverse offer. However, last year we carried out research and will start to bid more intensively for smaller international association congresses, in line with what our congress capacities can facilitate. New activities, meeting new people and implementing processes which show how a destination is changing and improving is what motivates me. In the past year Montenegro acquired several new hotel brands, including Hilton, CentreVille and Sheraton, which will attract new business guests and contribute to a much better destination image.
Q: You have contributed a lot to the development of the meetings industry. What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?
Cooperation between the public sector and the tourism industry, and their mutual cooperation, is the key to the success of a destination. With our combined efforts we manage to get the best results. A good example of this was the organisation of the annual congress for the German Tourism Association, with around 900 professionals from the field of tourism who visit different destinations each year. Their assessment was that the congress held in Montenegro was one of the best they had ever attended. All of this is the result of joint efforts and good coordination with the local companies. This includes not just hotels, but also transport providers, local producers, guides and all of those involved directly in the organisation of events.
Q: What changes would you like to see happen in the meetings industry in 2017?
I would like to see investment in the construction of a modern convention centre in Montenegro and I would like the Government to pay more attention to this type of tourism. We should take better care of environment, too. I would also like to see tighter cooperation within the region, or within Southeast Europe, and in 2017 to be able to already apply for joint projects to be financed from the EU funds.
Q: What is your prediction for the future of meetings?
Security and safety will certainly have a major effect on future events – we have witnessed that this year – and companies will be more careful in selecting destinations for their events. On the other hand, with new technological possibilities there will be the opportunity to quickly exchange opinions and information and have new forms of learning.
Q: What has been the greatest idea you have ever had?
I would not say that this was entirely my idea…but rather that it was the idea of an entire team working at a congress. Namely, it was an obligation for the destination to make bags for the congress delegates – specially designed congress bags that were made of wool and with details from the Montenegrin national costume. To make these bags 54 ladies were engaged from the mountain region of Montenegro, most of whom had been unemployed. In addition to our idea to provide congress participants with an authentic hand-made Montenegrin product, the initiative for this action resulted in the inclusion of handicrafts into the range of tourism products.
Q: Do you have any regrets in your life or your career?
I would not say that I have any specific regrets about my career; I am very happy with the way my career developed. Certain things I could have done in a different way, but all of these decisions shaped me into the person I am today.
Danica Banjevic thank you speech