It is difficult to compare Belgrade with other central European capitals such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. It has more in common with Athens, or even Berlin. This Balkan ‘Berlin’ is a city that constantly surprises with new corners, bars, hotels and other attractions. Belgrade is the only metropolis in the territory formerly known as Yugoslavia, and this fact, when combined with authentic Serbian friendliness and hospitality, makes an exceptional combination. Don’t expect shiny infrastructure and a clear historical perspective in Belgrade. A look behind the scenes isn’t altogether positive, fortunately, however, the city has a youthful, colourful and occasionally also Bohemian vibe. Therefore, congress guests will feel great in Belgrade.
NEED TO KNOW 2019
Belgrade is becoming the largest construction site in the Balkans. New hotels are opening one after another. In March this year the superior five-star Hilton hotel and the hip Mama Shelter hotel both opened at the same time. And this is just the start of significant investments in congress infrastructure in the city. March was also the conclusion of a tender for a public-private partnership project to renovate the Sava Centar – the largest congress centre in the Balkans. The sole partner that applied to the tender was the company Delta Holding, which, based on the contract, must invest a minimum of 12.5 million euros, by which it will become a 49% owner of the exceptionally important congress centre. The notorious ‘Belgrade on Water’ project is also very promising, where in 2019 a W. St. Regis hotel is due to open.
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
In terms of the development of incentive programmes in Belgrade, there is no lack of wacky ideas. Quite a number of them are nostalgically-led, and these are the ones we like the best. Whist the former Yugoslovia did not survive the test of time, everything connected to it is still fascinating for foreign visitors, including congress guests. A ride on Tito’s blue train, exploring the brutalist architecture in New Belgrade, and IMT tractor races – these are just some of the many options available from the numerous DMC and incentive agencies.
The range of authentic programmes is also attractive, such as those that allow visitors to find out more about Serbian cuisine, traditions and culture. Among the most popular are Rakia tours and various cookery courses.
Pinjunkie is the trademark of AleksandraTopić, a graphic communication student, who is involved with graphic design, photography, and designing t-shirts and brooches. These have also long been his favourite fashion accessories, therefore he has dedicated himself to them through his trademark. His first collection contains 15 sets, all of which are graphically strong, which is not surprising considering his background.
BEST KEPT SECRETS
Luxurious villas, luxury cars with tinted windows and security cameras warn visitors that they are entering a part of the city which many called ‘Serbia’s Beverly Hills’. In this area there are numerous villas and diplomatic residences, as well as the rich ‘upstarts’ that prospered following the break-up of Yugoslavia – the majority of which in a questionable way. The area was also home to the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević, the turbofolk star Ceca, the widow of the notorious war criminal Željko Ražnatović Arkan, and the ill-reputed Karić family of businessmen. A guided tour of this part of the city is a special experience, where visitors can see the Royal Palace and the White Palace, as well as the House of Flowers mausoleum and the Museum of 25th May – the location of the grave of the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito.
VOICES OF BELGRADE
Igor Kovačević, Serbia Convention Bureau
VOICES OF BELGRADE
Tijana Maljković, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia
VOICES OF BELGRADE
Ksenija Lubarda, Radisson Blu Belgrade