Kongres Magazine checked how well towns and cities in the region fared on ICCA’s ranking measured during a period of 10 years. Average number of events in the period from 2001 to 2010 and position in 2010 was taken into account. Cities in SE Europe with their meetings and accommodation infrastructure fall in the category of cities appropriate for medium sized and small meetings (up to 2.500 participants). Most of the cities in SE Europe were ranked in the second half of the ranking. The majority of countries and cities in Europe marked a small fall in the number of events, cities in SE Europe marked a smaller fall or even marked a moderate growth.
1. LJUBLJANA, Slovenia
In the past 10 years Ljubljana gained a leading position in the region in terms of meetings of international associations. Excellent infrastructure with two multifunctional Congress Centres and a well developed network of service providers and other meetings infrastructure make Ljubljana extremely attractive to international associations. Development was further enhanced by the scientific potential of the city and numerous scientific and research institutions with experts active in international associations.
ICCA: on average 21,7 events/year, 95th spot in 2010
2. BUCHAREST, Romania
All the paths in Romania lead to Bucharest, which is an administrative, cultural and above all scientific centre and logically also a centre of meetings industry. Knowledge and business opportunities attract a lot of meetings. In the city you will find convention hotels from known hotel groups and alternatively events can also be organised in the impressive conference centre in the parliament which is one of the largest buildings in the world, second only to the US Pentagon.
ICCA: on average 14,8 events/year, 87th spot in 2010
3. GRAZ, Austria
The second largest Austrian city is considerably smaller than Vienna, nevertheless it is still varied enough and has sufficient scientific potential to attract international event organisers. Marketing inventiveness that they are famous for and state financial incentives for scientific events bring numerous international conferences to Graz. Excellent infrastructure is a must and the offer is further improved by reach additional tourist offer of Štajerska region.
ICCA: on average 14,8 events/year, 122nd spot in 2010
4. DUBROVNIK, Croatia
Dubrovnik is the town where the story of regional events tourism is being developed today. Its potential in the field of associations meetings has not yet been used to the maximum. Considering its potential Dubrovnik comes closest to the likes of Cannes and Monte Carlo. Its largest potential lies in the field of corporate and other incentives, once the building of congress centre will be finalised and realised it will also no doubt play an important role in the field of international associations’ meetings.
ICCA: on average 14,1 events/year, 141st spot in 2010
5. THESALONIKI, Greece
The city of the young with Greece’s largest university is logically also the leading Greek events destination in the field of associations. The city hosts seats of 19 international associations and organisations that organise events. Infrastructure in the large city offers hotel conference centres and two large congress centres operated by Hellexpo Company.
ICCA: on average 13,4 events/year, 195th spot in 2010
6. ZAGREB, Croatia
The first impression for a foreigner coming to Zagreb is no doubt central European. Zagreb is not only the cultural and political centre of Croatia. Being a capital it is also among the best developed parts of Croatia in terms of meetings infrastructure. Zagreb boasts the largest concentration of international hotel groups in the region with meetings facilities. The biggest downside is lack of a modern multifunctional congress centre which would give Zagreb a big impetus in the field of associations meetings.
ICCA: on average 12,4 events/year, 82nd spot in 2010
7. BELGRADE, Serbia
The capital with the best night life is also the fastest growing regional meetings and events destination. The main congress centre is the Sava Centre built in times of Yugoslavia. Belgrade builds its meetings and events story on the rich culture, central position in SE Europe and lively social life. Belgrade is like an untreated diamond with incredible development potential and could be placed alongside other meetings and events capitals of the world.
ICCA: on average 12,2 events/year, 55th spot in 2010
8. SOFIA, Bulgaria
The leading congress building for associations is the Palace of Culture (NDK). The palace is the largest regional congress centre with approximately 123.000 m2 of space. Together with the country’s transition a host of conference hotels of well know hotel groups appeared. Today Sofia has approximately 20 hotels with excellent conference facilities and a host of agencies linked in the Sofia Convention Bureau. Among all the regional meetings destinations Sofia has lowest prices.
ICCA: on average 10,3 events/year, 156th spot in 2010
9. PORTOROSE, Slovenia
Portorose host its first large international conference way back in 1921. That was the start of conference tourism. Alongside Bled and Ljubljana Portorose is Slovenia’s most important meetings destination. Conference hotels, history and references, appropriate hotel rooms and incentive offer are the main features of meetings infrastructure.
ICCA: on average 8,0 events/year, 192nd spot in 2010
10. BLED, Slovenia
Bled is one of the strongest icons of the Slovene tourism. Meetings tourism has always represented a key strategy for bridging gaps of the particularly seasonal nature of tourism in Bled. Bled has numerous conference halls and various venues for smaller meetings. Long established meetings tradition is mirrored by complete range of meetings suppliers and complementary services.
ICCA: on average 6,9 events/year, 179th spot in 2010
Novi Sad is climbing slowly the ranks and becoming the second meetings destination in Serbia. The centre of the new development is represented by multifunctional conference centre Master. The Convention Bureau of Novi Sad (established in 2010) will no doubt speed up further development of meetings industry.
ICCA: on average 2,4 events/year, 218th spot 2010