1: Do association or corporate representatives request subventions to organise a meeting in your destination? If so, what kind?

2: In what way do you support organisations if they choose your destination?

Goran Pavlović, Head of Opatija Convention & Incentive Bureau  

1: It is mainly associations, and rarely corporate, that organise meetings in Opatija and ask for support for their events, but subventions are not very often the case. Subventions are usually approved for international association meetings for subsidising airport transfers due to insufficient regular connections from Zagreb airport. In other cases, Opatija Convention & Incentive Bureau supports organisers of meetings with different services that help them in the promotion or the organisation of the event.

2: According to the organisation’s request and depending on type of event, its significance and importance for Opatija, its size, number of bed nights generated and any other relevant facts,  support is discussed and agreed to the satisfaction of both parties. Support for organisations choosing Opatija for their meeting is usually provided in kind or by way of services. Apart from promotional material about Opatija for meeting participants, special packages for guest speakers and VIPs are prepared. The main support is provided in several ways; most common is the setting-up of the welcome banner over the Opatija main street and roll-ups for the meeting room. Occasionally we also organise a welcome cocktail, sponsor a coffee break or organise an Opatija sightseeing tour or excursion. In case of an international association meeting we may sometimes organise an entertainment program for official ceremonies. In rare cases support can be provided by placing an informative ad to the conference program book or similar documentation.

Support to organisations is very often also provided through the services of the Opatija Convention & Incentive Bureau by obtaining local permits, securing reservation of public buildings for events, communication with the city government and other local institutions, advising about venues and service providers, etc.

Miha Kovačič, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau

1: There are international organisations and PCOs who are organising international association congresses and are asking for support from the hosting destination, but it is also in the interest of the hosting destination that the association congress is a success. In this sense the client and the supply side/destination are working together to the benefit of the congress and its participants. Destinations that are better organised and are aware of the value and benefits of the association congress are prepared to invest more to host a particular congress. And so we come to talk about subventions, which can also be offered in low season dates. Unfortunately Slovenia is not yet at the stage where it could offer subventions for congresses. At the Ljubljana city level we have formed a strategic alliance of the supply side in order to attract more association congresses to the Slovenian capital. In this case we could again talk about subventions.

2: The Slovenian Convention Bureau is offering professional support to organisers seeking to organise an event in Slovenia. In cooperation with our members we prepare national bids. For particular events, in cooperation with the local host we host inspection visits and individual meetings with the supply side. In addition to this we offer assistance with marketing of the destination in order to raise the interest in Slovenia among congress delegates.

Jan Oršič, Project Manager at Ljubljana Tourism / Convention Bureau

1: More and more international associations have started to include subventions as an item in their RFPs or bid guidelines. City subventions therefore represent an increasingly important factor in the destination selection process.

This support varies from destination to destination and includes sponsored events, like welcome receptions, free public transport, reduced rental fees for venues, or even direct financial support. Most often, clients expect the city hospitality, especially with regard to the first two items, which is also our own experience.

2:  In Ljubljana we provide complimentary marketing material, city brochures and maps for delegate packs, pre-marketing support, delegate boosting assistance and an on-site welcome desk with our staff during the event (the latter two for larger events). The Ljubljana CVB also facilitates the involvement of the City Hall / Mayor and is the liaison between the organisers and the destination throughout all stages of the event. Apart from site inspections we often cooperate with clients in the preparation stage and right up to event execution.

This year the Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team has been established as a network of the major suppliers in the destination (congress centres, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, the Ljubljana and Slovenia convention bureaux) with the aim of attracting more international events to the city.  We are currently establishing a support scheme for events with over 500 delegates. For events with less attendees we define the possible support on a case by case basis, also taking into account the individual requirements of the association in question.

Kadri Karu, Managing Director of the Estonian Convention Bureau

1: Companies rarely ask for subventions but associations do that quite often. They are interested in overall support by the destination – both financial and in-kind. In addition, of course, also CVB support in finding the best solutions and right local contacts.

2: The CVB assists organisers with information, contacts and ideas, promotional materials and PR support. We are always there and we are the single point of contact.

The Estonian local government, state organisations, universities and companies sometimes support events financially or in-kind: with free venues, organising social events, and providing their services or products free of charge.

Also, there is a state support scheme introduced by the Estonian Tourist Board/Enterprise Estonia that supports international conferences, cultural and sports events financially. It is not possible to apply directly by international association but there must be an Estonian counterpart, a local organiser, that can apply.

Nik Račić, Director of the Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau of the Croatian National Tourist Board

2:  The Croatian Convention and Incentive Bureau (CCIB) of the Croatian National Tourist Board, as well as individual city and regional convention offices, are helping the potential convention and incentive organisers during candidature presentation phase, presentation organisation, and certain technical elements needed to successfully organise conventions and incentives.

To be more precise, CCIB co-finances the visits of Croatian representatives, professors, PHDs or representatives of organisation committees during the presentation of Croatian candidature for hosting conventions or incentives. It also participates in the expenses of study tours of visitors from international organisations and corporations responsible for making decisions regarding the organisation of a certain convention or incentive. City and regional convention offices also bear accommodation expenses of international corporations’ and organisations’ representatives when a certain convention is held in Croatia, within their destination or region.

CCIB, as well as city and regional convention offices, offer logistic support to convention organisers and in certain cases provide high quality promotional and information material.

Croatia is only able to achieve the high results on the international convention and incentives market thanks to these constant synergic activities. Therefore we very much provide the financial and logistic support for Croatian candidatures, however not through issuing fixed grants, but through targeted support to organisations and individual organisers of conventions and incentives on concrete projects and based on relevant data.

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.