Miha Kovacic, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau
Miha Kovacic, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau

Do you ever wonder just who the top influencers in the Central and South East Europe Meetings Industry are? As the industry rapidly evolves, it’s clear that some key influencers have the same reach and draw as big companies. Individuals matter in a way that has never been possible before.

The Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has once again assessed more than 60 influencers in Central and South East Europe after reviewing highlights from the Meetings industry in 2015 and has based their assessment on several key criteria, such as:

• Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2015, (significantly deviating from the average);
• Implementation of the most demanding improvements and innovations in their field, which also includes successfully implemented projects that have defined the year 2015;
• Help in enhancing the reputation and visibility of the meetings industry in 2015;
• Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or in their way have pointed the direction of the industry in the future.

Based on 260 completed surveys, Kongres magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP 45 most influential people in Central and South East Europe in 2015. They have all contributed to the development of the region and our readers have chosen the best of the best. We have also added 2 newcomers in each category, voted by our readers.

The candidates were divided into 5 categories:

TOP MEETING ARCHITECTS

Miha Kovacic, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau

Miha KOVAČIČ, Slovenian Convention Bureau
Active for a decade as the director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, which enjoys an outstanding reputation abroad. Through a number of innovative marketing and CSR projects he continually nurtures the growth of the Slovenian meetings industry. The editorial board put a particular emphasis on the Conventa project that, as a brand, has become synonymous with the SE Europe congress product and has significantly assisted with the placement of the region on the meetings planners’ list of key destinations.

Romana VLAŠIĆ, Dubrovnik Convention Bureau
Director of TZ Dubrovnik and with many solid years of experience in business behind her she has accelerated the promotion of Dubrovnik to now being the region’s most recognizable congress brand and a player in the European premier league for congresses and events. Dubrovnik could rightfully claim that 2013 was its year on the conference scene, as almost every important event of that year was held in this very beautiful city, among them the meetings of NATO, the FIS International Ski Federation, FIA – International Automotive Association, and FIFA.

goran-pavlovic

Goran PAVLOVIĆ, Opatija Convention Bureau
Started working for the Opatija Tourism Office as the Head of the Convention and Incentive Bureau in 2008. In his current role, Goran is responsible for the promotion of Opatija as a convention destination in Croatia on the domestic and international markets. He successfully completed the ECM Summer School program in 2008 and DMAI Destination Sales Training programme in 2009, so he has been designated to receive the DMAI/ECM Destination Pro certificate. Since June 2013 he has been a Board member of European Cities Marketing, the network of European tourist and convention cities.

Zlatan MUFTIĆ, Zagreb Convention Bureau
With a wide range of activities he is charged with getting Zagreb on to the congress market. It is to his credit that Zagreb is today a modern and distinctive convention destination. Through active participation in all of the regional and international initiatives Zagreb is today a stable, growing congress destination, which over the last few years has been steadily increasing its market share in the associations and corporate markets.

Tatjana RADOVIČ, Ljubljana Convention Bureau
Tatjana Radović has candidacies that she has been preparing with passion and dedication in her blood. In carrying out her role she has for a number of years been linking key Ljubljana meeting suppliers, which this year came together in the Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team. This gave an additional boost to the work of connecting with the Slovenian Convention Bureau and to a number of important projects of associations obtained for the coming years.

Dragana BABOVIĆ, Belgrade Convention Bureau
Dragana is always ready to assist you in planning your next event, from selecting the appropriate venue to helping you choose the best service providers. Belgrade is a hip, dynamic city that is now booming with new business and urban development projects and offers remarkable ease and convenience for hosting major events and conferences.

Özgül Özkan YAVUZ, Istanbul Convention Bureau
Özgül Özkan Yavuz has been promoted in 2014 to the new General Manager of the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau (ICVB). From 2008-2010 she was the Director for Tourism and Promotion at the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, where she was primarily responsible for the international promotion of the programme.

gernot, marx

Gernot MARX, Salzburg Convention Bureau
Salzburg is Austria’s top congress destination and has been repeatedly awarded by corporate meeting planners and agencies as the best meeting and incentive destination. Gernot wanted to become a salesman since he was a child, as he found it so interesting to work with different clients and their different needs, so it was no surprise that later in life the meetings industry became the most interesting part of tourism for him, and it still is today. Salzburg has many new openings and renovations, large scale investments in event resorts as well as new infrastructure, for which the team at Salzburg have built up a multi-channel-communication in order to reach out to new clients.

Gordana PLAMENAC, Serbia Convention Bureau
The recipient of the prestigious IMEX Academy Award as the director of the Tourist Organisation of Serbia, she has generated an appropriate supportive environment that has enabled the renaissance of the Serbian meetings industry. With this she has facilitated the work of Miloš Milovanović and the Serbian convention Bureau. Serbia is an example of excellent co-operation between tourism policies and the convention industry. Gordana Plamenac is on this list because of her excellent international network of connections and the visionary management of tourism policy.

Andrea LEITNER, Karnten Convention Bureau
Andrea Leitner plays a leading role in the recognizable sectors of the international meetings market and highly marketing-oriented conference destination of Carinthia. Carinthia is also, thanks to her, today an important business partner of the Conventa Trade Show.

Newcomers in 2015, voted by readers

Christian Mutschlechner, Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau

Christian MUTSCHLECHNER, Vienna Convention Bureau
Christian Mutschlechner is one of the leading figures of the international meetings industry. In 2009 he was voted Personality of the Year, one of many awards he has received. For more than 20 years he has been CEO of the Vienna Convention Bureau, which for the past six years has topped ICCA’s statistics as the world’s most successful meetings destination.

Igor KOVAČEVIĆ, Serbia Convention Bureau
In parallel with his academic engagements, Igor joined the Bureau in 2007 and has been actively involved in raising Serbia’s position on the international meetings market as well as making the bureau one of the most recognized destination marketing organisations in the SEE region.