Q: The readers of Kongres magazine chose you as one of the most influential people in the South East European Meetings industry. What does this recognition mean to you?

It is very nice to be recognized, even from outside of our city. Our main task is to support congress organisers in Graz in planning, preparing and organising their events successfully, and it is always good to hear when our support has been important and useful.

Q: If you look back at the 2016, what would you say were your major achievements?

We had a good congress year with more than 150 conferences in Graz with more than 45,000 participants, including several international conventions with more than 1,500 participants from all over the world. The MICE business has once again decisively contributed to the fact that Graz was again able to reach a million overnight stays.

Q: 2017 – New Year, new plans, new business objectives?

What is most important for us is to network with our local universities and major companies to continue to bring international associations and corporate meetings to Graz.

Q: Which event are you looking forward to attend next year and why?

Although it is not a convention, next year the largest and maybe most important event in Graz will be the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 to be held in Graz and Schladming. www.austria2017.org/en/home It is a great event to present the host city of Graz to a worldwide audience. By the way, Arnold Schwarzenegger (maybe one of Graz’s most famous sons) will also be coming for the opening ceremony. J

International MICE business shows we will attend include IMEX, IBTM, ICCA and ECM Workshops, CONVENTA and other international workshops to make sure we internationally network and are present on the market. Unfortunately less and less concrete business has been concluded at trade fairs and workshops in the last years; most of the concrete business comes through local members, direct contacts and email inquiries.

Q: Which trends do you believe will shape the meetings industry in 2017?

I hope and I am positive that in Central Europe business will continue to rise – slowly but steadily! For other destinations, for example in the Near East, Turkey, North Africa etc. I see bigger problems to gain MICE Business in 2017.

Q: What is your wish for 2017?

I hope that our beautiful regions in the Alpe Adria area continue to develop as well as they have done in the past years. We need to take care of our destinations, save the environment as well as the old cities and develop a more sustainable way of thinking.