Have you ever wondered just who might be the top influencers in the New Europe Meetings Industry? As the industry rapidly evolves, it is clear that some key influencers actually have the same reach and draw as big companies, so individuals matter in a way that has never been possible before.

The Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has once again assessed more than 80 influencers in Central and South East Europe after reviewing highlights from the Meetings industry in 2017 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 2017, (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 2017;
• Help in enhancing the reputation and profile of the meetings industry in 2017;
• Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or in their way have pointed the direction of the industry in the future.

Based on 680 individually completed surveys, Kongres magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP 45 most influential people. 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 have been divided into 5 categories.


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

Christian MUTSCHCLECHNER, 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 25 years, he has been CEO of the Vienna Convention Bureau, which is regularly among the top five in the ICCA’s statistics as one of the world’s most successful meetings destination.

Romana VLAŠIĆ, Dubrovnik Convention Bureau
The director of Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic, with many solid years of experience in business behind her 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 recent years were its years on the conference scene, as many important events were held in this very beautiful city, among them the meetings of NATO, the FIS International Ski Federation, FIA – International Automotive Association, FIFA, Mercedes-Benz- Global Training Experience…

Nina ERNEKER, Bratislava Convention Bureau
As an engineer of tourism management from the University of Economics in Bratislava she acquired extensive experience in incoming tourism, hospitality, destination management, PR and marketing. Now Head of the Bratislava Convention Bureau she is responsible for development and execution of a long-term communication strategy for Bratislava while developing a networking platform for the MICE community in her hometown. She is a great brand ambassador with strategic thinking and a holistic approach, keen on travel and gastronomy.

Igor KOVAČEVIĆ, CEO, Serbia Convention Bureau (at Tourism Organisation of Serbia)
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.


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 RADOVIĆ, Ljubljana Convention Bureau
Tatjana Radovič has the Meetings Industry in her DNA. She has been an active voice of her destination on the international meetings market for years. While supporting the key local partners in a number of strategic marketing projects and major bids for association events, she has contributed to developing and positioning Ljubljana and Slovenia on the international meetings market, also working hand in hand with the Slovenian Convention Bureau. She has also been ECM Summer School course leader and ECM Board member over a number of years and is the recepient of the IMEX Academy Award – Europe in 2006.

Hicran ÖZBÜK, Istanbul Convention Bureau
Ms. Ozbuk is the General Manager of Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau. Thanks to her position in Istanbul Shopping Fest as a General Manager since 2014, she takes the advantage of analyzing and promoting both business and leisure sides. She graduated from Istanbul University in Geophysical Engineering and took her masters’ degree in Contemporary Management Techniques from Marmara University, and European Integration from the Middle East Technical University (METU). She started her work life in 1995, and has been working in different sectors in management positions such as textile-fashion, pharmaceutical, logistics and tourism.


Danica BANJEVIĆ, Montenegro Convention Bureau
One of the youngest convention bureau, in operation since 2008, is led by the charismatic Danica Banjević. Montenegro, mostly known for its leisure tourism, has been successfully positioned as a congress and more so incentive destination on the international market. Today the bureau has 19 members.

Roman MUSKA, Prague Convention Bureau
Roman Muška has been working in the MICE field since 1996, gaining extensive experience in tourism, and takes on the position of Managing Director with the objective of meeting the PCB long-term strategic plans, such as attracting a larger number of international meetings in Prague, building a positive image of Prague as an attractive convention destination abroad and, last but not least, raising the awareness of the congress industry and its economic and non-economic impact in the Czech Republic.

Newcomers in 2017, voted by readers


Laura FAVARETTI, Padova Terme Convention and Visitors Bureau
Laura Favaretti, 35 years old, is the director of the Convention Bureau of Padova, historical city located in the north East of Italy, near Venice, famous for its affrescos and ancient university. After a working experience in Ireland, she started her career in sales and marketing for a luxury hotels chain in Florence and Rome and she covered the role of Regional sales manager for 14 European properties. She went back to her hometown for the start up of the CB dated 2013. The convention bureau achieved important results in the last years and the promotion of the destination is making Padova a strong congress destination.

Iva PUDŽAK MIHAJLOVIĆ, Croatian National Tourist Board
Iva Puđak Mihajlović has been working at the Croatian National Tourist Board for almost 14 years, most of which she spent working on the production of promotional materials. For the past three years, she has been head of the department responsible for development of key tourist products within the Destination Management and Product Development Support Division, where her greatest challenge and passion has been precisely the development of business tourism and promotion of Croatia as a congress destination. She represents Croatia in the Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe.


  1. hello,

    Great group but wrong title…
    For a good definition of a meeting architect can you please read the book Meeting Architecture?
    I am happy to send you a free copy, signed by the author.
    just let me know where to send it.

    Kind regards,

    Maarten Vanneste


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