Photo credit: Personal archive

Vesna has been involved in the Meetings’ Industry for over 10 years, when she found her place at the Convention Bureau of Slovenia, after several years in the international politics, working for the Foreign Ministry of Slovenia and the European Parliament in Brussels. Her path in the Industry led her from a DMC INTOURS to the Slovene Convention Bureau and later to the Convention Bureau of Ljubljana. In between she encountered the work »from the other side« of the industry, being an event manager for an International Organization the “International Academy for Anti-Corruption – IACA”, in Austria. She is Head of the Convention Bureau of the Bled Tourism Board since March last year where she is striving to make Bled a prominent destination for MICE events and together with the partners of the Bled Convention Bureau and the Municipality of Bled to position Bled as an authentic and green destination on the global Meetings’ parquet.

 Q: Which one of Bled’s venues do you find offering the most creativity for events?

As Head of the Convention Bureau Bled, I look at Bled on a macro scale a perfect location for an event. With its rich history, an exuberance of natural wonders, breath-taking views in all directions, many exceptional products and excellent services, Bled has naturally risen to a lofty height on the world conference map. Today, Bled brings together the traditional and the modern, and the aim of the Convention Bureau is to position Bled as a destination for associations’ events (congresses, conferences and other business meetings), sports and governmental events. The fairy tale setting of the Alpine Pearl sets Bled as a destination for small to medium sized events that can be held in the newly renovated spaces of the Festival Hall, overlooking the green tranquil Alpine lake, special or gala events can be taken to the Bled Castle, perched atop a cliff rising 130 metres above the lake where a medieval set-up can be arranged for a special top-up to the event, last but not least the island on the lake where besides a traditional baking of “Potica” Cake can be arranged, guests can also be surprised with an opera singer inside the church, or simply enjoying a bite of the “Potica” Cake, sitting on the stone wall enjoying the mesmerizing views of the Alpine range over the lake.

Q: How do you implement the “green aspect” in your event management?

In the Bled of today, ‘Green’ and ‘Authentic’ are the key buzzwords. The Municipality of Bled has adopted the Zero Waste strategy, the service providers the “Green Scheme” strategy, and the awareness of the importance of sustainability whilst preserving the authentic is visible on every corner in Bled. All the efforts in this view brought Bled a golden label of Slovene Tourist Board “Slovenia Green Destination”. One of the last biggest achievements at Bled is the label of the First Slovene Zero Waste Hotel, the Hotel Ribno, which accomplished to minimize the size of waste and imply other sustainable services for the guest to enjoy their stay and to contribute to the sustainability of nature. Bled, the city renowned for its wealth of pure drinking water and thermal spa water, has shown its commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives by moving towards the Zero Waste concept and we invite you to act in the same way when visiting this green Alpine oasis.

Q: Please share with us one of the best ideas implemented in event planning in your region?

Besides many programmes that include the traditional and local traditions, I would like to mention the programme that can be easily implemented to a programme for the guests that like fun and active programmes. It is the programme “Rowing with the Olympians” held by the Slovenian Rowing Olympians. The group is animated by competing in the eight seaters’ rowing boats up the lake and they compete in rowing. It goes without saying that the motive of the programme is “It is not by rowing fast, it is by rowing together that brings success!”. A perfect programme for the team to have fun and yet bond in an active way.

Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about your city.

The venues of Bled have a rich and captivating history of hosting prominent guests. In the 19th and 20th centuries Bled was a summer royal residence that attracted many of the royal families on their vacation. In the 19th century and thanks to Arnold Rikli Bled also became recognised for its healing natural outbuildings and became a health resort destination. In the inter-war period Bled remained the most cosmopolitan resort in Yugoslavia and the summer residence of the Karađorđević dynasty, visited by many domestic and foreign guests. It, therefore, became the centre of political and diplomatic life. After the Second World War, the city continued its tradition in hosting visitors and royal heads who have enjoyed the breathtakingly beautiful views of the surrounding landscape of Bled. The island on Lake Bled adds to the everlasting allure of the town. One can reach it on a traditional wooden »pletna« boat, with upright boatsmen propelling their oars, or even take a punt on rowing yourself. On docking at the island, there are 99 stone steps leading to the Church of the Assumption. The island is a great choice for a sparkling aperitif before dinner at the castle, but before leaving the island don’t forget to ring the church bell – according to legend it will make your wish come true.

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in Bled in the next 12 months?

In my view, the trends will follow the sustainable and green path. The recent renovation of the Hotel Golf, which boasts today under the name of the Swiss Natural Healer Arnold Rikli, who held his “office” in the natural set-up of Bled in the 19thCentury, follows the sustainable “Green for tomorrow” orientation of the Sava Hotels. Also, the Astoria Hotel, adopted sustainable CSR programmes that adds the value to their offer. It is a pleasure to see to service providers opting for sustainable solutions which is a signal that Bled is a Municipality that cares for its guests and the environment.

Q: What is your personal favourite special venue in Bled?

A bench by the lake. For me, Bled, is a place of pure zen and it is the philosophy that we would like to convene to our guests. At the end of the day, after a meeting or other event, we all like to unwind and that’s what the natural set-up of Bled offers. Pure relaxation and recharge, the qualities we all yearn for in our hard-paced lives.