TOP 2018

Have you ever wondered just who the top influencers in the New Europe Meetings Industry might be? As the industry rapidly evolves, it is clear 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.

This time the Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has assessed more than 110 influencers in New Europe after reviewing highlights from the meetings industry in 2018 and has based its assessment on several key criteria, such as:

  • Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2018, 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 2018;
  • Help in enhancing the reputation and profile of the meetings industry in 2018;
  • Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or have in their own way steered the future direction of the industry.

Based on the 730 individually completed surveys, Kongres Magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP 60 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 6 categories, here's another one

TOP DMO, CVB, etc.

CEO at the Slovenian Convention Bureau & Co-founder of Conventa

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 New Europe’s meeting & event industry and has significantly assisted with the placement of the region on the meetings planners’ list of key destinations.

Director at Vienna Convention Bureau (AT)

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.

Head of Convention Bureau at Ljubljana Tourism (SI)

Jan Oršič has spent most of his professional life in the MICE industry. He joined the Ljubljana Tourism / Convention Bureau team in 2009 prior to which he was working as a freelance local tour guide for eight years, which gave him a valuable practical experience. In December 2017, he was appointed as Head of Ljubljana Convention Bureau. Since 2012 he has been also working on PhD researching the fields of destination marketing, business travel, new media and ROI.


Director at Dubrovnik Tourist Board & Convention Bureau (HR)

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. Dubrovnik has been a popular filming location in recent years.

Gernot MARX
Managing Director at Salzburg Convention Bureau (AT)

Having been in the MICE industry for approximately 15 years, Gernot Marx has gained extensive experience on developing destinations and key products, hotel opening, PR and strategic management. In the future he wants to focus even more on congresses. The Salzburg CVB wants to anchor Salzburg even more as an ideal venue for scientific congresses and corporate events. At the moment, Salzburg is already the most popular congress destination in Austria after Vienna.


Convention Bureau Director at Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau (HR)

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.

Director at Russia Convention Bureau (RU)

Aleksei Kalachev’s professional achievements are not only in the organisation of event projects, communication, PR etc but in the strategic promotion of Russia’s event potential at the international markets and building up the standards of industry inside the country as well. He has also been the CEO of the first Convention Bureau of Russia founded in November 2017. After the first year of his work, the Russia CVB has already noticed considerable results and Russia is achieving great interest as an event destination among the international buyers and organizers.

CEO at Serbia Convention Bureau (RS)

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.


Veronika HANDL
Head of Convention Bureau Tirol (AT)

For more than a decade, the Convention Bureau Tirol has been the specialist for congresses, events and seminars in Tirol. Veronika Handl takes care of the experiences that are long remembered and also takes care of the conference guests who become Tirol ambassadors. The CVB Tirol provides partnership in organisation of congresses, meetings, incentives and events in Tirol.

Head of Bratislava Convention Bureau (SK)

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.

Newcomers in 2018, voted by readers

Senior Business Marketing and Promotion Specialist at Gdansk Convention Bureau (PL)

Gdanks is Poland’s 3rd city in terms of the number of meetings. More than 4,000 business meetings are held in the region annually (including 3,200 in Gdansk alone) with 430,000 attendees, and the numbers grow year by year. Serving the city of Gdanks since 2005, Micał Brandt is a senior business specialist who has been working in MICE since 2015. Before that he acquired extensive experience as a press officer for UEFA EURO 2012 in Gdansk at the newly constructed Energa Stadium.

Vice President of Croatian National Tourist Board’s Congress department (HR)

Đive Kovačević was on the 1st of September appointed as a vice president of Croatian National Tourist Board’s Congress department. She brings to Croatian congress tourism many years of experience and her appointment to the new position has been inside the industry and among the experts very positively welcomed. Ms.Kovačević was an expert associate from 2007 and until 2013 at the previous Convention Bureau which was then shut down in 2014. From there, she went to the Department of fairs and business presentations as an expert coordinator.