icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019

In the last weekend of August 2019, the National Tourism Organization of Serbia and Serbia Convention Bureau hosted ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting in Belgrade. The topics of workshops, speeches and panels mainly focused on the digital reality of the industry. Thus, for example, there was a workshop on ICCA Association Database, a speech on Blockchain and its implications, a panel on progress vs privacy vs security vs experience, and a session on Digital D-Tox. Wider industry’s themes were also covered, like meetings industry’s impact and legacy, a competitiveness of destinations, and a panel on ever changing corporate meetings. Kongres Magazine talked to Igor Kovačević, CEO at Serbia Convention Bureau at the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, and the Deputy Chair of ICCA Central European Chapter.

icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019

Q: What are the quick and basic results of the event?

For the ICCA CEC Summer Meeting in Belgrade, a total of 105 delegates were registered, representing 15 countries, mainly from Central and Eastern Europe, but also from Italy, UK, Belgium and Spain. Those include 12 top international speakers that represent major association, corporate and PCO side, as well as 5 local speakers from the IT and corporate sector. After Serbia, largest delegation were from Russia and Germany. Entire Serbia meetings industry supported the event and 36 local delegates took participation as well. HQ hotel was Radisson Collection, but we took chance and showed our colleagues great venues of Belgrade, and having in mind summer season, most of them were related to the Danube and Sava rivers lifestyle.

icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019
icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019

This was a global event that demonstrated Serbia and Belgrade’s global integration and a readiness to be a great partner and cooperator.

Q: Which names would you emphasize and why?

So many great colleagues and friends participated, and each gave its own energy to make great event. One more time I would like to thank to our dear speakers that did their best and gave great contribution to have one of the best meetings industry education programs in Europe this year. I would like here to emphasize the speakers from the corporate sides, since we head great names such as Huawei, Michelin, Engie and Coca-Cola. Although ICCA is more oriented towards associations, we decided to answer to our members’ needs, so we went after corporate events topics as well.

Q: What was the main challenge at organizing such an event?

This year, both Karina Grützner (chair of the ICCA CEC) and I, decided to go step further in upgrading education content of ICCA CEC meetings. That is the reason why most of our resources went in content planning and in communication with speakers. One of the challenges in making the program, is how to keep good spirit and atmosphere throughout the event and to keep delegates from “no sleeping”.

icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019

Q: And how did you overcome it?

Using global and local connections, we manage to secure top speakers, while local contacts in Serbia did also their best to help in content creation. Also, we decided to create two “not-to-sleep” presentations, one regarding Blockchain and other regarding Digital D-tox, and these two were a real eye-opener and ice-breakers, and both were given by great local speakers.

Q: Which were the programme’s main highlights?

Great topics and great speakers that delivered it. Associations, such as ISPIM, ESTRO, ISN, EFFOST, IASP, dear friends from Best Cities Alliance and Gaining Edge, and colleagues from Kenes and Eventicious, were great performers. In addition, as a host, we did our best to make sure that networking options gave enough space for people to mingle and have good time in Belgrade, and I am sure we gave a great task for next organisers.

icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019
icca_cec_summer_meeting_belgrade
Photo credit ICCA CEC Summer Meeting 2019

Q: What does such an event mean for Serbia and Belgrade?

As a Deputy Chair of the ICCA CEC, I first put ICCA and region on first place. We showed that for great education platform we can invest our knowledge and contacts and we can provide great value for the investments our delegates are having. This was a global event that demonstrate Serbia and Belgrade global integration and a readiness to be a great partner and cooperator.

We had two not-to-sleep presentations and they were a real eye-opener and ice-breakers.

Q: What are you preparing for the upcoming ICCA Destination Marketing Small Client/Supplier Business Workshop?

In period 3-5 October, Belgrade is hosting this great Workshop. So only in one month time frame we are having two great ICCA Events. This time, for the workshop, the concept is a little bit different, and we are preparing great experience for all association and our CVB colleagues. All major hotels are supporting this, so I am expecting a great time for all of us.

Q: What are future plans of the Serbia Convention Bureau?

This year we continued our bidding activities. So for the future we are focusing more in building-up capacities of local associations in order to make them more regional and globally recognized.