Who influenced the meetings industry the most in 2019?

The 5th edition of Kongres Magazine’s “Most Influential People” segment is here, analysing who influenced the meetings industry of New Europe the most in 2019.

Our editorial board has been carrying out the competition since 2014, constantly adding new recommendations from reputable European meeting planners. We assessed more than 185 influencers in Central and South East Europe after reviewing highlights from the meetings industry in 2019. Our assessment was based on several key criteria, such as:

• Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2019, (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 2019;

• Help in enhancing the reputation and profile of the meetings industry in 2019;

• Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or in their way have pointed the direction of the industry in the future.

Based on 1273 individually completed surveys and 5559 total individual visits, Kongres Magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP most influential people. We have also added 2 newcomers in each category, voted by our readers.

The candidates have been divided into 6 categories


The meeting agencies with the most votes are:


Michael ARGIRI
Managing Director of Conceptours 

CONCEPTOURS Greece is the DMC of Greece and was founded in 1977. The company currently employs a full time multilingual professional staff of 14. Conceptours is renowned as one of Greece’s top Destination Management Companies specialising in the planning, designing and meticulous operation of major conferences, incentives, meetings, symposiums, and a distinct separate FIT department provides personalized services to leisure travellers. Conceptours has received numerous awards of excellence including from major international travel trade associations and the Greek National Tourist Organisation.


Boštjan HORJAK
Owner and Managing Director at Liberty Adriatic

The Liberty International Tourism Group is a successful international company that has been working on the international tourist market for over 20 years. The company grew out of one office into an international corporation with 43 offices in 33 countries across various parts of the world.

CEO at Globtour Event

With 40 years of experience in the travel, industry Globtour Event is one of the leading Croatian travel agencies specialized in business travel, meetings, events, and destination management. Vesna Pritchard’s team consists of a group of motivated, passionate people who are dedicated to the work they do, sharing a common mission, vision and values in order to provide their customers with the very best service.


Hasan DINÇ
Joint Managing Director at ODS Turkey – Euromic

Hasan always thinks big, with his ultimate goal being to conquer the business world of tourism. At the age of 18, Hasan took his first steps into the world of tourism as a project manager. Now as Joint Managing Director of ODS Turkey, he leads the company in exploring exciting new opportunities. He constantly drives forward the commercial growth of the company and ensures complete client satisfaction at all times. His healthy scepticism combined with an eye for detail means nothing escapes him.


Deputy CEO at Spektar putovanja

Sanja Vukov Colić is an experienced Deputy CEO with rich experience in leisure, travel and tourism industry. She has been the Eupty CEO at Spektar putovanja since 1994. Spektar putovanja, the most recognised of Croatian PCOs has been achieving excellent results on the market and it has been achieving quality management and setting high business standards since as far back as 1989. They have received the ISO 9001 – 2008 certificate, have reputable international partners and have organised over 20 conferences annually.


Head of Mice Department at Kompas d.d. 

Barbara Hunt Vodopivec was first actively in touch with tourism industry during her postgraduate studies in London, UK. After several years of working in marketing and PR industry, she became again »ambassador« of Slovenia, this time in Paris, France. Working closely with Slovenian Tourism Bureau in Brussels, she was conducting their promotion projects all over France. Currently, she is leading a Mice team at Kompas DMC, organizing incentives, seminars, conferences, and events for mostly foreign partners in Slovenia and the entire region.


Natalija BAH ČAD
Congress Manager at Toleranca marketing d.o.o.

Natalija joined Go.MICE/Toleranca Marketing in 2008 with ten years of experience as a PCO behind her. Together with her team of MICE enthusiasts, she has proven that the organisation of a successful congress involves not just logistics, but also creativity and innovativeness. Conventa is one of the projects that she has been involved with from the very beginning and this concept of regional B2B events has also been successfully transferred from MICE to the Spa & Wellness industry, as well as the active tourism field.


Managing Partner at Dekon Group

Before joining Dekon Group in 1999, Cengiz had already managed conferences since 1994 for various other companies as Assistant General Manager. Now he has been at Dekon for over 20 years, where they offer everything that is expected and needed for meetings, serving global, regional and local clients.


Managing Director at Mondial Destination Management, Vienna

The Austrian based family-run company Mondial GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1966. Mondial nowadays comprises four business divisions – Congress-, Destination- and Travel-Management, and Corporate Events & Incentives, with 172 team members in total. Daily room allotments in more than 750 hotels in Central Europe, in-house ticket office, tailor-made tours and transfer services – these are just some of the elements making up the portfolio of Mondial’s Destination Management.

daniel, marušič, dt slovenia

CEO at DT Croatia – Dubrovnik Travel DMC

DT CROATIA is recognised in the market as a company that steers the trends of regional DMCs. A clear marketing strategy and a systematic operation are visible at both the service level of co-operation with the most demanding clients as well as in the credible results, which were reflected in receiving many Business Awards and AAA Diplomas. Daniel is heavily involved in the meetings arena, also as a member of peer associations and the voice of the convention industry of Croatia.


Vice President of the Board at Mazurkas Travel

Andrew founded Mazurkas Travel with two partners in 1990 soon after the collapse of communism in Poland, when the historical changes of system came. Initially their intention was to service music lovers visiting Poland, so they named their agency after Chopin’s mazurkas. Over the years, step by step, the company expanded its operations from leisure to incentives, transportation, congresses and conferences and finally to hotel, conference center and catering service. Today, Mazurkas Travel is largest private own company in the tourism sector in Poland and a story of success.


CEO at Talas-M DMC

For more than a decade Snežana has been developing real DMC services in Montenegro as part of the Talas-M agency. With world-class clients she has helped put Montenegro on the region’s incentive map via its own network of representatives throughout Europe, indirectly contributing to the country’s promotion. Due to their abundance of fresh ideas, which have been recognised in the Ovation agency and within the partnership of the Dubrovnik Talas-M, they have become one of the strongest regional DMC agencies.


Founder and Managing Director of DMC Vekol

Over 20 years in the MICE and leisure travel industry makes Tanja a veteran in this field in Serbia. Tanja started the business from scratch and became known for powerful relations she has built with both clients and suppliers, based on utmost loyalty and trust. She is in charge of strategic planning and quality management and is the key decision maker in the company. She says she doesn’t like exposure and prefers to pull the strings from behind. In her free time, she is a mom of a 14-year-old millennial.


Director Congress Program at Cankarjev dom 

Congress and Events Management Director of CD Congress Centre Ljubljana since 2006, Breda Pečovnik is currently a member of the Slovenian Convention Bureau’s Board as well as the professional international associations of ICCA and IAPCO. She also teaches congress management at a college and faculty in Ljubljana.

Newcomers in 2019, voted by readers


Founder and Managing Director of the POWER Agency 

Olga is a founding member of the Event Industry Association and a long-term member of various MICE associations in Poland. She combines her traveler’s curiosity and athlete’s courage, passion and perseverance, thanks to which she finds herself perfectly in one of the most stressful industries in the world. She believes that you can move mountains with hard work. Olga is passionate about travel and sport in every way – from skiing, snowboarding, bicycles and kites to diving and squash. She collects inspirational and motivational quotes to always have the one you need at hand, lately her favorite is “Belive the POWER and BEAUTY of Your DREAMS”.


Founder and CEO of Maxin Prague

Jarmila always followed the greatest hobby of hers: tourism – including her university studies, which she successfully graduated “The economics of services and tourism” at the University of Economics. After 15 years of her career spent on different positions in the travel business, Jarmila founded her own company in September 1999. Starting with two employees including her, she has since then built up and maintained a strong market position, and with its well-deserved reputation. Maxin PRAGUE DMC now belongs among the leaders of the Czech market in the field of meetings, incentives, conferences and events. With over thirty years of business experience, she nowadays represents the “financial brain” of the agency.


Theodor BADIU, Paloma Tours
Christina DRAKOS,Drakos DMC
Ranko FILIPOVIĆ, Perfect meetings.hr
Stefan HEISSEL, Inspiria
Matej KNAUS, Palma DMC
Tomaž KRUŠIČ, Intours DMC
Pavle MARKOVIĆ, Ban Tours
Eda OZDEN, Meptur
Svetlana PILEVA, MACO Congress
Tomas RABOCH, GUARANT International
Annamaria RUFFINI, DMC Events In & Out
Slaven RELJIĆ, Coral Group DMC – PCO
Mirjana ŠALETIĆ, Miross
Kerim SIPAHILER, Sipahiler Events
Stjepan ŽUNIĆ, Penta PCO

Would you like to nominate an influencer for 2020?

Please tell us why your nominee should be among the TOP Meetings Industry Influencers in 2020 in the online form.