BRATISLAVA MICE DAYS
The event held on Thursday, 24 June 2021, was organised as a part of the Bratislava MICE DAYS series, educational sessions regularly organized by the Bratislava Convention Bureau, which is part of the Bratislava Tourist Board. This time Bratislava Tourist Board cooperated with the British Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic to organise the event. The event has brought together the public and private sector to discuss plans and strategies that can help with the recovery. Furthermore, it highlighted the importance of this sector to the economy and wellbeing of the nation. It was organised in a hybrid format, so a part of the audience attended the event live in the hotel Park Inn by Radisson Danube Bratislava and several other attendees online.
The event was opened by Nigel Baker, HM Ambassador to Slovakia and Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Tourism and Convention Bureau at London & Partners.
Tracy Halliwell presented the strategy of London Tourism through the »Let’s do London« campaign. She explained their experience and provided insight and inspiration for the Slovak market. The main point of the campaign is to promote discovering London in these specific times without crowds and exploring the outdoor spaces. She emphasized the need to get back the trust of the travellers, including the business travel. She is convinced that MICE business will be back in the autumn as a blend of business and leisure travel. Smaller meetings will probably stay online, while the trend for larger meetings is to be organised live or in hybrid formats.
The presentation of the London campaign was followed by a round table with esteemed guests:
– Radúz Dula, Director General, Section of Tourism, Ministry of Transport
– Martin Volek, Vice Chairman, Bratislava Tourist Board
– Andreas Schuster, Cluster General Manager, Ensana Health Spa Hotels, Slovenské liečebné kúpele Piešťany and Smrdáky
– Michael Tmej, Chairman of the Board and Managing Director, Vienna International Beteiligungsmanagement Gmbh, Košice Airport
– Marek Harbuľák, President, Slovak Tourism Association
The round table, moderated by Miroslava Remenárová, Chair of the Board at the British Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia and Corporate Affairs Manager at Jaguar Land Rover Slovakia, brought to the table all the challenges that Slovakia and all the European travel and MICE market is facing at the moment. A round table discussion was opened by Raduz Dula with his presentation about governmental financial aid for the tourism sector and the necessity to decrease the VAT within the industry. Martin Volek, as well as some other speakers, expressed concern about the lack of clearer instructions from the government on how tourists can visit and cross the borders. “Clear communication and clear rules are crucial. Uncertainty is worse than the lockdown itself,” said Marek Harbulak.
Andreas Schuster talked about the strategy of the Spa Pieštany, which closed its doors for the first time in its history in April 2020. As they depend on 70% of international guests, they had to change the business model, train their staff for new skills and try to understand the pandemic as an opportunity. He sees the lack of staff as a big problem nowadays. Michael Tmej from the Košice Airport talked about their efforts to keep the team together and use the time for training. “They are trying to build the trust of the passengers again. In this stage, the right communication is crucial for the future,” he said.