MIha Kovačič at Conventa Trade Show

Luck was not on our side in the first half, and we had bad luck in the second half

Following the general assembly of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, the news struck that Miha Kovačič is leaving the winning team. He will not continue his mandate, as a new director will come into the position of the director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau from September onwards. The seasoned director has officially decided to resign after sixteen years due to personal reasons.

As soon as the news was announced, numerous calls and comments were made inquiring into reasons for his leave. More importantly, support was shown to my colleague, who has become the face of the Slovenian meetings industry. There were also calls and appeals to change the decision. However, any doubts were blown away when the tender for a new director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau was officially published.

Miha’s resignation and the manner in which he said his goodbye from the Slovenian Convention Bureau was picked up by many, and most importantly, by Miha’s colleagues. I do not wish to speculate about any reasons or conspiracy theories that have been circulating in the expert public. Miha’s choice was orchestrated by technocrats, autocrats, bureaucrats, democrats and all the -ats.

In football jargon, we would say that we did not know how to retain our “goal-scorer” and “captain”. Everyone knows everything about football; there is no victory without defence, the ball is round, a comeback is always possible, and similar phrases are all part of football folklore. To sum it up with the legendary quote from Alan Ford: “If you wish to win, you cannot lose”. To solve this dilemma, not only do you need a great defence and midfield lineup, but you also need an excellent striker – a congress Messi.

Luckily, in the Slovenian meetings industry, we have a solid logistic defence featuring venues, hotels and the rest of the logistic industry. The midfield agency and destination lineup are slightly beaten down and tired from the corona crisis. As it stands, we have just lost our striker, who scored spectacular goals and showcased incredible dribblings. Without goals, even Alan Ford cannot go on.

In short, we can expect a period of consolidation and restructuring of the Slovenian meetings industry. The general assembly of the Convention Bureau showed a hundred per cent support to the continuation of the successful, nearly eighteen years history of the Slovenian Convention Bureau. No political agenda or interest group can ignore that. Particularly not those that contributed to the collapse of an otherwise highly successful story.

To you, my dear friend, I am dedicating ten subjects that have marked your work, that make you a legend and by which you will always be remembered. They are not listed in order of importance and summarise key milestones.

Conventa 2020

1. The expression “kongresniki”

You have anchored the informal expression “kongresniki” into Slovenian tourism, which has since become a part of communication. Congress tourism has become a part of the news in daily newspapers, and we have together become a recognisable community.

2. Membership in the Convention Bureau

At the beginning of the story, there were 15 founding members. Today, over 60 of them are members of the Convention Bureau, while at the peak before the corona crisis, there were 80. Coordinating the interests of the members and, more importantly, satisfying their needs is onerous work that deserves the utmost respect.

3. MICE product

The MICE product has become one of the leading tourist products of Slovenia. It is incorporated into all strategic documents on a national and regional level. If we had not fought so persistently and convinced many, it is a question where it would have been segmented. Although at first glance, the activity might seem less spectacular, it is of vital importance.

4. Congress standards

You cooperated in establishing congress standards that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. They enable inquiries to be distributed in a just and transparent manner. That is the foundation for all activities of the bureau. The future will show how important they are. Many destinations have tried copying and learning from them.

5. Slovenian energy

The positive energy of a captain is contagious and can be quickly picked up by colleagues. In my memory, your incredible energy and efforts to promote Slovenia go back to the very beginning. That is priceless and is what many envied us. No matter how good a campaign, it would have gone unnoticed without it. Business events gives you wings.

6. Promotional campaigns Push-Up Slovenia

You have successfully executed at least five groundbreaking complex promotional campaigns in your mandate. All of them had a strong influence in the meetings industry world. I still remember our pioneering campaign with the adoption of bee houses, before the noble industry was corrupted by numerous destinations and individuals…

7. Network

Miha is a champion in establishing contacts, and you surprised us time and time again with aces coming up from your sleeves. Many of Miha’s colleagues would not have encountered Slovenia if it had not been for Miha’s enthusiasm. During all this time, he always worked openly and selflessly. The power of Miha’s business network will soon be revealed.

8. Congress Ambassadors

The Slovenian Congress Ambassador programme is the crown of the Slovenian meetings industry. The trust we gained from organisers of scientific and expert associations events is invaluable. The social capital is creating new business opportunities for the entire congress community.

9. Meetings industry

During the toughest of times, we cannot and should not stay quiet. In the fight for the Slovenian meetings industry, only the Slovenian Convention Bureau stood up, spearheaded by Miha’s selfless actions. The patient fight with windmills was positive in my eyes and placed our industry on the agenda. I am convinced that had it not been for this action, we could not have achieved the breakthrough, which is reflected in individual aid packages from the government.

10. Conventa

When in 2009, amidst the harshest economic crisis, we devised Conventa, the reaction of our colleagues and some media houses was unified – you are brave to start such a project and head into the unknown. Conventa was born during a crisis and has grown out of it. Miha, Natalija and Gorazd are proud of the project, and we believe the project needs no special introduction.

Conventa 2020

Above all else, we will remember you after your crazy, occasionally fanatic fight for the meetings industry. Perhaps some had a problem with this and your nuclear energy.

Everything that we have lived through in the past eighteen years of cooperation should stay inside the dressing room in a proper football manner. What is important is that we continue to play world-class football in the top tier. You can always count on the midfield. We will not disappoint you.

I wish you the best of luck on your future path and continue to stay the way you are!

Gorazd Čad