Ljubljana, Slovenia is the destination for the 2016 SITE Incentive Summit, 18-22 January. This annual education event takes the SITE Board of Directors and Foundation Trustees to a part of the world that could leverage the experience and knowledge of this group of global industry leaders to grow its incentive travel business. The unique event is designed to promote growth in emerging destinations, featuring education on topics relevant to MICE professionals in the region. Hosted by the Slovenian Convention Bureau, the Incentive Summit is being held in conjunction with Conventa, the 8th New Europe Exhibition for Meetings, Events and Incentives.
Miha Kovačič , Director, Slovenian Convention Bureau, is responsible for promoting Slovenia as a destination for meetings and incentive travel and is also the organizer of Conventa. In this interview, Miha shares why it was important for Slovenia to host the 2016 SITE Incentive Summit and what makes the country an ideal incentive travel destination.
SITE: What motivated Slovenia to apply to host the SITE Incentive Summit?
Miha: Slovenia has been involved in the association market for more than two decades, but is relatively new to the international incentive market. As the national convention bureau, we believe that the Incentive Summit is a great opportunity to showcase Slovenia as an attractive destination for incentive travel. The majority of the board members have not been to Slovenia so it will be a great opportunity for this prominent group of global incentive professionals to learn more about this emerging region.
SITE: How do you think the event will make a difference to the MICE industry in Slovenia?
Miha: The Incentive Summit will include a day of quality education for MICE professionals in the region and will be a fantastic opportunity to learn from global incentive professionals. We are also planning several bilateral meetings with key decision makers and politicians where members of the Board will provide their views and advice. I am confident that the Summit will drastically increase an understanding of incentive travel and opportunities for Slovenia and the region.
SITE: What are some of the key activities and experiences that you will be showcasing during the Summit?
Miha: The Incentive Summit will take place at the Grand Hotel Union located in the heart of Ljubljana overlooking Prešeren Square, the Triple Bridge and the Ljubljana Castle. It is a largely traffic-free city with a stunning medieval castle built on either side of a river. Interesting experiences and activities are being planned to showcase the capital’s rich history, culture and gastronomy. In addition to a day of high-quality education, SITE leaders will participate in bilateral meetings with key decision makers and politicians where they will provide advice on how to grow Slovenia’s incentive travel industry. They will also have the opportunity to experience Bled, an iconic destination located in the Alpine region. We don’t want to reveal all the secrets. We are in the incentive business, right?
SITE: What would you like to share about Slovenia as a potential destination for incentive travel?
Miha: I would start with buzzwords such as Natural Charm, 24h Smile, Team Flexibility, Personal Touch - Slovenian Energy. Throughout our history Slovenia has always been at the crossroads of Mediterranean, Germanic and Slavic cultures and this has left its mark on our country today. Slovenia shares a border with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. We might be one of Europe’s smallest countries but we’ve got rich traditions, widely diverse regions and, as people, we’re hard working, progressive, naturally friendly and welcoming. Like Switzerland, we’ve got majestic mountains and lush river valleys, and with a magnificent coastline on the Adriatic we're not landlocked. We’re also a green country. Our cities have rich culture and human scale and our countryside has mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. Our food and wine compare with the best. We’re the perfect haven, an awesome place to escape to, but we’re also easily accessible, right in the middle of Europe.
We know the importance and value of partnership because MICE events are only truly successful when the entire destination community all works together in support of the clients’ objectives. We’re a young country, and relatively new to incentive market, so most attendees haven’t been to our country before. This makes Slovenia appealing for today’s delegates who crave something new, different, off-the-beaten track.