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<p>Conventa, the 1st Meetings and Incentive Travel Show for the region of Southeast Europe was held at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre from 22 to 23 January 2009. This business event brought together 82 suppliers of meetings and incentive travel services from Slovenia and six other countries of the region and over 150 hosted buyers (meeting planners) from Slovenia and abroad.</p>

The high number one2one meetings (ca. 2,000 confirmed prior to the show and 1,000 more scheduled on site) held at the event and excellent responses from both hosted buyers and exhibitors assure that Conventa has every possibility to become a proper regional exhibition for Southeastern Europe's meetings and incentive travel industry.


The 82 exhibitors at Conventa included convention bureaus, hotels, conference centres, special event venues, professional conference organisers (PCOs), destination management companies (DMCs), event planners, technical equipment providers and providers of transport, catering and other meetings and incentive travel services from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. Spreading on 1,400 sq m. exhibition space, Conventa welcomed over 80 hosted buyers from 18 European countries and the United States and 75 clients from Slovenia.

The fundamental purpose of Conventa was to create an environment where the suppliers and buyers of meetings and incentive travel services could personally meet and establish business contacts. This was also facilitated by a web application called "one2one meetings", which enabled them to arrange meetings prior to the exhibition.

Conventa included a round table discussion on the theme "South-East Europe as a meetings and incentive travel destination", chaired by Paul Kennedy MBE (UK) of Reed Travel Exhibition, the organizer of the EIBTM Show, among other large business events. Speakers at the round table discussion included representatives of the region and various trade associations, including Dimitrij Piciga MSc, director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, Dražen Hochecker, director of the Zagreb Convention Bureau, Danica Ceranić of the Montenegro Convention Bureau, Jasna Dimitrijevič, director of the Belgrade Convention Bureau, Miha Kovačič, director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Ksenija Polla of ICCA, Carolyn Dow, president of SITE Europe, and Paul Cunningham of MPI. The event ended with a Belgrade-style party organized by the Belgrade Convention Bureau.

Conventa was organized by the Slovenian Convention Bureau in collaboration with the Slovenian Tourist Board, Ljubljana Tourist Board, Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, the Kongres magazine, and three distinguished international trade associations / companies, including MPI (Meeting Professionals International), SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives) and HelmsBriscoe. Notable international partners also included EIBTM - Reed Travel Exhibitions.

The Conventa Show developed from SIMEX, a similar and smaller business event held in 2007 and 2008 that initially focused on the local supply. It aims to position itself as the first Southeast Europe exhibition presenting in a single place what Slovenia and this wider region have to offer in the area of the meetings and incentive travel industry. Slovenia took the initiative to bring together providers of meetings and incentive travel services from the entire Southeast European region and showcase it to the international market.

The next Conventa exhibition will be held from 21 to 22 January 2010.