ICCA AMP 2018 Ljubljana – the first ICCA event in Slovenia was a very successful affair

Between July 9-11 2018, the Grand Hotel Union hosted one of the most important educational and business events in the meetings industry – the International Congress and Convention Association - Association Meetings Programme (ICCA AMP). The conference was attended by a record number of over 180 delegates from 41 countries and focused on the topic of "Small changes - big impacts", "Small changes - big effects".

The participants were extremely impressed by both the conferance content and the way it was organized, including the social programme. The local organizing team was highly praised - besides the Ljubljana Convention Bureau, the team consisted of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, the Slovenian Tourist Organization, Union Hotels, CD Congress Centre, the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Center, Kompas DMC, the Bled Convention Bureau and Dekon Slovenia, with support of catering companies Jezeršek and Vivo, Adria Airways and Toleranca Marketing. The team worked tirelessly for over a year and was finally very satisfied with the result achieved.

An exciting fam trip of Ljubljana

The day before the official opening a dynamic educational tour took place, which presented Ljubljana as a destination for meetings and incentive programmes to 28 clients from the international scientific and professional associations. Guests had the opportunity to get to know both congress centres, whose central location is always highlighted as a great asset. Both venues held innovative presentations, which included local scientists, academics and excellent artists. The result - as perceived by the delegates - was a lasting feeling that the city's congress centres and congress infrastructure offer both state of art technical equpiment and highly motivated and professional teams, which are willing to go an extra mile to satisfy the needs and expectations of their clients.

Additionally, the group got closely acquainted with the conference center of the Grand Hotel Union, and visited two restaurants and special venues - they dined in the shade of the Most Restaurant terrace and were introduced to event and meetings options offered at the Ljubljana Castle. That is where they also enjoyed a fine-dining experience by the top Slovenian chef Igor Jagodic, who spoiled them at the Strelec restaurant. A cultural note was added at the National Gallery, where they were able to view a retrospective exhibition of the Slovenian female artist per excellence Ivana Kobilca. Evening events were also held at the CD Congress Centre Club and in the atrium of the City museum.

The clients also managed to take advantage of sunny and vibrant Ljubljana, which is always paticularly charming during the summer months when locals and visitors intertwine and socialize in many free outdoor art events. The group took a panoramic boat ride andjoined a guided tour of the Old Town, which connected the city's eclectic architecture with anecdotes of different neighborhoods and their distinctive characters. During this time, many aspects of sustainable development andLjubljana's green initiatives were acknowledged and exposed.

Interviews with keynote speakers and prominent foreign guests

The atmosphere of the event can be felt through a series of interviews with keynote speakers and some of the meeting participants that were published by Kongres Magazine, the central medium in the meetings industry of CEE region. In each of them, interviewees also touched upon Ljubljana's performance as a host destination.

Managing director of Ljubljana Tourism, Ms Petra Stušek, M.Sc., talked about the impact and legacy the international events have on the hosting city, the importance of investing in local educational institutions, and which meeting she would like to host the most in the Slovenian capital.

The following three interviewees left a huge mark on the conference and its content. Their outstanding lectures allowed each and every participant to find insights, relevant to their personal and professional path, and worth considering also in their everyday lives.

Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana, Ms Tjaša Ficko outlined the ongoing process of Ljubljana's urban efforts for sustainable development and commitment to green initiatives. She presented the Green Capital of Europe 2016 project, discussed plans for the future, and touched upon the reasons why trust-based and honest cooperation with local stakeholders is considered a crucialelement in guaranteeingany kind of success.

Ms Ana Roš, World's best female chef 2017 (by The World's 50 Best Restaurants), spoke about what it means to be an ambassador of Slovenia, why hard work and dedication matter, what it is like tosucceed in the men's world of top gastronomy and offered advice for young women, who are just getting started in their professional careers.

Professor Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, a world-famous climatologist and Nobel peace prize winner, captivated the audience with her expertise, passion and concern related to the issue of global warming. She commented on how convention bureaus can help create a vision for the destination based on sustainable development, and what the industry needs to do to in order to become more environmentally conscious.

Interviews with three participants who happen to be also key players in the global meetings industry offer a different, yet very relevant understanding of the business, particularly of the challenges faced by professional scientific associations:

Acting ICCA CEO, Denis Speet, presented the recent work of ICCA, highlighted the importance of digitalization and its future trends, and offered guidance for young professionals just entering the industry.

Executive Director of ISSVD, Debbie Roepe (International Society for the Study of vulvar-vaginal diseases), and Evi Voudiklari, Co-founder and CEO of HeSSRA, Helenic Association for the Study and Research of Aging based in Greece, also presented their views on the past and future of this dynamic industry.

The CSR campaign at the CUDV Draga

The CSR campaign took place at the CUDV Draga, aninstitution for the education, training, work and healthcare of children and adults with various mental disabilities, located in beautiful natural surroundings around 12 km from the capital and at the edge of the Ljubljana Marsh Nature Park.

During the 3-hour activity, participants got to know the lives of the Carniolian bees and planted a small plot of land close to the bee house, which they called the “ICCA Honey Garden”. They also took a moment to reflect on what really are the most important human values that we often forget about in our busy daily lives.

A summary of the entire conference, including the evening events and CSR activity is available in an engaging video on this link.