We again tried to answer it this year. As part of the jubilee 10th trade show Conventa pre-show fam trips and with a group of 28 hosted buyers from 15 countries from around the globe we wanted to make the most out of the opportunity and get to know Ljubljana as a congress destination with its congress offer, while also paying special attention to the genuine experiential experience. In cooperation with local partners we designed an innovative study program, which took place on January 22 and 23.
In just over a day we visited 6 Ljubljana hotels, a congress center - Cankarjev Dom congress centre (the second big congress centre GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was the venue of Conventa trade show), 5 special venues and experience a selection of Ljubljana restaurants suitable for business events.
The fact is that presenting a destination in such a short time is considerably challenging, both from a professional as well as an experiential point of view, and trying to satisfy the needs of such a large number of clients requires a significant amount of careful preparation. In order to maximize the experience we decided to divide the big group into two smaller ones.
Since we are aware that the genuine »hands-on« experience is the one that can upgrade the quality of the programme substiantially by adding a special touch to it, we wanted to avoid the »dry« presentations with a lot of technical characteristics. Our local partners were exteremly helpful and proved very creative in their own presentations, which surpassed the mere viewing of conference and hotel rooms and premises.
In the Grand Hotel Union the group was welcomed in hotel's wine library with special snacks and selected wines, at 4 points by Sheraton Mons they simulated the real event and had a car parked inside one of the conference halls. Visit of Austria Trend Hotel started with some morning excercise in their fitness premises, and Radisson Blu Plaza awaited our guests with their golden sparkling wine. Hotel Slon offered the group nothing less than a culinary workshop – together with the team that prepares almost 30000 doughnuts every year the group of buyers tried their hand at doughnut-making and realized it requires a lot of work, patience and a little bit of love. The hosted buyers also visited the latest hotel acquisition of Ljubljana - InterContinental Ljubljana, the first five-star hotel in the city, and enjoyed short refreshment on their 20. floor terrace with breath-taking views over the city and its surroundings.
CD Congress Centre prepared a nice suprise at the end of the visit – as 2018 marks the 100. death anniversary of famous Slovene writer Ivan Cankar, there was a special guests waiting at the foyer during the coffee break – it was Ivan Cankar himself, with a cup of coffee, large moustache and in high spirits.
We also wanted our guests to discover a handful of Ljubljana restaurants suitable for business lunches or gala dinners. We started the tour with a relaxed and delicious lunch at the Most restaurant by the Ljubljanica river, ended the first evening with a gala dinner at Strelec restaurant, Ljubljana Castle where chef Igor Jagodic prepared a real culinary experience, and rounded up our trip with a lunch at the As Aperitivo Restaurant during the second day. Genuine, high-quality, magical were some of the words the guests used when describing the Ljubljana culinary scene.
During the study tour the group also learned about the main tourist sights and history of Ljubljana, its everyday life and vibe. Together with Simona and Urban - the Ljubljana Tourism guides - we walked across the old city center and stopped at certain points to listen to some lively anecdotes about local history and its famous residents.
And clients' final views on the programme?
A lot of enthusiastic comments! Besides the sustainable and green initiatives, relaxed city center and short distances - the guests were able to make sure all key points in the city are easily reachable on foot - the group was positively surprised by the authentic architectural and cultural eclecticity of the Slovenian capital; both powerful testimonials of Ljubljanas's rich and eventful past.
At Ljubljana Tourism Convention Bureau we would like to thank all the participants of Ljubljana fam trip. We are grateful also to our local partners who prepared their presentations very efficiently and sometimes joined the group during the social programme. We have long collaborated very successfully with every single one of them, which we are very proud of.
Zuzana Janovska, Touristic Travel Prague, study tour participant:
»A big compliment to the whole team of Ljubljana Convention Bureau for the excellent fam trip. It was great, very informative and interesting. We will be back!«
Jan Oršič, Head of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau:
»The Ljubljana PreConventa Tour means a great responsibility and a big challenge at the same time. Within 24h we have to present a group of Conventa Hosted Buyers - looking for different information about our city – with as many relevant experiences as possible & give them a comprehensive overview of Ljubljana, a cool capital for great meetings.«
The official photographer of this year's Ljubljana preConventa study tour was Jure Gašparič.