During the sixth edition of ACE of MICE at the Istanbul Congress Center, Travel And Tour World spoke exclusively with Igor Kovacavic, CEO Serbia Convention Bureau. He talks about the growth of the convention center over a period of time maintaining international standards, challenges and more.
Travel And Tour World – How successful is the Serbia Convention bureau in creating a strong and recognisable brand of Serbia? What are the main challenges?
Igor Kovacavic: We started the journey creating the brand ten years ago and in the last three to four years we tried our best with the resources we have, the way we are working on is creating i not entirely destination brand in the events and meetings due to the lack of resources. We are more focused on creating a specific brand in any specific field so that we can build the largest international European event in the history. Last year, we hosted the road congress in Belgrade, Serbia and it helped in creating a strong brand.
Travel And Tour World: Through which channels you are marketing your MICE products to the global market?
Igor Kovacavic: Key channels are one to one basis, we do thorough research and work on database that identify the clients, customize the product and completely cast the MICE destinations .The number of clients defines the number of channels we have.
Travel And Tour World: MICE industry is developing fast in Serbia in the past years. What more can we expect to happen in the future?
Igor Kovacavic: We are trying to increase the number of international association meetings, corporate visit in Serbia. We expect to have a better international client and fully understand what we can give them.
Travel And Tour World – What are your personal biggest challenges at the CEO’s position in Serbia?
Igor Kovacavic: The challenge is working with the large number of people, usually my day is filled with meetings with industry people, hotels venue and DMCs and trying to work on them.
On the other side I have to speak to people like professors, scientist and doctors on how to increase the capacities of the local societies so that they can bet international bid.
Travel And Tour World – What would be the biggest achievement in the last decade at the Serbia Convention centre?
Igor Kovacavic: For the bureau for the last ten years there are several activities and we maintain international standards, there is no difference in what we are doing here with some of the best destinations. We have worked hard to achieve this and I am satisfied, we received huge support from the industry members.
Travel And Tour World – During the launch of the bureau how did you effectively develop activities in the corporate market even when the sources were limited?
Igor Kovacavic: Any other bureau has activities in the association segment but we tried to develop the corporate segment for an important reason. We wanted to create business for Serbia in the shortest possible time. We held activities with hotels and DMCs through unified activities we tried to manage the resource and to have better affect. We are very satisfied that all went well.
Travel And Tour World – What can Serbia offer congress delegates that no other destination can?
Igor Kovacavic: It is very hard to explain, it is new and different in the international market.
Travel And Tour World – How would you describe the cooperation between the public and the private sector in developing congress tourism in Serbia?
Igor Kovacavic: This is a key issue not for Serbia but for other congresses in places without cooperation there will be no successful bureau .If you look at the top ten destination in the middle east they are successful due to public- private cooperation.
Travel And Tour World – How has the development of congress tourism affected the perception of Serbia?
Igor Kovacavic: It has effected positively, the corporate events brings the best and cream del a cream section of the society.
Travel And Tour World – What are your major take away from the ACE of MICE show?
Igor Kovacavic: ACE of MICE Turkey and Istanbul are great destination, venues, great Eurasian experiences, we are here as we had cooperation with the Turkish general. The Turkish companies are good for us and the key takeaway is keep great relationship.