LJUBLJANA – MTLG 2015

LJUBLJANA – MTLG 2015

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EUROPEAN GREEN CAPITAL 2016

Ljubljana has congresses written in its genome. Long before the emergence of the meetings industry as we know it today, in 1821 Ljubljana hosted the Congress of the Holy Alliance, which brought together important sovereigns, politicians and diplomats of the time to draw a new political map of Europe after Napoleon’s downfall.

Then a provincial centre in the Austrian Empire, Ljubljana was chosen to host the event because of its strategic location and adequate accommodation facilities, thus stepping on the stage of European diplomatic history. Chronicles report that during the four months (!) of the Congress many concerts, theatre performances, balls, parades and fireworks were held for the illustrious guests, much to the delight of the local residents, too.

The legacy of this historic event is the central Congress Square, which is surrounded by some notable buildings and has been transformed, following a recent extensive renovation, into one of the most attractive open-air event spaces in the city, with the Ljubljana Castle as a backdrop.

Due to a natural passage through the Ljubljana basin, the Slovenian capital has always had a linking role between South East and Central Europe. Ljubljana has many attributes of a big city, while creating the impression of a smaller and friendly town, which makes it so relaxing. A comprehensive urban renewal plan that has won several international awards and is an ongoing project, has contributed to redesigning the city’s image with its sustainable development at the forefront. Over the recent years, traffic-free areas in the city centre and the Old Town have been visibly expanded, which made a positive impact on the quality of life of locals residents and visitors alike. With this, a number of public spaces have acquired a new functionality, now being also suitable for events. The city is compact, picturesque, attractive and friendly to delegates attending conferences, corporate events or incentives. Ljubljana is the major congress destination in Slovenia and the highest share of (international) meetings take place in the capital due to the well-developed and diversified meeting infrastructure and its accessibility.

DID YOU KNOW?:
… that Ljubljana is the most beautiful city in the world? This has become the “mantra” of Ljubljana’s Mayor, Mr. Zoran Janković, in his public speeches and protocol welcome addresses. In truth its residents have identified with this statement. Not only are they proud of their city, but also express a high level of satisfaction with living in Ljubljana and are strongly in favour of welcoming visitors from abroad.
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Linking role between South East and Central Europe/ Because of the passage through the Ljubljana basin,Ljubljana has always had a linking role between South East and Central Europe. Since then, the rural town Ljubljana developed into a modern city with metropolitan attributes, forming a rounded urban tourist destination. Its centre is still the castle hill, which is a symbolic and geographic focal point of the city. It seems that Ljubljana is embedded in rural surroundings, making it a very attractive landscape. Only a stone’s throw from the city is a completely different Ljubljana Marshes Nature Park (Barje), the green outskirts of the city can be felt on the walk on the unique PST path (Path of Remembrance and Comradeship), which interconnects various rural and urban parts of the city.

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Cultural and historical heritage/ Combining images of Roman Emona, the medieval city centre and Baroque and Art Nouveau elements also contribute to the attractiveness of the city. The city does not have any internationally recognisable landmarks, but is has a series of small “gems” that are sufficiently attractive and appealing for tourist development. The unique marketplace with the Plečnik arcades stands out along with the river Ljubljanica with Triple Bridges, the Dragon Bridge and the Cobblers’ Bridge. The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage and, consequently, is a social attraction. It has the attributes of a big city, while creating the impression of a small and friendly town. Recently the comprehensive urban renewal also contributed to this, with which Ljubljana acquired many new areas that are closed to traffic and are also suitable for congresses or other events. The renovated Congress Square, Trnovo harbour, the embankments of the Ljubljanica River are all excellent venues for events. The city also stresses the importance of sustainable development, which is reflected in the new low-emission buses, the introduction of charging points for electric cars and other measures such as the expansion of green areas and revitalization of industrial areas that make the city really green. The city is picturesque, attractive and friendly to congress guests.

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An accessible destination/ Most congress guests consider the sense of security in the city as very high. The opinion of its residents is that Ljubljana is a pleasant place to live in. Geo-strategically Ljubljana is extremely well positioned and is known as an accessible destination, but it has more and more problems with its transport accessibility.

Currently, the airline connections are poor, as well as the unused railway geostrategic location. This is a shame, as it is this form of transport that is the most sustainable. The lack of regular air connections and problems of the national air carrier currently places Ljubljana among the less accessible meetings destinations. Competition in the region is currently much more active and ambitious. The main traffic artery remains the Slovenian motorway network. Otherwise Ljubljana is among the smaller towns, where most of tourist attractions are within walking distance. Parking problems have recently been eased with the emergence of a new parking garage and a changed traffic regime. Especially commendable is the bicycle rentals and a system of landscaped bike lanes in Ljubljana.

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Tourism in Ljubljana/ It is formally and effectively positioned as a key economic activity and a generator of development. An organised destination management through Ljubljana Tourism plays an important role here. Ljubljana thus functions as a developed tourist destination, generating 13.1 percent of arrivals in Slovenia with the majority business motive of the arrival. Among lots of bars and pubs in the city centre some of them are also marked with a symbol of Ljubljana Quality as a guarantee of quality. Much has improved in this area in recent years and only those most tourist restaurants should be avoided. Also, the number of international cuisines that can be found in Ljubljana has increased and Ljubljana is now increasingly comparable with the developed world. Nightlife of the capital is not particularly attractive bit Ljubljana is becoming a true regional shopping Mecca with a huge shopping centre on the outskirts of the city. Especially attractive is the recreational offer with a number of sports facilities and a high recreational culture of inhabitants of Ljubljana. Ljubljana is increasingly recognised as a base for exploring other attractions of Slovenia.

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Meeting infrastructure/ Ljubljana is the most important congress destination in Slovenia, where most of the meetings take place because of the appropriate meeting infrastructure and its accessibility. Congress market in Ljubljana on the supply side consists of the Convention Bureau at Ljubljana Tourism and other congress and incentive providers. Congress buyers see Ljubljana, as a capital suitable for small to medium-sized meetings, positioned in the South-Eastern of Eastern Europe. Among capitals of the newly accessioned EU countries (EU-10), Ljubljana ranks at the tail of ICCA rankings. Compared to Eastern European destinations, Ljubljana in the time period to 2008 recorded good results, while in the time period from 2008 onwards it has been falling, as opposed to the share of destinations with a larger increase.

According to congress providers in Ljubljana, the congress capital has competitive advantage in factors outside the congress activities (entertainment, sightseeing, sports activities, professional opportunities), conference facilities and location (climate, environment, infrastructure, hospitality). In assessing individual factors, Ljubljana achieves the best results in terms of the attractiveness of the surroundings, security, the culinary offer of the destination, the hospitality of the local population and opportunities for non-congress activities. Poorer assessment merit factors of service quality, accessibility and image or experience.

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The main advantages of Ljubljana are certainly the two top conference centres – Cankarjev dom and the Ljubljana Exhibition and Conference Centre (GR). After numerous renovations both are in excellent condition and suitable for the most demanding conference guests. Even in the area of hotels, Ljubljana does not lag behind, and as the largest hotelier in Ljubljana, the Grand Hotel Union has one of the finest congress halls in the region. In addition, Ljubljana also has 9 hotels with conference facilities, 3 providers of other conference facilities and 10 special venues. Well developed is also the agency offer with three active PCO agencies, 4 DMC agencies, 8 event organising agencies and 4 catering providers. After the above written, Ljubljana is a mature convention destination that meets most of the requirements to become a truly “Cool Capital for Great Meetings” as stated in the slogan of the congress destination Ljubljana.

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Competitiveness factors/ Ljubljana has comparative advantages and the experience necessary to occupy a better position in the market of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe in particular. Analysis of the relevance and effectiveness of competitiveness factors of the convention destination, Ljubljana reveals that the location factor, conference facilities and outside congress activities, are assessed as successful and are at the same time important for the competitiveness of the destination. Ljubljana less successfully meets the criteria of accessibility, quality of service, information or image, local support, accommodation facilities, which are all rated as very important factors of competitiveness. Given that it is precisely these criteria that play an extremely important role in choosing the destination and hence its positioning on the international market, they should be given more attention in the future.

WHAT'S HOT IN 2015

Ljubljana has received the Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award for 2015 at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s global summit this April. The WTTC jury pointed out that in recent years Ljubljana “has been completely redesigned with sustainability in mind.”

The current year promises to be as positive in terms of international congresses with more than 100 delegates and in accordance with the ICCA criteria as 2014, which was a successful one.

The International Biennial of Graphic Arts, considered one of the oldest in the world, is turning 60 this autumn; the Ljubljana Festival will be delighting audiences for the 63rd summer in a row, while the Jazz festival Ljubljana will heat the stages during its 56th edition; last, but not least, the Grand Hotel Union is celebrating 110 years since its opening back in 1905.

Crowne Plaza is confirmed for Ljubljana – plans to build a luxurious hotel property at a central location have been recently disclosed by the Serbian company Delta Holding, in the presence of IHG representatives.

Two hotels in Ljubljana are Halal-certified: Grand Hotel Union and Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons now offer services in accordance with Islamic values.

Ljubljana is gearing up to wear the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016, which will be marked by an array of events and related programme contents.

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DESTINATION GRADE

4.40

QUALITY MEETINGS DESTINATION
grade:
5 – excellent meetings destination
4 – quality meetings destination
3 – reccommendable meetings destination
2 – average meetings destination
1 – so so

NATURAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS Grade: 4.45

These are rated highly since Ljubljana is an appealing and attractive tourist destination with a developed infrastructure and cultural offer as well as high experiential value. The focus of this is the Ljubljana Castle and the medieval town. Given the size of the city, it has an exceptional cultural and histor ical diversity with over 15 museums, 41 galleries, 10 theatres and experientially diverse and varied natural hinterland.

GENERAL AND TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE Grade: 4,11

Through history the city has expanded organically and, consequently, the overall proportion of infrastructure and transport is solidly regulated. Among the major shortcomings are still the bad airline availability, the unused railway infrastructure and poorly controlled stationary traffic. The city is extremely safe and in the region one of the most sustainably-oriented.

TOURIST INFRASTRUCTURE grade: 4,43

In the past the tourist offer developed around business tourists, so in Ljubljana hotels are missing a truly superior luxury hotel and recognisable international hotel chains. In the range from 2 to 4 stars, the offer is wide and attractive enough. The restaurant offer is solid, especially in Ljubljana there are many green spaces that offer plenty of opportunities for sports and recreational activities and incentive programmes.

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MEETINGS INFRASTRUCTURE grade: 4,79

Most of investments in the tourism sector in recent years were aimed at improving the congress infra- structure. With two top-level convention centres and a very well developed hotel meetings offer, Ljubljana is the region’s leading congress destination. Also positive is the operation of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau. Among weaknesses we could count fluctuations in the quality of service and lack of hotels availability in the largest peak times.

SUBJECTIVE grade: 4,41

Mostly Ljubljana makes a good first impression, which is partially due to the consequence of the burden with ‘”apriority” conceptions in the light of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Instead they find a congress destination which is friendly and favourable to the meetings industry while being competitive in terms of price and quality at the same time. Among all regional capitals it also has a very good image that has also been strengthened thanks to the Conventa Trade Show.

MARKETING BUZZ grade: 4,67

Ljubljana is very successfully promoted through the Slovenian Convention Bureau, and notably so through the very successful Conventa Trade Show project that has brought the regional congress scene together and which would otherwise not be possible without the support of the city. The Project Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team, which will this year undertake the start of the ambassador programme with the aim of strengthening the market position on the international associations market, is also highly praised.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA

BEST INCENTIVE
The Taste Ljubljana Food Tour is a new themed experience suitable for groups of up to 35 people. Tasting sessions of traditional Ljubljana dishes, the city’s culinary offerings and their historical background are the “fil rouge” of this enjoyable programme.

COMPARISION WITH THE REGION

Based on its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.500 participants). It is positioned side by side with the new EU member states and geographically in the region of the Western Balkans. Thus, according to congress stakeholders in Ljubljana the most competitive destinations are Zagreb, Belgrade, Prague and Budapest. Compared to the newer EU capitals and countries of South East Europe, Ljubljana is ranked in the second half. It is preceded by Budapest and Vilnius, and we should also highlight the rapid growth of Belgrade. While most countries and cities in Europe, including New York, recorded a minimal decrease in the number of congresses, the cities in our immediate vicinity, mainly from South East Europe, recorded a fall on a smaller scale or record growth. At the end of last year in order to give Ljubljana a new sales and promotional momentum, a partnership called Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (LSBT), was established; it is composed of interested partners from both the private and public area.

COOL MEETINGS

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ODPRTA KUHNA - Every Friday from mid-March to October, a square at the Ljubljana Central Market is occupied by a street food market that has in two years established itself as a true city hot spot. The Open Kitchen is wrapped up in the scents of delicious Slovenian and international dishes freshly prepared by chefs and cooks right there, on the market stalls. Locals mix with visitors from around the globe enjoying a wide array of flavours in a convivial atmosphere. Many people check the weather forecast on Thursdays, hoping it will not rain…

WHO TO CONTACT

Ljubljana Tourism/Convention Burau, Krekov trg 10, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ms. Tatjana Radovič,
E: tatjana.radovic@visitljubljana.si,
T: +386 1 306 45 84, www.visitljubljana.com/meetings

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