In a format of a roundtable discussion, MDs from world-known hotel brands (Best Western, Grand Hotel Sofia, Hilton Sofia, Kempinski Grand Arena Bansko, Marinela Hotel), DMCs (Avatar Tours, Stella Tours) and PCOs (Mercury-97 Ltd, Event Design) gathered together to discuss the MICE strategy of Bulgaria.
For the first time, the business thoughts were also supported by representatives from The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, National Palace of Culture (congress centre), Inter Expo Centre Sofia (exhibition and conference venue) and newly established Bulgarian Convention Bureau.
While the key announced topic of the meeting was “Overview of the international MICE events & forums”, the debate became more than a platform for expressing certain business’ needs and sharing the importance of structuring a proper strategy of the CVB operation as well as the vital role of the government support.
“This is the right time to come up with a strong action plan with regards to our MICE strategy and we can’t waste more time.”, was agreed upon by all participants. It is clear, it is not going to be easy, as the country will be facing soon parliamentary elections (26 March 2017), which affects the decision-making process. But on a very positive side, Bulgaria will start its presidency of the Council of the EU Council in 2018. The Presidency is responsible for the preparation, coordination and leadership of all meetings of the Council of the EU and its supporting bodies and structures (with the exception of the Foreign Affairs Council).
Having all that, it has been agreed during the meeting what the next steps are:
– Newly established convention bureau to initiate a meeting with all current members, as well as to invite potential new members (early March);
– To draft a proper strategy plan with regards to already approved participations in 2017 (IMEX in Frankfurt & IBTM World in Barcelona);
– To seek further opportunities to market the destination throughout the course of the year, considering UK, Russia and Germany as top markets.
“It is already a huge step, having the Ministry of Tourism on board today”, said Stella Filipova (Stella Tours Ltd, DMCs), “so we have to continue working hard. Our co-operation today is the key to success towards our common goal – to present Bulgaria as a MICE destination”.