The number of Hosted Buyers attending the second CONVENE Meetings Industry show has grown by 30%, to 150. Both buyers and suppliers were full of praise for the event, which was held in Vilnius on the 12th and 13th of February.
The annual show’s aim is to focus attention on the Baltic Sea Region. CONVENE 2014 boasted an increase of 20% in the number of exhibitors, who were from a total of eight different countries. This year, Sweden and Belarus joined the original exhibitor countries of Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia and Lithuania. Christian Bergstrom from the Stockholm Convention Bureau was delighted with his first visit to CONVENE where he found that “the service level in general in Vilnius was fantastic!” and that the “main benefit for the Stockholm Convention Bureau was to meet new corporate agents and associations.”
This view was echoed by Aigars Smiltans, of Meet Riga, who praised the way the Baltic States were working together to promote the region as a whole: “CONVENE is a good platform for us to promote Riga and Latvia as a destination. The show helps us reach our targets in a direct way”.
For many exhibitors, the opportunity to reach a wider audience was the biggest advantage. In the words of the Managing Director of the Baltic Travel Group, Egle Jaugiene, “The second year of CONVENE showed that our region is interesting for the international MICE community and the demand of entering this important new market is rapidly growing”.
Exhibitors held more than 3100 meetings with carefully prequalified and senior Hosted Buyers drawn from 26 countries who represented the elite of the Meetings Industry. For buyer Roman Brusenskiy, President of the Russian company Actava, the benefit of CONVENE was evident: “I find this show is productive, and so I have made a lot of new contacts and I think that CONVENE has potential for the Russian market”.
Hosted Buyers were also treated to evening networking events that showcased some of the best venues in Vilnius. The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania provided the magnificent backdrop to a full package of hospitality and entertainment.
As CONVENE closed its doors for another year, Hosted Buyers were able to continue discovering the Baltic Sea Region thanks to the familiarisation trips laid on by the organisers. Buyers took to the airport to discover the other countries in the region, while many elected to stay and further discover Lithuania, with the Vilnius City Tours filling up the fastest. Vanessa Ellis, MD of Ellis events said that she had enjoyed “an evening filled with Lithuanian culture beginning with food, continuing with the entertainment, right down to the last details – I really feel I know Vilnius now!”
The next CONVENE will be held on February 11th and 12th 2015.