The first CONVENE meetings industry event, held few weeks ago in Vilnius, Lithuania, was widely heralded a huge success, winning praise from hosted buyers, visitors and exhibitors alike.
CONVENE, the first event of its kind in the Baltic Sea Region, was commended by the 58 regional exhibitors from Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia and 116 international Hosted Buyers from 21 countries, along with over a hundred local visitors. Those visiting under the Hosted Buyer Programme took part in 2,400 pre-booked supplier meetings, with many buyers actually arranging extra meetings to take full advantage of the event.
Participants were said to be especially impressed with the networking events – held every day and night of the event. Hubert Georg Feil, of Culturebrand Live COMMUNICATION, said: “I got so much out of CONVENE. I was able to discuss a future project with the Mayor of Vilnius, Arturas Zuokas – I’m sure that this event will have been the start of something big!”
CONVENE featured six familiarisation trips, designed to help delegates get a first-hand experience of the Baltic Sea Region. The trips were so popular that they were fully booked long before the doors opened. David Battley, representing BI Worldwide, was unequivocal in his praise. He said: “This has been a real eye-opener. The Baltic Sea Region hasn’t been on the meetings industry radar recently, but I really feel it will be now. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Riga during my visit, so the familiarisation trips were really helpful for getting a genuine feel for the region as a whole.”
Also receiving praise was CONVENE’s International Professional Education Programme, which presented a pan-European team of experts aiming to share best practice in the meetings industry.
The prospects for Vilnius, and the wider region, look strong following CONVENE’s success. There was widespread approval behind the idea of a new national Lithuanian airline, and the potential for a new world-class convention centre is also now being investigated.
The influx of new meetings and events into the area will also help that development. Miriam Roemers, from the European Association of Public Banks, said: “I felt that CONVENE was the best event ever of this kind which I have attended so far.”During a welcome speech, exhibition director, Jolanta Beniuliene also announced the dates for next year’s CONVENE. The next event, which will continue to be supported by Kennedy Integrated Solutions, will be held on 12 – 13 February, 2014 in Vilnius, Lithuania.