IBTM World 2023: Dubrovnik as a Destination for All Types of Business Meetings
Photo credit HTZ i TZGD
IBTM World 2023: Dubrovnik as a Destination for All Types of Business Meetings
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IBTM World, a specialized international MICE fair, took place in Barcelona from the 28th to the 30th of November. The Convention Bureau of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board presented its meeting and incentive offerings at the stand organized by the Croatian Tourist Board (CNTB) with 19 co-exhibitors, including hotel groups Valamar, Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH), Sun Gardens, and Maistra representing Sheraton Dubrovnik. Hilton Dubrovnik also exhibited at Hilton group stand.

All three days of the fair were very intensive for all Croatian exhibitors, with a full schedule of pre-arranged meetings and the possibility of additional meetings at the fair. Based on previously selected preferences through the matchmaking platform, the list of pre-arranged meetings for the Convention Bureau of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board was full. A total of 44 meetings were pre-arranged, and a total of 48 meetings were held. Through discussions with buyers, mostly from the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Australia, and the Netherlands, concrete interest was noted with high potential for organizing events in 2024/25/26 and beyond. Several specific inquiries were immediately forwarded to representatives of Dubrovnik's hotels for establishing contacts and sending offers. Dubrovnik has been recognized as an ideal Mediterranean MICE destination, and there is interest in organizing all types of small and medium-sized business events and incentives.

In addition to the Dubrovnik Convention Bureau, exhibitors at the CNTB stand included convention bureaus from Zagreb, Opatija, and CNTB, the Šibenik Tourist Board, and representatives of hotel companies and specialized DMC agencies. On the second day of the fair, CNTB organized a traditional get-together with partners and business travel organizers at its stand from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. With complimentary overnight stays approved by Valamar, Sun Gardens, and ALH, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board provided 3 x 2 Dubrovnik Passes.


Leading "smart" fair in the MICE industry

Like many other industry gatherings, trade shows, or MICE workshops worldwide, IBTM World experienced its largest edition this year. The fair hosted 2,250 exhibitors from more than 150 countries worldwide and almost 4,000 hosted buyers. More than 132,000 business connections were made with significantly increased use of sophisticated lead scanning technology and an extremely efficient matchmaking platform. This platform, in the preparatory phase, ensured networking and optimal selection of pre-arranged meetings by systematizing the needs of buyers and the offerings of exhibitors. IBTM added a new guidance tool, WalkMe, to its leading partner-finding platform on the market and, for the first time, opened the platform to visitors. An innovative exhibitor control panel, Exhibitor Dashboard, was presented, enabling exhibitors to assess the impact of their connections in real-time. IBTM confirmed its status as the leading "smart event" in the meeting industry.

IBTM also aimed to raise awareness of the impact event organizers have on shaping business culture and that they are business drivers. Recognizing change creators and their imaginative, dynamic, and advanced ideas was the focus of this year's IBTM campaign #CultureCreators. Furthermore, the 2023 edition, with inspiring and impressive speakers, demonstrated how embracing diversity and inclusion (D&I), nurturing the community, and advocating for the power of innovation can direct the meeting industry toward a brighter and more successful future, bringing better business results for everyone.


Dubrovnik at City DNA - CVB Cafe

During major MICE fairs such as IMEX and IBTM, a meeting of the Meeting Steering Group / Meeting Industry Knowledge Group of the City Destinations Alliance (City DNA) is regularly organized, which two years ago expanded and is branded as CVB cafe. Representatives of convention bureaus participating in the fair, who are members of City DNA, were invited to the meeting in the new format. It was also open to other interested convention bureaus. This year's CVB Cafe was held on Monday, the 27th of November, at the Fira Barcelona hotel. A record number of representatives of convention bureaus, more than 60, participated and were divided into tables for the working part. At each table was a member of the Meeting Knowledge Group who led the discussion on various predefined topics and later presented the conclusions. Romana Vlašić, Head of the Dubrovnik Convention Bureau, led the discussion at Table 1 with representatives of the convention bureaus of Gothenburg, Malaga, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Geneva, and Dublin on the topic Legacy - How does your organization support associations, corporate clients, and event planners in ensuring that their events leave a lasting legacy on your destination? Do you have established programs, or do you consistently adopt a customized approach for each event? Additionally, how do you assess the success of these efforts in the long term?

The next edition of the IBTM World fair is announced for November 19-24, 2024, and during this year's fair, a long-awaited special edition, IBTM World Asia-Pacific, was announced to take place in Hong Kong in the Spring of 2025.

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