Newsletter – September 2014

IWC’s 65th meeting in Portoroz

27.09.2014 10:55
After Panama city last year, The Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the associated meetings of its Scientific Committee and other sub-groups took place from 11 to 18 September 2014 in Portoroz, in Grand Hotel Bernardin.  Good cooperation between the organizer, host and Ministries of the Republic of Slovenia was crucial for the successful organization of such an important international event. Mark Tandy, organizer of IWC: “We were kindly invited by the Government of Slovenia to host the meeting in this wonderful location, with particular help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment & Agriculture, The Bernardin Group and the Mayor of Piran. I was completely a hundred percent satisfied with the meetings offer and services of Grand Hotel Bernardin. It has been the best meeting we have had in living memory.”

Grand Hotel Bernardin was honoured to be chosen as the host of the 65thAnnual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission. Marko Jazbec, Chairman of the Board of Bernardin Group, said:“Since the organization and implementation of such an important event cannot take place without a close co-organizer, state institutions and the economy we need to thank to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture Republic of Slovenia and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for a very constructive partnership and cooperation in supporting the implementation of this event in Slovenia, Portoroz. For Grand Hotel Bernardin hosting this event means a lot of things; international recognition, important reference, our high quality services confirm that a good name is better than riches.”

“There were several site inspections before final confirmation. We convinced the organizer to host the event in the Grand Hotel Bernardin with our product, capacities, flexibility, experiences and professional staff. The preparation started in September 2013 and all sector managers were actively involved in the preparation time so we have the big picture covered in details,” he continued.

The organizers’ specific requirements have been met. Marko Jazbec explained:  “The biennial conference is always accompanied by protests of the whale preserve organizations (Sea Shepherds, Women for Whales, Surfers for Cetaceans) which can increase the possibility of incidentals. The organizer requested enhanced security for the conference center and in front of the building. The protesters have important role at the event, so it was suggested to have a special reserved area on the opposite site of the main entrance as they have to be seen.”

The meeting was attended by 400 participants from 70 countries and another 150 observers and press from all over the world. To accommodate all the guests other hotels from The St. Bernardin Group were involved. Marko Jazbec emphasized: “The St. Bernardin Resort offers a total of 756 rooms within 3 categories so we were able to accommodate the delegates based on their preference. The geographical position of Portoroz offers easy access from major international airports, such as Triest, Ljubljana and Venice.”

Next to attending the meeting, participants were also able to experience Portoroz, the local history and cuisine. Mark Tandy, organizer of IWC, said: “In addition to local excursions and side-events, we had two official receptions offering a taste of local foods, wines and culture. One was arranged by the Slovenian Government and the other was arranged by the Chair of the IWC for all contracting Governments’ Commissioners.”

The meeting ended successfully. Slovenia, Portorz and The St. Bernardin Resort have proven to be great hosts and will definitely be remembered by the participants for a long time. Mark Tandy could not hide his fascination with Portorož and the hospitality of the local people. A few days after the event he admitted: “I am still in Portoroz with my family for pleasure… If we do not receive any offers from other Governments to host future meetings, we will definitely return!”

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Distinguished international guests attend Bled Strategic Forum

27.09.2014 10:54
On 1 and 2 September, Bled was hosting the 9th Bled Strategic Forum under the title The Power of Trust. Co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for European Perspective, it brought together more than 500 distinguished politicians, business and media representatives, academicians, young professionals and experts. Participants were welcomed by the President of the Republic, Borut Pahor, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Erjavec.

Over the past eight years, the Bled Strategic Forum has grown into a successful platform for high-level strategic dialogue among leaders from the private and public sectors on key issues facing Europe and the world in the 21st century.

This year’s Young Strategic Forum, the Business BSF and the Bled Strategic Forum were attended by more than 500 high-level guests, including politicians, representatives of business, academia, think-thanks, non governmental organisations and the media as well as young professionals, from 65 different countries. The discussions on important subjects such as philosophy of leadership, cyber security and data protection, demographic change and regional integration inspired the participants.

Bled, the host of this yearly event, is an old acquaintance of congresses and events. Alain Brian Bergant, Head of Diplomatic Protocol, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum, on the added value of organising such a prominent event at Bled: “It is no surprise that Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) is set on the shore of the beautiful Lake Bled. For the past nine years, we have had the opportunity to cooperate with various partners, many of them also based in Bled. Therefore, the added value certainly lies in the fact that we know Bled and its facilities, infrastructure and venues. Cooperating with long-term partners of course means that we all know what is needed and how we can improve the conference each year. In this regard, I would particularly highlight the excellent cooperation with IEDC – Bled School of Management, the leading management and leadership development institution and an agent of change in Central and South East Europe. IEDC has become a strong BSF partner, offering us their facilities and knowledge and helping us co-organise Young and Business BSF events. So I believe that long-term cooperation with different partners in Bled is the greatest added value. BSF also promotes tourism in Bled, a town referred to as the Slovenian national symbol and the Alpine jewel of Slovenia, and helps advance the brand ‘I feel Slovenia’.”

Prominent guests from Europe and beyond were pleasantly surprised by Bled and its peaceful surroundings. Alain Brian Bergant explained: “Each year, Bled Strategic Forum participants assess Bled as the perfect setting for this kind of conference. Last year, referring to the beauties of Bled, one of our keynote speakers, Professor Jean Pierre Lehman, founding director of the Evian Group, said: »We should not be talking of the globalisation of Bled but of bledalisation of the globe«. Bled has provided us an excellent retreat away from the rapidly changing world. It offers us a quiet location, rich in natural and cultural heritage, where participants can enjoy its beauties and magic. I am convinced that our guests have had the chance to experience Bled, its blue lake, the surrounding green forests and the secretive silence of the Julian Alps. This peaceful oasis and magical place in the middle of Europe will hopefully evoke many pleasant memories and the desire to return some day.
We have also developed a strong partnership with the Bled Tourist Information Centre, which has always made sure that our guests feel welcome and get the opportunity to discover Bled. For the first time this year, we organised a panel discussion on tourism. There is certainly no better place in Slovenia to talk about tourism than in Bled. For the next, tenth BSF we plan to continue on this path by organising a separate event on tourism – Tourism BSF, complementing the main BSF, Business BSF and Young BSF.”

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The 14th World festival of roasted potatoes

26.09.2014 15:38
For the 14th year in a row lovers of roasted potatoes celebrated the most widespread and popular dish in Slovenia by cooking their own version of roasted potatoes at the World festival of roasted potatoes. On the 6th of September around 60 national and international teams have demonstrated their culinary skills and fed more than 5.000 visitors gathered in Visoko pri Poljanah.

In Slovenia, roasted potatoes are traditionally served both for Sunday lunch and also during the week since the 19th century. Cooked potatoes are sautéed with onions and lard with the addition of beef soup or gravy from the roast. Roasted potatoes are then served as a main dish or as a side dish with meat.  The dish is so popular that in the year 2000 Society for the recognition of roasted potatoes was established and the first festival that seeks to maintain the tradition of the Slovenian countryside and traditional cuisine was organized. Since 2001, World festival of roasted potatoes is a yearly event organized in different Slovenian cities.

The 14th edition was held in Visoko pri Poljanah where 50 teams from Slovenia and eight from Austria, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, China, Norway and Russia roasted potatoes for hungry visitors that came from all over Slovenia and abroad. It was a great opportunity to meet, chat and exchange recipes for this popular dish.

We believe that visiting the festival can also be a great incentive and an unbelievable and amusing gastronomic experience! Try to imagine your clients competing in the preparation of the best roasted potatoes, all done under the watchful eye of renowned chefs from Slovenia. Sounds fun, does it not?

In any case, if you weren’t there to taste the potatoes this year, you now have a year to learn the roasted potatoes anthem (yes, you have read it correctly) and attend the 15th World festival of roasted potatoes that will be held on 5th of September 2015 in Mokronog, Slovenia.

The anthem “Home fried potatoes” was composed by Mojmir Sepe and written by Dušan Velkaverh and goes something like this:

We love potatoes
The best ones that grow.
Fry them with onions
And make a great show!

That’s why our kitchens
Will always smell sweet,
Home fried potatoes –
The best you can eat!

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Conventa and Slovenian Convention Bureau are the best source of information when searching for a meetings destination and meetings providers

26.09.2014 15:28

It is not a coincidence that in September a company from a consulting industry from Belgium held a two-yearly meeting in Slovenia. When searching for information, Conventa and Slovenian Convention Bureau helped Geraldine Huybrechts, Managing Partner at Borealis Belgium find a perfect meetings destination for 200 people. We have been speaking with Geraldine Huybrechts about Conventa and about the process of finding meeting providers on the Adriatic Coast that would be a perfect fit for her client.

Q: Where did you first hear about Conventa?
A: We have heard about Conventa about 2 years ago. Last year, Dries Jacobus (owner of Borealis company) and myself participated as Hosted Buyers. We were pleasantly surprised about the great organisation of the exhibition and the quality of the exhibitors.

Q: You attended Conventa 2014 as a hosted buyer. What were your expectations of the show and what was your hosted buyer experience like?
A: Conventa is well organised. It is a small exhibition with very personal contacts thanks to the size.  You get in touch with almost all suppliers and a lot of other Hosted Buyers which are excellent networking opportunities.  We enjoyed our stay at Ljubljana and discovered Slovenia as a new meetings destination. I participated at the pre-tour to discover the venues and hotels in Ljubljana and I have to say that this city and the destination itself have a lot to offer.  A destination to discover!

Q: You were looking for a suitable meetings destination and meetings providers for a corporate event with about 200 attendees. Did you find the right contacts and developed new business partnerships at Conventa?
A: We registered for Conventa in November 2013 without having received yet this request. It was just before Christmas and winter holidays that we suddenly received a request for the Adriatic Coast. For us, it was obvious that Slovenia would be a suitable destination for this request. It was just perfect timing to meet the suppliers personally, such as hotels and venues and our local agency.  The interactions and talking about this request on the spot with different parties was an added value to convince our client to come to Slovenia for their meeting.   So, yes they confirmed the 200 pax meeting at the Kempinski Portoroz.

Q: Was Conventa team and Slovenian Convention Bureau helpful with assisting you to select the most appropriate solution for your event?
A: Very quick feedback and professional friendly team.

Q: You also attended Ljubljana pre-tour and post tour to Bled. Did personal experience of the destinations help you get a better understanding of the destinations’ potential to host your meetings and incentives?
A:  Yes, I still want to explore more in Slovenia. The Northern & Eastern side are still unknown to us so we need to explore them to have a global picture of the country.  I love the nature, nice activities, hospitable people, the influences of different cultures Italian/Austrian/German/Hungarian, .. these are for sure some ingredients needed to organise the perfect meeting/incentive.

 Q: Did you decide to organize the event in the region after receiving all the information?
A: Yes, thanks to the fact of price/quality, easy access to Portoroz (chartered flight Brussels-Ljubljana and then transfer by coach), short distances and the quality of the hotel which all made them the perfect ingredients for this event.

Q: Would you recommend Conventa to other meeting planners out there and if so, why?
A: Yes, to get knowledge about this region – South East and Central Europe.

More about Conventa at Meeting planners can apply for hosted buyers status at

Austria Trend Hotel continues in sport spirit

26.09.2014 15:26
Austria Trend hotel is getting more and more recognized as sport hotel as they host several sport teams and events on the highest level.

As they hosted the world known English football club Chelsea at the end of July, which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, they took their references on another level. Chelsea came to Ljubljana to play a friendly game against home town club Olimpija. During their visit they have stopped in Austria Trend Hotel to prepare for the game, enjoy in comfortable atmosphere and get some rest before playing. One could say Austria Trend superb culinary helped them to get a victory that evening, as the game in Stožice Arena ended with their victory 2:1.

In August Austria Trend Hotel hosted referees, officials, coaches and team members of “Ljubljana Cup 2014” – Junior Grand Prix of figure skating. Best skaters from all over the world, including Russia, competed in the legendary Hala Tivoli and had a chance to enjoy in Austria Trend Hotel hospitality.

The hotel itself established a unique program “Ljubljana – City of preseason games” in which all sport teams can come to Ljubljana to participate at friendly games before the start of the season, which are organized by professional Austria Trend Hotel staff.

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Taste Ljubljana in the renovated restaurant Club Cankarjev dom

26.09.2014 15:24
Vivo catering invites guests to try the exquisite dishes of TASTE LJUBLJANA concept – Ljubljana pancakes with tarragon and FROGS’ LEGS served daily in the renewed restaurant CD Club.

The restaurant with a great view of the city is appropriate for business meetings as well. In the month of taste Ljubljana guests can enjoy famous frog’s legs, flying žganci, soups and stews, a variety of homemade dumplings, honey nut rolls and tarragon pancakes.

With a coupon from the Petrol catalogue, they offer 40% discount on “Taste Ljubljana” meals on D125 (Dunajska 125), between 6th October to 6th November. (With a lift from Erjavčeva street to  6th floor).

More information on 00386 (0) 59 956 740 or