Croatian congress industry growing, large congress centres still lacking

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​Supply and demand in the Croatian congress industry has increased with the country's entry into the European Union, improvements are visible in both the private and the public sector, but it is necessary to improve the quality and open at least one or two large congress centres, the 8th Forum of the Croatian Congress Industry was told in Zagreb on Tuesday. 

The forum, organised by the Croatian Association of Congress Tourism Professionals (HUPKT), brought together over 100 participants from Croatia and abroad, mostly congress professionals and representatives of several institutions and the City of Zagreb.

"If Croatia had at least one or two large, classic congress centres in Zagreb and on the Adriatic coast, it would be able to attract a lot more large congresses with several thousand participants, which are now rare because of the lack of adequate multifunctional spaces. There are inquiries about such large gatherings, but it is difficult to organise them. There should be one or more congress centres in the near future if we want to become more competitive in this segment," HUPKT president Ranko Filipovic said.

Large conferences organised in Croatia are mostly intended for about 500 people, which Filipovic said is a good basis because about 75 percent of all gatherings in the world are organised for that number of participants.

HUPKT secretary-general Slaven Reljic said that congress tourism was a profitable activity, adding that they expected a lot from the City of Zagreb and the future congress centre, for which a site is still being sought.

Established in 2011, HUPKT has 197 members, mostly individuals with at least five years' experience in congress tourism.