The Congress Center Master is 13 years old, with more than 2,500 references and 300 days of activity a year.
Executive Manager for MICE activities and Member of the Executive Board, Andrea Knezy, answered questions about the Congress Center Master and Novi Sad as a destination.
Congress Center Master is supported by state institutions in an effort to present Novi Sad as one of a kind MICE destination. What does this partnership include?
The Congress Center Master is a key institution working to attract and organize national and international professional and business meetings in Novi Sad. We work with a number of national institutions, the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, the City of Novi Sad, the Serbia Convention Bureau, whose logistical, institutional, and financial platforms support scientific and business associations, companies, and corporations that hold their meetings at the Novi Sad Fair. Using the synergy of all relevant stakeholders in the process of applying for hosting international events, we are showcasing the strength of the destination’s uniqueness and the profession in the given field. Then our city not only becomes an international center where the latest developments and achievements in different professions and sciences are shared, but also it enhances the business environment, international visibility, and business prospects on the global stage.
This year is especially important for Novi Sad – the city was voted the European Youth Capital in 2019, and in 2021 it will also be the European Capital of Culture. What exactly does that mean for the city?
Our strategic focus involves supporting, creating, and participating in programs that promote the city as a destination for young, enterprising, and creative people from Serbia and across Europe, as well as a place where they can start or continue running their businesses and bring together any one who wants to offer their services and ideas on the global market.
That means that in the coming period the City of Novi Sad is set to host a whole series of conferences, seminars, and business meetings that will create a dynamic environment and an opportunity to promote Novi Sad in key sectors.
Novi Sad is also recognized as a destination for organizing international conferences and professional business events. Next year, Master Congress Center Master will be hosting two international conventions with more than 1,000 participants. What are these conventions?
Our main task is to partner up with the MICE industry and leading professors, scientists, and doctors who are active members of international associations and apply to host important global conventions. Our activities are targeting associations that are capable of appealing to international conventions and business events. Those very strategic activities have led to more than 2,500 events taking place at the Congress Center Master so far, and next year we will be hosting two global conventions with more than 1,000 participants. The convention center’s longtime partner is Novi Sad’s Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, a two-time world champion having earned the title for 20th International Sunflower Conference 2020 and World Soybean Research Conference XI.
What do you think will traditional trade show events look like in the future?
Local and global trends and developments have brought about new leanings towards cutting down the number of days and grandiose promotions, while the focus is shifting towards the target business audience, ready-made platforms for closing deals and selling ideas, services, and products. In addition to a slew of activities geared towards improved targeted publicity, better internal positioning, modern event branding, and strategies for exhibiting and participating concepts, the segment coming to the fore as the most important includes professional events, seminars, trainings, and workshops. Events centered around agri culture, medicine, and IT will surely remain a priority in the Convention Center’s calendar in the coming period.
In terms of business, what do you remember the past 10 years by?
The challenges that the Novi Sad Fair’s management faced, wherein as the executive director I encountered a series of business decisions and responsibilities. My years of experience contributed to professional growth, personal and professional development, numerous new contacts, new skills in different fields acquired by coworkers and clients while agreeing events. However, the most memorable moments in the last ten years were the teamwork in the MICE Activity Department and the excellent business results brought forth by the combined efforts.
What has your business journey looked like since then?
I can freely say that I live my work and I work in an industry that I’ve always wanted to become part of… It was quite natural that my professional track record led me to the role of Executive Director at the Master Congress Center. When the Serbian Convention Bureau was launched, I remember I was very happy and proud to be presenting the Novi Sad Convention Bureau and representing all relevant entities in the city’s MICE industry.
What are you particularly proud of from the last decade?
I am proud of the SEEbtm Award we won as the region’s best convention center – Best Convention Venue 2018 – thanks to votes from our associates, clients, and business partners. I’m proud of our clients for getting better in planning their events, their support leading to an increased number of events annually at the convention center, all newly acquired contacts and skills, and the convention center’s team, which has been growing together with me over the years. People rarely have the opportunity to try out most things they see, hear, or read about with their company teams, and my job made this possible for me.