Tourism boards and trade associations in the Balkans are lining up to offer support to New Deal Europe, the Balkan region’s flagship tourism marketplace and conference, taking place on 12th April 2021.
‘The last couple of weeks has seen a surge in support for our event’ said co-founder Robert Dee, ‘with national tourism organisations getting behind us in different ways, all of them positive. Some countries such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzogovina are subsidising tourism suppliers to enable them to attend, leading to an increase in exhibitors from these countries. Others are encouraging participation in different and very creative ways’.
‘It seems that the roll out of the vaccine has encouraged tourism organisations to think more positively about the future, to look beyond the coming weeks and months and start planning for 2022’ added Tine Murn, the event’s other co-founder. ‘We are delighted that the national tourism boards of Albania and Montenegro will be amongst those joining us for the first time, along with a delegation from the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, and that we will welcome back the delegates from the tourism
boards of Serbia and Slovenia.’
‘The New Deal Europe event in 2020 was a professional B2B event and we had a number of quality meetings’ said Karmen Novarlić of the Slovenian Tourism Board. ‘We are looking forward to the NDE event this year and to be able to welcome guests in Slovenia soon again.’
The event in 2020 was held virtually in October, having been postponed due to lockdown. It organised 1,250 meetings and received praise from all quarters, with 95% of exhibiters saying that the quality of buyers was high or very high. ‘We carefully select the buyers meaning that the quality is controlled’ said Murn ‘so we know that participants will have a valuable, constructive and focused day.
Registrations for 2021 are already exceeding the levels we had last year, and momentum is gathering’. Zorica Jovanov, Marketing Director of the Serbian National Tourism Organisation attended last year’s event and supported Murn’s comments. ‘NTO Serbia participated at the first New Deal Europe event in 2020. It was organised extremely professionally, we had very useful meetings and created new valuable contacts, so we can say that the event exceeded our expectations. We are looking forward to the next event with optimism hoping that the overall situation will be favourable for tourism, and that event will help us to accelerate the tourism recovery in our country.’
Other national organisations are getting behind the event, with regional development agencies offering to sponsor delegates, and incoming tourism associations spreading the word to their membership. Vlatko Sulev, President of the North Macedonia Incoming Tourism Association has been instrumental in driving participation from his country. He commented, ‘New Deal Europe is the most important event for the promotion of North Macedonia. The region needed an event and an organisation like this, and I am convinced that it will also help the faster recovery of the tourism industry in the Balkan region.’
Nicu Apostol, Vice President of Incoming Romania Association sees the event as the catalyst for restarting tourism in the region, with a focus on sustainability, an area in which the Balkans is a world leader. ‘For the last 12 months, the travel industry has been in survival mode, but now the end is in sight’ he said. ‘People will travel again, and with the support of the New Deal Europe team, we can find the right partners that understand both the Balkan area's potential and tourists' new expectations. We offer safe destinations that are developing with the key focus on sustainability, and New Deal Europe is a really important vehicle in convincing new partners to extend their operations in the Balkans’.
About New Deal Europe Marketplace and Forum 2021
New Deal Europe is the Balkan region’s primary tourism event, and will take place in a virtual format on 12th April 2021. The marketplace is a day of pre arranged meetings between tourism suppliers from 12 Balkan countries and buyers from tour operators and agencies from around the world. At the inaugural 2020 event 1,250 meetings were arranged between delegates from 36 countries, and the event received satidfaction ratings in excess of 90%. The Forum element of New Deal Europe brings together keynote speakers and industry leaders to discuss and present on the major issues facing tourism in the Balkan region.