Bosnia & Herzegovina is a country situated in the western Balkan peninsular of Europe. Its storied history and its recent war with neighbouring Serbia make it rather difficult to explain this country in a few sentence. Today as you interact with the people in Bosnia, you can still feel their angst and emotion on the war that happened just about 20 years ago, as almost everyone, every family has a story to tell.
But perhaps it is these history, stories and emotions, as well as the natural beauty of the country that make Bosnia & Herzegovina a great place to visit, from the MICE point of view. For example, the experience of the recent war has given rise to interesting themed tours and activities such as the "Siege Tour", "Tunnel Tour". While a walk through the main street capital city Sarajevo's Old Town is like a walk through history from the Ottoman era, Austro-Hungarian period, the Communist regime to today. Unlike old towns of other European countries, the architectures of each era were well preserved on one street - like a linear timeline, making easier to explain the history of the country. Then there are other heritage sites such as Mostar, Pocitelj and nature sites with spectacular views such as the Kravice waterfall. And dining right beside gushing waters along the Buna River is an experience not to be missed.
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a truly an amazing destination with great potential for MICE, although more investment and development in infrastructure, as well as improvement on assessibility would be ideal.
The Serbs may still have historical and political issues to resolve with some of its neighbours, but great nature, rich heritage and war stories make Serbia an interesting destination for tourism and MICE.
In the capital city of Belgrade, the Belgrade Fortress in the Kalemegdan Park commands an impressive view overlooking the confluence of Danube and Sava rivers., It is a symbol of Belgrade since centuries ago and it has been built, re-built and expanded over the years and hence its architecture is an embodiment of Roman, Byzantine, Serbian, Hungarian and Ottoman styles. Underground cellars and halls within the fortress are indeed unique venues for conference, exhibition and dinner functions. However, in an effort to preserve the structure and archaeological artefacts, only certain events are allowed to be held here. MICE organisers should check with the local DMCs or convention bureau for availability and eligibility.
MICE organisers looking for more secluded venues for 'secret' corporate retreat may want to consider the Kustendorf Timber Town. The Timber Town is located on a hill in Mokra Gora, some 200km away from Belgrade. It was built by film director Emir Kusturica for his movie “Life is a miracle” and now serves as a resort. There are restaurants, a hotel, indoor and outdoor theatres, a swimming pool, tennis courts and gym facilities, in addition to nature walks with breathtaking view of the mountainous region. This makes the Timber Town a great venue for company retreats where conference, team-building and social activities can all be held in one place. The hotel has 76 rooms, 3 suites and 3 houses for accommodation, and the multipurpose hall has a capacity of 250 in theatre style seating.
Dubrovnik in Croatia, already a popular European beach destination, has now been made more famous thanks to Hollywood movies and TV series such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Robin Hood (starring Jamie Foxx), and Game of Thrones etc. It is great location for incentive travel given its rich history and scenery. There are many open spaces, indoor halls and restaurants housed in heritage sites suitable for holding special theme dinners and events. Some of these include the Pucic Palace Hotel, Photo Fish Restaurant, Klarisa Restaurant, East West Benji Beach Bar, the Old Quarantine, the Old Customs Building, Townhall MKD Theatre, the Rector's Palace, the Franciscan Monastery, as well as concert and party venue - Revelin.
The Old Town in Kotor, Montenegro, is like a miniature of the Dubrovnik old city. Size of the town and its buildings seem to be in smaller scale. However, the mountain range, and its closeness to the city, is imposing. Incentive groups can probably take a challenge to climb the fort wall from the old town to the mountain top as a team building activity.
But old town and fortress is not all that Montenegro can offer. There are new developments along the coasts. In Tivet, luxury apartments and hotels are springing up. Luxury hotel, such as the Regent Hotel featured here, is all set to take on MICE groups with its fine ballroom and function facilities.
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