THE BIG RETURN

by Bozhidara Georgieva

The conferences, congresses and team buildings are back – more modern, interesting and effective that before

Do you remember how you felt the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic when you were invited or decided to organise a big event? Regardless of if it was a conference, a presentation, a wedding or a teambuilding, you probably felt like thousands of other people around the world – after the long months of social isolation you suddenly found yourself in the whirlwind of something extraordinary, strange, exciting and slightly scary.

Today these moments are just memories. But if we stop for a minute to recollect, we will discover that after the months of the "new normal" we did not return completely to the good old events of the past. In a couple of years the ways in which we organise and participate in conferences, congresses, parties and team buildings changed accordingly, adapting to the new realities.

The congress industry and tourism were among the major business fields severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Three years later, however, the industry is back in business – vital, energetic and buzzing with ideas. It seems that as if to compensate for the long months that we spent lockdowned in our homes while trying to fill the lack of life events with online meetings, today the industry has upped its game. The events and the guests are more lively than ever, and virtual means for participation have become the norm.

Bulgaria's congress tourism is blending flawlessly in the global trends. The country remains one of the best destinations for event tourism due to its professional traditions, excellent infrastructure inherited from the pre-pandemic years and upgraded after them, and the strive of local companies to offer current, technically supported services of a world level of quality.

To successfully organise an event in which the speaker talks to a live audience while hundreds and thousands of other participants watch online is a big challenge – so many things can go wrong. For the professionals from Congress Engineering (Sofia, 36 Dragan Tsankov Blvd, phone+359 2 963 29 55, www.congresseng.com) the organisation of such hybrid events has become routine and is realised impeccably. Established in 2002, the company has always strived to be among the best event organisations in Bulgaria. When the Covid-19 pandemic put heavy challenges to the professionals, the company quickly mastered the art of the new type of events – the hybrid ones. Today, they make a core part of Congress Engineering portfolio of services, along with traditional activities such as event organisation, professional equipment rent and sale, translation, event furniture and stage design and others. The company's professionals are equally good in all of these.

Mercury-97 (Sofia, 107 King Boris III Blvd, office 2, phone: 359 2 831 01 87, www.mercury-bg.com) is one of the companies that you can always trust to organise an event crafted to the tiniest detail. It does not matter if it is live or online via the Cvent platform: the company's professionals will unfailingly make your conference, congress, presentation or other event a success. Mercury-97 is here to provide you with everything that you and your guests need – from strategic consultation to proper venue and registration services, to accommodation, travel and technical equipment and services, to modern marketing and communication.

After the big closure in 2020, the interest in events and team buildings outside the big cities and resorts boomed. The advantages of smaller places along the Black Sea coast or the mountains for organisation of such types of events are many. They provide an opportunity to bring the teams together among clean air, beautiful nature and friendlier atmosphere – something that we all crave and already take for normal in our professional relations with our colleagues.

The team building at the Garmen Hills family resort (Garmen village, phone: 0899 962 203, www.garmenhills.com) is an excellent way to combine work and leisure activities. With 4 houses and many different places to work inside or outside with good Internet, the resort offers relaxing atmosphere with a beautiful garden and outdoor swimming pool and provides options for socializing, swimming, playing volleyball, table tennis, pétanque and others. Garmen Hills has developed special menus with Bulgarian and French cuisine, and its own team building programmes: treks in the vicinity, yoga and meditation, birdwatching, wine degustation in the Melnik region, musical evenings with singers or DJs.

With the right preparation and professional support, Bulgaria deserves to be discovered in this way, too – as a place where the pleasant and the business combine impressively well.

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