The second consecutive online New Deal Europe Marketplace and Forum, focused on tourism to the Balkan region of Europe took place last week, and the results are now in from the survey of all participants. Although this was the second time the event took place during the pandemic, the organisers reported a trebling in a number of attendees and a huge growth in the interest to the region. 

The vast majority of respondents (85%) scored the event 8, 9 or 10 out 10 in terms of satisfaction, and 97% of Balkan suppliers who completed the post-event survey rated the buyers as being of high or very high quality. “These are very high scores for any event,” said Robert Dee co-founder of the event “but for a virtual event taking place in these difficult times, they are really exceptional. What is really gratifying is that 99% of all respondents want to attend the next New Deal Europe event, so the foundations have been laid to really develop tourism to the region.” 

The event was truly global with buyers attending from 38 countries, and over half coming from the UK, the USA and Israel which are widely anticipated to be the first markets to open up thanks to the pace of their vaccination roll out. “It was a really long day for our Balkan partners” added Dee, “as we started early to capture the buyers from the Far East and even from as far afield as New Zealand who were 13 hours ahead of our operational time zone, and we finished late to accommodate the buyers from West Coast USA”. Overall, 349 people attended and over 2,000 meetings between tourism providers in the Balkans and global tour operator buyers took place. 89 % of suppliers who completed the survey said the meetings were of high value to their business.

Chris Ellis, product Manager of Explore Worldwide commented “It was a thoroughly enjoyable, and incredibly useful day. Really well organised with brilliant webinars” and Alison Nichols from Charitable Travel said “Congratulations to New Deal Europe and the team for a fantastic event. I got some fantastic new contacts and learnt so much about this amazing region! I’m now looking forward to working on campaigns to help Tourism build back stronger.” Alida Palievic of US Operator iWorld of Travel commented “I think the event was awesome, the platform worked well, I hope that you will grow in the future, I was really happy how it all went!” From the supplier side, Andrea Jemc Vidic, sales Manager of Sava Hotels, the largest hotel chain in Slovenia said, “New Deal Europe was a great event and I can't wait for the next one. Thank you.” 

In addition to the B2B workshop there were destination presentations on Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Moldova and a forum session analysing what to expect from the tourism restart, with presentations from News UK, Travel Weekly and Oxford Economics. Tine Murn, the other co-founder of the event said, “we were delighted to welcome Moldova into the New Deal Europe family this year, taking the number of countries we focus on to 12. We had an amazing response to the interview we did with the Head of their New Deal Europe Press Release, 27 April 2021 

Tourism Department, both at the event, and subsequently via the links posted on our website ( Many operators clearly want to know more about Moldova, the least- visited country in Europe, and we are delighted to play a part in developing tourism to there. It was also great to see growing interest in other less visited parts of the region such as North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Serbia. Along with other Balkan destinations they all offer great sustainable tourism programmes, perfect for the post pandemic world”. 
The event began with an opening introduction from Professor Alessandra Priante, European Director for the World Tourism Organisation, who praised the energy and co-operative spirit of the tourism providers in the Balkans. It finished with an address from Daniela Wagner, Commercial Director of Jacobs Media Group, who congratulated the organisers on growing the event three-fold within six months and also announced that New Deal Europe will be taking part in Global Travel Week in London in September, a new hybrid event aimed at promoting post pandemic tourism.