COBCOE Chamber of the Year 2013

Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

Summer 2013

Kristina Matulevičienė

page 5

Vilnius a...
BCC paper Summer 2013

BCC paper Summer 2013

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Members’ Discount Scheme Updates

As a member of the British Chamber of...
BCC paper Summer 2013

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BCC paper Summer 2013

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Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

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BCC paper Summer 2013

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BCC paper Summer 2013

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Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

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BCC paper Summer 2013

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BCC paper Summer 2013

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Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality

Traditions and Innovations – what p...
BCC paper Summer 2013

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BCC paper Summer 2013

Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality
Vilnius and Lithuania, a realistic
Bal...
British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania News
British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania News
British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania News
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British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania News

  1. 1. COBCOE Chamber of the Year 2013 Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Summer 2013 Kristina Matulevičienė page 5 Vilnius and Lithuania, a realistic destination choice for International meetings, conferences and events? This BCC Paper is kindly sponsored by Paul Kennedy First IBIS Hotel in the Baltic States: excitements and challenges after 1 year operations in Kaunas Druskininkai resourt: transformation from “grey and empty” to “vivid and boosting” issue No. 45 page 7 page 10 Lithuanian Tourism Promotion Strategy The last few years has seen a noticeable increase in the numbers of tourists visiting Lithuania. Certainly helped by the number of direct flights. The increase visitors can be seen not only passing by along the charming cobbled streets of the present capital Vilnius, or the former castle capital Trakai, or indeed the most recent former capital the resurgent Kaunas old town, but across the entire country. Yet still Lithuania has much more to offer, and the growth of tourist industry is still in its infancy.   Dr Raimonda Balnienė, Director General of the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy, explains where Lithuania is having the most success in tourism promotion and what sectors are going to be promoted more in the future.      What are the key pillars in Lithuania’s Tourism promotion strategy? The last few years we have concentrated on a B2B (business to business) promotion strategy, as we believe this to be the most efficient strategy for our budget, and we feel justified in terms of growth of visitors. The 5 product areas are: – Cultural tourism, City Breaks, Active tourism, Wellness and Spa tourism, and Event (conference) tourism. These represent the 5 products that we feel Lithuania has the most to offer to tourists. The 2009-2013 strategy also listed our main priority markets. Naturally these are neighbouring countries Latvia, Poland, Russia and Belarus along with Germany. Secondary tier priorities are UK, Scandinavia and Benelux countries. www.Lithuania.travel Growth of incoming tourism was the 2nd highest in Europe last year and in 2011 so we feel it is moving in the right way.   Britain is now home to so many Lithuanians. How do you promote Lithuania in the UK and is there a strategy to take advantage of so many Lithuanians abroad? Recently Martynas Levickis, concert accordionist and graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London, was appointed Lithuanian tourism ambassador in the UK. The Olympic gold medal winner and new holder of European records in 50 and 100 meter breaststroke Rūta Meilutytė (who studies and trains in Plymouth) would be another potential candidate. continued on page 6 > Destination Lithuania for Medical Tourism - Increasing Efforts By Alistair Day-Stirrat, Odontika, Editor of BCC paper Health tourism is among the top five priorities in the development of tourism in Lithuania according to the National Tourism Development Programme for 2010-2013. What does that actually mean? Well, we can say Lithuania has come a long way in the last 3-4 years, but so have other countries in the region. So, is Lithuania ready to be truly innovative in marketing what it has to offer, and ready to take a regional lead as a healthcare destination? With over 30 health and wellness centres Lithuania has much to offer. From Palanga to Druskininkai, and Birštonas to Neringa there is a rich variety of modern spa and wellness centre health resorts. Each offering high standards, and low prices, in a number of unique treatments and therapies. In 2009 SPA Vilnius SANA, located in Druskininkai, was awarded with EUROPESPA medical quality certificate - as the best health centre in Eastern Europe by ESPA (European Spas Association). In terms of health services, Lithuania is known for medical tourism in Dentistry, Cardiology, Eye  surgery, Plastic surgery, Cosmetic surgery and Orthopaedics, along with post-procedure recovery services.  Bringing all this to the attention of potential visitors is a challenging task, yet well worth the efforts. Lithuania is making strong and steady progress. continued on page 4 > Connectivity - Implementing a Lithuanian wide air transportation strategy in return for improving the final result for the country. Mr Arijandas Šliupas, Vice Minister of Transport, spoke to Alistair Day-Stirrat about connectivity and implementing a nationwide airport strategy. Arijandas Šliupas, Lithuanian Vice Minister of Transport The increased number of destinations available from Lithuanian airports can be seen as one reason for the country's rise in visitor numbers. The Lithuanian Ministry of Transport is actively involved in reviewing operations of 3 different airports making sure that they will be classified and will be serving different levels of travellers. Implementing a Lithuania wide airport strategy is designed to limit some competition between airports Where did you pick up BCC Paper? Go to and enter poll’s ID www.iqpolls.com 544675 The tourist visitor situation in Lithuania is improving every year. Economically this is vitally important for the country, can you explain some of the improvements you are trying to make for tourist and business travellers alike? Accessibility is a major factor; in fact we have never had such a wide range of connections from around Europe. This is of course mainly stimulated by the low cost carriers, which generate the biggest growth rates across Europe, so Lithuania is no different. continued on page 6 > or scan QR code:
  2. 2. BCC paper Summer 2013 BCC paper Summer 2013 2 3 Members’ Discount Scheme Updates As a member of the British Chamber of Commerce and BCC Membership Card holder you can benefit from the discounts and special offers, currently available in sectors ranging from hotels, legal services and car rental to education and recruitment. For the full list of special offers & discounts please visit our website www.bccl.lt. NEW! Growing Talent - A free introductory coaching session and/or a 10% discount on fees for training delivery and consulting. When contacting the discount provider, please indicate that you are a BCC member, provide your company name and BCC Membership Card number. NEW! Overseas Membership is now available! The British Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania is pleased to introduce a new Membership type Overseas Membership, applicable for any size legal entities and persons registered outside Lithuania. This new membership type should be beneficial for companies or organizations having or willing to develop business links with Lithuania, as well as companies in the UK selling their products via local distributors in Lithuania, or similar. Overseas Membership subscription fees: Joining fee - 100 GBP, Annual Membership fee - 250 GBP. Those, who are interested, please get in touch with us via bccl@bccl.lt The BCC Paper is a quarterly English language newspaper, with a print run of 4000 copies per issue, covering a wide variety of subjects related to business between the UK and Lithuania. Every edition focuses on a different business sector. It also provides an outlet for the chamber and its members to publish their latest news and offer their professional views on current political, economic, European and cultural topics. The paper is widely circulated: available from Lithuania’s two main airports, business centres, hotels and the UK and Lithuanian embassies, in addition to being sent to all BCC members and business contacts, meaning it offers premium advertising space to companies wishing to engage with the Lithuanian business community. Next publication date: October 2013 BCC paper team: From the Chairman Chris Butler, Chairman of the Board, BCC Lithuania The summer edition of the BCC Paper focuses, appropriately enough, on the tourism and hospitality industry – an industry that has been growing in importance to the Lithuanian economy with every passing year, with more than 1.1m foreign arrivals in 2012 (12% up on 2011). Arrivals from the United Kingdom contribute approximately 3.5% of this total – 15% up in 2012 as compared to 2011 and the seventh largest contributor overall. I have always found it interesting to observe the development of tourism in Lithuania, since when I first arrived in the country many Lithuanians were extremely sceptical that there was much of a future in the tourism business. Most seemed to find it hard to believe that there was very much in the country that would be of interest to western visitors. Sure, Poles would always be attracted to Vilnius and Russians/Belarusians to the seaside, but what else was there to offer? Fortunately during the subsequent 15 years or so attitudes have changed as well as assessments of what is possible for the country as a tourist destination. Things such as city tours, country tourism and cruise ship visits to Klaipeda have all become much more developed. Also the possibilities opened up by conferences, whether business or political in nature are infinitely greater than before as a result of Lithuania’s membership of the EU, NATO and other multi-lateral organisations. Interestingly, after Lithuania’s neighbours Russia, Belarus, Poland, Latvia and Estonia, the United Kingdom is second only to Germany in terms of the number of arrivals. I find this a surprising statistic – albeit pleasantly so – because it has never struck me that there are large numbers of UK tourists in Vilnius. Readers of this paper are also familiar with the fact is that the UK is not a particularly large investor in Lithuania. However the statistics don’t lie - clearly, little by little, the British are discovering Lithuania and this can only be a good thing for our bilateral relations. 2013 is highly likely to be a year of further growth in these numbers, in part due to the upcoming Lithuanian Presidency of the European Union but also in part to the developing tourism infrastructure in the country. Nevertheless, that infrastructure is still likely to come under significant strain during the period of the Presidency. I know for a fact that the organisers of conferences due to take place during the second half of the year are already worried enough about the availability of hotel space in Vilnius to be warning their guests to book early or risk being disappointed. As we draw to the end of the 2012/13 season of Chamber activities I think we can safely say that the programme has been busier almost than it has ever been with a huge variety of well-attended events. Sandra and Jurga have really earned their holidays, which they will take in succession during July and August. The office will remain open as one of the team will always be on duty, but please be patient if our response times are a little slower than during the rest of the year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good summer and to wish Lithuania a successful EU Presidency during the second half of the year. Howard Rosen CBE, COBCOE, visited Lithuania Lay back and enjoy Turkish Airlines hospitality to a wide selection of destinations in Far East, Middle East and Africa. Beijing Shanghai Hong Kong Dar es Salaam Tokyo Lithuania Singapore Cairo Seoul Nairobi Cape Town Osaka Colombo Johannesburg Maldives Tel Aviv Beirut Sharm el-Sheikh Editor in Chief – Chris Butler Editor – Alistair Day-Stirrat – Alistair.Day-Stirrat@odontika.com Members section - Jurga Prakapaitė, e-mail: jurga@bccl.lt , themed articles, advertising – Sandra Kundrotė, e-mail: Sandra@bccl.lt , tel. +370 5 2690062 Proofreading – Shaun Harvey Layout - Tautmilė Stanevičiūtė Advert sizes and prices Prices Size Bangkok Size mm Back page 1000 cm² 273x366 Full page right 1000 cm² Full page left 1000 cm² BCC Member rate BCC Non member rate 1250 LTL 363 € 1560 LTL 453 € 273x366 1125 LTL 326 € 1400 LTL 405 € 273x366 1000 LTL 300 € 1250 LTL 363 € ½ page 129 cm² 133x368 700 LTL 210 € 850 LTL 256 € ½ page 129 cm² 273x183 700 LTL 210 € 850 LTL 256 € 1/3 page 326 cm² 273x119 420 LTL 130 € 600 LTL 180 € 1/3 page 326 cm² 133x245 420 LTL 130 € 600 LTL 180 € Small 129 cm² 273x47 200 LTL 65 € 300 LTL 95 € Small 129 cm² 133x97 200 LTL 65 € 300 LTL 95 € Small 129 cm² 63x200 200 LTL 65 € 300 LTL Howard Rosen CBE, COBCOE, speaking at BCC Political Briefing Lunch Howard Rosen CBE,  COBCOE  visited Lithuania ahead of the Lithuania’s EU Presidency. During his visit Mr Rosen met with Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Vice minister of Foreign Affairs, was speaking at the chamber Political Briefing Lunch attended by BCC Sponsor & Board members, kindly hosted by Stephen Conlon, Deputy Head of Mission. Later Mr Howard visited Barclays Technology Centre and met with Giedrius Dzekunskas, Country Managing Director. The programme was organised by the BCC Lithuania and supported by Chris Butler, Chairman BCC. The luxury transportation during his visit was kindly provided by “London Cab”.  95 € Dubai Europe’s Best Airline* Culinary delights, comfortable seats, great in flight entertainment and much more… We fly to more countries than any other airline. We are Turkish Airlines, we are globally yours. *Voted Europe’s Best Airline 2013 at the Skytrax Passenger Choice Awards. For further information or to book your ad space, please contact the chamber: Tel. +370 (5) 269 00 62/84, e-mail: Sandra@bccl.lt turkishairlines.com Howard Rosen and Giedrius Vasiliauskas, owner of London Cab services company BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre
  3. 3. BCC paper Summer 2013 4 BCC paper Summer 2013 5 Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Destination Lithuania for Medical Tourism - Increasing Efforts Druskininkai resort: transformation from “grey and empty” to “vivid and booming” < continued from page 1 Developing a Healthcare Cluster By joining the efforts and activities of all interested parties towards a common goal – to promote Lithuania as a Baltic-Nordic destination for medical tourism – the establishment of a healthcare cluster has been a major step forward. Laimutis Paškevičius, the President of the Lithuanian Medical Tourism Association (Established in 2012) has been the instrumental driving force behind the cluster and the Medical Tourism Association in Lithuania. The formation of a healthcare cluster significantly enhances the location’s chances of success as a destination for medical tourists and increasing patient flow. The premise is to bring together all the medical tourism stakeholders, such as hospitals, doctors, Ministry of Health, Tourism, Economic Development, Tourism Operators, Hotels and more working together to promote an image of high quality healthcare and to establish a “brand” name for the location throughout the world. The Lithuanian cluster is funded by all the participants in the healthcare cluster and government. The Programme also includes public relations and marketing activities to promote Lithuania as an attractive health tourism destination and to build a reputation as having extremely high quality healthcare. Importantly, collective action and a unified voice will produce results that often individual members are incapable of obtaining by or for themselves. Also, before patients travel to any destinations, there needs to be a belief and reputation that the location has extremely high quality healthcare, infrastructure support and governmental sponsorship. No one individual member can do this, and it is vital in order to compete successfully on the international market. From the ministry of Economy ‘Enterprise Lithuania’ is responsible for promoting the country’s producers exports as well as supporting small and mid-sized businesses. The Healthcare tourism business is one of its top priorities in Lithuanian export development.  Amongst many other things, the agency is helping to organize participation at international tourism and medical trade fairs, as well as by arranging outgoing trade missions or providing foreign interest groups with information on Lithuanian healthcare and wellness providers and their services. A recent development saw members of the cluster, the medical tourism association, including British Chamber of Commerce members Baltic American Clinic, travel to Oslo along with Enterprise Lithuania. The goal was to promote Lithuania to the business community in Norway by looking to partner with tour operators and over interested parties from abroad. The two day visit included workshop and meetings with Norwegian b2b tourism and media sector, along with discussions with leading insurance company Storebrand CEO Bjarke Thorøe and Norwegian HELFO Senior adviser Martin Rutherfurd. The main questions, how will Lithuanian Health Care and Medical Spa institutions be recognized, and how might they be represented and participate in the process of choosing Lithuania as a medical tourism destination. The European Directive on Cross-Border Healthcare The rapid growth of medical tourism market globally and the adoption (by the European Parliament) of the European Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare opens new opportunities for the Lithuanian health and wellness sector. The Directive on Cross Border Healthcare became EU law in April 2011 and must be implemented by all states within 30 months – by October 2013. However, anyone waiting for a flood gate to open up with medical tourists to Lithuania really ought to think again. The healthcare systems of EU member states are vested in their own peculiarities and self interest. Each country will be set the task of informing patients of their rights. Some countries will be pro-active disseminating information and establishing clear structures for treatment costs reimbursement. Other countries will be slower and veil information from public accessibility. The Directive covers planned healthcare in EU member states. It does not affect emergency treatment, which is generally covered, in state healthcare systems by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EU Directive does not give patients any rights to cross border healthcare that they don’t have already. It doesn’t introduce any new rights. These rights already existed as part of the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties. So, what does the Directive cover? As a UK citizen, for instance, and therefore a citizen of a European Union state, you have a right in certain circumstances and under certain conditions to seek treatment in other European states and for the cost of this treatment to be reimbursed by the NHS. In other words, if you are entitled to healthcare in your own country, you can choose to get treated in another EU country”, whether your healthcare is provided by the state or by a private insurer.  For patients, the Directive clarifies your rights to planned healthcare in any EU member state and establishes the circumstances in which these rights can be exercised. The Directive also sets out clear procedures to access these rights, including detailed explanations of what the home state is and is not obliged to reimburse you for. For member states, the Directive clarifies the member states obligations under EU law and details the circumstances under which it must fund planned healthcare treatment for its own citizens in other member states. The Directive sets out criteria under which states are obliged to accept citizens from other EU states, and explains the rules for refusing such treatment. The Directive also sets out the systems that a state must provide to allow its own citizens to access their rights to cross order healthcare, as well as the information they are required to provide for citizens considering coming to their country. In essence, you are entitled to obtain healthcare services in any EU state, as long as you are entitled to the same services in your own country, and as long as you are not able to obtain such services within a reasonable amount of time at home. What the Directive does not mean: The Directive does not mean that you will automatically receive funding for treatment in another EU state. Your home state retains the right to pre-authorise treatment and you must comply with the rules and regulations in order to make an application. There are set circumstances under which that application can be refused. The Directive does not alter the right of a member state to define the benefits that they choose to provide for their citizens, and so if your treatment is not funded locally by your healthcare provider, you cannot expect them to fund it for you in another country. So if you are a resident: within the European Economic Area (EEA). This includes EU citizens and also those in Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. With a planned treatment available on your home state as part of the standard healthcare package available to all citizens. Cross border healthcare must be funded if there is undue delay in providing the same treatment is available locally. The European Court of Justice defined undue delay as a waiting time that "exceeds the period which is acceptable in the light of an objective medical assessment". This means that such judgements should be based on medical assessments, not just on arbitrary time based targets. The cost of cross border healthcare will only be reimbursed up to the cost of the treatment in the home state. States are not obliged to pay for costs in excess of the cost of treatment in the home state and you are not allowed to profit from having cheaper treatment in another state. The costs of travel and accommodation are not generally reimbursed. Member states may introduce prior authorisation for any treatment that involves a hospital stay, expensive specialist equipment or staff, or in cases where there are doubts as to the quality or safety of treatment. Authorisation may be refused if the treatment or healthcare provider represents a risk to your health. States may also refuse if appropriate care can be provided at home without undue delay. People with highly contagious or dangerous infections may be refused authorisation, as may those who require secure psychiatric care. Member states may also limit cross border healthcare approval if this presents a risk to their own healthcare provision. For example, where highly specialised, low volume departments would be threatened by even a small downturn in patient numbers. Member states have the right to refuse treatment to a visiting citizen if this would compromise their ability to serve their home citizens. This applies where waiting lists are long or capacity is limited. Cross border healthcare cannot be used to jump the queue of another state and visitors must be treated exactly the same as home citizens. good service, has enabled entree into a niche market. Web search listing and marketing entrepreneurs from ClinicSearch.com have been busily establishing alternative ways of bringing choice to peoples Smartphone’s and PC’s. With over 12,000 listed dental and medical clinics, and tour operators, from across Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey (The UK is not as yet listed). The platform allows you to rate clinics, leave reviews, find clinics nearest to you, compare prices, and compare patient ratings, and soon much more - in the knowledge that Transparent Pricing will be enforced by word of mouth from the general public if not from the service provider themselves. In Odontika dental clinic it is clear that Lithuanians abroad are already communicating the message about what Lithuania has to offer on the international stage. This is one area where there is tremendous scope for innovation. Some figures will have the number of Lithuanians working abroad from 500,000 to 1/5 of the total Lithuanian population. They are the voice who are meeting, socializing, working, starting families, all outside of Lithuania. They are the primary resource for spreading the message and promoting what is good about Lithuania and what there is to offer 10s of millions of people. With some innovative ideas and the help of government a genuine industry could flourish. An industry that is an attractive place to be for professionally educated people, provides good opportunities’ in the country, and one that puts Lithuania firmly on the map as the destination for dental and medical tourism. Innovations in Medical Tourism Choice and faster treatment: Ultimately the EU Directive on cross-border healthcare is leading towards greater patient choice. How Lithuania might be chosen as a destination is indeed the big question. The Directive does not in itself guarantee anything substantially will happen. What it has meant however, is business and governments are talking. Lithuania has gone a long way to organizing itself in preparation as signified by the formation of a Medical clusters. While, for those already in the dental, spa or medical tourism business, any coherent effort towards Lithuania’s brand promotion as a destination for healthcare treatment is a good thing. It should be stated the Directive does not include elective treatments - those treatments that are not covered on a member states health services such as dental implants and some medical surgeries. These areas already form the bases of medical tourism to Lithuania today and where we are seeing some innovative marketing and promotion strategies. Tour operators are already finding niche ways to package Lithuanian as a destination. One UK/ Lithuania operation BodyBureau, lead by Arūnas Žukauskas and Matt McGibbon, arrange treatment and holiday packages to Lithuania of health, detox, and full body makeovers. Such packages include for instance a facelift and tummy tuck, followed by teeth whitening, airport transfers and hotel accommodation. Pulling together medical providers of elective and non-elective treatments, they are able to offer something quite different, by looking at putting together hitherto unrelated procedures and services. BalticMedicalHolidays is another such company looking at Norway, Greater Scandinavia and the UK. SpaTur, which evolved out of conferencing tour operation to the Baltic, started offering spa, medical and dental package to visitors in 2011. Local manager Sigita Baskyte and Thomas Danielsen again prove that having local and overseas knowledge and experience is a positive advantage. Likewise, using recommendations and relations build from several years in conferencing, not to mention understanding what is meant by BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre Not many people remember that only 15 years ago Druskininkai was a dying town with high unemployment, outdated recreation facilities and few tourists, mainly from former Soviet Union countries who could still remember the resort’s glorious past. In these 15 years Druskininkai has changed completely.  Druskininkai is once again a vivid, modern resort town that is very popular among Lithuanians and foreigners alike. Its high quality facilities and services always have something on offer to accommodate even the most selective of guests. The whole town is like one big park enhanced by various spas, health centres, an aqua park, snow arena and many other outdoor activities.  To reveal the secret of the town’s transformation we are talking with the Druskininkai tourism and business information centre’s director Rimantas Palionis. Druskininkai is definitely one of Lithuania’s great success stories. Could you give us a little bit more information about this transformation period from grey and Soviet to colourful and welcoming. What was the key to success and what were the biggest challenges that you had to overcome?     To tell the truth, after the restoration of Lithuanian Independence, Druskininkai really was regarded as a "dying resort". This was so very wrong! We could not forget the glorious past of the town - 200 years of being a successful "watering-place", adored by Russian aristocrats, Polish intellectuals and many others. In the year 2000, when ex-businessman Ricardas Malinauskas was elected to the post of mayor, a bold redevelopment strategy was created. We were determined to transform Druskininkai into a modern all-yearround international resort, attractive to locals as well as to our guests. Our new aim was to win the market of young families, sportsmen and businessmen. A resort is not only a place for seriously ill persons - it welcomes the young and healthy, too! To implement that, a whole net of tourism services had to be created. We began searching for investors, working on investment projects, actively using all European funds which were available. In the last 10 years, more than 1 billion Litas (about 400m Euro) was attracted for municipal projects,such as the main Health SPA (Druskininku gydykla), Aquapark, the Events Hall, parks and roads, and other indispensable details of a modern holiday place. Fortunately, private investors were not slow to join the"renaissance", filling the town with spas, wellness and beauty centres, catering facilities, hotels and places of entertainment . Accordingly, the number of tourists increased 6 fold between 2000 and 2012. Lithuania is often jokingly described as having 2 seasons (hot summers and snow covered winters), can you tell us about the exciting plans and developments that seek to ‘reverse’ the seasons in Druskininkai?     Without slowing down the pace of development, Druskininkai is really seeking to become all-purpose, i.e. to please EVERYbody at ANYtime, even to offer falling snow in summer, and sunny beaches - in winter. You can ski, snowboard and enjoy the delights of snow all year in the huge SNOW ARENA winter complex. Summer is evershining in another magnificent place - the Druskininkai Aquapark, with up to 30 different baths and saunas and plenty of water amusements. Are you targeting specific countries/ regions or types of tourism when promoting Druskininkai? 50 percent of our guests are foreigners: mostly, our neighbours - Poles, Russians and Latvians. However, the number of Scandinavians and Central Europeans is constantly growing. The Majority of staff in our service sector can communicate in English, Russian and Polish. Each year our Tourist Information Centre promotes the United Kingdom Needs to Capitalise on Strong Growth in BRIC Visitors By Lisandra Minussi, Travel and Tourism Analyst at Euromonitor International The United Kingdom continues to attract increasing numbers of visitors from BRIC markets. Rising incomes and interest in travel are combining to make them significant source markets for the future. Source: Euromonitor International Discretionary spending is rising across all income levels in the BRIC markets within categories town during tourism fairs in Moscow, Warsaw, Riga, Oslo and a number of other business events. Are there any areas of improvement on the list? If so, what would they be? Do you have any visitors from the UK and what would be your short list of “five things to do in Druskininkai” for the new comers? The resort still has some ambitious plans to perform. As the saying goes, there is no limit to perfection - each year we surprise our visitors with some new improvements. A cableway between the Aquapark and Snow Arena, an Aero-HydroIonotherapy pavilion (for inhaling of ionized air) and a huge Concert & Conference Hall are next on the list... The number of guests from the UK has not been great till now, but every year in the Tourist centre we find more British, discovering our services. Ever greater numbers of them come just to visit Grutas – our Soviet-era theme park with dozens of Lenin and Stalin sculptures and other relics collected from across Lithuania. Another attractive side of tourism for the UK visitors are business trips. Druskininkai provides a perfect selection of meeting halls with the possibility of vivid after party impressions. There are some special things I would recommend to our British guests: • Taste the mineral water or try a salty bath! The mineral waters of Druskininkai have the biggest saturation range available in Europe: starting from several grams a litre, to 52-58 g/l (“Beauty” and “Sūrutis” springs). • Fly over the Nemunas river.  There is a track of more than 400 meters length stretching over biggest Lithuania‘s river. The speed limit is 55 km/h! • Take part in the costumed tour of the resort. • Enjoy Your favourite song performed by the Dancing Fountain of Druskininkai. • Become a part of local tradition: take a photograph of yourself posing on the "Arched" bridge, on the confluence of Nemunas and Ratnycele. like communications, clothing and footwear, education. Hotels and catering is also set to post strong growth in the coming decade. Therefore, leading hotel chains should be looking to adapt to the specific needs and tastes of tourists from BRIC countries to benefit from this potential. Visitors from Russia and China in particular are often fascinated by the British monarchy, its traditions and etiquette, so attractions and tours related to the royal family are expected to do well. While London will be the key beneficiary, it is believed that given the long-haul nature of trips the opportunity extends beyond the capital. Consequently other areas of Great Britain will benefit as BRIC travellers take the time to tour around the country and make the most of their trips. However, promising markets are not that simple and there are challenges to be overcome. One barrier constraining the potential of stronger How do you picture Druskininkai’s development over the next 10 years? Now we are directing the flow of investment to suburban areas, because there is the possibility of the town expanding beyond its present-day borders. Some tourist attractions are already developing outside the resort – for example, an 18-hole golf course was opened last year 14 km from Druskininkai. On the other hand, there are favourable natural conditions for expansion: Druskininkai is surrounded by a 50-kilometers-thick "wall" of ecological pineforests. Sustainable development, well-balanced supply of quality tourist services, meeting needs of local people - these are the maxims of town's progress in the near future. Thank you and we wish you and Druskininkai all the best in realising the planned ideas. Prepared by Viktorija Aurylaitė, Member of AIESEC, BCC Volunteer inbound flows from the BRICs is the need for travellers from Russia, India and China to obtain a visa for Great Britain. Constrained airport capacity is another area of concern. Heathrow, the only significant international hub with large passenger volumes, is operating at almost full capacity. The need for a third runway and its alternatives are still hotly debated with no decision expected soon. In the short-term therefore, when the foundations of both infrastructure and strategy really need to be laid, it will be difficult for airlines to add capacity to BRIC routes. There are specific and tangible strategies that can be implemented for tourism businesses to seize the opportunity that continues to evolve. If Great Britain is to take full advantage, however, there are bigger issues at stake that need to be addressed to benefit from the full potential the BRICs represent. BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre
  4. 4. BCC paper Summer 2013 6 BCC paper Summer 2013 7 Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Lithuanian Tourism Promotion Strategy? First IBIS Hotel in the Baltic States: excitement and challenges after 1 year of operations in Kaunas < continued from page 1 Lithuanian Tourism Office in the UK is our official representative of the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism, under The Ministry of Economy, with offices in London. The main aim of the office is to promote Lithuania's unique tourism product and services to the UK market, spread the information about the country's distinctive features and ensure that the tourism trade & media are well aware of Lithuania. Air connection to the UK is very important and not just low cost airlines for tourism flows. In the beginning of June you hosted a group of tour operators from the UK to raise their awareness about tourism opportunities in Lithuania for tourists from the UK. Could you tell a little bit more about how it went and what results would you expect in the longer term? The United Kingdom is one of the TOP 10 countries of incoming tourism of Lithuania, according to the Lithuanian Department of Statistics 69,000 tourists from the UK visited Lithuania during 2012 and this is up 16% comparing to the previous year which is significant. Our primary strategy is B2B which is helped through our representative office in London. Recently we invited 15 tour operators who were interested in 2 key areas. The first was Sustainable and Rural tourism, they were shown a number of sites across Lithuania including Rumšiškės and other ethnographic centres such as Labanoras, bycicle rides, and the organic food tasting in Vilnius market. The second group were interested in City Breaks and Active tourism, they visited Vilnius and Kaunas old town, Pažaislis monastery, Birštonas, Druskininkai and Grūtas park. Both groups also visited Trakai and went on a culinary tour. We always are welcoming foreign journalists to Lithuania. We work closely with our Embassies abroad and have greatly developed our approach to e-marketing Lithuania. Lithuania for a long time had a relatively small budget for tourism promotion. Would you agree that this shows a lack of understanding of the economic value to an economy that tourism provides and also demonstrates a lack of knowledge of what Lithuania has to offer? Connectivity - Implementing a Lithuanian wide air transportation strategy < continued from page 1 Never the less, we have also certain routes, established by legacy carriers like SAS and Turkish Airlines to connect Vilnius with Stockholm and Istanbul.  The economy is getting better and demand is getting stronger, particularly in niche markets. We are happy with the overall situation and trends stimulating tourism, but we have to look at connectivity for business travellers as well. Our major focus has been on connectivity for tourism in recent years. For business, the situation still needs to be improved. Low cost carriers can't always secure the frequency that business needs. Destinations require more than 2-3 connections per week, if they are to help the overall business environment in Lithuania. Can you outline the strategy towards airports in Lithuania, and what will distinguish Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports? It should be said that Lithuania has well developed airport infrastructure across the country. This has not been leveraged yet and has lots of growth potential, we just need bit of time and very focused actions that successfully utilise this infrastructure. Straight forward competition between airports does not necessarily give added value in itself. The policy is to look at differentiation in commercial offers, balanced tariffs and coordinated airport management. Having an overall central management for 3 airports would help to implement the long term airport development strategy more easily, allowing for more balanced infrastructure and operating costs and the differentiation of each airport in the context of all three. Therefore, we are currently working towards centralising airport management to achieve all these goals. There is major value in operating 3 airports, each is important in implementing regional strategy and a country strategy. Each with different operating costs and different competitive advantages. How important is having its own national air carrier to Lithuania? Let’s call it a base carrier, which is of major importance for any airport worldwide. In such a case, it is a matter of co-operation between a base carrier and an airport to develop a wide network Absolutely not. 3 year financing and marketing budget was enough (approximately the same as Latvia and Estonia). Working together is important, money alone is not the main reason, as you can see the figures from the last few years are good. Furthermore, centres like Birštonas & Druskininkai, and cities like Kaunas and Vilnius are growing. We are working hard and the trend is (like visitor numbers from the UK) in the right direction. We have a full understanding with Ministry. 2011 saw an 18% rise in tourist visitors and 2012 a further 12%. This is 2,000,000 people and our goal is now to reach 3m visitors a year. We think we can achieve a further 8% growth in 2013. In Wellness tourism we are competitive with Czech for example, and our SPA centres quality is growing higher. We have nice resorts and enough places in spa resorts for charter flights in the next 5 years, which becomes even more interesting for countries like Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Tourism numbers to Lithuania have been in steady growth for a number of years. Can you explain where the growth has come from what we might expect in the future? We have been working closely with our Baltic neighbours in the Long Haul market – this is a new tourism strategy for long haul looking at 3-in-1 Baltic market for Japan, China and US market. The results have been very encouraging. Hard work and a change of strategy to embrace all 4 seasons year round. Accessibility and working closely with our Foreign Embassies is important. For example, processing and issuing tourist visas to non-Schengen countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus is important and new people in consulates is having great affect. We are also aware that solving Border crossing procedures and 5 hr waiting is important as both Moscow and Minsk important links lie our of Schengen. of routes, which help to ensure the accessibility of the country and offer the wide range of non-stop direct routes, needed for business and tourism. Every airline is valuable to the airport and the country, but a base carrier does a little bit more and has extra added value for the state economy.  What recent progress has been made with the rail network between Warsaw and Lithuania? And can you highlight some of the major changes that have come about in rail travel? It is important to highlight, that the current rail connection to Poland is not competitive at all when compared with other methods of transport. Lithuania railways recently singed almost all the necessary contracts for construction of EU gage rail from the Polish border to Kaunas by 2015. This development will lead to a significant improvement in connectivity between Kaunas and Warsaw. Regarding other important rail connections, convenient and fast links to Riga, Tallinn and Minsk are all very important. As you know, a substantial amount of finance has been allocated to develop the Rail Baltica project connecting Berlin, Warsaw, Kaunas, Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki. This is to be a high speed railway line, with train speeds of up to 240 km/hr. Furthermore, considering the importance of partnership with our neighbouring countries, we should be proud of having a very fast rail link with Minsk in Belarus. Currently we have a connection where travelling time takes 2 and a half hours and it should take only 2 hours by 2015. This will be very big step forward,  We would like to see Air Lituanica to grow and promote Lithuania and the Lithuanian name abroad. Also the weather this year has been amazing, if like this every year we will succeed in reaching 3,000,000! Prepared by Alistair Day-Stirrat, BCC member of the Board, Editor of BCC paper making rail connections quick and convenient for passengers travelling between the two capitals. Could you explain why one of the most important objectives of the EU Presidency is to reach an agreement between EU member-states on the Directive concerning implementation of an alternative fuels infrastructure? There have been many initiatives from the commission in recent times. We carefully analysed the files in the pipeline, identifying certain priorities on an EU level that will stimulate economic growth and jobs. We see the possibility of achieving significant progress on air passenger rights, CEF, e-ID, road worthiness package files. On the Clean power for Transport Directive we see the necessity of developing basic infrastructure which will stimulate the use of alternative fuel technology in business and our daily life. There should be a flexible formula of targets on a country level and it is realistic to reach an agreement on a possible framework for harmonized alternative fuel infrastructure in Europe in a year’s time, and implement this in accordance with each country's needs and funding. And finally, as this BCC paper issue is dedicated to “Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality” - what is your absolute favourite place in Lithuania, which you would recommend for tourists? Nida, Neringa – it’s fairly seasonal, but I like to go at least once a year, especially in summer. Prepared by Alistair Day-Stirrat, Editor of BCC paper   BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre team of the leading travel agency “Lithuanian tours” and had great possibilities to learn about the needs of tourists coming to Lithuania & the Baltic States and how travel is organised. I got my start in Accor in 2003 with the opening of the Novotel Vilnius Centre and with some breaks, this adventure has already lasted nearly 10 years. I have to say I enjoy it very much and I have found it a very enriching experience. The hospitality sector is changing every day as well as our guests and their needs. I am really proud of being part of a group which has the ambition of becoming the world benchmark in hospitality. A year ago, Kaunas celebrated the opening of the first IBIS hotel in the Baltic States. The hotel is part of the International ACCOR Hotels Group. With the constantly increasing number of direct flights to Kaunas Airport and the increasing number of business events held in the town, we believe it has brought a great added value to the city. To prove this has been the case and to hear what IBIS was up to in its first year of active existence in Kaunas, we are talking to IBIS Managing Director Kristina Matuleviciene: You have been working in the Tourism & Hospitality sector for many years and are highly experienced in this area. Could you tell about your background? I graduated from Gdansk University in Poland specializing in Hospitality & Tourism. My career in the sector began at the Vilnius Municipality Tourism Division which had just been created at that time to promote Vilnius as a destination on the European travel market. Later, I joined the Could you please introduce the IBIS Hotel brand in general and what it offers clients? What does the Ibis Kaunas Centre offer guests? IBIS is the budget brand of Accor hotels and offers its guests the highest level of service and the ultimate comfort available in its category at the best market price. Since its creation in 1974, IBIS has expanded continuously and there was a network of 990 hotels in 58 countries in 2012. Last year IBIS underwent a major upgrade when Accor's two other budget brands joined the group. As a result, today the IBIS family consists of 3 brands – Ibis, Ibis budget and Ibis styles with 1700 hotels all over the world. Each brand matches specific customer expectations to cover the entire market. In every IBIS hotel, the IBIS standard guarantees a homogeneous offer: a modern, connected and soundproofed room, an innovative and supremely comfortable bed, breakfast from 4am to 12 noon, and a wide range of restaurant concepts. The "15 minute satisfaction" contract is a unique illustration of ibis's commitment to customer service:  if a little hitch threatens to cloud your stay, do not hesitate in letting us know at any time, day or night. The ibis teams have 15 minutes on the clock to sort it out. And if they do not manage to chase away the pesky cloud in the specified time, that service is on the hotel. Taste of Lithuania @ Taste of London 2013 From left to right: Lina Žalpytė, LCCUK, Lithuanian Ambassador to the UK Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė, Olga Jachimovič, President LCCUK, Zita Čepaitė, writer & Andrius Nikitinas, Commercial Attache in the UK Tens of thousands of passionate foodies arrived in Regent’s Park Thursday, 20th June 2013 to celebrate the opening of the best of world-class cuisine at the Taste of London food and drink festival. Now in its 10th year, the Taste of London welcomed Taste of Lithuania brought by the Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in the UK (LCCUK) to join the great event. The Taste of London opening took place on 20th June 2013 and people were queuing outside looking forward to get in as there was so much to be seen. Over 45 British and International Michelin starred restaurants serving delicious dishes prepared by famous chefs and more than 150 producers and exhibitors were inviting everyone to taste new food products, discover boutique wines or simply enjoy well-known tastes. Taste of Lithuania was presented for the first time at this world class event. Ms. Olga Jachimovic, the President of LCCUK says “It was definitely a big challenge for LCCUK to organise this kind of event. It is not every day we get the chance to present Lithuania and the best of its food and culture to more than 50000 visitors. We saw this opportunity and although it was a huge and challenging project, we made it happen. We always encourage companies to think outside the box and see the bigger picture. As we are planning to organise similar events in the future, we welcome all the Lithuanian companies who are interested to enter new markets to contact us with regards to new opportunities”. Taste of Lithuania has definitely brought authentic international flavours to Taste of London. Occupying a total space of 1000 sq. meters, located next to the main entrance, Taste of Lithuania was surely a place not to be missed. The Lithuanian area hosted more than 15 companies, including big, well-known organizations such as “Svyturys”, “Stumbras”, Zemaitijos pienas”, “Birstono mineraliniai vandenys”, “Kedainiu konservu fabrikas”, “Estrella”, “Liutukas ir Ko”, “Pieno zvaigzdes”, “Lituanica” as well as smaller producers like “Dora”, “Mazeikiu mesine”, “Jazz” and “Route 77 Energy”. Ms. Olga Jachimovic stated that “Taste of London is a great opportunity to present and sell Lithuanian products to UK consumers. It also helps to create or establish business connections as this event is highly attended by representatives from UK companies or big supermarkets looking for new products. Taste of London also gets impressive media coverage as journalists from local and international television, radio or newspapers gather here to share the latest news with public”. LCCUK not only initiated and developed the idea of a Lithuanian area, but also looked after the entertainment and cultural side of the event. Folk ensembles “Kun Saka”, “Saduto” and “Lituanica” entertained the visitors with traditional Lithuanian dances, music and songs. Martynas Levickis, who has recently signed a contract with “Universal Music” and been named the official Tourism Ambassador of Lithuania, joined Taste of Lithuania to perform on the main stage. Some UK tourism operators visited the Lithuanian area to get to know more about Lithuania as a tourist destination. The IBIS Kaunas Centre offers 125 fully airconditioned modern rooms, a restaurant and bar with24h F&B meal offer for the guests, 2 meeting rooms for up to 40 persons and there is also parking and free WiFi available for hotel guests. The hotel is located close to city centre between Kaunas railway station and the Akropolis shopping mall. The Zalgiris arena is within walking distance. Could you also comment briefly on the existing Hotel sector in Kaunas? Does the current situation fully satisfy the needs of business and leisure travellers? The IBIS Kaunas Centre opened last April. It is the very first IBIS brand hotel in Lithuania and the Baltic States and the Accor group's second hotel (after Novotel Vilnius Centre) in our country. IBIS has arrived in Kaunas city as the second international hotel chain and the second biggest hotel (in terms of number of rooms) on the market. The overall Kaunas accommodation sector consists of 1000 bedrooms and more than 2/3 of these are 4* hotels. The additional 125 rooms which has been added by IBIS to the budget accommodation on offer has balanced the situation. In my opinion today in Kaunas we have a wide variety of hotels which are fully able to satisfy the needs of our visitors both business and leisure. Kaunas as a destination still has a large amount of potential to attract more travelers to the city through more active promotion of its tourist attractions, events and business development possibilities. How successful was IBIS's first year in the local market? Are you satisfied? It was a challenging and exciting year. Our goal was to introduce the new Ibis brand in Kaunas and Lithuania and to offer our clients the best service and standards in the economy class category. After one year of operations I have to say that we have developed our market share. We have identified our guest segments, and we now have a good mix of business and leisure guests using our facilities. I am really happy that our guests are satisfied with our services quality and standards and am proud of the fact that IBIS Kaunas Centre is ranked as the no. 1 hotel in Kaunas on Tripadvisor.com That would never happened without the dedication and professionalism of our team. There is still room to improve, we are always looking to find new visitors to Kaunas and to gain an increased market share. The international branding helps with both of these aims. But today, after one year, I strongly believe that we are moving in the right direction and that the Ibis Kaunas Centre will become an even stronger player in the Kaunas hospitality market. Could you tell our readers about Kaunas's potential for attracting tourists and business travellers? Boasting nearly 350,000 inhabitants, Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania. It was the provisional capital of Lithuania, famous for its colourful history, cosy parks, remarkable and wonderful Old Town and interwar spirit. This fastgrowing modern city is an attractive centre of business and industry, rich in cultural and academic life: famous music, dance, visual art festivals and other exceptional projects are held in Kaunas..To mention just a few: Kaunas Jazz, Pazaislis festival, Aura dance festival and the Operetta festival. The city has a lot to offer its visitors. The areas where we need to improve are promotion and communication of the product we have and its accessibility in terms of flights. An active promotional campaign of Kaunas as a destination, together with attracting more direct flights to Kaunas would result in huge benefits for the city. Thanks a lot! We wish IBIS all the best in the upcoming years. Prepared by Sandra Kundrote, BCC Executive Director Lithuanian Start Up IQ POLLS Became Member of Microsoft Bizspark Project In three months after official release live audience voting tool IQ Polls was accepted as a member of Microsoft BizSpark startups program. This allowed IQ Polls to transfer its services to Windows Azure cloud platform. Project partner Artūras Jonkus says “IQ Polls serves its customers all around the world, it forms a necessity of reliable accessibility at any time from any place. Top quality of IQ Polls services is now ensured by Windows Azure cloud computing technology. Hopefully cooperation with Microsoft would not only improve our services, but also give a visibility and let us grow up faster. We are interested in foreign markets and BizSpark program for us is as a quality mark”. IQ Polls is a live web-based audience response service created for interaction with the audience during conferences, seminars, lectures and social events. This is a web- based product, so it doesn't require any special hardware or software. The audience can answer questions using their smart phones, tablets or laptops. The IQ Polls tool makes events more interactive and helps speakers to keep their audience’s attention focused on the presentation. It also allows on-line gathering of audience feedback and measuring of the level of satisfaction. IQ Polls was already used at major conferences in London, New York, Chicago, Davos, Moscow, Lisbon, Vilnius etc. and also at such entertainment events as dance battles and wine fairs. IQ Polls also provides great opportunities for printed and outdoor media to make advertising more interactive, connecting off-line media with on-line. Three projects already were implemented with IQ magazine, “L’officiel” and “Top Gear”. IQ Polls also was awarded as the best Lithuania’s e-commerce product 2013 and will represent Lithuania in this category in global World Summit Award competition. BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre
  5. 5. BCC paper Summer 2013 8 BCC paper Summer 2013 9 Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Traditions and Innovations – what pays best for the Tourism Industry in Lithuania among Scandinavian customers too. British customers are only discovering this destination, but the ones who have already visited left only good comments and promised to return. For me personally, Palanga is lovely in all seasons- golden autumn, fairy tale white winters and full of joy Spring when nature awakes and the first warm sun starts dancing on the Baltic sea. To name just a few reasons to come- the mild climate, endless white sandy beaches, cycling tracks, pine forests, unforgettable open air classical music concerts, local culture & heritage, spa and gourmet places are not to be missed. The BCC Breakfast Technical Briefing in June, the last before the summer holidays, hosted Giedrė Kvedaravičienė, Managing Director of the five star Vanagupe Hotel in Palanga and Darius Lasionis from Enterprise Lithuania to cover the theme “Traditions and Innovations – what pays best for Tourism Industry in Lithuania” Event participants were introduced to . the most interesting industry developments, trends and opportunities as well as actions taken to promote entrepreneurship and the export of companies involved in Lithuania’s Tourism industry. After presentations both speakers kindly agreed to answer a few questions: Giedre, you have been working in the Tourism industry, what are the latest developments and trends in this sector and how is its overall performance? With regards to general trends, tourism in 2013 is about developing instant, personalized & bookable services. For destinations and tourism companies, what matters most is offering customized and relevant services using all the latest technologies for promotion and sales. Consumer technology is changing travellers’ behaviour and expectations, naturally increasing competition, removing barriers and reshaping the traditional structure of the tourism industry. The Intensity of modern life also dictates the need for more targeted and integrated tourism products both for leisure and business customers. Therefore, organizations and companies try to keep up with the latest advancements by focusing on specialisation, the establishment of clearly identifiable competitive advantages, cost optimization and performance enhancement, as well as the creation of partnerships both vertically and horizontally in the service delivery chain. Processes of narrowing specialisation and widening clusterisation are working at the same time, delivering new products and driving up quality and convenience for customers. Do you notice any signs that Lithuania has identified the most attractive types of services for incoming tourism and is going to focus on these areas in terms of development and quality? There are quite a few directions for developing the export of tourism from Lithuania. Countryside tourism and medical SPA are probably the most developed ones at the moment. The emerging trends are the combination of medical and wellness tourism and conference tourism. Medical tourism corresponds to global trends of closing the gap between prevention healthcare and serious medical interventions, offering both in a timely manner and taking a long term care approach with clients. Historically strong, Lithuania’s medical sector, with its high quality SPAs and sanatoriums, combined with supporting services provide a strong starting point for mapping Lithuania in Europe and worldwide as one of the leading specialised medical tourism countries. Conference tourism can benefit the country in Brits in Lithuania An interview with Michael Pennock,  a qualified teacher with 7 years of teaching experience in secondary and higher education teaching History, Politics and English in the UK. Darius, could you tell our readers about the medical tourism cluster in Lithuania? Giedrė Kvedaravičienė, Managing Director of Vanagupe Hotel in Palanga a much wider sense than development of business tourism alone. However, in order to become a popular destination for the MICE sector (meetings, events & conferences) many more factors such as the country's accessibility, internal transport infrastructure and heavy national promotion are needed to generate appreciable effects for the industry and the economy. What would you see as the opportunities for foreign investors in the Lithuanian Tourism sector? Investments in product linking services and leisure centres (leisure, cultural, sports or other) are still very much in demand. Some of them could probably be run on a PPP basis, reducing the risk for private investors and hugely benefiting the growth and promotion of the tourism industry in Lithuania. Without leading/ supporting activities, investments in the hotel and catering business alone are either small scale or return on investment is too long term for the opportunities to be very attractive. Since you are running the five star hotel “Vanagupe” in Palanga, the most popular summer resort in Lithuania, could you comment on the latest developments in this resort? Recently there was an article which called Palanga a 100 day resort. While reduction of seasonality remains a big issue, I believe it would be fair to say that Palanga is moving forward and getting more faces. The resort has something to offer for different types of holiday makers- families, young couples, active leisure seekers, golfers, surfers, romantic classical music lovers and so on. All of them can enjoy our unique seaside, natural beaches and feel comfortable, irrespective of their needs, whether they want a lively night life or simply the quiet rustling of pine trees. The amount of upmarket facilities among hotels, the private B&B sector and the choice of restaurants indicates that Palanga has enough facilities to provide quality tourism services and develop its variety to reduce the impact of the short su- Darius Lasionis, Enterprise Lithuania mmer season. Of course, important assumptions should be made that there will be a sufficient amount of smart long term investment into infrastructure development both in the private sector and by the town’s municipality. The youngest guests at the resort are also well looked after. One of the most popular attractions for them is a huge playground close to the main bodyguards station. Our hotel is also extending services for families. This year we are offering day camps for children, supervised by professionally trained staff. Another long awaited development to be opened in a few days is a full size, heated outdoor pool, which we hope will become a popular place not only among our hotels’ guests, but also for other visitors to Palanga. SPA and conference tourism facilities should also not be forgotten and left unmentioned. Alongside the good medical base of Palanga's sanatoriums and rehabilitation hospital, the town has some of the best SPA centres in the Baltics, offering extensive wellness SPA services. And Vanagupe conference centre is one the largest conference facilities in the country, capable of hosting events for close to a thousand people, and therefore, becoming a competitive asset for the whole resort, not only our hotel. To put it briefly, I would dare to say that Palanga is getting rid of its generalised image as a noisy one street resort and increasingly becoming a place for quality holidays. What are the types of holidaymakers go to Palanga? I suspect that the majority are not British? What is exceptional about Palanga and why should they come? Some are looking for relaxed beach holidays or Spa treatments, the others come because of our seaside cycling tracks, excellent Nordic walking facilities, windsurfing in the Baltic Sea or even diving. One of my favourite unique experiences in Palanga is seaside horse riding. The structure of tourists from abroad varies according to the season and is heavily influenced by the accessibility of the resort. While in the summer we receive quite a lot of tourists from Russia and Belarus, in winter the resort becomes popular Laimutis Paškevičius, the President of the Lithuanian Medical Tourism Association “Medical Lithuania” had the idea to set up a medical tourism cluster. The idea of a cluster is to initiate leading private/state organizations: medical clinics, spa resorts, hotels, medical tourism agencies, education institutions and transport companies to collaborate and to form the medical tourism value chain, support it through synergy and coordinated activities. Enterprise Lithuania is a non-profit agency under the Ministry of Economy, which has the mission to support the set up and development of competitive businesses in Lithuania and to foster the country’s exports, has enthusiastically agreed to assist in setting up a cluster and to become a cluster facilitator. It took time, almost 9 months, to involve medical, resort/spa, hotels and tourist agencies to join the initiative and to finally set up the Lithuanian Medical Tourism Cluster. The main market (in the beginning of activities) where the cluster is going to communicate and suggest services are Eastern countries: Russia and Belarus. Why Eastern countries? Because Lithuania is well known for having European quality with an affordable price, professional medical staff and no language barrier. The main services cluster: Health check – ups and diagnostics, odontology, surgery, Rehabilitation and medical SPA, beauty and wellness SPA. What are the advantages of this cluster and what should it bring to businesses operating in this sector and to consumers? The Positive aspects are the leading legal entities to involve into a partnership of medical tourism services providers to create high added value for customers (patients and partners). The main goal of the cluster is to increase awareness of Lithuanian medical tourism services and their sales in international target markets. Other activities: participation in the formation and implementation of Lithuanian tourism, health tourism, medical tourism policy and improving cooperation among companies acting in the medical, tourism and related sectors, represent interests of the cluster and its members at governmental and municipal authorities, Lithuanian and international organizations. Prepared by Sandra Kundrotė, Executive Director, BCC Lithuania   Michael, could you briefly introduce yourself. What is your background and what brought you to Lithuania? I come from the UK, from a small town in the south-east. Having studied International History and Politics, I moved to London to teach History. After 2 exhausting years in a rough state school, I took shelter in academia and did masters African History, mostly looking at the British Empire in Southern Africa. I returned to teaching for 2 more years, thankfully in nicer school. As my wife is a Sinologist, we moved to Taiwan for a year, where she studied Chinese and I taught, before we made the choice to settle in Lithuania (via a few months in South Korea for fun). I first came to Lithuania in 2004. At that time I was living in Slovakia volunteering as a youth worker, and our organization was invited to take part in an art project being held in Nida. That week I met my wife-to-be, and I have been coming back to Lithuania regularly ever since. We moved to Lithuania for good last September. Our main reason for moving here was to follow a long held dream of ours to have our own farm. Having bought an old cottage north of Utena a few years before, and we decided we would like to live there permanently. What is your experience with teaching English in Lithuania? Are Lithuanians receptive pupils? In general, the main issue with students here is a lack of confidence, especially in their productive skills (speaking in particular). Most students actually understand English very well, but have had little practice in using it, and in adapting their vocabulary to different situations. But, most importantly they fear criticism and correction. I like to tell them that making mistakes is natural and helpful for learning. Finally, some students want to focus too much on grammar. Unfortunately, although of course there are rules and systems, in general English grammar is not to be trusted. Once you’ve learned the rule, you have to spend twice as much time learning all the exceptions to the rule. In the end, reading and listening to English, and then imitating what you see or hear (provided it comes from someone who uses correct English of course), is the most effective way to learn the grammar you need. An activity I like to do is to get students to correct a piece of text without telling them the grammar rule. Often they already know what is correct and incorrect, even if they can’t explain the grammar rule they are using. Indeed, this is how 99% of native English speakers learn and use their grammar. We’ve heard that among your interests, ecological gardening takes an important place. Could you tell us about it? Are you planning to do something with this special interest in Lithuania? Organic farming and sustainability have been interests of mine for a long time. My idea for our farm was inspired by a farm in Wales I know, which has been running for almost 30 years. It is based on permaculture, a way of farming that aims to create a self-sustaining eco-system, and the owner has made a successful business from just ½ a hectare of land. The prevailing wisdom in agriculture is that you need lots of land and machinery in order to be profitable. His example shows that that doesn’t have to be the case, and small-scale production is much more environmentally sustainable. Lithuania offers a wonderful opportunity for this type of production. Nature here is rich and vibrant, and there are many small-scale farms already operating. Furthermore, from my experience people here care a lot about the quality of the produce they eat, and are instinctively suspicious of very intensive, chemical-heavy farming methods. In our village, the produce that our neighbours give us (for free, because they always grow too much!!) is very healthy and delicious. So organic farming fits very well with what is already happening in Lithuania. So, whilst working as a teacher, I am also starting to develop our farm, with a view to moving there permanently in perhaps five years. We have also started an organization which will be based on the farm which will run non-formal education and youth work programmes. As with everything natural, however, it takes a lot of time and patience!! Can you explain why having English written 'good' in marketing and promotional material is so important? What are some of the common mistakes and humorous ones you can remember? I don’t know so much about examples in business campaigns, although having lived in China I have been exposed to all kinds of abuses of the English language. Unfortunately, English speakers often participate in this abuse in the business community. Verbs like ‘actioning’ always make me cringe. I think good business English is always simple and focused. Over-complicating your language with unnecessarily long words can be excluding, and of course increases the possibility of embarrassing mistakes. Undiscovered places in Lithuania. Members recommend A beautiful 2,3 km cognitive walkway trough one of the oldest oak-woods in Lithuania near Dūkštos gives you a good feeling of how the Lithuanian ancient forests looked like back in the day. If the 200-year-old oaks are not enough, the path is decorated with 38 sculptures, representing characters from Lithuanian legends and mythology. Definitely makes a worthwile stop on the way to Kernavė! Located near Trakai, Varnikai Nature Path is a part of Botanical Zoological reservation that gives a rare chance to take a walk through the swamp. Wooden paths are there to make the walk comfortable so that you can enjoy beautiful sights of the forest, lake and swamp with its beautiful flora and fauna. The entire walk is 3.45 km long so it’s a great place for an active afternoon! Jurga, British Chamber of Commerce Neringa Vasiliauskaitė, associate at GLIMSTEDT law firm. My favourite place in Lithuania is our seaside near Klaipeda called Dutch Hat. In summer time it’s nice place to relax but in spring and autumn it’s interesting to come there after storm in the sea and to collect the ambers. Vaida, Amberstaff This Summer Spend Less, Travel More 39 EUR From per night ibis.com Also, one thing that many of my students find hard to do is to talk positively about themselves and their work without seeming arrogant. There is certainly a culture of modesty here, which makes people naturally self-critical. Although that is sometimes a good quality to have, in the context of a job interview, it’s really important to be able to say positive things about yourself and your achievements. Without saying Trakai. Where else would you recommend visitors from the UK to spend a day in Lithuania? Nida has to be top of the list. Whatever the weather, I love it. The nature is gorgeous, the architecture and design elements are beautiful, the sea is warm (remember I am used to the Atlantic ocean) and the smoked fish is very tasty. A great place to sit for a week with a good novel (preferably by Thomas Mann). I also love the green spaces in Vilnius, like Valakampiai. I guess most tourists focus on the old town, but I think Vilnius’ greenery and nature is one of its best attributes. IBIS KAUNAS CENTRE VYTAUTO AVE. 28 LT-44328 KAUNAS, LITHUANIA TEL.: +370 37 265 600, FAX: +370 37 265 666 H8622@ACCOR.COM BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre
  6. 6. BCC paper Summer 2013 10 BCC paper Summer 2013 Tourism, Travelling & Hospitality Vilnius and Lithuania, a realistic Baltic Holidays. A 13 year Odyssey By Phil Teubler, Baltic Holidays destination choice for International It seems a long time ago, 1999 to be precise, when I ventured on Lithuanian soil for the first meetings, conferences and events? time. By Paul Kennedy MBE, Director and Owner of Kennedy Integrated Solutions, Strategic Business Consultant for the Convene Trade Show/Vilnius Convention Bureau I have spent over 20 years working in the field of international meetings, conferences and trade shows yet only in the last eighteen months have discovered what Lithuania and its capital city Vilnius has to offer to those who plan such events. I have been lucky to have visited over 70 countries in the course of my meetings industry ( the official term for the world of conferences, conventions, seminars, meetings, and exhibitions) career and have organised events directly in Europe, The Middle East, Asia, Australasia and the Americas and my teams have serviced clients in most of the countries of the world but it was only in January 2012 when I first visited Lithuania to be greeted by progressively lower temperatures during my 60 hour stay, temperatures I doubt I will ever forget! Humour, well the British style of it aside, weather does not really play a major influence in the selection of destinations. The key criteria for destination are accessibility of the destination and venue/hotel; price/price flexibility; quality of service; quality of facilities and personal safety. These key factors really have to be satisfied before the notion of ‘difference’ from one destination or another comes into play-its simply pointless to have the most impressive cuisine, the most interesting of cultural traditions and a truly amazing environment because if the infrastructure and professionalism is not there destinations will remain unappealing and not competitive in this strongly growing and valuable economic sector ( the world of meetings in the USA for example employs more people than automotive manufacture!). So what does Lithuania have to offer and how does it compare with other destinations. It is fair to say that when I first visited Vilnius I was more than pleasantly surprised with the physical infrastructure, an efficient although small airport close to the city centre, a very good selection of 3-5* hotels (the addition of the new Kempinski hotel is a real plus), good service levels and in Litexpo a good exhibition centre with a great flat plenary space for conferences. In terms of price by international standards Lithuania is very competitive indeed. In terms of external promotion the Vilnius Convention Bureau manages to achieve a great deal on limited resources and the recent launch of the Convene meetings industry trade show in Vilnius should accelerate recognition of the destination with international meeting and event planners. There is a real willingness to service this valuable economic sector with professionalism and this is most evident among the international hotel management and their staff, the convention bureau team and in specialist providers such as the destination management companies who move groups around with efficiency and a small band of professional conference organisers. In addition Vilnius feels a very safe and indeed welcoming capital city where English, the language of international meetings and events is surprisingly wide spread (with the exception of the taxi drivers!). Add to this a wonderful UNESCO world heritage old town and good restaurants then the capital city has much to offer The challenges for the country lie principally with very limited air accessibility, and the pro- posed launch of a national airline would provide a major boost to the connectivity from an international meetings perspective-particularly if regular connections can be firmly and consistently established with the key export hubs for meetings, London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin and in Baltic regional terms, Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. In addition to become a major international player ( and being a small country is not of itself a limiting factor if the country/Vilnius adopts this sector as an economic development priority) Vilnius should have a purpose built international class convention centre for between 2-3000 as this would enable to city to bid and win international conferences and conventions from among the literally thousands of associations and society that rotate their meetings around Europe and indeed more globally. Such a development would provide the impetus for further hotel expansion and the development of the soft or human infrastructure required to service such as industry and this should include the establishment of higher education opportunities in the field of event management now freely available in universities in countries such as the UK. The opportunity for Lithuania is very real indeed, the country from an international meetings perspective is largely undiscovered (the Convene event held each February will over time accelerate the recognition of Vilnius and Lithuania) The economic and knowledge transfer prizes of developing this sector can be very real prospects if the increased investment from the public and private sector (and it must have and needs both) is secured. I for one have become an automatic meeting industry ambassador for Vilnius and Lithuania as have the 110 plus international meeting planners Convene and the Vilnius Meetings Industry community hosted in February of this year-such initiatives are vital to grow the sector. Paul Kennedy MBE is currently the Chairman of the Centaur Travel Group of Exhibitions including The Meetings Show UK, Strategic Business Consultant to the Slovenia and Sicily Convention Bureau. Kennedy advises municipal, regional and national governments about the strategic development of the meetings industry. A Heat wave in Vilnius, beautiful women, great architecture, lovely countryside and a vibrant beach scene - I went to Palanga, and found myself in a dressing room with 5 naked women after I had been volunteered to join a cabaret act in the wild west bar - made it quite an easy decision for me to start a travel company to this little known part of Europe. I had fallen in love with Lithuania. The following March, with the help of Jurgis Zabaliunas, a family friend, who now , with his wife Danute, runs the successful Nemunas Tour guest house in Kaunas, I embarked on a research trip to Vilnius. The meetings were successful. How many people Mr. Teubler will you bring to Lithuania? was a question often asked. To be truthful I had no idea but had a hunch that Vilnius would quench the British thirst for City breaks, as a place not yet discovered. Luckily my hunch was right, and after a chance call to the Guardian travel editor, whose Dad coincidentally had been born in Lithuania -aiding my marketing push- I found a year later that I had sent my first 350 clients to Lithuania. Things grew quickly from there, and after having a good experience visiting Vilnius my clients wanted to know what other places I had in store. In truth none, but soon Riga and Tallinn followed by Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Joining the EU really helped, along with articles in many newspapers, including the Sunday Times, and in 2004 figures doubled, and continued to grow. So what has changed in the past 12 years? Well firstly I don’t believe I would have succeeded now with my business plan of 13 years ago. I was helped by an airline that had a monopoly to the county. Although exceedingly difficult to deal with, the agency discount I got from them compared with the published fare was more than I make for a whole city break these days. No Ryanair or Wizzair then, and hotel websites that were appalling, and quite frankly, tourists didn’t trust. They would however travel with us, who had recommended a good place to stay , knew the city well and had all the appropriate bonds to protect them if anything went wrong. Today however is a different ball game. Hotel sites are good and more often than not rooms can be booked on them or through hotel rooms sites, like Booking.com, where margins are competitive. Airlines, never particularly easy to deal with, even in those early days, are now more like competitors than colleagues. Book your low cost flight Mr. Jones, and by the way do you want a hotel, or some car hire? We can t compete with those prices. However, what we can offer is the experience we have built up over 13 years. Guides who have worked with us from the start and really know what the British client wants. No other company can offer that. These days we are doing more and more 4 and 5 star breaks with clients who are time poor, want a really good service, have no time to plan it themselves and are prepared to pay for it. We do trips around the whole of Lithuania, not just Vilnius, with Palanga and Kaunas getting more people to stay. However the trips overall have become much longer with clients staying for between 2 and 3 weeks. A Baltic trip with Russia , where Lithuania is just one part. In general the trips are cultural. We do try and persuade tourists to do cycling, or fishing, we even had a few do an ice sailing holiday in Kaunas this winter. But these are niche products in what is still a niche country, so the cultural trips are the most successful. We might have many of our tourists do a day’s cycling or kayaking, but not many actually coming specifically for a cycling holiday. I still think the governmental department underestimate the amount of revenue tourism can bring in. Sure there are a lot of countries competing for that business, but there are still Millions of people in Britain who have never visited or contemplated visiting Lithuania. I know, from the experience of all my clients, they are in for a treat if they do. CWT Travel Manager Survey Shows Cost Control Continues to Drive Buyer Behavior Carlson Wagonlit Travel published its CWT Travel Management Priorities in 2013 report based on an international survey of nearly 800 travel managers. The scope of the survey includes companies with mid-sized national programs and an annual travel spend in the range of US$2 million as well as companies with large, international travel programs with an annual travel spend of more than US$100 million. Travel managers concentrate efforts on further savings The report shows that the overall ranking of priorities for 2013 remains very similar to the order of priorities for 2012. Travel buyers intend to focus on areas representing the greatest savings opportunities rather than those associated with the traveler experience. This is true regardless of the size of the company, the industry type, the budget spent on travel or the scope of the travel program. The measures that travel managers plan to take to achieve these objectives vary according to region. While North American travel buyers are aiming to further consolidate their programs and standardize processes, their counterparts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are tightening air and rail policies to drive down air and ground costs. Business travel trends indicate the challenges for 2013 The second part of the report covers the Business Travel Trends for 2013 and digs into the changes that travel buyers are likely to see over the year and the challenges they will be faced with in the current economic climate and evolving business travel landscape. From a pricing perspective it is likely that global inflation will hit travel prices modestly overall, with increases of under 5 percent; in addition, travel managers will need to monitor programs and suppliers closely, paying particular attention to areas such as rising ancillary fees and fuel surcharges. Changes in technology will affect the travel process with consumer-influenced technology increasingly finding its way into corporate travel through services such as travel review sites and mobile apps specifically designed for business travelers. Travel management 2.0 will also be a major theme in 2013 as companies seek to find the right balance between exercising the right level of control over traveler booking behaviors while ensuring that travel is still "managed" for budgetary, and safety and security reasons. Finally, risk management will also play a key role as companies send travelers to increasingly high risk areas and duty of care during business travel becomes an integral part of a company's legal responsibility to its employees. On May 22nd, Members of the British Chamber of Commerce were invited to the New Members’ Evening, held at Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square. Recently joined BCC members had the opportunity to make short introductory presentations followed by networking over a glass of wine and delicious snacks. BCC Members in attendance were kindly welcomed by Mr Robert Juodka, Member of BCC Board (Membership Subcommittee) and Mr Noel Attard, Managing Director of Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square. (In the picture) Short introductory presentations were made by the following new BCC members: On June 14th, the British Chamber of Commerce and French Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania invited their members to exclusive business day out in Kaunas, the 2nd largest town in Lithuania. Corporate members AD REM TRANSPORT, BIKUVOS Prekyba, KEMPINSKI Hotel Cathedral Square, TAEM Urbanistai and Small company members MAGISTRAI and RAIMDA Auditas. The British Chamber of Commerce  expresses a great deal of  appreciation to the event’s sponsor Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square Aksinavičius, company Managing Director and Andrius Baranauskas from Kaunas Municipality. After a short tour in the company, wine and snacks were served in the most outstanding terrace, courtesy by Callcredit Operations. The aim of this event was to provide members with a broad overview of Kaunas and its advantages or business and potential investors by visiting major strategic companies such as Kaunas Free Economic Zone and Kaunas Airport. Nearly 40 members from both chambers expressed their interest to go and explore business opportunities there. After visiting Kaunas Free Economic Zone and Kaunas Airport, participants were also given a tour in company Ryterna, the largest local producer of garage automotive gates, followed by lunch at IBIS Hotel. After the lunch, BCC Members visited Callcredit Operations, a British Investor, where presentations were delivered by Dainius New Conference team member at BEST WESTERN Hotel Vilnius The Best Western Hotel Family connects more than 4.200 hotels around the world. There are already three Best Western Hotels in Lithuania: BEST WESTERN Vilnius in Vilnius, BEST WESTERN Santaka in Kaunas and BEST WESTERN Central in Druskininkai. All the hotels provide not only accommodation but also SPA, catering and conference services. The BEST WESTERN Hotel Vilnius is a four star hotel and conference centre. Its 114 comfortable Raidla Lejins & Norcous Wins Influential Chambers Europe Award for Excellence in the Baltics Raidla Lejins & Norcous beat notable competitors to win the coveted title of Baltic Law Firm of the Year 2013 at the Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence 2013. In recognising Raidla Lejins & Norcous, Chambers Europe emphasised the firm’s sterling reputation: ‘Extolled for its excellent corporate and commercial work, Baltic titan Raidla Lejins & Norcous has an admirable reputation in the region, with clients noting its effective cross-border collaboration on pan-Baltic deals. It retains top-tier rankings across many practice areas, with its Lithuanian energy practice gaining particular recognition.’ According to Chambers Europe, Raidla Lejins & Norcous merited particular plaudits for landmark cases involving the banking and energy sectors. Notable achievements included the firm’s representation of Höegh LNG on its long-term lease agreement for a floating LNG terminal in Lithuania and advising AB Ūkio Bankas on the transfer of assets worth EUR 785 million to AB Šiaulių Bankas. Dr Irmantas Norkus, Managing Partner Dr Irmantas Norkus, Managing Partner of Raidla Lejins & Norcous Lithuania office, pointed out: ‘We are especially honoured to have been placed among this group of elite award winners, which is yet another recognition of our top place in the Baltic market. At the same time, it is an incentive and an obligation for the future to strive to provide the highest quality services to our clients in four countries, including our newest office in Belarus.“ The Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence honour outstanding law firms and legal professionals in Europe. The award reflects both preeminence in key practice areas, and achievements over the last 12 months, including notable work, strategic growth, excellence in client service, and contribution to the legal profession. GSK’s Good Health Club: find your recipe for a healthy lifestyle! On  May 29th, traditional  Breakfast Technical Briefing  was held in Shakespeare boutique Hotel. Mr Andrius Ivanauskas,  attorney at law, GLIMSTEDT, covered a topic “Lithuanian Private equity funds: inside and outside”. The presentation provided a general picture of the Lithuanian private equity funds and covered two main subtopics: internal structuring of the private equity funds and the structure of investments. As usual, participants enjoyed delicious English Breakfast and nice cup of morning coffee, prepared by the Sonnets restaurant. Agnė Šeikytė, conference manager BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre 11 Chronicle of BCC Events rooms and 8 conference halls combine the comfort with subtle classical elegance and the latest technology. The BEST WESTERN Hotel Vilnius is happy to have a growing interest in providing conference services to Lithuanian and foreign markets. There is growing demand for bigger conference rooms and the most popular conference Hall at the hotel remains the GLASS HALL which can accommodate up to 420 people. The Europa Classic restaurant offers a rich buffet breakfast and modern Lithuanian/European menus for conference/ events participants; the Winter garden creates a nice atmosphere for events. The hotel is preparing for the coming conference season in autumn and introduces a new team member, conference manager Agnė Šeikytė. Agnė has gained a lot of experience in her previous positions working in the conference and recreation sector, organizing conferences, events, tournaments for people and organizations from different cultures. Knowing the cultures opens the door for a high standard of services meeting the clients needs. Agnė has only been with the company for a matter of weeks, but has already brought many new and creative ideas on how to meet the guest needs to acheive the best results in successfull events, happy clients and profitable business. The Good Health Club is a social initiative conducted by pharmaceutical company “GlaxoSmithKline Lithuania” (GSK) aiming to promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention among the residents of Lithuania. The year of 2013 is officially announced as the Year of Health in Lithuania, so GSK’s programme (already in the second year) is already acknowledged by the community and healthcare NGOs. The Good Health Club features series of free of charge exercises in the open during the summer season for people of different ages and of varying physical backgrounds – from the beginners to the experienced, from students to elderly people – as well as families with children. Some of the courses have been adapted for people with physical disabilities. Exercises are run by professional trainers together with local celebrities hoping to raise community awareness on the importance of healthy living and regular exercise. The lively sessions prove that exercising should not be boring, it is more of a fun and socializing activity with community of believers in active healthy living. Join Good Health Club exercises every Thursday at 6.30 p.m. at a site by the White Bridge (prie Baltojo tilto), look for a tent with club’s logo and for more news follow us on Facebook. This year Good Health Club also offered special free exercises for patients of osteoporosis, arthritis and Parkinson’s at a municipal medical polyclinic in Vilnius. The patients were able to learn exercise techniques specially designed for them by professional kinesitherapists and were encouraged to continue exercising at home to improve their medical conditions and to increase their quality of life. The Good Health Club’s partners – Vilniaus Municipality, Vilnius University Representation of Medical Students, Sports Club. For more on “GlaxoSmithKline Lithuania” corporate responsibility programmes visit www.gsk.lt BCC paper issue is kindly sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre

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