Q: Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry?
I always wanted to work in the tourism sector. That’s why I’ve done my best to gain experience in a number of different fields: I worked in Banquets & Sales in the Viennese hotel industry, and was the marketing manager at Hotel Das Weitzer – one of the leading private hotel chains in Graz. My duties as marketing manager at Steiermark Tourismus also enabled me to discover the other side of the coin – the non-profit segment. Given that 60-70 percent of the city’s hotels earn their livelihood from business tours, the meeting industry was particularly important. I thought that the conference sector was important for the whole of Styria, so I set up Steiermark Convention in 2003.

Q: Why is your destination/country the best in the world?
Styria offers visitors distinctive diversity
. Within a radius of just 190 km, Styria offers outstanding natural scenery and landscapes, starting from the Dachstein at some 3,000 m above sea level right through to the capital of Graz with its enchanting architectural highlights. Then there’s southern Styria, where you can walk from one vineyard to the next, or the beautiful thermal spa region where you can relax in one of the spa hotels after a productive day at a seminar.

Styria’s USP resides in the superb quality and diversity of its cuisine. That’s why Steiermark Convention is proud to present “Making Meetings a delight”. For conference guests this means regional and seasonal delights during their entire stay! Starting with sparkling Schilcher wine from the wine region in western Styria for receptions right through to Styrian pumpkin seed oil on salads and unique chocolate tasting as a special programme at the Zotter Chocolate Factory – conferences in Styria are quite simply a delightful experience!

A further distinctive feature of Styria is its wide range of authentic, sustainable and regional products and services in the tourism sector.

Q: What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country?
We’re always delighted to introduce visitors to the City of Graz, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the cultural nerve centre of Styria. The capital of culture, gastronomy and design is where the old meets the new – where you’ll find historical structures and buildings such as Schloss Eggenberg und the Old Town juxtaposed with modern architecture, of which the Mur Island and the Kunsthaus are prime examples.

Q: What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself?
I’m particularly pleased by the way Steiermark Convention has always continued to develop and grow ever since it was first founded in 2003. Our 10th anniversary this year and our 53 members clearly demonstrate just how successful we’ve been!

Q: What motivates you the most at work?
I feel motivated each day by the fact that we can offer valuable assistance to establishments in the field of successful marketing activities. This gives us the opportunity to get to know the stakeholders at a personal level and to build up a successful, professional network with them.

Q: In what way do you deal with stress?
I list the tasks I need to perform in order of priority and work my way through that list from one moment to the next. Stress is a relative thing, so I compare my own situation with that of others. I also think that it’s important to reflect on all of the things that I’ve successfully achieved at the end of each day and not to go to bed with a negative feeling about the things which are still left to do.

Q: When were you last angry / disappointed and why?
Anger and disappointment don’t fuel the way I go about doing things: I tend to regard critical situations as challenges that give us the opportunity to enhance the system.

Q: What will be new in your business in year 2013?
We’ll be focusing much more on online marketing und social media in 2013. Other priorities for us are internal networking, benchmarketing with conference providers and organisers as well as further training in the form of seminars and workshops.

Q: What have you learned last week?
I learned that it’s important to look beyond the end of your nose! I recently discovered this at a study trip which gave me the opportunity to get to know the destination with its conference hotels, convention centres, event locations and excursion destinations.

Q: Where will you spend this year’s holiday and why?
This year I’ll be spending the first part of my holidays on a motorbike tour of the Austrian mountains and the most beautiful regions with mountain lakes – and using the opportunity to rediscover the delights of the authentic, regional cuisine. For the second part, I’ll be travelling to Liguria in Italy to enjoy some Mediterranean lifestyle and to take in the local culture, cuisine, customs and traditions.

Q: If there were no time and financial constraints, where would you go?
If I didn’t have to think about time and money I’d really like to travel around the world.

Q: What would be the title of your life autobiography?
“Everything is possible!”

Mag. ANDREA SAJBEN, Manager, Steirmark Convention
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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.