I often find myself in situations where I fervently defend my belief, that the economic crisis period we are faced with, has brought us down to earth and  in a positive way. The recession, this hated, frequently used, sinister word, is losing it’sgrip and doesn’t scare today as much as it did yesterday. Optimists are certain everything is good for something.
Our way of thinking has changed.  Some material things, which can easily be lost, have lost their meaning. We now find comfort in things which are genuine and offer security, familiarity and love. It doesn’t matter what we have, but what we can share. Compassion has finally been awakened. Money has lost its influence. Money no longer rules the world! A battered asymmetrical apple has become more wanted than a shiny, perfectly rounded and overly red one.

What is of value today? The question is becoming increasingly difficult, since patterns change from individual to individual. What we do have in common today is to check twice before paying for anything.
During shopping I’ve noticed lately the level of attention people pay to prices. I often hear questions and comments: “How much is it? Five Euros, they can’t be serious. For this?” The customers, realizing how important keeping a job is today and how hard it actually is to make money, are becoming increasingly demanding in their role. They are getting harder to convince. The do not look for luxuries, they just want good value for money.
Opinions differ, but I think the prices of hotel rooms will never again reach the levels they reached two or three years ago. As much as we, the tourist services providers, may crave it, we have been sobered up, whether we wanted it or not. The same goes for other services.
What we need is a new approach. We need stories. Romantic, whimsical, clever, interesting, thrilling stories. Stories, which we believe in and with which we can excite others. Stories, which are authentic, not fake – we have all grown tired of lies.

A few months ago while reading the congress section of a newspaper I stumbled on an advertisement of a company marketing their services like this: “Organisation of business events, events marketing, motivational events, team building, business meetings, conferences, outdoor events, promotional events, incentive programs”. I’m not ashamed to admit that despite actively working in the field for over five years, I had trouble defining and distinguishing all of the mentioned terms. I feel we use far too many complicated terms, foreign words, designated to thrill. It is time to return to basics and approach things in a simple way.

Is there room for regional incentive ideas? I hope my thoughts above offer a clear answer. This region is full of wholesome stories. Not only is there room for them, they are necessary. I’m not claiming local stories are not important and don’t count, but we are not talking about quantity. We don’t need a bunch of unclear stories, we just need a few good ones. And those must be real, authentic, ours, which we believe in and with which we can convince others. As a child I was thrilled by Walt Disney stories. I can still vividly imagine the four large books, each a different colour: blue, red green and orange – like it was yesterday. My favourite was the blue one.

If we believe in them the stories bring something very important. They give us confidence and fill us with pride. They make us happy and make us better people. This is what makes us better hosts. Hosts at a destination. And a good host is valued by ever single guest. A guest, who returns home satisfied, passes the stories on to his friends, acquaintances, who want to experience them for themselves. And a guest turns into a regular.
The circle is full. The power of the story is proven once again.

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