1.    Could you present yourself in two sentences – in the first as a person in your private life and in the second as a person in your public life?

Private: a roguish optimistic Sagittarius believing in affairs of the heart; a lover of the beauty of art and music, exercising in nature, discovering novelties and trips. Supposedly also a good cook and, as such, a gourmet eater. Public/professional: congress manager at the Ljubljana Tourist Board – for years now infected with the congress virus and the desire for us to be as successful as possible in the promotion and marketing of Ljubljana and Slovenia for business and scientific/professional events.

2.    Which professional magazines from the field of the meetings industry do you read?

The main European magazines and online media from the meetings industry and the Slovenian magazines, Tur!zem and of course Kongres magazine, where I have been working in the editorial board from the very beginning. Sometimes, I also leaf through ISIS magazine published by the Medical Chamber of Slovenia where I find interesting information about professional meetings in the medical field.

3.    What was the last book that you have read that you would recommend to our readers?

The last one was Les trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women). The author, Marie Ndiaye received the Prix Goncourt prize in French literature in 2009.Gabriel García Márquez and his opus remain a constant. From the meetings segment, I would recommend Meeting Architecture by Maarten Vanneste.

4.    What was the last event that you attended?

There are two recent (though not the last) events that I would like to mention, which were truly unforgettable. One was Jan Garbarek’s concert in CUK Kino Šiška with a trio of exceptional musicians, including the outstanding percussionist Trilok Gurtu. The other was the Shen Wei Dance Arts: Map performance in Cankarjev dom, which was a unique blend of visual and storytelling elements from the theatre, Chinese opera, Eastern philosophy and traditional and contemporary visual art developed by the Chinese-American choreographer and versatile artist Shen Wei. Magical beauty!

What was the last film that you saw?

Soderbergh’s twin film presentation: the Girlfriend Experience and Bubble and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, both in Kino Dvor cinema.

5.    How many foreign languages do you speak?

Four well enough to get an excellent grade in school and, with some effort, I would also be able to activate my Spanish. Unfortunately, there is no chemistry between German and myself. However, I appreciate the beauty of the Slovenian language that was bestowed upon me by my mother when I was very young and living abroad. I was never overwhelmed by the Ljubljana dialect, which is not true about the city however.

6.    Who was your idol when you were very young and today?

Rather than just two individuals, a whole spectrum of people come to mind, both at home and abroad, who helped shape my private and personal life with their positive attitude, valour, honesty, mental and spiritual greatness and creativity. 

7.    What was your first and what is your current employment?

I was a tour manager for foreign tourists with Kompas. Despite brief appetites outside the tourism sector, I remain faithful to this branch as part of the Ljubljana Tourist Board team.

8.    Could you share an anecdote with us?

My mentor on my first tour, who accompanied a parallel group, was Jože Colarič, who was finishing his touring career at the time and later became one of Slovenia’s most prominent economists. Even then, he was very much in focus and cool. To me, the word overbooking is always associated with the slap that I received from a corpulent and neurotic Dutch guest when I was solving that unpleasant situation in my first rookie year. The shocked group came to my defence and eliminated him from the group – he broke off his trip the next day.

9.    What is the first thing that you do when you get to work?

I say (a cheerful) hello to my co-worker Jan, start up my laptop and we comment on our current tasks – and then… action! Tea or coffee, the home-made fruit salad and a bit of unofficial chat follow later on.  

10.    What do you see as your biggest achievement in life?

Professionally, the European Imex Academy Award that I received in 2006 (a sort of meetings industry Oscar for best supporting role). That I was able to help transfer knowledge to numerous younger colleagues in Slovenia and abroad – everything that you are able to share but fail to is dead capital that I do not need. Privately, a sense for other people, staying loyal to myself (I do not like compartmentalising), a positive attitude and curiosity. Perhaps a more challenging question would be what I am not proud of (my "repeat examinations").

11.    Would you like to point out a success story in the field of tourism?

In the last few years, I have been very pleased with the development of numerous boutique and innovative products that are changing the rather stereotypical image of our tourism offer. These stories are usually supported by (brave business) individuals and private/family capital. 
I am a fan of the I feel Slovenia brand and slogan, which is recognisable and well received at our events and with international business partners. I also see our energy drink can, the advertisement for the Slovenia Meetings brand (ingredients: Slovenian energy, team flexibility, a 24h hour smile, a personal touch and natural charm), and its slogan as an original message to strengthen recognisability. As a local patriot: the visible development and higher quality of Ljubljana’s tourism offer and the considerable growth in the visits and overnight stays index in the last decade (with the exception of 2009).

12.    Which marketing idea from the field of tourism had the strongest impact on you?

In the meetings industry, this was the advertising campaign of the Norwegian Convention Bureau (The Naked Man), which deservedly won ICCA’s marketing award last year. Simple, indicative, efficient and still likable – and not only to women…

13.    What do you miss in the Slovenian and Southeast European meetings industry?

In Slovenia: above all more promotion and marketing funds, which would allow us more consistent and ambitious operations and a stronger breakthrough to clients on international markets. More trust between the players (the syndrome of false promises, etc.). Also, specific personnel training related to the meetings activity (professionalisation). Things are changing but there are some aspects that I would like to see change faster. The majority of this also applies to SE Europe, where the development of tourism and meetings products are on a similar level. I wish for a true conviction of the importance of the region’s key stakeholders uniting and presenting a win-win formula for market presence on those markets where we are still relatively or completely unknown.

14.    Could you share your favourite spring, summer, autumn and winter location with us?

I do not have an iron repertoire of places that I return to. I have seen a lot of interesting things and the list of beautiful places across the globe that I would like to visit is always much longer than what I can realise. It is almost unrealistic to hope that I will manage to visit them all . I am constantly surprised by the beauty and diversity of Slovenia and, in the summer, I see Ljubljana as one of the most charming places around. I admit that I would like to turn the winter on and off as required (just for occasional skiing and walking my dog, who loves snow), as I am not a fan of month after month of cold. Lately, my only occasional constant is Kranjska Gora, where we have an apartment.

15.    What do you do in your free time?

When my “earthly life” is at least partially regulated, I try to keep fit as a moderate recreational athlete enjoying different activities, preferably outdoors in the nature. My dog Izzy and the 600 stairs I take on every day see to my general fitness level. I love culture in the broad sense of the word and, even though I am already slightly vintage myself, I like to follow modern productions and sometimes attend concerts in Metelkova. I treasure my time with my friends (including occasional culinary treats) and family – I admit there could be more of everything. The craziness of this winter that I am continuing into the spring: salsa classes – me gusta mucho!

16.    Any thoughts for readers of Kongres magazine?

I warmly recommend that you continue reading the magazine – personally, I find a lot of interesting points in each issue.

17.    Life motto?

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

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