Could you introduce yourself in two sentences – one describing you as a private and other as a public person?
I’m a person who’s been looking to find a proper balance between my private and business life for a long time. I haven’t always been successful, I admit. But at least I’m trying, as Jack Nicholoson would say in One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the business world I’ve successfully taken the place of strategic communicator and opinion leader in destination management as well as full time grump and part time sommelier.
Which are your favourite magazines from the area of tourism?
My favourite is of course Kongres, but there are a few more I like, such as the Czech MICE Central & Eastern Europe, which is pretty informative, I also follow the Belgian MIM. And also every other magazine I come across, especial English ones. But my very favourite thing to read – for the soul – are magazines from the area of tourism and gastronomy (like Food and Travel). For study I use Annals of Tourism Research and Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing.
Which was the last book you read and which book would you recommend to our readers?
It has to be The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green and his The Art of Seduction. Considering the state in Slovenia I would happily recommend The power of Kindness by Piere Ferrucci to everyone.
Which was the last event you attended?
I attended the wine tasting of seventy of Europe’s best wines at the end of August. The event was held at Le Meridien in Brussels. Two Slovenian winemakers proudly made it on the list – Movia and Čotar. I think even exclusive events like this are a part of our branch of the meetings industry.
Which was the last movie you saw?
Belle Époque – a wonderful and funny Spanish drama from 1992, from the director Fernando Trueba. Penelope Cruz still looked very much un-Hollywood, her bra size was at least two sizes smaller. A Spanish film gives me everything I miss in a Slovenian film – love of life, love of love and a dose of crazy.
How many foreign languages do you speak?
I can speak, write and read in eight foreign languages and some dialects. I’ve gone a bit rusty with my Russian alphabet. I simply adore languages and their variations. Yet, what’s the use, since the business world (maybe soon our private lives as well?) is increasingly being ruled by “ingliš”.
Who were your idols growing up and who are they today?
In my childhood it had to be Kekec, in the last two decades, after a profound meeting with Argentinean culture, Carlos Gardel. Carlitos was a tango singer who rose to international fame from a poor background in the honour of his culture and homeland.
Which were your first and your current job?
As a student I used to work part time at the Poreč branch of Kompas Yugoslavia. After that I was a professional journalist. Now I combine “work and means” as an employee of the Slovenian Tourist Board and am heading its office in Brussels for Benelux.
What is the first thing you do when you come to work?
I delete my junk mail, then I browse through Slovenian articles on tourism and try to find out who is the net so called expert in our field.
What influenced your life the most? Was it a person or an event?
It had to be the loss of my father in my early childhood. Despite the drama this gave me a lot of strength.
Could you highlight your best and worse life experience?
The best had to be winning the tender for the position of communications director at the World Tourist Organization in Madrid. The worse…there were a few, but I didn’t let any of them bring me down.
What are you most proud of?
I swell with pride every time my son Maj calls me the best dad in the world.
Who were the most positive and negative people to influence Slovenian tourism?
Uf! I’m not giving in, I’m going to answer. A breakthrough – in a positive sense – was made by secretary for tourism Peter Vesenjak in 1995. He dared to take on the post-socialist wind mills and funded the Slovenian Tourist Board, scraped the old linden tree logo and guided the national tourism in the right direction. I also think highly of Dimitrij Piciga and his work in the last four years. There have been plenty of negative personalities as well, but they aren’t worth mentioning. By them I mostly mean people who had the power and opportunity and did nothing.
Which success story from the area of tourism would you mention?
I will mention two: The development of Slovenian meetings industry and natural spas. Both met many obstacles and often didn’t find the support of public administration, yet they both succeeded and I for one am very proud of these achievements. We should all be.
Which marketing idea sticks out the most in the area of tourism?
At the sunny side of the Alps. Unbeatable.
What do you miss most in Slovenian and SE Europe’s meeting industry?
Slovenian and SE European meetings industry is developing by its own logic. Slovenian is still lacking some self-confidence – we are better than we sometimes dare to admit! We will always be small, but we have a big heart – that’s what our football players say. The one thing I would highlight is the wish for more commitment to the formula PPP (people, planet, profit) as well as the involvement of the governments in providing infrastructure (roads, airports, railways) which are a key to success.
Would you share your favourite places to visit in spring, summer, fall and winter?
I wish I could, but I’m afraid I’m so fickle I’m still looking for a favourite place for every season. They so far include Buenos Aires, Pokljuka, a small cottage in Premantura and the surroundings of Kranjska Gora, when there’s about one meter of snow.
What do you do in your free time?
Till now I’ve spent my free time thinking about the reasons I have no free time and I work all the time. Now (after I have successful battled a serious disease and “fried the shrimp” I had growing in my chest) everything will be different: I will be even happier about travelling, working and studying, enjoying good food with truffles, laughter with friends and cuddling with life.
Your life’s motto?
Don’t live your life so fast the guardian angels won’t be able to catch up with you.