INTERVIEW WITH TOMAŽ KRUŠIČ, CEO Intours DMC
Q: How did your career in tourism prepare you to lead Intours into DMC? I have been in tourism since my student years. Because of the situation in the region, we were in mostly working in the field of leisure tourism, where I gained lots of experience. I was familiar with destinations and their facilities, and I knew how leisure tourism functions very well. In a way it was a coincidence to start with a DMC. Some 14 years ago, at one of big tourist fairs, we met a lady who was very much involved in the MICE industry. She gave us a short introduction, she came to Slovenia few times, and so it started. But the MICE segment is totally different than leisure, so at the beginning I had to learn a lot of new things.
Q: Do you have what some might call a DMC’s eye for details? I guess so, because without this ability you cannot be successful. You must have an eye for details, either for setting up a gala dinner or for communication with a business partner. The second one is perhaps even more important. Q: Where do you see Intours DMC’s best growth opportunities? For the last few years we have become a regional DMC, because facilities in Slovenia are simply too limited for a serious market approach. And we are spreading our marketing activities around the world. USA is a huge market which needs to be convinced again that the Adriatic region is a great destination for MICE. And of course Asia, where we are very active and where the first results in the MICE segment are coming.
Q: What is the main thing you hope to accomplish as member of the Slovenian Convention Bureau? The Slovenian Convention Bureau must become recognized and respected within the state’s bureaucracy. The government and the ministry must support SCB’s marketing and other activities, not only on paper but with facts and figures. We are fed up with promises, excuses, etc. Years are passing and nothing happens and for us it is weird that those responsible within ministries still have not recognized the importance of a serious approach.
Q: What about the future of meetings industry? It will grow, definitely. The numbers and statistics worldwide are impressive and this will influence our region for sure. And of course, also the suppliers’ side (hotels, restaurants, etc.) within the region is getting better and better, which is only good.
Q: What is your take on Slovenia and regional meetings today? As mentioned, Slovenia is limited in terms of facilities. In a way Slovenia is already different and good. And it could become a true boutique destination for the most demanding clients. But to become a jewel beside breath-taking nature, short distances, excellent food and wines, the vibrant capital Ljubljana, and other benefits, the hotel must take a big step forward. Here Slovenia is not competitive, and good, innovative, fresh, design, whatever hotels are a decisive fact for high end events and groups. Other parts of the region, especially Croatia, are making fast and big steps ahead with new accommodation facilities, a fact which makes us very happy. New flight connections to Zagreb, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik are opening every year, so the two most important factors are being improved from year to year. Adding beautiful nature, the sea, sunshine, historical cities, gourmet experiences and party places all together creates a perfect destination. [pullquote]What does the CONVENTA HALL OF FAME mean to Tomaž Krušič: This is a big honour, because Conventa is an important event, many renowned personalities from the business world are visiting it. Since we were strongly supporting it from the very beginning it’s also an award for our persistence and vision. In a way I’m also taking it as an award for the whole Conventa project and its creators, an award for today’s status and the position of this business event[/pullquote].
Q: What is friendship like within the meetings industry? It’s very important and I can say that in Slovenia we are friends within the industry. We and our suppliers are all becoming more mature and experienced, so many of problems are disappearing, we are together focusing on improving the level of services and on getting the business together.
Q: Do you have any regrets? Quite a lot of energy sometimes is lost for things which should be done and are not, especially on “state” level. Lost opportunities because of unreasonable behaviour can be painful.
Q: Are there any meeting destinations you particularly like or leaders you admire? Oh, there are many and I am definitely not familiar with all. Slovenia will always be in my heart and I promote it with same passion. The island of Hvar, for my opinion, is a great destination: beautiful, a bit exclusive, sophisticated, not too overcrowded, with great restaurants and venues, with exciting outdoor experiences, with great local food and wines and with a ton of possibilities for a party. Recently I was in Bangkok and I saw lots of incentive groups there. Positive vibes, stunning hotels, high end rooftop restaurants and bars, great food, affordable rates. Out of the established European cities I’d still go for Barcelona. And for incentives, if the budget weren’t a question: New Zealand, Kamchatka, South Africa.
Born on 29 June, 1964. Finished studies in business administration at the University of Ljubljana. My first connection with tourism was during my student years when I was worked as a guide and rep for two seasons on the Croatian island of Lošinj. After graduating I spent two years in the office working for Kompas as a tour operator. Soon I started my own business career. Of course, there were ups and downs. For the last 12 years INTOURS has successfully working only in the DMC business.