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Photo credit: Personal Archive

Miran Bende is the founder and CEO of GALILEO 3000, an agency, based in Maribor, Slovenia, that organises leisure as well as MICE events and trips. Miran Bende has always loved traveling, he is keen for history, ethnology, preparing special events event at home, as he says, with culinary discoveries that go hand in hand with other life experiences. No wonder, then, he chose such a special name for his company. He says that he finds tourism to be his work, hobby, his way of breathing the beautiful life. We talked to Miran Bende about his agency Galileo 3000, about its MICE work, about its collaboration with Maribor Convention Bureau, and, of course, about the city of Maribor, the capital of Slovenian Styria and the second largest Slovenian city.

Q: You established the agency GALILEO 3000 almost 22 years ago, in December 1997. How did the agency develop from its first beginnings until today?

We started with respectable knowledge of making the tours throughout Europe. We were working on outgoing mostly in the early years. Our first passengers were groups of Slovenians that we tried to impress with fresh and different approach and innovative itineraries. We started organising high-class level intercontinental tours shortly after, already in we also stepped into MICE tourism already in 1999. We received first requests from our partners abroad for DMC programmes in Slovenia and surrounding countries only few years after starting the business. If I think once again … our foreign partners sort of pushed us into it as they were in search for new destinations for their clients.

Q: Galileo 3000 is an interesting brand name. Would you explain its meaning?

Agency was founded in 1997, just shortly before the 3rd millennium. Personally, I have always been impressed by psychological effect of names and brands. Galileo Galilei’s championing of heliocentrism was controversial during his lifetime. He was an astronomer, engineer, scientist, philosopher, born in 16the century. He was always ahead of official theories of his time. Beside this, the pronunciation of the name GALILEO is very soft, it gives you some kind of a pleasure. So, the name represents GALILEO of the 3rd millennium. The combination of words and numbers … it is something to remember. We also added a new brand Go sLOVEnia & around …

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Photo credit: GALILEO 3000

Q: GALILEO 3000 is a member of the Maribor Convention Bureau. What does GALILEO 3000 provide in the field of congress tourism to Maribor?

We collaborate very well with the Maribor Convention Bureau. Basically, we are the only recognisable MICE agency in our region. Our main task is to provide the best possible services to our clients in collaboration with local providers.  We are an important link between customers and local suppliers, and of course the MICE agent who is capable to prepare the whole “package” for our customers.

Q: What about when it comes to meetings and events in Slovenia?

Our mission is to create the ideal environment in which meetings, events, conferences and incentive trips can make more benefit to every company. Our special label “Success is in the details” combined with our experience assures that our customers receive the best possible service.

Go sLOVEnia & around by GALILEO 3000 and our MICE Department handle essentially all requests that concern MICE, creating tailor-made programs that specifically match the requirements of each audience and budget.

“Basically, we are the only recognisable MICE agency in our region.”

Q: Who do you collaborate with and whom do you help with organisation of meetings?

We collaborate with lots of Slovenian providers of different services. If and when necessary, we also collaborate with providers from neighbouring countries. The best certified hotels, remarkable restaurants, extravagant wine cellars … cycling tours in abandoned mine, or hot air ballooning, floral arrangements … Name it, we have it.

Our main task is to help all the companies in organisation of corporate events or smaller elegant events and conferences, launches, etc. We collaborate with important Slovenian companies and companies abroad. The recent one, for example, was from Thailand.

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Photo credit: GALILEO 3000

Q: What are the biggest challenges in your work and how do you overcome them?

Luckily, we do not have only one challenge. Every day we meet another, new challenge. This makes us more effective and prepared to hear also the “weak signals” from our customers.  O.K., I can tell you something about the actual challenge. We would like to introduce the eastern Slovenia as a perfect MICE destination despite the fact that this part of Slovenia cannot offer a large variety of accommodation facilities … but hotels here are also nice and far cheaper. And we have lots of boutique accommodations and services as well. Maribor, as the second largest city in Slovenia, has excellent opportunities for extravagant incentive programmes in the city and around.

Q: What are your plans for the future of the agency?

To extend our incoming business and to become one of the top leading MICE agencies in Slovenia.

Q: What would you suggest to a business or congress guest to Maribor to see or do?

It will be hard to make that list short …. To held an event in our marvelous crystal Kazinska Hall in the Slovene National Theatre Maribor – SNG Maribor, or an event in the Maribor Castle, event in the old Benedictine Monastery Dveri Pax, a marvelous guided wine tasting in one of  the several excellent wine cellars, incentive programme in underground tunnels of old factory which has produced airplane engines for the 3rd Reich before Second World War, walking among canopies of forest on the Pohorje Mountain, cycling in an abandoned mine, concert in the biggest underground wine cellar in Europe that is located below the city centre, a treasure hunt around famous Slovenian Heart Road in the middle of the vineyards, … And far more.

“We would like to introduce the eastern Slovenia as a perfect MICE destination.”

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Photo credit: www.visitmaribor.si, Matej Vranič

Q: What do you love about your job the most?

Meeting people with different cultural and historical background, work without limits on the way to perfection and satisfaction of clients. And at the end … A big smile on the client’s face.

Q: What would it be your dream vacation?

I have visited more than 100 countries so far. And there are still some incredible places in my bucket list of vacation. I would like to spend some time around Easter in Sevilla in Spain. Observing the mysterious processions and listening the Spanish “saiete” singing, in the time when orange trees bloom. Continue the road to Ronda, Granada. With a few hours of flamenco lessons. Years ago, I had an idea to spend two weeks as a guest at the Buddhist University in Anaradhapura in Srilanka. I was already invited. But … as I am always short with time …

So, spending ten days on one of the romantic white-blue Cycladic Greek islands would be just as fine.

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