Learn more about Slovenia culture, food, people, history, tourism, geography, life in Yugoslavia, war, and more in Part I, Part II, and Part III of my interview with Slovenia Tour Guide Marijan Kriskovic.
What is the future of tourism in Slovenia? Can it be one of the next big destinations in Europe? Friend and Slovenian tour guide Marijan Kriskovic shares his views on tourism in Slovenia as well as the efforts on the part of Slovenia to become a “green” tourist destination. He also reflects on his time as a tour guide in Europe as well as some of his favorite travel memories and places.
Check out my earlier interviews on Marijan about Slovenia life, history, and war in Yugoslavia and Slovenian culture, geography, food, and people. For more information on Slovenia, check out my travel guide to Slovenia.
17. Slovenia is seeking to be a leader of green tourism in Europe. Aside from what you will find in a guidebook or the tourism board, what do you notice about Slovenia’s efforts to be environment-friendly?
What is crucial for Slovenia’s efforts in terms of environmentally friendly tourism is the general awareness of the majority of the population of its importance due to the strong link between people and nature throughout its past.
Slovenians tend to be very proud of their country and place highly value on the preservation of its beauty for posterity. This notion is already existent and therefore all the efforts launched from the side of the state or the tourist industry fall on very fertile grounds and result in very efficient implementation in daily life.
Slovenians are very sportive and outdoorsy people and the fact that the country is one of Europe’s greenest (with more than half its surface covered by forests) results in a successful “love story” between the people and their country.
Slovenia’s tourism board, Slovenia Info, is making a big push towards green tourism. The country has won a number of awards for its environment-friendly approach to tourism. Check out the latest videos on Slovenia including their latest on Green, Active, Healthy.
18. Slovenia seems like a great place to enjoy the outdoors with many lakes, hiking trails, caves, and other natural landscapes. For those that want to see a different side of Slovenia, what other types of activities does Slovenia offer for visitors?
The environs described offer, apart from classical tourist visits, the possibility of trying out a number of different adrenaline sports like rafting, bungee jumping, sky diving, canyoning or quieter natural experiences in terms of spelunking, hiking, cycling, or exploring the rich and various flora and fauna.
19. Can Slovenia be the next big destination in Europe? If not, what place do you see as the next European hotspot?
Slovenia is not likely to become the next really big destination in Europe, mostly due to its size and limited capacity. That is the way that I would prefer it as well. It will hopefully remain a place to be enjoyed by the ones in the know.
Some of the rising stars on the tourist horizons though are right in its neighborhood. To some extent that can already be said for Croatia. And in the somewhat more distant future many see chances for countries like Albania to reveal its beauty to larger numbers of tourists.
20. Currently, you work as a tour guide for Rick Steves and others. How did you get connected to Rick?
Over a decade ago Rick was filming his first show on Slovenia and Croatia, and I was assigned to him by the national tourist board as his local guide. About a year later, he launched a new tour itinerary of Eastern Europe that included some of these areas. So, I was asked whether I would be interested in guiding on those tours and the rest is history.
21. What do you love about traveling?
The value of traveling is opening new horizons and learning how and why certain things are the way they are in the world. It opens paths to understanding other cultures and learning from them.
It is also an intense and exciting way of living and enjoying life to the fullest. My favorite saying is that if life were a book, the ones that do not travel had read only a single page of it.
22. As a tour guide, how do people react when they visit places like Slovenia and other Eastern European countries?
For the most part they react positively surprised, since they usually expect a sad and barren wasteland with boring grey cities full of dilapidated communist era factories. So, with the reality being light years away from that it tends to be quite a exciting discovery.
23. You’ve been all over Europe and to various parts of the world. As someone who has interacted with many cultures and served as a tour guide for many different types of groups, what wisdom can you share about your experiences as both a traveler and a tour guide?
People tend to be sometimes intimidated by travel, but the more one travels, the more one realizes how similar people are once one can look beyond the superficial differences and how small our world is. The most important things when traveling, more than anything else, is the right attitude and a smile.
24. What places do you want to see that you haven’t visited?
There are far too many places on my travel list to mention. The more I travel, the longer the list gets.
After reading about life in Slovenia, what aspects of this country make you want to visit?
When planning for a trip to Slovenia, what’s your favorite source of travel information?
For more information on Slovenia, contact Slovenia’s tourist board where Maribor is this 2012 European Capital of Culture. Find interesting facts, guides, and information for everything Slovenia. And follow them on Twitter @SloveniaInfo.
Marijan Kriskovic is a native of Slovenia and is part Slovenian and part Croatian. He spent his formative years in Croatia but has roots in Slovenia. He also studied in Ljubljana and currently works as a tour guide for a number of tour companies, including Rick Steves. He is a newlywed who loves to travel and still calls Slovenia home.
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