“Dear Elena Paschinger. I am contacting you on behalf of an international conference aimed at innovative destination management in tourism, which will take place in Košice, Slovakia. The conference focuses on best practice examples of innovative know-how exchange and experience in tourism destinations. We would be delighted if you could speak in front of our audience. Thank you in advance for your time!”
I am still travelling on my #CreativElenaRTW creative trip around the world as the above words reach me via email by dear Marián Matusák, on my way from Japan to Nepal. And yes, I am indeed delighted! What an opportunity, I am thinking in between worlds, with Europe at the time still far away. But such is the nature of our everyday lives in terms of connectivity: We can start preparing conference speeches and entire programs from a distance, literally the world over. Which is wonderful. And deserves a special mention of this unique conference here in South-Eastern Slovakia, a “world apart” from its capital city Bratislava which I explored only last year.
“This one is different”, Miso Hudak smiles and literally takes me by the hand, leading me around “his” Košice – the way only a local would.
The way I knew I would love. “So you have been to Bratislava?”, he repeats as we walk away from the historical centre of Košice, to learn what makes up “the remaining 98% of town”. Where the actual people live. Where the soul of the city resides, as expressed through astounding public art spaces & simply amazing street art graffiti. “The South-East of Slovakia, close to the borders with Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Poland, is very different from the ‘West’. In fact, I don’t believe in the concept of nation-states anyway – much more so in regional cohesion and local initiatives.” Listening to Miso, who has written a book about Košice in the most unusual way possible, I find we agree on many concepts, despite the obvious differences in our individual backgrounds & everyday lives. “You like street art graffiti? Come on, then. Let’s adapt this tour to meet your very interests!”
CARAT conference kicks off with communication experts from Košice, Ukraine, England – and Austria. Love the international mix & inspiration!
In 2013, Košice has enjoyed international attention for being a European Capital of Culture city, hence a lot of development programs have since stimulated and increased the region’s cross-border cooperation & strategies for (creative) tourism development. “We are so pleased to have you here in Košice. Participants will be interested in a range of topics: Destination management, innovative forms of marketing & PR, tourism product development. Your inputs are greatly appreciated!”
Words like these spur my creativity.
Indeed, the feeling I have during my presentation is one of sharing my most recent insights & knowledge from travelling around the world, researching & publishing about creative tourism networks worldwide and being involved with countless examples of innovative PR & tourism destination management since many years already. I have been truly touched by feedback from my conference participants: “Elena. It was such a pleasure to meeting you in Košice. You opened a new ‘tourism world’ for me: Creative Tourism, which is not developed in my region. You brought a nice and very interesting idea of how to attract more tourists to our region by establishing and providing ‘creative services’ to visitors. Thank you very much for that. I also love your amazing stories about travelling, different destinations and people! Great job! I do believe your book will be very helpful for those who are planning their trips worldwide!”
Thank you so much for this, dear Nadiya! It will be my pleasure to keep moving & inspiring people!
Let us hope Košice & beyond will see me back soon! After all there is the beautiful High Tatras mountain region to be explored, only a good hour away from the city … or how about a long-distance (food & wine) hiking trail into the border regions? Definitely up for that, after all my recent adventures in that sense: Košice, count me in!