New business connections thanks to our basket weaving
We are fresh back from our visit to Ferien-Messe Wien tradefair in Vienna. IstraTerra was part of the Slovenian Istria stand, where we helped present all four coastal municipalities and tourist organisations (Ankaran, Izola, Koper and Piran). Our presentation was successful, but the point of this joint presentation at such an important fair was not only to present the destination to hotel owners, foreign tourist providers and agencies. This visit was an important opportunity for us to check the concept of genuine Istrian stories, IstraTerra’s offer and working together with stakeholders that connect the destination of Slovenian Istria.
The great panoramic photo of Piran attracted the attention of visitors, the integration of the heritage of basket weaving, fishing and ship building, and Šavrinka (traditional Istrian woman) assured visitors stayed with us at our stand. “I am convinced that the photographs of the atmosphere that dominated the stall, say more than a thousand words,” said Urška Križman Vižintin, the director of IstraTerra agency.
Peter Žudič from the Tourist Organisation of the Municipality of Koper (TO MOK) proved to be an excellent, smiling and honest informer. We were also visited by Patricia Gržinič from Portorož Tourist Association and Dean Kocjančič from Izola Tourist Association, which additionally strengthened the presence of all four municipalities within the destination of Slovenian Istria.
Aldo and Slavica Jerman from Zabavlje, attracted immense interest and brought back memories of childhood for our visitors with their basket weaving and knitting of woollen socks, remembering their grandparents who did the exact same thing with them. They were the real magnet, which, when accompanied by the flashing of cameras, woke up their desire to try knitting! Although we usually joke when we say that Zabavlje is the centre of the world, their presentation turned the local joke upside down. (Obviously, there is a little truth in this joke. ;-))
Aleksander Kerin, an expert in the renovation and maintenance of old vessels (which is also involved in the project “Little Boat“), represented a rich maritime heritage, turning tradition into a modern presentation, and our Šavrinka added to the heritage of Istria by giving her visitors a scent from Istria – laurel and rosemary, to either conjure or recall memories of the summer and excellent Istrian cuisine. Šavrinka seasoned everything with Piran salt and the heritage of its processing. Thus, visitors were able to take the tastes and scents of Istria home with them.
What do you say, how does Urška look? Like a real Šavrinka?
The visitors’ reactions to the heritage and tradition of Slovenian Istria combined with the modern presentation approach of the destination as a whole, proved that all our hard work had paid off. In the background, other activities aimed at establishing and concluding business connections were also carried out. We established new contacts and presented ourselves to other exhibitors (destinations, hoteliers, other tourism providers), we opened opportunities for cooperation with a specialised Austrian agency, and we were offered the opportunity to participate in a specialised travel event. “When talking with potential new partners and representatives of the Slovenian Tourist Organisation in Austria and you realise that they have already heard about you, this is definitely recognition of the work and activities that run within the promotion and marketing of IstraTerra’s offer and a good step for our planned activities to connect and expand business partners abroad, ” adds Križman Vižintin.
The review of the offer of competitive destinations and providers also confirms our direction: experiences and special tours are a trend that needs to be followed. Seeing the responses and emotional reactions to the panoramic photo of Piran, we will almost certainly expand our offer. Piran is a magnet that (re)attracts and can be an excellent starting point for building a new, different offer, which can include genuine experiences of the entire Slovenian Istria.
The Vienna Fair gave us new motivation and confirmation that we are on the right track, and that networking and co-operating with others are essential for the development of IstraTerra and the destination as a whole.