Texas Feels Slovenia: successful presentation of Slovenian economy and tourism in Dallas
Texas Feels Slovenia: successful presentation of Slovenian economy and tourism in Dallas
At the Texas Feels Slovenia business and investment conference on Thursday, Slovenia presented itself to potential business partners from the USA as an excellent economic partner, a country of attractive investment opportunities and a sustainable tourism destination with unique experiences for discerning guests.
During the event, US and Slovenian companies and destinations met in B2B& meetings to explore the possibilities of concluding concrete deals. Today, Slovenian participants will visit American companies and in the evening, the highlight awaits: I Feel Slovenia Night during the NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls.
The Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, together with SPIRIT Slovenia, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) and other partners, once again organised a high-profile business and promotional event in Dallas. Dallas is the ninth largest American city in terms of population and an excellent springboard for the Slovenian economy, which is looking for opportunities in the 332-million-strong American market, especially thanks to the visibility and immense popularity of Slovenian basketball superstar Luka Dončić, a member of the NBA basketball club Dallas Mavericks. The joint project, which is part of a broader, continuous and targeted promotion of Slovenia on the US market, also involves Ljubljana Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. AmCham Slovenia is the programme partner.
Slovenian companies impress with their breakthrough solutions
Thursday featured a high-profile business and investment conference. Among the more than 170 participants were representatives of many leading American companies in various fields, and all were impressed by Slovenia. The event featured excellent speakers who presented the Slovenian and Dallas business and investment environment, opportunities for partnerships and examples of successful business stories of Slovenian companies in Texas.
Dr Mitja Blaganje, Secretary General at the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, in his welcoming address at the conference emphasised the importance of the US market for Slovenia. "Texas, as the 2nd largest economy in the USA and the 10th largest in the world, is a place with great potential for forming partnerships with our highly export-oriented economy, as well as for the penetration of Texas companies into the Slovenian market. At the same time, it is an excellent place for the promotion of Slovenia as a tourist destination," said Blaganje and added: "Moreover, sport is certainly one of those things that evokes positive emotions and pride in all of us, that brings us together and connects us - even across oceans. The Dallas Mavericks, with Luka at the helm, are proof of that. That is why Slovenia has decided to partner with the Dallas Mavericks basketball club, which will help us touch the hearts of Americans and bring them closer to one of the greenest and most boutique countries in the heart of Europe - Slovenia."
Rok Capl, Acting Director of SPIRIT Slovenia, commented: "This year's Business and Investment Conference in Dallas is a continuation of the successful business story we started last year. The atmosphere at the conference was truly amazing! We are delighted that so many American participants attended and recognised us as an important business destination, both in terms of creating new partnerships and investment opportunities. We are very pleased with their response and their positive surprise at the opportunities our country has to offer, as this is a great endorsement of the efforts and many activities we are carrying out in the US market. We will continue in this spirit in the future."
At the event, excellent speakers presented the Slovenian and Dallas business and investment environment, opportunities for cooperation and examples of successful business stories of Slovenian companies in Texas. Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks basketball club, and Vanja Černivec, CEO of the London Lions, both of whom swear that with hard work, passion and focus you can achieve anything in life, were particularly inspiring.
"Learn, focus, pray and act, my mother taught me, and I do all this every day of my life. But I decided that my mission would be to serve people," said Marshall, among other things.
Former Slovenian basketball ace Radoslav Nesterović, who presented Slovenia as a country of sports champions, agreed: "Slovenians are a sporting nation, sport inspires and excites us, but above all it connects us and builds Slovenia's reputation in the world. The success of Slovenian athletes contributes enormously to the country's visibility, Slovenia has only two million inhabitants, but it has the best basketball player, hockey player, cyclist, climber, skier, which is truly remarkable. This is a potential that the country should make the most of to build its visibility."
In a packed hall, the Americans got to know our country, its competitive advantages and business opportunities not only through great Slovenian athletes, but also through green, creative and smart economy and breakthrough solutions of Slovenian companies. Two round tables featured Slovenian companies, each of which is one of the so-called hidden champions in its field: GenePlanet, BioSistemika, Cleangrad, Aerosol and Ineor. The Slovenian business environment and business and investment opportunities were presented by Vid Habjan, Head of the Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Sector at SPIRIT Slovenia.
Business talks and networking between Slovenian and American companies rounded off the conference and laid the foundations for new success stories in the future. Cynt Marshal nicely summed up her expectations: "Luka Dončić has shown us what a great country Slovenia is to live, work and play sport in, he is a great ambassador for both your country and ours, in fact he has brought us together. We already have a lot of Slovenians in Dallas and we hope to have more soon!"
Tourism companies in the US see increased interest in Slovenia
A very successful Slovenian tourism workshop followed in the afternoon. "Slovenia is a country with a green and sporty heart and a country of champions," explained Karmen Novarlič, Head of the Business Relations Department at the Slovenian Tourist Board. Ljubljana Tourism presented the Slovenian capital as an attractive destination to visit in all seasons, while Turkish Airlines, one of the airlines connecting Europe via Istanbul with a direct flight to Dallas, also presented itself to its American partners.
In addition, 13 Slovenian tourism companies and destinations presented their offer in Dallas, where they met with representatives of more than 30 American tour operators and travel agencies in more than 200 B2B meetings. Slovenian tourism is already seeing results from the tourism workshop held in Dallas last year; some US tour operators have already included Slovenia in their programmes or have participated in the Slovenian Incoming Workshop. The US is one of the most important overseas markets for Slovenian tourism with excellent growth potential.
"The US market is extremely important for Sava Hotels & Resorts, which is why, after our successful participation in last year's event in Dallas, we have decided to take part in this year's event as well. Dallas proved to be an excellent starting point for promoting Slovenia in the USA. Thanks to the visibility of Luka Dončić and consequently Slovenia, we can more easily approach agents and place Slovenia in their offer. This year, we are also seeing an increased interest in travel to Slovenia and the willingness of American agencies to create programmes that include many Slovenian destinations, which is why we support and encourage such events in the future," said Andrea Jemc Vidic, Head of Overseas Sales at Sava Hotels & Resorts.
"We already took part in the Slovenian Tourism Workshop last year. We are looking forward to getting to know your country and its wonderful people. What stands out is the focus on sustainability and safety, the incredible diversity of your country, all in a wonderful small, intimate package. Our high-end clients want a variety of experiences and Slovenia offers that - activities, wellness, wine, cuisine. Slovenia is a hidden gem and I encourage our advisors to get to know it and do business now, before it becomes one of the world's top 10 destinations and becomes more visited and more difficult to access partners as interest grows," said Faith Kuczai, Director of Corporate Relations, Nexion Travel Group.
"When I travelled to Slovenia this year, I didn't expect to discover paradise on Earth. I fell in love and want to introduce it to as many people as possible. I have travelled all over the world and Slovenia is truly something unique and special. I would never have discovered it if we hadn't brought the I Feel Slovenia workshop to Dallas last year," said Erin Johnson, President and Founder of Live Love Travel.
Fans will feel Slovenia at tonight's Dallas Mavericks vs. Chicago Bulls game
Today, the Slovenian delegation will visit leading companies in the fields of information and communication technologies, digitalisation, advanced marketing solutions and services, branding, security and energy efficiency, and learn about the latest trends in these areas.
The highlight will be tonight's NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls, entitled 'I Feel Slovenia Night'. The event will be used by the STB, together with the Government Communications Office (UKOM) and Tourism Ljubljana, to promote Sloveniawith on-court and courtside advertising. The arena will be coloured green, two promotional videos of Slovenia will be screened during the match, and fans in the arena will also be able to learn about Slovenia through a quiz and at the promotional and exhibition area in the American Airlines Center. The game will be entertained by the world-famous Slovenian acrobats Dunking Devils, who will be joined on the floor by Ljubljana's mascot, the Dragon. Fans will also receive green "I feel Slovenia" scarves with the Dallas Mavericks logo.
The I feel Slovenia night is part of a broader two-year partnership between the STB and the Dallas Mavericks, under which the STB will promote the I feel Slovenia national brand at 60 Dallas Mavericks home games in the NBA in 2023 and 2024, as well as a digital campaign to promote Slovenia through the club's communication channels.
On 6 April, during the event in Dallas, the Government Communications Office, together with the Basketball Association of Slovenia and the municipalities of Celje and Novo mesto, organised two I Feel Slovenia Night sporting events for local primary schools, which also resonated on the Dallas Mavericks' social media. The youth basketball games took place at the Dallas Mavericks basketball courts in Celje and Goran Dragic's in Novo mesto.
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