Miha Rott is the founder and director of Unique Slovenia - a local tour company that specialises in custom designed tours and lives up to its motto of 'You name it, we do it'!
What makes Unique Slovenia unique?
Our company's philosophy is a personal concierge service.To my knowledge Unique Slovenia/Custom Tour Designer is the only boutique tour company in Slovenia providing custom made services to its clients. We work mostly as an incoming operator, though we focus also on incentive/corporate tourism and domestic FITs (Free Independent Traveller). You could say the uniqueness is in completely personal approach and exclusive services. In practise this means I personally welcome each guest upon arrival and if so required, take them to special destinations with added value. It’s all about details. For instance, you can sell Bled’s castle with regular visit of the museum or you can offer the same location with exclusive medieval performance and personal presentation of Bled by the mayor himself. I trust our slogan “You name it, We do it” tells it all.
How did you decide to get involved in the tourism business?
It’s my passion. My entire professional life was directly or indirectly connected with tourism. I always had a vision to design custom made programmes for my clients. It was really a matter of time and right momentum that I decided to set up my own business. And now is the time. Slovenia has perfect conditions to sell boutique products for demanding clients.
What's the strangest request you've ever received?
Hm, hard to say. Each request can be considered a bit strange, since it is different and unique. Maybe a request to provide 12 super fast cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin...) for a group of single men was certainly challenging. Especially since you can’t get so many of them in Slovenia. Sometimes it is strange in timing. I had a call from Russian client on Saturday evening with a request to fly a helicopter next morning. So, I had to react instantly and was successful. The client was very satisfied at the end of the day.
If you had friends visiting from abroad for only one weekend, what would you plan for them?
Depends on their interest. If they prefer active weekend I would suggest them a combination of adrenaline activities (rafting or canyoning on the Soča river), hot air balloon flying with an outdoor breakfast on a meadow upon landing, sightseeing of “must-see” locations and pampering them in local restaurants. For “foodies” I would suggest a weekend in Goriška Brda staying at a winery, visiting top wine producers and tasting their wines and attending a cooking course in a renown restaurant, where they would be making their own tasting menu under the supervision of a chef.
What's your favourite 'off the beaten path' place in Slovenia?
Goriška Brda, since I am a foodie and love great wines. The second choice is Logarska Dolina (Valley) where one can experience the most incredible stay. The valley offers numerous activities for everyone – trekking, hiking or mountaineering in the Kamnik- Savinja Alps, mountain biking on the panorama road, natural beauties such as the Rinka waterfall or Ice cave under Raduha mountain, very warm and hospitable locals... Not to mention fantastic local food which on just loves it, even though one might not be a foodie at all.
'Green' or 'Eco' tourism seems to be gaining in popularity every year. Do you receive many requests for this type of tour? And if so, what does a 'Green Slovenia' tour look like?
Yes, I do receive such requests. Sustainable tourism is more and more present in clients' mind. Especially by demanding clients who are aware of green travelling. Slovenia does not yet have enough 'eco' hotels, but the whole strategy of tourism industry is slowly applying this important path. Just now I am preparing a special gourmet tour for a group of American clients who are interested just in local traditional food and wine, made completely naturally. They want to see how the raw cheese is made, how the honey is produced and what natural products are made out of it, and of course taste different kind local specialties all around the country.
Due to its size and diversity, Slovenia is often referred to as a 'boutique' tourist destination. Do you agree with this label?
100% agree. In fact I believe Slovenia’s slogan 'I Feel Slovenia' should be upgraded with the positional slogan 'A Boutique Country in Central Europe'.
What does Slovenia have to offer visitors that they can't find in neighbouring countries with more established tourism industries - namely Italy and Croatia?
It’s the diversity and such closeness. Realistically one can ski in the morning at Kanin ski resort and just an hour and a half drive to the south enjoy sunbathing at the coast. I don’t recall any country which can offer this on a such a small scale. The second advantage is no mass tourism. If someone wants to spent holidays in tranquillity, it will happen.
How has the tourism sector in Slovenia changed over the past 10 to 20 years?
From a classical mass 'bed & sea' kind of tourism to more targeted and niche tourism. We can’t compete with Italy or Croatia on a mass level (and don’t want to), but on a boutique level, where quality and individuality are emphasized.
How do you see the tourism sector in Slovenia changing over the next 10 to 20 years?
It should become highly developed niche market from budget to high-end guests, since we can provide services to any of these categories of guests. However, the government will need to change and execute the strategy much quicker and sufficient / thorough. This means investment in human resources not only on academic but mostly on practical level. People will need to understand that FIT guests are demanding in terms of what they expect. And this is the charm of custom made products. If you do it with passion, then only the sky is the limit as far as creativity but also budget is concerned.
When you're not travelling in Slovenia, what is your favourite destination abroad?
New York City. It’s the atmosphere, people and good vibration. You just have to be there.
What's the most unique tour you've ever been on personally?
I am still waiting for one.